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160mph Compressed Air Dragster

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Agentx66x, Feb 29, 2008.

  1. Agentx66x
    Joined: Nov 18, 2004
    Posts: 65


    Back in the early 60’s Garrett (that turned in to Allied then AlliedSignal then Honeywell) made this turbine powered dragster powered by 3 35 pound partially-aluminum turbine engines. All powered off of compressed air and fuel mixture.
    Each turbine is rated at 750 foot-pounds of torque capable of 70,000rpm.

    In the quarter mile it ran 8.75 at 161mph .

    This Dragster made it in many published articles like October 1962 edition of Hot Rod.
    Also attached below is a clip from the local Arizona Republic.

    Check out the slicks on the Mag wheels, they used a '48 ford steering box, cut down model A springs with a '37 willys front end, ’48 ford rear with Buick finned drums.

    I have attached a few articles along with pics and they even had a mailer if you wanted to invest in the project.

    (Sorry to make you work but the hot rod article was too big so I had to zip it.)

    ~Tall Ryan~

    Attached Files:

    Stogy likes this.
  2. the-rodster
    Joined: Jul 2, 2003
    Posts: 6,945


    The driver sure had a set of balls....

  3. TRuss
    Joined: Jan 7, 2007
    Posts: 549


    That's very cool. I've never seen it before.
  4. tjm73
    Joined: Feb 17, 2006
    Posts: 3,492


    Looks like a rolling A-Bomb....... cool!

  5. Russco
    Joined: Nov 27, 2005
    Posts: 4,329

    from Central IL

    That is frikken awsome!
  6. used to run at San Gabriel and Irwindale. totally silent till they hammered it, then it sounds like a blown air hose, was cool the watch. never figured out how they got 10,000 psi in those tanks. I only remember them running in the 150's
    Stogy likes this.
  7. looks like two different cars. Lengthened chassis?
  8. that's mind boggling. How smart were those guys??? They were haulin ICE
    I wonder what the down side of that type power is? Why haven't more people done it?
  9. stude_trucks
    Joined: Sep 13, 2007
    Posts: 4,754


    That is cool! I wonder how much energy it takes to compress the air and then how much is left at the end of the run. Engines are just air pumps really and the gasoline is just the condensed form of the energy until it is combined with the spark and oxygen. It would take a really big tank of compressed air to drive any distance, but seems to work ok for the 1/4 mile. I like the looks of those things, especially the one with the spherical tanks.
    Speed Gems likes this.
  10. brandon
    Joined: Jul 19, 2002
    Posts: 6,368


    looks like one of those things you see at a yard sale out in the sticks...:D "the 1200 kawasaki (sp) didn't go fast enough we found these ...she'll do atleast a 150 up the street...:D" brandon
  11. fiat128
    Joined: Jun 26, 2006
    Posts: 1,426

    from El Paso TX

    Pretty cool. Looks like a kid's science fair project. I see at least three different cars or setups in the photos. Are they all the same?
  12. Agentx66x
    Joined: Nov 18, 2004
    Posts: 65


    In the attached articles is says that it was just a few guys working in the garage after work building it. Thats the early pics with the single tank on the side. Later down the line the company that they worked for AirResearch/Garrett saw the progress they were making and took it on as a semi-official company project (aka funding). Thats when they bought the bigger tanks and changed it up.
  13. TRuss
    Joined: Jan 7, 2007
    Posts: 549


    There have been several attempts in different types of racing to do turbine powered cars. Most notably was the Granatelli turbine car that ran at Indy in '6? not completely sure what year. I want to say '64. Anyway. It was very fast and even led I believe. But it eventually broke. It was soon banned much like most other attempts. USAC said they banned it due to the speed and unfair advantage. The conspiracy theory is that it was banned due to the lack of noise. It was dubbed the "whoosh car" and most of the fans didn't like that it didn't make a proper race engine noise.
    Stogy likes this.
  14. On a somewhat related note, there was a Mickey T. dragster in the '60s with a large compressed air tank in front of the engine....took the place of a conventional blower (to avoid the hp loss to drive a blower). If I recall, he found that the weight & drag canceled out any advantage.
  15. R Pope
    Joined: Jan 23, 2006
    Posts: 3,309

    R Pope

    Not really a compressed air engine, it's a rocket/turbine with comp. air for an oxidizer.
    Joined: Aug 21, 2006
    Posts: 335


    What's the worst thing that could happin....?

    lothiandon1940 likes this.
  17. skajaquada
    Joined: Sep 14, 2004
    Posts: 1,642

    from SLC Utard

    we've been toying with an idea similar to that here at the shop. it was inspired by the 1000ft/lb 1/2" impact guns they have on the trucks now. go-kart chassis, big air tank, couple gears and hold the fuck on :D
  18. brandon
    Joined: Jul 19, 2002
    Posts: 6,368


    think m/t's ride was using oxygen.....pretty sure it got banned .... brandon:D

  19. hmmm, i don't know. ha ha.

