War Calls Out Muscles and Outdated Engines (Mar, 1941)

War Calls Out Muscles and Outdated Engines

Both Germany and England are exerting themselves to conserve precious gasoline, and wherever human muscles can do a job they are doing it. Witness, above, the pleasure boat that made its debut recently at Berlin. It has a propeller with chain and sprocket drive calling on arm and leg power; not so romantic as paddling a canoe, but it gets places. At upper right a Londoner pedals to work in a “Velocar,” of French origin. In the two-seater model both driver and passenger provide the motive power of the toylike car

In Europe, hungry airplanes and tanks, torpedo boats and trucks and industrial engines drink gasoline greedily. Virtually all of the available fuel supply is reserved for the war effort, and that leaves little for the commuting motorist or sportsman. The fuel famine thus is bringing back motors reminiscent of earlier days, and even leg power. Remembering the electric automobiles of a generation ago you’d hardly recognize the streamline coupe above as a battery-driven car, but such it is, seen touring the streets of Paris at thirty miles an hour. Batteries are charged overnight. At left is a motorcycle in blockaded Sweden, driven by charcoal-generated gas

  1. nlpnt says: February 20, 20085:27 am

    Bruce Weiner’s microcar museum has several of the Velocars; here’s a 1938 model.
    Here’s a model from the end of the war when gasoline became available but all resources were scarce;

  2. Tim Giachetti says: February 20, 20088:02 am

    Thanks for the links nlpnt. Very interesting concepts that should be, but aren’t considered as alternate transportation today.

  3. Jim Robb says: February 22, 200810:21 am

    Modern versions of pedal-powered cars are called Velomobiles. Mochet’s velocar designs are still exciting and interesting.

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