A long time ago, well about 30 or 40 years ago, 2 guys around here name Mike Shetley and Mike Moody developed a carburetor that they used to modify a gas guzzling Ford into a 100 Miles Per Gallon (MPG) fuel miser. Not only that but the performance was greatly improved and the emissions were almost non-existent. They made the local news and the car was called the Moody Mobile.
They were about to take it to the next level when they announced they were moving to North Carolina where they disappeared. And their car was never heard from again. I am suspicious they were paid to quit pursuing their invention and retired comfortably.
So what was so special about their carburetor? Well it essentially provided a way to mix a little bit of water with the fuel and air. Why water? Because water turns into steam when heated. And as we all learned in college thermodynamics, when steam expands almost nothing can stop it. So the carburetor provided a mixture of air, fuel, and water which it would then inject into the cylinder. The piston would compress the mixture and when the fuel is ignited by the spark plug, the 3500 F combustion turns the water vapor into steam which then rapidly expands. The expanding steam not only reduces the amount of fuel required, but it increased the horsepower because, as I said before, when steam expands, nothing gets in its way.
I wonder how many other ideas like this have been “retired”?