  20. Granetelli car was driven by Parnelli Jones and started dead last. By the end of the second lap he was leading. A cheap bearing went out and put him out.
  21. TRuss
    Joined: Jan 7, 2007
    Posts: 549


    I told ya it was fast. Ha ha!
  22. scootermcrad
    Joined: Sep 20, 2005
    Posts: 12,382


    The first thing I thought of when I saw the title of this thread was...


    The Air Jammer
    Montana1 likes this.
  23. seatex
    Joined: Oct 24, 2006
    Posts: 2,670


    Dammit, Rodster, stop croppin' your avatar!
  24. 59 brook
    Joined: Jun 12, 2005
    Posts: 1,016

    59 brook

    i seem to remember a dragster at big daddys muesum in florida having a compressed air tank to supercharge the intake. sorry but i don't remember how successful they said it was
  25. Ragtop
    Joined: Nov 17, 2001
    Posts: 1,259

    Member Emeritus

    I don't remember Mickey's car but Garlits and Malone did it I think with a huge air tank in place of the blower - the car was way heavy. I think it's in Big's museum.
  26. T2Vracing
    Joined: Aug 29, 2007
    Posts: 72

    from Arivaca

    Hi Owen,
    Jeff thought you might have an interest, and mentioned that you once said something to the effect that missing cars somehow came to you.
    Red and I have been partners in the Speed Sport roadsters for many years, and have often wondered what happened to the so-called Air Car. This was the number lV roadster, powered by 3 small Air Research turbine engines, chassis by Red and Lyle Fisher, body by Eddie Kuzma, and paint by Dean Jeffries. Last we heard, it was in the Seattle area, and since my brother lives there I had the opportunity to nose around. Came up empty.
    If you ever get wind of this antique, let me know. It's not much of a historical item, other than
    being, perhaps, the first rear engine turbine drag car, but it would be fun to have it back if there's anything left.
    Ted Sitterley

    Hi Ted
    We have met before around the Speed Sport, I have known and worked with Doug on some of the Townsend projects. Crazy but I think I saw a photo of the first car 5 or so years ago while working at Raytheon I'll post the wanted posters and we'll see., I'm also contacting Hot Rod Deluxe as it was in the HRM in the day.

    Owen E Gibson
    [FONT=Comic Sans MS, sans-serif]

    Stogy likes this.
  27. Bill Powell
    Joined: Nov 28, 2011
    Posts: 11

    Bill Powell

    As I remember, the car with the spherical tanks originally had four tanks aired up to 10,000 psi. On their first run the car went out a couple of hundred feet and fell dead. It would take an air tank about the size of an airplane hangar to provide air to those turbines at the rate they used it.

    The solution was a blending of air, alchohol, and water as a coolant.
    Stogy likes this.
  28. army24
    Joined: Feb 4, 2017
    Posts: 1


    My father in law is Don Sullivan, who is listed as the crew chief on this car lives, here in Portland, OR. His memory is quickly fading but he talks a lot about this - building the car and traveling "all over the US." He and Lyle and Eddie were good friends and he still remembers them.
    According to Don when they were in Reno "he" gave the car to Harrah's auto museum. He also says he was the only one who drove the car and the photos I've seen show him in the drivers seat.
    I asked him about the owners and company names but he doesn't remember any of that.
    C69A, Stogy and oj like this.
  29. lippy
    Joined: Sep 27, 2006
    Posts: 6,837

    from Ks

    Be better off just airing up the bottles to about 100,000 psi and knocking the necks off the bottles with a hammer and forgetting the engine. :D Lippy (Crew member for Professor Fate racing.)
  30. oj
    Joined: Jul 27, 2008
    Posts: 6,482


    Pictures, we love pictures and the history. Post up whatever you can lay your hands on!
    lothiandon1940 likes this.

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