Known for his out-of-the-box thinking, it is being reported that John DeLorean, American auto engineer, was working on a new engine concept during the weeks leading up to his death. With projects like the Pontiac GTO and DMC-12 on his auto resume, the investigative trail on this idea all starts with Tom Torbjornsen, U.S. national radio host, who began researching a claim by Tom Kasmer, inventor that he was all set to partner up with DeLorean around a new car concept, way back in 2005.
Kasmer had been busy working on a powertrain referred to as axial or hydristor; essentially where three cylinders border a driveshaft, which are linked to something that is dubbed as a swashplate. As the piston fires, the shaft thus rotates; where each of the cylinders would have two pistons.
Would this concept have be well ahead of the auto industry’s time back then; maybe a tad ambitious? Perhaps, but that had been John DeLorean’s legacy during his entire auto career.
Torbjornsen had also stated that DeLorean called him to confirm plans that were in motion for said new car where the hydristor powertrain would be used. It is also being reported that a live radio interview regarding this was scheduled for some weeks later. Sadly, DeLorean passed away, due to a stroke, before the interview could take place, in March 2005.
For anyone that hits the Internet, there are other key pieces of evidence that point towards DeLorean’s concept around this unique engine idea that stem from the 1980s. A sketch and set of notes have surfaced, seen on DeLorean Wiki, as well as published by Jalopnik, regarding this hydristor powertrain, in what is said to be DeLorean’s handwriting.
Auto Classics reported that a letter sent to his lawyer with these drawings might even hint that these concepts could have been thought up past the ‘80s. There seems to be a drop of recovered kinetic energy, where it is redistributed to a supercharger or turbo. While this concept isn’t far from the KERS that exist today, it stemmed around an entirely combustion-driven idea, versus electric.
At the end of the day, one can only guess or speculate about the plans John DeLorean had before he past away; however, it is undeniable how fascinating these clues are, and the fun many auto enthusiasts have around speculation.