Super Slot Car: Electric Drag Racing Via V-12 Engine And Cables!

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E.J. Potter's 'Super Slot Car' was an MG 1100 sedan with 4 jet-engine starter motors, one per wheel

E.J. Potter's 'Super Slot Car' was an MG 1100 sedan with 4 jet-engine starter motors, one per wheel

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The sport of drag racing has been with us almost as long as the automobile has.

Over the last decade, advances in high-power lithium-ion batteries have given rise to a new variant: electric drag racing.

But before modern batteries existed, how could you possibly make a competitive electric dragster?

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Well ... how about with a monstrous Allison V-12 engine, a generator, four starter motors for jet engines, and two spools of thick, high-capacity electrical cable?

That's exactly what drag-racing legend E.J. Potter (aka The Michigan Madman) built in the late 1960s, as detailed in a 2012 story on The Kneeslider.

E.J. Potter, the 'Michigan Madman,' hit almost 200 mph on a jet-engine powered trike [Potter family]

E.J. Potter, the 'Michigan Madman,' hit almost 200 mph on a jet-engine powered trike [Potter family]

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He called it "the Super Slot Car," after the (now largely-vanished) sport of racing tiny electric model cars around a grooved track.

Potter had previously created a series of drag-strip motorcycles known as "Widow Makers," for their Chevrolet small-block V-8 engines mounted in Harley-Davidson frames.

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He dragged the bikes for 13 years, eventually reaching 190 miles per hour and setting a Guinness World Record in the process.

But after some injuries, he turned his attention to the idea of blinding acceleration without internal-combustion engines.

Allison V-12 powered electric generator and cable spools for Super Slot Car [photo: E.J. Potter]

Allison V-12 powered electric generator and cable spools for Super Slot Car [photo: E.J. Potter]

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He attached an Allison V-12 airplane engine to a generator, and mounted the assembly on a trailer, along with two large spools of electrical cable.

When performing at drag events, he'd unspool the cable down the quarter-mile length of the drag strip.

A natural-born showman, Potter took his time (about 3 minutes) in driving his pickup down the track to unspool the cable, and then firing up the massive Allison engine.

The Super Slot Car itself was the stripped shell of a small MG 1100 front-wheel-drive two-door sedan, with four 200-horsepower electric jet-engine starter motors, one per wheel.

1969 MG 1300 (a slightly updated MG 1100), photographed in 2008 by Charles01, for public u

1969 MG 1300 (a slightly updated MG 1100), photographed in 2008 by Charles01, for public u

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Two electrical pickups on the bottom of the car carried electricity to wiring that distributed it to the four motors--just how a slot car works (with fewer motors).

The car's lettering even said "Smog Free Performance" on the trunk.

After the crowd was fully engaged, Potter would just flip a switch--sending his car rocketing down the track at triple-digit speeds.

The Super Slot Car reportedly ran the quarter-mile in the low 10-second range, with a trap speed of 120 mph. Not bad for half a century ago.

Potter never found a sponsor for his unique concept.

White Zombie electric Datsun drag racer (Image: Plasma Boy Racing)

White Zombie electric Datsun drag racer (Image: Plasma Boy Racing)

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He later blamed hot-rod magazines for a lack of coverage, saying their publishers didn't want to antagonize advertisers selling parts for conventional gasoline-powered drag cars.

Potter died at 71 in April 2012; an obituary in The New York Times not only mentioned his "Michigan Madman" moniker but eulogized him as "a legend of the American drag strip."

As Left Lane News noted in a cover of the story, "Today, though, the burgeoning electric drag racing community considers Potter to be one of their pioneers."

[hat tip: Rick Feibusch]

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