This started out as a single-sourced, "ain't that a great car?" sort of post. On a whim, I Googled Mr. Stevinson and found he was a fairly remarkable bloke worthy of a little more screen space than your average crackpot/savant. First, as you may have noticed from the picture, Harry is not only Canadian, but also born a really, really long time ago. At 11, he was driving the family car through the Canadian Rockies, which in the 1920's were little more than mountain-goat paths, because he was better at it than his father. At 17, Harry got his first Model T from a junkyard. This, remember, was an era in which airplanes and aerodynamics were in vogue — even toasters and desks were streamlined — so the talented Harry set to work to do the same to his T...
Atop the stripped chassis, Harry built a wooden frame with a narrow, sleek profile, a tear-drop tail and slim windows. Mounted to the frame was hand-formed sheetmetal in a color Henry Ford would have chided as unnecessary - maroon. The really good juju, however, was under the hood. Harry massaged the tin Lizzy's trusty four-cylinder from 20 hp to 23 hp, then mounted a Chevrolet transmission backwards behind the standard Ford unit. This resulted in seven forward gears and five in reverse. With this gearing, the car could reach an astonishing 70 mph. Not only that, but the fuel efficency improved from about 25 mpg to 38 mpg! Total cost of the car... $23.
Unfortunately, Harry sold the car, and it met its end at the nose of a cold, unforgiving locomotive. Harry went on to attend the University of Alberta, where he taught electrical circuitry to Naval cadets in his spare time. Eventually, he joined the Navy and worked on ship electronics. Harry's now most often noted for inventing the Crash Position Indicator, a nifty precursor to aircrafts' black boxes. If a crash was imminent, a pilot would deploy the CPI, which floated gently to the ground, sending out a distress beacon to notify rescue teams. A little part of me is sad his car disappeared into history, but I guess saving lives is okay too. Harry Stevinson, maverick inventor, tinkerer's hero.
Aero mods - 1930's style [MetroMPG]