1 2
carguy123 SuperDork
12/5/11 11:18 a.m.

Since it's cold outside and we've got months before most of us can actually do anything automotive except maybe bench race here's something to occupy your time.

Design the ideal car to take with you when you travel back into time and give the reasons you’d build it that way.

I've read science fiction since I was a kid and time travel always played a big part in the stories. It seemed the stories varied between going back and accidentally causing your grandfather not to meet your grandmother which causes you to cease to exist OR shoot em ups where you went dinosaur hunting? Begging the question of was modern man the reason for dinosaurs becoming extinct.

So if we had time travel and were about to send you back in an expedition back in time what vehicle would you want? You decide how far back you’re going.

Would it be existing auto based or a total clean sheet design?

To keep the thread from going way far afield let’s establish a few parameters.

Don’t argue about trivials or go far afield in long philosophical discussions. Keep it focused on the car and the technology required or the nuances of the design. If you feel someone is totally stoopid how about starting a separate thread so that you can show them the error of their ways?

Give the reasons you made your choices.

Keep in mind that even if you traveled back into a time where humans existed, roads weren’t around much until wagons were invented and even then they weren’t anything like we’re used to (except for the Roman era). So cross country capabilities are a must. And while we’d all like to pull a George Jetson, flying cars won’t be a reality for quite some time. Since we all know you can’t time travel to the future you wouldn’t be able to travel forwards to get a flying car and then go back in time.

One thing is certain from all the books I’ve read, you would need to be very defensive and stealthy to avoid fights with or damage to humans and maybe even significant animals. You couldn’t be offensive - we don't want to change the future which might mean you no longer exist. So your vehicle would need some way to weather attacks by the locals.

It seems you’d want to be quiet so you could sneak around the inhabitants. So that means muffled at least and possibly electric?

Depending upon how far back you went back, the car would have to minimal environmental impact because if you went far enough back we wouldn’t want you to crush the precursor to wheat or rice or some other important food source.

What fuel would you use and how would you replenish it? Mankind has known how to make alcohol for a VERY long time so would that be the ideal fuel? It's awfully volitile and also absorbs water so easily. Or would solar cells and batteries be sufficient?

I think tires & lubricants could be the biggest challenge.

Let me leave you with this one final thought - what if you impregnated some poor luckless girl, could you end up being your own ancestor? Or if you’re female how about if got pregnant and you had your own grandfather? There’s some serious consequences at risk here so think clearly.

Ready - Set - GO!

1988RedT2 SuperDork
12/5/11 11:21 a.m.

In reply to carguy123:

Don't you have any work to do?

Conquest351 HalfDork
12/5/11 11:45 a.m.

Something like a Lamborghini LM002 or Hummer H1 would be about perfect for pre industrial age travel. Offroad capabilities plus rugged and tough is a must. I'd like to go back to the 1920's and bring along a moderate performance vehicle like a C6 Vette or something. Just take that to the Formula 1 race track and just stomp everything with it. Maybe something as radical as a Veyron just to show what we're capable of in 2011. Then again, going back to the 1960's with a RestoMod of a 60's muscle car that actually is a friggin beast would be fun too. 1,500 hp turbo LS powered '67 Camaro on the street cruising around looking for races would be lots of fun.

ArthurDent Reader
12/5/11 11:47 a.m.

A steam engine powered Lada Niva seems to be the prudent choice here

hotrodlarry Reader
12/5/11 11:49 a.m.

time travel?.. which car? the answer is obvious.

Giant Purple Snorklewacker
Giant Purple Snorklewacker SuperDork
12/5/11 11:51 a.m.

I think this would be perfect if fitted with a diesel that could consume cooking or whale oil. Otherwise... pretty hard to beat the horse for a world where fossil fuels are pretty scarce.

SyntheticBlinkerFluid Dork
12/5/11 11:59 a.m.

Considering I wouldn't go back any farther than the dawn of the automobile, my choice would be to convert a box truck or car carrier semi truck.


So I could go back a purchase the cars that I want brand new, ship them back to present day, and have an uber fleet of awesome brand new vintage cars.

I've thought about this for years.

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
12/5/11 11:59 a.m.

I'd probably do a clean sheet design and keep it as simple as possible. Full-time 4WD but in a center locked set-up so that if either axle failed, the other would still function.

Gear everything pretty low to reduce speeds and related stresses.

Heavy steel frame with a wood body. Wood would be easier to repair with basic tools. Hopefully, the frame would be heavy enough to last a few decades.

Diesel with-OUT a turbo. Can run on veggie-oil which wouldn't be too difficult to brew up in primative conditions.

Lubrication could be an issue... would have to think about that. While fat-based greases and lubricants have been around for centuries, how well it would work in higher temperature conditions in a gear box, axles, and the engine itself is questionable.

Now that I think about it... you basically want a truck from the 20's...

chaparral Reader
12/5/11 12:01 p.m.

