Today few people would ever refer to the gasoline-powered engine in their automobiles as a Langen, a de Rochas, or an Otto, the gas engine’s inventors and early pioneers in internal combustion, respectively. But the Diesel’s name lives on, not just for his compression-ignition engine, but for the very fuel that powers it. In fact, from the day he designed it, his engine’s elegant beauty lay not just in its incredibly efficient use of thermal energy, but also in the fact that each new generation of engineers and scientists could improve it even more — meanwhile finding new uses for its low rpm and high torque output.
Even in his own time, Diesel saw wide adaptation spread his engine’s popularity. By the time of his death in September of 1913, 70,000 Diesel engines were in operation around the world. In fact, Diesel was traveling to England to open yet another manufacturing plant for production of his engine, meanwhile attending meetings to discuss the British Navy’s use of his engine in its vessels.
Much more on Rudolph Diesel, here.
At roadside cafeterias in France, next to the napkins, cutlery, and plastic trays, are baskets of free dinner rolls. Hungry? Take as much as you want; bread is as free as air. We have to assume that this is a legacy of the French Revolution. No need to steal, Jean Valjean. The struggle is over. Everyone is equal and no one will go hungry. Put away the guillotine.
Parked outside the cafeteria is a 2015 Volkswagen GTI, the seventh generation of the hatchback that brought a taste of speed, in a dinner-roll-shaped package, to the common man. It’s not free bread, but it does represent a revolution. The super Golf was and remains the great egalitarian performance car, the first to so effectively combine power, economy, handling, practicality, and price. And, like all breakthrough ideas, it spawned imitators, all promising the same mix of virtues.
Volkswagen has not slacked off ?for its seventh GTI. A new platform called MQB is both lighter and stronger than before. At a glance, it does look a lot like its predecessor, but the metal is more tightly folded and the roof?is lower. Longer in wheelbase and overall length by 2.1 inches, the GTI is within an inch in other dimensions. There’s more space inside, and the interior décor, while familiar, is also completely updated.
Much more on the Focus ST and GTI, here.