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Trucks of the future

One of my hot to trot issue when it comes to transportation is the gross mass of most cars , as I see it every extra kilo of a car is a reason for its  fuel inefficiency. You only have to look at the hyper sports cars to see the value of using light weight composites for making the body/chassis  both stronger and stiffer and more durable than steel or aluminium. The same rationale can be applied to heavy road  transport where most trucks are outrageously heavy and on top of that they tend to have the aerodynamics of a house brick. weight is a big deal but the majority of the energy used to move our goods on the roads is used to overcome aerodynamic drag the futuristic truck in this article claims a 20% reduction in drag from the shape of the truck and a huge weight saving from the use of carbon fibre to construct the trailer. While I have my doubts about the hybrid drive train everything else in this truck seems to be right on the money.

The vehicle features what Walmart describes as a “prototype advanced turbine-powered, range-extending series hybrid powertrain (or microturbine-hybrid powertrain) combined with an electric motor and battery storage system.” It can reportedly run on diesel, natural gas, biodiesel “and probably other fuels still to be developed.”

Additionally, it is said to be 20 percent more aerodynamic than the company’s existing trucks.

The cab of the tractor unit features a sliding door, a center-mounted driver’s seat, an all-LCD dash that can be customized to suit the driver’s preferences, and a full-sized sleeper.

The trailer is reportedly the first one to ever be built completely of carbon fiber, and also incorporates the first 53-foot-long (16 m) one-piece carbon fiber panels ever made. The use of that material results in claimed weight savings of approximately 4,000 lb (1,814 kg) over a conventional trailer. Both its aerodynamics and its cargo capacity are boosted by a convex nose that sits flush the concave backside of the tractor.

So, will we ever see one of the things on the highway? In a recent statement, Walmart President Doug McMillon wrote, “It may never make it to the road, but it will allow us to test new technologies and new approaches.”

If you like freaky-looking high-concept transport trucks, however, be sure to also check out the German Innotruck – which actually looks a bit like WAVE.

 

 

Efficient, quiet and  with better driver facilities and a greater payload and on top of that the longevity of the machines should be very good as much as I love trains and the concept of rail freight I can’t ignore the fact that for many things there will always be a need for heavy road haulage and if these innovations become common (as I expect that they will)there should be a lot of happy transport companies out there.
Cheers Comrades

walmarttruck-1

Sitting to attention

Just a short vid to share my good luck yesterday at our local trash and treasure, who says that you have to spend a fortune when your hobby is old cars?

Cheers Comrades

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Morris Eight episode two

Here is the latest episode of my project car build diary for those who want a break from politics….

Iain's Seven

I’m trying to make better vids for the  build diary which are a bit more concise and to the point . This episode shows the set up for the engine/gearbox install along with the  necessary set up of the cockpit. Rather than making things like the floor and seat base  structure part of the body I am building them into the chassis to make for a far more rigid frame. Its probably overkill for the modest performance of the Morris engine but I just want to make the best car that I can.

Cheers Comrades

 

 

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Peter Beattie and that telling grin

Yesterday I was a man on a mission off to the wilds to pick up an engine and a gearbox for my Morris project, these are not the parts that I will actually use in the car, rather they are just parts that I have borrowed from my long suffering brother to work out  the mountings and other details of the installation in my car. Anyway it was that away mission that found me missing out on the Peter Beattie chapter of the sad and sorry saga  of the Federal Labor party yesterday .  Unlike my other regular commentators I know Beattie pretty well, in fact when I was a student  he used to be a regular at the Mexican restaurant that I worked at in Milton. So I can honestly say that I have known of him well before he even rose to star status up here in Queensland. and to be honest I have always thought that he is a “good bloke”. So when I heard on the radio that he was going to stand in Forde for the ALP my initial reaction was to think that he could be a good man to have in the parliament.

Then I gave the matter some thought and I was a little less sure. You see I began  to remember that this good bloke had made a few rather big calls that were less than wonderful. Things like privatising electricity distribution which promised a new era of lower energy prices (my current bill in next to me on the desk ere and its twice what it was this time last year ) I remember too that while he was a competent Premier he steeped down so that Anna Bligh could become premier and she was a bloody disaster creating the financial mess that Campbell Newman is working so hard to fix even though it is at the cost of his popularity.   Then there is his famous “water grid” a net work of pipelines pumping stations and water recycling systems that was built during the last big  decade long drought that we endured.  The idea may yet prove to be of value should we have another long dry spell but now that the weather has swung back to its more normal rain fall levels its hard to see the whole thing as anything other than a global warming hysteria white elephant, which, like the mega expensive desalination plant at Tugan  on the Gold Coast just sits idle.

