IT’S NEW! (Oct, 1958)

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AUSTIN-HEALY SPRITE, new British sports car, seats two, gets 35 mpg, tops at 80 mph. It has four cylinders, lour speeds, costs $1795 F.O.B. New York without the little extras.

FISH SCALER to lit your power drill; the $2 answer to the scale-fearful fisherman’s prayer. The nylon cylinder will not tear or harm the skin of fish or fisherman, but a child can clean fish like an Indian guide if Daddy will let him use his 1/4″ holemaker. Jaco Mfg. Co.. P.O. Box 2659, Lakewood, Ohio.

PNEUMATIC SPLINT for first aid support to injured limbs is a new German gismo. Rigid frame contains four air cushions.

SIKORSKY S-62. first amphibious helicopter with flying boat hull, comes down with engines dead, rotors spinning freely.

MUCH-BITTEN MAILMAN Charles Serven. Great Neck, N.Y., now carries battery-powered shocker for mean dogs. (Bottom right)

PLUG-IN TRAFFIC LIGHT. West German (notion for controlling shifting metropolitan traffic patterns, fits into socket in pavement.

TRACKLESS TRAIN, R. G. LeTourneau development, can use an atomic power plant

NEW STEERING GEARS aim at eliminating the dangerous shaft of the steering wheel, the “spear aimed at the driver’s heart.” Left, Ford’s “joy stick”; right GM’s Unicontrol system.

FLEXIBLE SIGNPOSTS that can give a little, can be bent right back up. Germans hope they’ll save both money and lives.

COLLAPSIBLE COPTER (above, right) was put through its paces recently at the Issy-Les-Molyneux heliport in France. The Roto-Cycle is powered by a compact 45-hp motor and has a cruising speed of about 30 mph. It burns up 4.5 gallons of fuel an hour. Roto-Cycle can be collapsed and set up again easily in a matter of minutes.

CAR BODY that can be fitted on any motor scooter (according to its French inventor) is for socially ambitious, slightly demented scooter owners.

AUSTIN GYPSY, new explorer’s rig, has rubber wheel suspension that needs no lubrication or care, can go 420 miles on a single tank of gas.

  1. Mike says: July 28, 20095:42 pm

    dangerous shaft of the steering wheel,

    If 1958 did one thing with automobiles it was eliminate the dangerous steering column.

  2. Richard C says: July 28, 20097:02 pm

    Interesting that they don’t say why the Sikorsky is coming down with its engine dead. I assume it was an intentional test as part of certification or something like that, but they leave open the possibility that it was an accident.

  3. Randy says: July 28, 20097:23 pm

    If those German cops don’t stop fighting over the traffic light, one of them is probably going to need a first aid booth…

  4. Larry says: July 28, 20098:35 pm

    Mike… I hope your not being sarcastic……
    For safety reasons all modern cars feature a collapsible steering column (energy absorbing steering column) which will collapse in the event of a heavy frontal impact to avoid excessive injuries to the driver. Non-collapsible steering columns very often impale drivers in frontal crashes. Audi used a retractable wheel system called procon-ten but has since been discontinued.

    Collapsible steering columns were invented by Bela Barenyi.

    This safety feature first appeared on cars built by General Motors after an extensive and very public lobbying campaign enacted by Ralph Nader.

    Ford started to install collapsible steering columns in 1968.[4]

    The “joy stick” steering didn’t catch on but being impaled by your steering column was a real concern. car company’s made collapsible steering column and bigger padded steering wheels to stop impalement.

  5. Torgo says: July 28, 200910:47 pm

    No, Richard C, I believe they are pointing out that this model has the ability to land safely with a dead engine, rather than simply falling out of the sky.

  6. Toronto says: July 28, 200911:14 pm

    There should be a monument somewhere of the historic raising of the traffic light on Iwo Jima.

    Of course, it’ll be without any means of detecting a bicycle turning left…

  7. Sean says: July 29, 20097:14 am

    Anyone else think that the continuing use of steering wheels is just plain silly?

  8. MECHANICS says: July 29, 20099:27 am

    (MECHANICS LOVERS ON Facebook) and let’s share experience .…

    to contact us:
    [email protected]…

  9. Eli says: July 29, 20092:37 pm

    Land train with an atomic engine? I’m not sure where they’d put it or how it would work, but I don’t think the project ever got off the ground even with conventional propulsion.

  10. Firebrand38 says: July 29, 20093:21 pm

    Since this was written in 1958 I think it’s safe to say that this never did get off the ground.

    Speed Racer competed against it though!…

    Le Tourneau had developed the electric wheel drive at this point in his career…

  11. Rick Auricchio says: July 29, 20098:54 pm

    I’m still wondering how well that drill-powered fish scaler sprays fish scales around the room…

  12. Patrick says: July 30, 20091:33 pm

    I’m with #11…… the drill a fish looks like one big mess everywhere.

  13. Beagledad says: July 31, 20091:42 pm

    Steering wheels are just like any other technology that continues to be used because it is customary rather than because it is superior. Personally, I’d rather not share the road with drivers who might be just getting used to a new method of steering their car….

  14. Fred says: July 31, 20096:01 pm

    My first sports car was a Sprite. Been hooked on British sports cars ever since.

  15. JMyint says: August 1, 200912:33 pm

    The US government built land trains with deisel-electric power plants for testing. One was in Alaska another was stored not three miles from where I live. I don’t know what has happened to that one since that Army base closed in 2000.

  16. Jari says: August 2, 20096:36 pm

    Cool, Autin “frogeye”, haven’t seen those in ages. As for the ground train, I’ll bet that moste of the problems comes from the connecting/steering linkage. I recall having seen in 70’s a baggage “train” in train station, and the last carriages drove very wobbly, as their linkage was worn… Longer the train, the wobbling effect got worse.

  17. Jari says: August 2, 20097:03 pm

    DOH, Austin, of course…..

  18. Charlene says: August 7, 20096:28 am

    Is Charlie on vacation?

  19. Firebrand38 says: August 7, 20092:19 pm

    Charlene: I just heard from him and yes, he’s on vacation until the 16th.

  20. B22 says: August 19, 20097:09 am

    Joystick steering in a car entails drive-by-wire. I can imagine that early versions of this in 1958 might have been somewhat lacking in precision and responsiveness, causing people to prefer the steering wheel. Today, highly responsive drive-by-wire is possible, so it would be a big boon to drivers: steering, gear-changing and acceleration could all be controlled with one hand, leaving the other hand free for texting friends, applying lipstick, picking the nose, scratching the nether regions, eating sandwiches, slapping naughty children, and doing all those other things that drivers so frequently need to do as they weave through traffic. I do wonder: given human behaviour, would joystick steering improve road safety, or make it worse?

  21. David Brodbeck says: August 31, 20098:03 pm

    @20: I’d say worse. For starters, the steering wheel provides important feedback — you can get an idea of traction conditions by how much resistance the steering wheel is offering, for example. Also, joystick schemes would probably be too “twitchy” for highway use. Most normal cars require the wheel to be turned 1.5 turns or more to go from straight ahead to all the way left or right; if you’ve ever driven a radio controlled car, you know how difficult it is to maneuver a vehicle precisely when this is replaced by a joystick that only moves a few inches.

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