Saturday, July 26, 2008

When it comes to fuel economy,

we truly have not come a long way in nearly six decades. Boran2 has occasionally reminded us of the fuel economy of the 1950 Nash Statesman, a behemoth of a car that boasted gas mileage figures of more than 25 mpg. Check the advert:

As Boran2 reported last November, the Madison Avenue folks weren't just blowing smoke:
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.
My dad used to drive the smaller, more frugal Rambler back in the day - a great little car that was produced through the early 1960s. Initially the Rambler was a Nash vehicle, later produced by AMC. If you go through the various Rambler models of the 1950s, you'll see it boasting some pretty decent fuel economy figures - its six-cylinder engines would certainly compare well with today's six-cylinder engines. The 1950 Rambler, according to an owner poll estimated 23.5 mpg in town and 27.4 mpg on the highway. Even the more powerful engine on the 1956 Rambler was still capable of averaging about 24 mpg, outpacing its competition. Check out the 1958 Rambler American, which was getting gas mileage figures in the mid 30s. Not only could the 1960 Rambler American remain comparable, but in one trial managed to record 51.28 mpg!

Something to think about when contemplating today's $4 per gallon gasoline prices.

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