 Former Queensland premier Peter Beattie, with his wife, Heather, announces his Labor candidacy for a Brisbane seat yesterday. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen Source: TheAustralian

Former Queensland premier Peter Beattie, with his wife, Heather, announces his Labor candidacy for a Brisbane seat yesterday. Picture: Lyndon Mechielsen Source: TheAustralian

Beattie is without doubt a consummate media performer he is an utter and unashamed “media tart” who can play the “chooks” with the sort of talent that most political candidates enviously aspire to. He even leaves the would be Labor Messiah  Kevin Rudd for  dead in his ability to play the media to his political advantage, however he does have one very obvious “tell” when what he is doing is a bit  less than sincere and that is his tendency to crack the biggest toothy and undimable smile when he is playing the media game. Its like some part of him is self-conscious of t he stunt  and he then over compensates in trying to sell the contrived message. That  “tell” was very much in evidence yesterday at the media  appearances that he put in with Rudd. He was trying just a bit too hard to prove how much he endorsed the new again Dear Leader even though it was only a matter of a couple of months ago that he was dressing Rudd down for destabilising Gillard.

What it boils down to for me is that while at an emotional level  I like the man, and I even respect him for his time as premier I just don’t think that he is as sincere about his enthusiasm for federal politics. You know how I see politics as a game? Well deep down I think that Peter Beattie does as well and he is playing this move for all that its worth. He may even win the seat but if he doesn’t then I think that he will still  enjoy the journey , if he does win Forde then The ALP may benefit from having a “good bloke” in its parliamentary ranks but I can’t see the faux friendship with Rudd lasting long  into either Government or opposition after September 7.

Cheers Comrades

stir

Pre-dawn expeditions

I’m going to the Nambour swap meet today which should be a bit of fun, I may even find some parts I need for my project which would be very nice I may find nothing at all that is useful. that is the pleasure of such events they are all essentially a big lucky dip and who doesn’t like that?

Anyway after committing a major neatness in my workshop over the last couple of days ,made a new stand for my drill press , a new top for my workbench and fitted the diff to the car I’m rather keen to seek out an A series  engine and gearbox  for the car although if I find one I very much doubt that I can get it home in my sports car!

Cheers Comrades

The engine I need

The engine I need

 

 

Staying sane in a post Seven world

This is my current project and although I can’t work very fast on it I can and do try to do a little bit for it as often as I can . When completed I will be able to register it on “club ” plates which are relatively in expensive even though they do have limitations in how often I can drive on the public roads.
Cheers Comrades.

Iain's Seven

Man does not live by seven’s alone so I have been working on a new project whcih is sort of a seven circa say 1950 essentially its a 1946 Morris Z chassis (common to the Morris eight) with a light weight body of my own design the only body panel that it has from the original Morris is its grill piece the rest is based upon a square tube frame (sound familiar?) that is bolted around the perimeter of the chassis. At the front I have the standard suspension which is a beam axle on semi elliptic leaf springs that have had three of the six leaves removed at the back I had to improvise because I have been unable to find a set of Morris springs instead I have some modified Suzuki Sierra
rear springs, like the front I have removed leaves to soften the ride and to lower…

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In search of Triumph Herald Parts

My brother is making fine progress with his Triumph Herald project and his work ethic for this project puts my own efforts on my Morris 8 very much into the shade. In any event its very nice to see his car looking so good so quickly.

The whole car is now a very nice shade of blue and my brother has asked me to put the word out into cyberspace to let everyone know that he is looking for parts for this car, first and foremost he is looking for seats and interior for it as the previous owner had left the interior of the car at his fathers house and due to the length of time the project took these were thrown out!!! such are the problems  of restoration when it is a protracted project.

So if you have any parts for a Triumph Herald  or any other old Brit car parts  hiding in your shed please feel free to drop me a line at my usual email and I will pass them on to my brother.

Cheers Comrades

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Wouldn’t it be lovely

I’m off on a drive to visit my brother shortly and it seems apt that I should come across this article in Gizmag this morning about the new Caterham 620R, which produces a modest 301hp. As the saying goes, too much power is NEVER enough something I shall be pondering on my drive.

Replacing the Superlight R500 as top of the line, the 620 R continues the Seven's emphasis on light weight, accessibility, and minimalism, but pours in more horsepower and torque than any Seven has a had to handle before. The 620 R has a new gunmetal chassis with carbon-fiber wings, roll bar, an air-flow optimized nose cone and a race-developed cooling package. The supercharged, two-liter Ford Duratec pushes 310 bhp (231 kW) through a six-speed sequential gearbox with flat-shift to give the 545 kg (1,201 lb) vehicle 219 lbs/ft (30 Nm) of torque. Top speed is 155 mph (249 km/h) with acceleration pegging 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 2.79 seconds.

Replacing the Superlight R500 as top of the line, the 620 R continues the Seven’s emphasis on light weight, accessibility, and minimalism, but pours in more horsepower and torque than any Seven has a had to handle before.

caterham-seven-620-r-1

The 620 R has a new gunmetal chassis with carbon-fiber wings, roll bar, an air-flow optimized nose cone and a race-developed cooling package. The supercharged, two-liter Ford Duratec pushes 310 bhp (231 kW) through a six-speed sequential gearbox with flat-shift to give the 545 kg (1,201 lb) vehicle 219 lbs/ft (30 Nm) of torque. Top speed is 155 mph (249 km/h) with acceleration pegging 0 to 60 mph (96 km/h) in 2.79 seconds.

This car would certainly be very high on my shopping list if I were to win the lotto however in the absence of such good fortune I am going to enjoy my own  creation and its rather modest 95KW

Cheers Comrades

 

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