By Time MagazineMost drivers feel like cheering if they get as much as 20 miles on a gallon of gas. But not Research Engineers Dave L. Berry and Fred Schuette. Last week, in Shell Oil's tenth annual mileage test at Wood River, Ill., they drove the twelve test miles at the rate of 168.49 miles per gallon —and did it in a 28-year-old car.
The new record (old record: 149.95 miles per gallon) was set in a 1924 four-cylinder Chevrolet. But the car was completely rebuilt. The compression ratio was stepped up from the normal 6-1 to 10-1, the fan belt taken off (to save the power required to turn it), the six-ply tires pumped up to a pressure of 110 lbs. to cut down friction.
Almost as surprising was the performance of a 1951 Nash Rambler, winner among ordinary stock cars. Driven by Mr. & Mrs. M. V. Reedy, the Rambler—whose fan belt and generator were disconnected, radiator grille blocked off, tires pumped up to 50 lbs.—averaged 74.48 miles per gallon. One consolation for run-of-the-road drivers: a car so altered can not be driven far.