Thursday Thoughts

The Cold War has returned and it’s not so cold. Historians and other academics who think one person cannot, by themselves, influence world events could not be more wrong.


This beautiful picture, perhaps my favorite of all the photos I have taken since the move to Arizona, was taken yesterday and not last year.



Last year’s winter snow lasted an hour here, yesterday’s lasted a minute. Obviously though, the nearby mountains received more than a minute’s worth.

By the time I was realized it was snowing at our house and tried to find my phone to take a video, the snow had changed back to rain. It was this view a few hours later that led me to the picture shown above.



When I saw this view to the north I realized the mountains to the northeast might be covered in snow. Maybe this pales in significance to world events, but it sure is beautiful to me.


This post from 3 1/2 years ago is like the little engine that could in that it continues to receive views every month, slowly making its way up the list of all-time views by individual post. I could have taken a photo like this many times, but never did.


See the source image


The post to which I refer is about Evans’ invention of the Oruktor Amphibolos, which was America’s first self-propelled vehicle and the world’s first amphibious vehicle. On July 13, 1805 the Oruktor Amphibolos (Amphibious Digger) ran under its own power for the first time. That machine was built by Evans for the Philadelphia Board of Health as a solution to the Board’s concerns about dredging and cleaning the city’s dockyard and removing sandbars.

Note the plaque about Evans refers to the “first American land vehicle to move under steam power.” I guess some debate exists as to whether or not another American inventor built a self-propelled vehicle that was powered by some other means before Evans, but I don’t think electric vehicles were possible prior to 1805 and neither were internal combustion engines.

Evans designed and built the first fully automated industrial process (a system for milling and sifting flour) and the first high-pressure steam engine. In 1790, he received the third US patent ever granted for his milling/sifting process.

Oliver Evans was a man ahead of his time. He was the first to describe vapor-compression refrigeration and proposed a design for the first refrigerator in 1805, but it would be three decades until his colleague Jacob Perkins would be able to construct a working example. Similarly, he drew up designs for a solar boiler, machine gun, steam-carriage gearshift, dough-kneading machine, perpetual baking oven, marine salvage process, and a scheme for urban gas lighting. These ideas and designs would not be made reality until some time after his death in 1819.

I don’t know how or why people keep reading that post from 2018 (written on July 13 of that year), but I am grateful that they do. Here are some other posts near the top in all-time views:


A Tough Day For Cars

Good Old Days

Ultimate Garage 2.0: Honorable Mention & Car Number One

Sunday Studebaker

Barrett-Jackson Or Mecum?


Please feel free to click on any or all of those links. I am virtually certain that no one reading remembers all of those posts. I mean, I wrote them and I don’t remember.


What do you think of the looks of this car?


RML Short Wheelbase


This piece at Classic Cars reports that RML, a British industrial company, has revealed the first photos of the prototype for its Short Wheelbase automobile. The car is heavily based on the Ferrari 550 Maranello. It will be powered by a Ferrari V-12 producing 479 HP/419 LB-FT of torque and will be mated to a 6-speed manual transmission.

This will be RML’s first passenger car and will be limited to 30 units priced at $2 million each. I don’t know why company management has decided to take the plunge into the limited production of a very expensive car powered by an Internal Combustion Engine, but I hope they sell out within an hour of initial offering.









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6 thoughts on “Thursday Thoughts

  1. Interesting bit of history on the steam-powered vehicle. I’d have never guessed that early.
    On the topic of early vehicles, I was surprised to learn in another blog about the fact that before automobiles, Studebaker built carriages. Abraham Lincoln drove a Studebaker carriage. An 1857 model carriage is on display at a museum (I forgot where).
    That V-12 does seem like a bit of an anachronism in these days of electric cars. I was surprised to read it’s a “new design”. It looks like something out of the 1960s. I love it, but won’t be buying one… for obvious reasons (2 million of them). >grin<


    1. Thanks, JS. Nicolas Cugnot, who died the year before Evans first operated the Oruktor Amphibolos, designed and built the world’s first automobile–a tractor of sorts–in 1769, also powered by steam. What used to be the most prestigious prize in the world of automobile book publishing was named after him.

      As for electric cars, in the US they still have a market share below 5 percent and under 10 percent in the world. As for Studebaker, you’ll be reading more about them in the blog quite soon.


      1. Looking forward to more on Studebaker.
        I wonder what the percentage of hybrid cars is. Since they are a combination of electric motors and ICE drive, they aren’t truly electric. On the other hand, they are driven solely by electricity during certain cycles of their operation. My Avalon can stay all electric to somewhere between 45 and 50 MPH when the engine automatically kicks in.


  2. The RML has beautiful, classic lines. Simple and elegant. I do not have the $2 million so I guess I won’t be buying one.


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