Crazy Jerry Has a new project! 110 MPG car..


It wasn’t that long ago, I was talking to Steve Spense, of Green Trust Org. I think I mentioned Jerry Bartlett’s name to Steve, and he paused.. “Jerry.. you know Jerry?” I guess I wanted to say who doesn’t know Jerry in the AE/DIY world?  Steve surprised me when he said he was from up State New York and knew Jerry when he lived there, small world.. and Colton, NY isn’t exactly what you call big either..   

Fact is, Jerry is a lot of fun, and has a lot of hands on experience… kinetic wood splitters, battery powered faired bikes, the Changzuki, and so much more.. but.. now.. what the heck is this?

I guess it’s best I just paste his email to me below.. if you haven’t dropped by Jerry’s recently, do… I’ve got wood to split right now.. and I can close my eyes and see that video of Jerry’s PV powered kinetic wood splitter..

Unlike a lot of government subsidized stuff.. Jerry’s stuff works!

Jerry’s Email Starts below!

Name: CrazyJerry


Subject: A Centurion Lives!

Message: Hi George!

Guess who? Like a bad penny I’ve returned! Every now and then I need a good read (therapy for me) so I catch up on utterpower.

To my delight, you’re still kicking so I’m sending you a quick email.

Not too long ago I ran across a project that started in 1981 and passed through two owners as an uncompleted project. Some would call it a basket case. Fittingly, this would end up in my hands and I will complete it.

This “mystery” project is none other than a Centurion – the car ran on the cover page of Mechanix Illustrated in Feb 1982. This car was built using a set of $17.95 plans and sourcing all of the parts (new or used). It was not a kit. The real mystique of the car (back then and

today) was the advertised mpg which was well over 100!

Fast forward to the present where I’m in the mechanical testing stages and things are looking really good! In two separate runs I’ve clocked

106 and 110 mpg respectively (30% town 70% rural driving).

I won’t clog-up your email with all the boring stuff but if you get a chance check out a small webpage I’ve put together (there’s a couple of video links at the bottom too!).

Take care George and keep your posts coming! I’ve got some friends that read’em too and if your ears are ringing – it’s us! haha!



And.. when you’re at Jerry’s site, tell him that George said.. “As much as Jerry tries to convince the world he’s crazy, he’s not … :-)”







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6 Responses to Crazy Jerry Has a new project! 110 MPG car..

  1. BR says:

    THAT is a cool car. Good work, Jerry!

    • admin says:

      Bill, We have others in our community (pat S. for one) that have built practical EVs that deliver good service. One approach I’d consider is buying one of the EVs that a Government entity bought for big dollars and then auctioned off for ten cents or less on the dollar two years later. These cars are best left in the hands of enthusiasts who will learn every component, and know how to fix and maintain it. Of interest to me was an email I got from Pat yesterday telling me he got eight years of service out of one brand/style of lead acid batteries, and he said he really got into the discharge heavy. I thought that was amazing news for lead acid, but don’t we all know that this has been a very hard technology to replace! I am seeing some lith batteries designed for motorcycles, warranties are typical pro rated, and I keep reading that we need smart chargers for lith type batteries, so I am thinking this topic would make a great article for someone in our community that has ‘hands on’ experience with them. We have all had to scrap LA batteries forgotten in our toys..seems to me this is where a battery that CAN be left discharged without damage could be deployed first with typical savings over 5 years or more. So is it smarter to go light weight small diesel, or EV?? Jerry has done both, maybe we’ll learn what he drives to work? Maybe Pat will tell his story here? And.. the Ford Think Neighbor I own.. I HAVE not dismissed the idea of a small diesel for re-power.

  2. bob g says:

    ok, i am sold! i have a neat little aircooled 45 degree slant single cylinder diesel, that i bought years ago because if looked like a perfect match for a motorcycle.

    tomorrow i am heading out to look at some donors bikes that a local farmer has laying around, to see if i can find a suitable unit for the transplant.

    once i have a titled and running bike, then i can cut it up and make a 3wheeler? why not? might be fun right?

