Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Car Science: an Under-the-Hood, Behind-the-Dash Look at How Cars Work

CAR SCIENCE: AN UNDER-THE-HOOD, BEHIND-THE-DASH LOOK AT HOW CARS WORK; Richard Hammond; New York: Dorling-Kindersley, 2008. 96pgs. Non-fiction.
Motorheads old and young, large and small should be enthralled with Hammond's take on everything automotive in this new release. Dorling-Kindersley's trademark illustrations draw the reader in to Richard Hammond's fascinating text which starts at the very beginning ("The history of the car is really the history of fuel.") I always thought I knew why horsepower is called horsepower, but in these pages we discover that when James Watt introduced the comparison, he was measuring the amount of coal mine ponies could pull one hundred feet up a mineshaft in one minute. Estimating that horses are 50% more powerful than ponies, he settled on 33,000 pound-feet per minute as equaling one horsepower. In fact, horses can't pull twice as much as ponies, so "a real horse only has 0.7 horsepower." But I digress. Divided into sections on Power, Speed, Handling, and Technology, Car Science will keep the Gyro Gearlooses up to their greasy little elbows in pure pleasure, for hours on end.

No comments: