Bill Lear’s Steam Car

Today’s post is a semi-retro post from Popular Mechanics that was first published in April 1969. Years ago Bill Lear, the same man who invented the Lear Jet, proposed a design for a steam powered car.

There’s a lot of proposals as to why this idea was never developed. Everything from a lack of interest to a conspiracy against the gasoline powered auto-manufacturers. Many people seem to believe that Lear’s basic idea should be able to work. In fact, there’s even a Steam Car Club of Great Britain that was formed in recognition of the ever increasing interest in steam cars and the need for a standalone club dedicated to that need.

The article on Bill Lear’s steam car is, naturally, a bit dated, but it’s still an interesting read to learn more about steam technology in automobiles. Fortunately, the article isn’t overly technical, so even if you have a passing interest in this topic, you may find it enlightening.

A steam powered car would be the epitome of a Steampunk modified automobile. Though I love my car, a steam powered car would be completely awesome.

One comment on “Bill Lear’s Steam Car

  1. Wayne Bird says:

    As a teenager in 1969 when I read the original PM article on Bill steamcar concept, I was immediately interested. It made a lot of sense because, growing up on the prairies only a generation after the old steam tractors were rumbling by and hearing the stories of the massive amounts of water that they consumed as well as the devastation that they created when they exploded. Bill’s concept of a closed loop coolant system seemed like the answer to everything. I looked forward to hearing more about it but it faded into history. Of course there is always the conspiracy theory that he was scared off by the automakers and the internal combustion engine people. I googled his site after thinking about it out of the blue one night and thus stumbled upon your site. It would be interesting to find out what the status is on all of this because I believe that we may neede this technology in the light of the current world crisis and our dependency on foreign oil. With steam being the propellant, any heat source can be used, from dried coconut shells to used vegetable oil from McDonalds depending on what is available. I forget exactly how powerful his prototype engine was but I do remember him holding it in his arms and if my memory serves me correctly, it was a rotary. Please do not hesitate to correct me if I am wrong. Looking forward to hearing more.

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