Q&A: March 28, 2019 Edition

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Q. I sent in a comment [Jan. 31 Q&A] about the electric-gas gizmo from Sept. 6. I wanted to enlighten a little bit about the 200-mpg carb I mentioned. This was invented by a man named Charles Pogue back in the ’30s. There was a lot in the news about it for years, lots of notoriety. He was threatened, stolen from, harassed and had to endure a lot to try to market it. He got so he wouldn’t even talk about it and finally sold it to some of the bigwigs who had given him such a hard time. The MPG was documented by Ford Motor Co. in Canada, so it worked. I had an old friend from World War II who said that it was the carb used on the cross-country tanks the U.S. used so they wouldn’t need fuel on such a long trip. I have a picture of a well-known drag racing legend holding one of the carbs Pogue created — the only one I know of still around. Pogue knew what he was doing.
— Mel Hollinger, master mechanic via email

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A. I believe you’re referring to a web page at http://fuel-efficient-vehicles.org/energy-news/?page_id=986 that shows drag racing icon Don Garlits holding a Pogue carburetor. Charles Nelson Pogue, a mechanic and inventor from Winnipeg, Manitoba, did hold several patents pertaining to such a device, which heated gasoline to a vapor before it was inducted into the cylinders. As seen in this diagram from U.S. Patent 1,997,497, granted in 1935, hot exhaust gases were introduced to the upper chamber seen in the sectional side view, whose “tortuous passages” heated vaporized fuel from the atomizing chamber below. The hot vapor mixture entered the downdraft venturi (20) at the top. Reportedly, the claimed 200 MPG was achieved, but acceleration was very slow and starting in cold weather was problematic. There are also claims that it was incompatible with leaded gasoline. As with the Fish carburetor, there have been many conspiracy theories claiming that industrial powers conspired to kill the project. Apparently, there were indeed tests by Ford of Canada (or at least a Winnipeg Ford dealer, the Breen Motor Company), but has anyone seen an actual report? There’s further information, and full text of Pogue’s patents at http://rexresearch.com/pogue/1pogue.htm.

Related to this is an article by historian Jim Benjaminson on the www.Allpar.com website. Apparently Mr. Pogue’s own 1929 Chrysler Imperial test car has turned up and has been restored. During the restoration it was found that the engine had burned valves and a cylinder block with many minute cracks, which he attributes to running lean and hot. Benjaminson also mentions military tests: “During World War II the Canadian government whisked Pogue to a government location where he fitted various carburetors to tanks and trucks, but again, none proved to be successful, and after six months Pogue returned to Winnipeg.”

Q. I need a working digital dashboard for a 1984 Corvette. The one in there lights up, but that’s about all. I’ve been told it can be fixed, but have yet to meet anyone who knows how. Any suggestions or information would be appreciated.
— Mike Strain, Mansfield, Penna.

A. Yes, they can be repaired. One source is www.Batee.com, Corvette Parts and Repair, in Rolla, Mo. Their website has copious information on diagnosis and DIY repair, as well as instructions on sending units to them for repair. They say the average cost of repairs performed in-house has been $266.50. Call 573-578-9590 or visit their website www.batee.com. The Super Chevy website (www.superchevy.com) recommends Advanced Electronics Remanufacturing in Brea, Calif., (www.aertech.com), who does them for GM. They say typical repair for a C4 is “under $500.” Both these firms also do Corvette climate control system repairs. I do not have personal experience with either of them.

To submit questions to this column: E-mail oldcars@krause.com or mail to: Q&A, Old Cars Weekly, 5225 Joerns Drive, Suite 2, Stevens Point, WI 54481.

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