"It’s a fun hundred miles a gallon." Two decades old

Posted on October 14, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized |

AVION HIGH MILEAGE CAR BELLINGHAM
The Bellingham resident created the Avion with Bill Green in 1984 that got over 100 mpg. Two years later, the duo drove the car from the U.S./Mexico border to Vancouver, B.C. – averaging 103.7 miles per gallon and spending less than $15 on the diesel that fueled their drive into the Guinness Book of World Records.
 
Naturally, they thought someone would be interested in the prototype they built with knowledge they gleaned from studying at the Vehicle Research Institute at Western Washington University.
 
Not only was the Avion painted in “arrest me for speeding red,” as Henderson likes to describe the color, but the lightweight car’s fuel efficiency couldn’t be beat.
 
He was wrong about the interest. “Nobody really cared. Big deal. Fuel was cheap. There was a glut of fuel,” Henderson, 51, recalled earlier this week. “Fast forward to today. Things change, don’t they?”
 
So Henderson, who owns Bullfrog Boats, and Green, now a professor of industrial design at Virginia Tech University, have brought their car out of retirement.
Henderson said he doesn’t yet know what fuel will be used to power the second-generation Avion.
 
“These are not the average backyard tinkerers,” Seal said. “They know what they’re doing.”
 
Its engine is built by Mercedes and it is fueled by diesel, but Henderson said it could be made to run with biodiesel, slightly refined vegetable oil or natural gas.
 
Henderson will take the Avion on a run Saturday, Oct. 11, from Bellingham to Portland – going about 60 miles per hour – to see if he can beat its old record for fuel-efficiency.
 
He’d liked to see if the car can get as much as 110 miles to the gallon.
 
If other motorists on the road react like they have in the past, Henderson will get a few thumbs-up, some smiles and people taking snapshots.
 
“All the people look at you,” he said. “It’s a fun hundred miles a gallon.”
 
 
Read full from the Hearald
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