1960s Dodge 2 1/2 ton truck. Take it back to 1934. Show it off to the US Army and Chrysler - let them get a jump start on rearmament...

Gimp GRM+ Memberand Dork
12/5/11 12:04 p.m.

The way I see it, if you're gonna build a time machine into a car, why not do it with some style?

93EXCivic SuperDork
12/5/11 12:10 p.m.

Personally I would just get a police box.

ReverendDexter SuperDork
12/5/11 12:13 p.m.

Well, I'm not sure of the overall design, but I can say some things it will definitely have:

Electric motor; all-fuel generator (being able to run on alchohol as well as veggie oil could be a lifesaver)

Solar cells and a bike-crank generator (in case chemical fuels just absolutely can NOT be sourced)

Non-pnuematic tires

Long-travel baja-style suspension

Four-wheel drive with separate electric motors (as much for redundency as anything).

And it would probably be based on one of the military light-attack rigs.

carguy123 SuperDork
12/5/11 1:57 p.m.

Reverend Dexter I hadn't thought about an all fuel generator to allow you to run electric power.

Ian I also hadn't thought of wooden frames etc.

I was thinking more on the lines of Sand Buggy/pick up truck vehicle with an air cooled VW type engine but WITH fuel injection and NO POINTS ignition as about the most trouble free. Running alcohol as a fuel.

It would be down on power from what we would think as necessary but when your only speed competition is a horse you don't need a lot of speed.

A diesel running other oils would also be a good alternative IF you went back to a semi industrialized era.

There would need to be some sort of PTOs (power take offs) maybe like a tractor so that you could use it to power saws or whatever. The old Model Ts used a belt powered by the rear wheel.

Protection for hostiles is a toughie because now you begin to run into weight issues.

scardeal HalfDork
12/5/11 3:13 p.m.

Since it just has to get up to 88mph, it can't be that difficult.

Ian F
Ian F SuperDork
12/5/11 3:56 p.m.
carguy123 wrote: A diesel running other oils would also be a good alternative IF you went back to a semi industrialized era.

Not sure I understand you here. The thought behind a diesel is it will run on pretty much any kind of flammable oil. Legend says Rudolph originally invisioned peanut oil, not a petroleum base. Oils like that have been around for millenia.

I do like the idea of a multi-motor hybrid. Redundancy is good. Although it would really depend somewhat on the level of computer controls required. My general plan would be to keep everything as butt-simple as possible, which would remove any computers from the car. For example, the diesel would be a purely mechanical set-up.

Eventually, some part is going to fail that will take the vechicle out of service. The trick is to prolong this for as long as you can until you can build or develope the equipment required to replace it.

Oddly enough, I've wasted many a sleepless night thinking of how to survive in a post-apocolyptic world where reliance on technology would be detrimental.

wearymicrobe HalfDork
12/5/11 4:08 p.m.

oldtin Dork
12/5/11 4:12 p.m.

After WWII there were quite a few wood burning (gasification, not steam) cars around europe - so going pre-industrial revolution - wood burning ZAV-equipped/expedition box unimog with solid tires.

HappyAndy HalfDork
12/5/11 4:34 p.m.
93EXCivic wrote: Personally I would just get a police box.

That would be my choice too; its a time machine and a spaceship!

Streetwiseguy Dork
12/5/11 4:39 p.m.

Triumph TR4, since they are basically a horse drawn vehicle anyway.

carguy123 SuperDork
12/5/11 4:44 p.m.

The reason I said you'd need a semi industrialized place for diesel is that you have to have a way to extract the oils as fuel. If it wasn't semi industrialized you'd have to find or farm the peanuts and then extract the oil. You could also go whaling.

Simple is better, but computerized things are so dead reliable nowadays that if you aren't overly complicating things like on present day cars. The harness & computer is dead reliable and more trouble free than a carb.

vwcorvette GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
12/5/11 5:59 p.m.

I'd take my 75 Vette back to Disco!

oldtin Dork
12/5/11 6:01 p.m.
Streetwiseguy wrote: Triumph TR4, since they are basically a horse drawn vehicle anyway.

Hey, hey, hey now - it's a tractor, not a buggy

Oh wait - mine's not running and no suspension - it's a sled.

RealMiniDriver Dork
12/5/11 6:14 p.m.

mthomson22 New Reader
12/5/11 6:35 p.m.

I'm thinking an Amphicar with a small nuclear generator providing steam for independent wheel/propeller propulsion.

Tires would have to be runflats, even so with a couple of spares.

The body would be riveted aluminum sealed with tar. Reason being that almost any malleable metal could b used as a repair patch, and tar or pitch should be pretty available

Waterways have historically been roadways, so why not take advantage...in style.

Appleseed SuperDork
12/6/11 5:42 a.m.

What would Buckaroo Banzai drive?

1 2
Our Preferred Partners