- Written by webmin
For a while after we looked up the history of Stirling-engined AMCs last year, we followed several leads looking for the actual cars used for those tests, but to no avail. Fortunately, John Corey, who worked on the team that studied automotive Stirling engines for NASA, recently came across that post and in the ensuing discussion forwarded us this photo of the Stirling-engined Dodge D-150 pickup, currently sitting in cold storage at the NASA facility in Sandusky, Ohio, with its Stirling still under the hood. In the same facility are a couple of other Stirling engines, a 40kW USS VX4 (similar to, if not the same, engine that powered the Opel) and behind it a 60kW MOD1 (similar to, if not the same, as the engine that powered the 60 MPG Chevrolet Celebrity). John also confirmed Matthew’s comment in the previous post, that the Stirling-engined Spirit had its engine removed before the Spirit itself was sold at government surplus auction. John notes that these engines were “about the same size as a big-block V-8 – sometimes we had to ‘adjust’ the frame rails a bit.” John also wrote:
The program met every one of its technical goals, but never really made economic sense. No real car companies picked it up. Initially, there were two contractors, with the other team (besides MTI/AM-general) being Stirling Thermal Motors (Ann Arbor, MI; now defunct) and Ford. The STM design was very much more complex mechanically, and Ford pulled out after the initial design study. The Spirit (and an AM General postal van, and a Dodge pickup belonging to the Air Force, and an AM-Mexico Lerma) were also completed and used as demonstrators. The technology worked great, but too weird and too pricey for Detroit.
So we know that the Spirit and D-150 survived, and John said the postal van had to go back to the USPS. So has anybody seen a Stirling-engined Lerma recently?