Renamed from The Niquette Corvette as a deliberate effort in The Conquest of Ego
Copyright ©2009 by Paul Niquette. All rights reserved.
ot to be too gender-specific, but every guy of a certain age looks back with fondness to his favorite car. Mine was a particular 1966 Chevrolet Corvette C2 Stingray, a real Look-at-Me Car, loaded with options, which put it in a realm beyond the ordinary sports cars: two-speed Powerglide automatic transmission, power steering and brakes, AM/FM radio, leather upholstery, air conditioning, telescopic steering wheel column, headrests.
Excuse me for reminiscing, but that Stingray was the only
vehicle with or without wings about which I am willing to confess my unbounded
affection. During five years, nary a day passed that I would not
eagerly conjure up occasions to drive it and to take the long way home.
Oh right, and the acquisition of this magnificent machine is a favorite
story. Though hardly romantic, that narration gives the origin of
its nickname, My Potato Car.
he 1966 model offered an optional "Big-Block V8" with unique bulging hood to accommodate its 427 cubic-inch displacement (CID). My little old Potato Car had the Small Block 327 Turbo-Fire engine, which put out only 300 hp. Note the ironic use of the word "only" in the previous sentence. The Corvette C2 could reach a top speed of 150 mph, according to a contemporaneous issue of Car and Driver. At a "highway speed" of, say, 60 mph, the Stingray's sleak, Look-at-Me Car design demanded a mere fraction of the engine's power, all the rest being held in reserve for rapid acceleration.
Now, it is well known that while cruising at highway speeds, an estimated 60% of a typical vehicle's power is devoted to overcoming aerodynamic drag, which increases steeply with vehicle velocity. The remaining 40% of that cruising power is dominated by rolling resistance and drive-train losses, which are constant forces but require linear increases of power with speed. Auxiliary engine loads are essentially constant: pumps that circulate lubrication and coolant, electrical alternator, power stearing and brakes plus steady loads imposed by accessories -- indeed, as much as 5 hp can be taken up just by the typical air-conditioner.
Given the information above and assuming an ideal Specific
Horsepower of 2.0 lb/hr/hp, what is your estimate of the
Look-at-Me Car's mileage at highway speed?