The National Tattler (January 23, 1974)
by Tom Valentine
Merging an electromagnetic motor with an all-plastic body and chassis, two pioneering inventors will put the first fuelless automobile into production and on sale this year.
The revolutionary machine is being called “that car of the future” for Americans today.
“We have the answer to the energy crisis”, declared Edwin Gray, the Van Nuys, CA inventor who revolutionized the use of electricity by producing an electromagnetic motor using an ordinary auto battery that does not wear down in a few short miles.
“Our system can eventually solve the world’s fuel and pollution problems”, Gray told Tattler.
Paul M. Lewis, inventor of the “Fascination”, an ultra-modern, “three-point road contact”, all-plastic auto. His car of the future lists a number of engineering advantages over today’s models, and the EMA motor will slowly replace internal combustion engines
Although it looks like a “three-wheeled” car, the Fascination actually has four wheels. The two front wheels are set close together. It is similar to the front wheels of an aircraft. Thus the name for Lewis’ corporation — Highway Aircraft Corp.
The 77-year-old inventor told Tattler, “Mr. Gray has promised delivery of his EMA motor by March of 1974 and we’ll get our car on the road shortly afterwards.”
Lewis, a veteran of many hassles with the auto-oil monopoly, was finally forcing his way to the marketplace with an all-new auto design when he heard about the EMA motor.
“We had an advantage over standard cars even with our Renault engine. But, with this motor, the big boys don’t have a chance unless they get up to date,” the fiery inventor told Tattler. “I’ve battled the industry tooth and nail for years now, and now we’re coming on strong.”
In 1936, Lewis designed a three-wheeled car that looked a lot like the present Volkswagen bug. He called it the “Airmobile”, and his original model is still on display at Harrah’s auto Museum in Reno, NV.
Though he hid not know what Dr. Ferdinand Porsche was doing in Germany, the Lewis Airmobile was amazingly similar to the popular VW beetle.
Both vehicles were low cost, simplistic in design, used horizontal opposed four-cylinder air-cooled engines, transaxles, independent suspension systems and unitized body construction.
When World War II came along, it sent VW soaring in Germany, but killed the Airmobile. Porsche fit into the German establishment, but Lewis was a “crackpot” inventor and a pain in the neck to the economic status quo.
The VW beetle’s popularity proves that Lewis’ original idea was valid and worthy, despite the laughter from Detroit.
The Airmobile was driven out of business in the late 1930s by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the U.S. Postal Department, who have been called bureaucratic flunkies for the oil-auto monopoly.
“I was harassed for two years and they refused to let me sell stock in my company on the pretense they were investigating possible wrongdoing”, Lewis said. “After I was beaten down, they sent representatives to tell me they found nothing wrong and I could sell stock. A man can’t make a dead horse walk.”
After losing the Airmobile, despite driving it through 26 states for more than 45,000 miles without a repair, Lewis went from Denver to Los Angeles, where he continued inventing.
His inventions made him financially solvent and he charged back into the auto business.
He planned to use his own “boilerless” steam engine in Fascination until the EMA motor came along.
A model of Ed Gray‘s motor is on display at Lewis’ Highway Aircraft Corp., headquarters in Sidney, NE.
“We will eventually have stock to sell, but at this time we simply want the public to keep abreast of our progress”, Lewis told Tattler.
Although still in the embryo stage, the merger of the two inventions promises to keep America in the technological forefront of the world.
The first prototype car cost Lewis more than $200,000 to build and the first prototype EMA motor ran close to $1 million to build.
“We will eventually tool up for mass production and bring the costs down considerably”, Lewis said. “But the first 100,000 or so fascination cars with the EMA motor will cost the public about $2 per pound. Today’s cars cost about $1 per pound, but we’re almost twice as light.”
The buying public will pay an estimated $5,000 for the Fascination with the EMA motor.
Although the Fascination will be priced with moderate cars and more expensive than economy cars, the savings on fuel and repair costs quadruple its value.
The body of Fascination will be made of Royalex, a tough rubber-like Uniroyal product.
To insure that his radical design will be practical and not only meet but surpass all safety standards, Lewis has contracted with two of the best automobile engineers in the world.
Visioneering, Inc. (Fraser, MI) is concentrating on the Fascination in order to insure it does everything Lewis claimed.
Richard Hackenberger, the electronics engineering expert hired by Gray to put his motor to work on a practical basis, explained how the new car will operate:
“Because we are not taking current directly from the batteries, but rather are supplementing the static charge which operates the system, we are getting fantastic efficiency.
“Of course, further research and development will eventually allow a motorist to drive across the nation without recharging his batteries, but we estimate a family could drive 500 miles at highway speeds without recharging.”
Hackenberger said the 500-mile estimate is a “conservative” one and is applicable to a car using air-conditioning or heating and radio.
“Just driving around town, the EMA will last a lot longer without recharging”, he said.
The engine will run in any temperature and there is no noise, no cooling system, and no exhaust fumes.
“The battery will go to work when the key is turned on and the light on the dash will glow while the starter motor builds the rotor up to speed. The light is used instead of a tachometer and it will only take a few seconds for the motor to build up and be ready to go.”
Hackenberger was quick to explain, “We do not have perpetual motion here. We have an electrostatic generating system and a capacitor bank doing some very efficient work. The principle is based on a modification of Ohm’s Law.”
The power for the motor is generated by magnetic repulsion. Engineers have tested the motor and it develops 100 horsepower at the brake.
“This means we are as powerful as any standard internal combustion car on the road today. The inefficiency of the internal combustion engine is the reason”, he said.
The National Tattler (January 23, 1974)