260mph in a 3 wheeler!

It’s in the pub car park, still hot and ticking slightly as it cools. It has a pair of wheels visible under some cowls outside at the front of what looks like a glider fuselage, so it must be a vehicle of sorts, but the rear tail wing and the pair of jet engine cowls blending into the rear bodywork make it look like a combination of a glider and a Lockheed A-10 Thunderbolt alias the Tankbuster or the Warthog. Unlike most cars this looks very military with matt grey paintwork and stenciled labels such as ‘Keep 2m clear when motors running’, ‘no handhold’. I just had to have a word with the owner.

Q: This looks more like a glider fuselage with two wheel pods on the front. Is it some sort of jet car?
A: It’s a very slippery and light 3-wheeler and yes the detachable canopy is from a glider.

Q: Does it have a jet engine then?
A: No it has a front mounted 600hp turbocharged Subaru 2.5 litre engine driving all three wheels through an automatic gearbox. The things like jet pods at the back are air intakes for the entrained exhaust powered water cooling. The brake lights are incorporated which gives the illusion of exhaust flare and sometimes the exhaust does proper flares too.

Q: I guess you could keep up with a Bugatti Veyron then?
A: It’s a close thing and really a battle for traction. Acceleration is about the same up to 120 mph with all 3 tyres trying to smoke but up to 160mph the computer controlled rear wing gives exactly enough traction to get the edge. After that we can flatten the wing and carry on to 260mph with the Veyron in our mirrors. We don’t need to compare ourselves this way though – it’s easier just to say that this is a match for the supercars but the quickest 3 wheeler ever.

Q: What about braking?
A: Backing off from 260mph gives 600bhp worth of drag. Slamming up the wing gives drag and downforce so we can pull 3G on the brakes – only a good idea with a full harness on though and it’s hard to hold your head up. In some ways the brakes are too good as there is always a danger of collecting all the cars behind you whenever you stop.

Q: Why isn’t the rear wing on straight?
A: The wing is computer controlled for downforce as well as lateral force. We literally fly round corners. It sounds silly but we park the wing sloping to stop people putting their drinks on it at the pub. The car always has a crowd round it and it was fun when the start up routine tipped all the drinks off the back but we thought glass on the road was a bad idea.

Q: So what made you build it then?
A: I heard about some Australian guys who had built a successful drag Subaru WRX and it struck me that the drive to the rear could just power one rear wheel and that would enable a streamlined plane-like body to be used. They were getting 600hp and the thought of that in something light and aerodynamic was too much to resist.

Q: So it’s a road car?
A: Yes it is used daily on the road and is easy to drive slowly. What really freaks people out is when we play a loud jet engine soundtrack on the stereo and the best bit about that is playing the sound of a turbine spooling down after parking the car. The main problem though is talking to people about it all the time.

Q: Oh – that’s me too I guess. Well thanks for the chat; will we be seeing any more of these on the road?
A: We hope someone will take up the design and produce the car albeit with a bit less power. The Thunderbolt was a spectacularly beautiful plane and its character should live on in a car.

Heating News – Spring 2014

Heating News SPRING 2014
In this issue:
Heating Seminar – 28th May
500 litre heat bank – SPECIAL OFFER
Electricity bills audit
Back issues – on http://www.originaltwist.com
Stuff for sale

Heating Seminar – 28th MayFor anyone contemplating a heating project this will be a useful day spent discussing just about everything you need to know including:

Traditional heating – why it is out of date
How to evaluate your needs
Design your system on the PC
Accounting for seasonal demands – system alignment
Balancing and integrating a variety of inputs
Why heat banks are so good
Solar thermal and photovoltaic
Wood as a power source
Heat pumps a new era
Pool pumping on 200W

A great day out with lunch and a chat about your projects from 9am to 4pm. €90.
For delegates flying in the nearest airport is Perugia and accommodation can be arranged.
To reserve a place email me or use the contact form on the other page of this site or call 0039 (0)75 782 1816

500 litre heat bank – SPECIAL OFFER £4,100 including delivery to Central Italy worth £360. (Factory price for tank as specified here is £4,029)
There are many of these fitted in Umbria now and they all work a treat. This stainless steel Xcel heat bank from Specflue (they took over DPS) is still the easiest way to install a turnkey heating system that will run straight out of the box and integrate all your heat sources. The specification has been refined over the years and is now known as ‘The Italian Job’. All the pumps and controls are fitted and wired leaving just a days work to connect a few pipes. There is so much time and labour saved that this could be not just your best option but also the least expensive one too.

Specification
500 litre stainless steel tank (Telford) with 3 bar rating
35l/min plate heat exchanger for domestic hot water
Extra large 1” ports for gravity circulating stove.
Temperature regulation for a condensing boiler + thermostat
Class-A circulation pump for heating
Class-A pump and temperature control for underfloor heating
3kW immersion heater with Grasslin booster/timer
Over heat thermostat
Solar coil with sensor pocket.

You might notice some upgrades over the previous Italian Job. The tank is bigger and the pumps are the much more expensive A rated ones. The plate heat exchanger has been down graded to 35l/min. This is like 2+ combi boilers running at once but with less tank depletion than the previous 45l/min version. The latter is still available if needed.

Clearview 750 wood burning stove £2,200
Including gloves, temperature guage, colour of choice and UK delivery to the shippers. Free delivery to Italy with a tank order.This lovely stove has been so successful in many installations that I’d countenance nothing less. For most houses this will provide heating, hot water and even cooking without any additional heat sources. The best thing with this stove is the stainless clip-in back boiler which can easily be replaced if needs be. A stove with an integrated cast iron boiler usually means the whole stove has to be replaced – penny wise pound foolish!

Electricity bills audit
A fascinating exercise every time. Give me a stack of your last electricity bills and I’ll crunch the data into a table and graph to reveal all the interesting details along with some ideas for money saving changes. Your background consumption will be compared with the norm to show whether those bills are reasonable (as if) and that you are being charged fairly. An explanation of the Enel bill is part of the survey pack.
Surveys from €50. Report in print or pdf.

Back issues – on http://www.originaltwist.com
A selection of ‘heating News’ back issues can be found at the bottom of the blogs list to your right. The Heatingitaly web site has been superseded by http://www.originaltwist.com which gives more scope to discuss all sorts of interesting topics and to make the heating side less country specific.
The old site had a few useful spreadsheets for calculating various things to do with solar and heating in general. I can still send them out on request.

FOR SALE – ANYTHING
This is a market place for anything you want to sell not just heating related items.
One line per item please: as many items as you want
If you are a local send your list to my normal email title PATSMART
Petrol powered water pump as new €120 3313 404 008 Umbertide
Cast iron radiator, large – under half price €180 3313 404 008 Umbertide
Radiator, very small, white – under half price €20 3313 404 008 Umbertide
5 Blu-ray discs or DVDs with free Sharp Blu-ray player €50 3313 404 008 Umbertide
Toyota RAV4, 2007, 110,000km, chains, metallic black €10,000 3313 404 008 Umbertide
Restoration – lovely carved French bed, padded head board €100 075 782 1816 Umbertide
Childs bike 6 – 10 yrs knobbly tyres, good condition €40 075 782 1816 Umbertide