|December 10, 1984...|
The M.T. CAR...designed over a five year period, based on current technologies I'd taken from magazines and books and applied to the design. It was the Composite, ARmored vehicle, a pun for my highschool crush Cathy Reiner (whose initials spelled 'CAR') whom I was still recovering from...I was never able to get her into a wind tunnel. The CAR was designed to be stealthy, very agile (turning radius was seven feet!), small, top speed in excess of 300 miles an hour (largely because of superior aerodynamics), and designed for a character I'd been developing since 2nd grade.
Before I entered the Air Force, I built this 1/25 scale model from cereal boxes and construction paper that now sits on my computer. Tom and I made a crude wind tunnel in his basement using a Sears fan and garbage bag streamers to study airflow of the design. We called ourselves "M.T. (Mike and Tom) Aeronautics" Tom's funny quote was,"from M.T. minds come M.T. products".
These photos clearly show the beating it's taken from following me around the world for 19 years. Some innovations evident from the photos...engine exhausts designed to confuse radar and infrared sensors by deflecting exhausts in opposite directions and leaving very little of the engines visible from directly behind the vehicle. The blue radar-absorbing paint and body angles were designed to return very little radar energy. Aerodynamic innovations include air-intakes mounted on rear sides to hold laminar flow to the side of the car, decreasing drag...computer controlled intakes over each wheel well used the suction of the jet engines to increase downforce at high speed; vertical stabilizers for high-speed maneuvering, thrust vectoring, full body skirts, active aerodynamic surfaces (front airdam, ride height/angle automatically adjust depending on speed and G-forces), and the silver tires? They deflect heat.
It was powered by two small counter-rotating (to reduce noise and vibration) turbofan engines producing 240 pounds of thrust each (about double that with afterburners) and a hybrid drive system using a small electric motor at each wheel for long-distance cruising and low-speed maneuvering. Due to the small size and extensive use of composites, estimated weight was only 2800 pounds, even with 600 pounds of armor. The extreme turn radius was due to an 80-inch wheelbase and four-wheel steering.