Before 1979 became a hit song by the Smashing Pumpkins, it was the "International Year of the Child" as well as the year of the Three Mile Island incident. Sid Vicious died (though "punk" didn't) in '79 and president Jimmy Carter was attacked by a swamp rabbit. It was also the year that Mother Earth News, magazine of choice for sustainable-living enthusiasts, published the story of a man who built his own 75 mile per gallon serial hybrid with regenerative braking. Thanks to the miracle of the Internet and online back issues we can now, 29 years later, read all about this cool Opel GT (pictured above).

So you may be asking yourself, "If we could do this back in the '70s, where the heck is this car today? Did the oil companies suppress this technology too?" Well, after reading the article we think this car may be parked in a garage furnished with a long shelf lined with 100 mpg carburetors of the same vintage. In other words, we're a tad skeptical of the real-world practicality of the vehicle. According to the article, the car used a 5 hp lawnmower engine to charge up 4 lead acid 12 volt batteries that sent power to a 400 amp DC motor. Now, the car might actually have moved along near the 50 mph charge-sustaining top speed claimed but we suspect the batteries would have had an extremely short life-span. Of course, you may deduce differently, so read the three-page article and tell us what you think. Alternately, you could go all out and build your own, since plans for the car are still available through Mother Earth News.

[Source: Mother Earth News]


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