Thursday, November 15, 2007

Gas Mileage: Back To The Past

Sitting in traffic in my Mazda, sandwiched between a Hummer H3 and a Jeep Commander, I had plenty of time to contemplate how we had arrived at our current state of affairs. Behemoths continue to plague the roadways, posing both a danger to other motorists and a waste of precious resources. Despite the gas rationing of the 70s, we have returned to our gas guzzling ways. But apparently it hasn't always been that way.

As a devotee of things vintage, I had occasion to come upon the following ancient advertisement for the 1950 Nash.

More than 25 miles per gallon for that old barge?!! Surely this was mere puffery, overstatement by some long defunct Madison Avenue ad agency? A little googling brought up this piece contemporary to the time of the ad. The comparison of 1950 vehicles yielded some surprising results. Reading down a bit, it seems that the old Nash did indeed live up to the claims of the ad.

On a basis of gasoline mileage alone, the Studebaker Champion placed first with 26.551 miles to the gallon, the sweepstakes-winning Mercury second with 26.524 mi., and a Nash Ambassador third with 26.424 mi. Next, in order of ranking: Nash Statesman, 25.522 m.p.g.;...

In fact, the two large Nash models both performed as advertised. True ad copy?!! Strange indeed.

I wondered how a large 57 year old automobile would compare with a modern vehicle, replete with modern electronic enhancements.

Toyota lists gas mileage figures for its basic 4 cylinder Camry as 21 local and 31 on the highway. The average would be about the same as that 57 year old Nash, 26 miles per gallon.

The old Nash manages to pull off this feat while being longer and carrying nearly twice as much luggage space. The length of the Toyota is 189.2 inches, the Nash is 201 inches. Luggage space for the Toyota is 15 cubic feet, the Nash is 28.8. (Note that all of these figures are taken from the ads of the respective manufacturers.) Given recent new restrictions on gas mileage claims, one must assume that Toyota's figures are fairly close to accurate.

So what has the passage of 57 years brought us? Apparently, very little.

Perhaps we must still await the arrival of a waste-powered Mr.Fusion to power a flux capacitor.


Blogger Kokobee Faulkner said...

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5:55 PM  

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