    • George B. says:

      There may be a lot we can learn from the lotus seven builders and those Legend class racers. I had a Legend class (wrecked) frame and suspension parts.. I was very impressed with the suspension, how easy it was to build, how they did it, and how we could copy it.. The impressive power plants come from motorcycles, and few of us have ridden more powerful bikes than the Hayabusas, if you build right, you can have a 3.x second 0-60 machine. We can take advantage of the light weight construction and get the high mileage with a smaller power plant. What brings us joy is the fact we only need turn our motorcycle power plant sideways in the frame, take the counter sprocket off, and study how we will make a coupler with CV joint or universal to run to our drive line. If we choose to use a small wet motorcycle engine, our cooling problems are easiest to deal with, and of course we can make use of that waste heat IF we live in a place where it gets real cold. One of the things the racers have little problem giving up is reverse. In stead of re-inventing the wheel, we can study what the lotus 7, motorcycle powered guys have to say. Some of these guys own some of the quickest machines ever seen on the street, and they go around corners like no motorcycle can. Those who fit reversing boxes in line find a lot of extra parasitic losses, and they find that they run behind their friends when they lead the pack prior to the fitting of the reversing box. Others have fitted every kind of reverse device, and can’t we all visualize a lithium powered electric drill powering some kind of adjunct piece that allows us to back the car without sticking our feet through the floor boards? Before we get started, we best review the many things that were built and provided people high mileage and joy. The three wheeled morgans, the Isetta. And don’t forget that Smart car with the Diesel only sold in Canada.. yes, Lisa Jackson’s Activist group the EPA knew we Americans didn’t need a car like that! MY point..(if I have one at all) is to study what has been done, study the problems others have in building lightweight high performance vehicles and know that we can make use of those same designs to net us best mileage instead of blood curdling acelleration. One thing we need understand.. The term ‘high performance car’ the term is so different here in the USA than in other places, and it could come from the fact we have wide open spaces, and have had the lower cost fuel in the past. One of the true high performance cars on the planet is the Lotus Elise, Americans barely know what it is, It cost a fraction of some of the expensive exotics, and it’ll trash many of those those expensive cars on race courses wiht a few hair pin corners. The Elise does it by paying close attention to basic physics, lightweight cars can be stickyist around corners, and they can offer brutal acelleration out of the corner using far less exotic power plants. Add to this good areodynamics, and we have a platform easily transformed into high mileage with little more than an engine change. Meanwhile, there are other groups who think the elise and it’s little Toyota power plant is just another economy sports car, it’s because they’ve never tried to follow one.

      If we are to consider building our own car, we should study what’s out there. I marvel at the simplicity of this front suspension, and I do note you can order the front frame clip. I would imagine that the folks who build this stuff don’t want it used off the track, same as some machine shops will refuse to make any part of an aircraft for liability reasons. I would anticipate concern, and a good grilling as to what you’ll use it for.. the correct answer might be “for my electric golf cart I’m making.. but you may need to find a Legend car owner to through.. who knows.. Here’s a page to study.. Yes, the simplicity of the car is hidden by all the safety structure added, some of us have seen these cars leave the track like a bullet and drivers walk away. Part of the reason is there are no head on collisions like we see on the street. The cage can’t do a lot to keep your retinas attached like in a 50mph head on, but in a typical track accident, it is near magic..(so I think).

  3. CrazyJerry says:

    Hi George!
    Hope you are well and getting ready for Spring that will eventually get here! For some of us here in Northern, NY it’s looking like that may be closer to June!
    A quick update on the Centurion:
    This may be my greatest caper ever – The 2014 Toyota Green Grand Prix at Watkins Glenn International Raceway on April 11th. Celebrating its 10th year, this is a two-stage event / on and off the track /highest combined mpg wins! There will be some stiff competition there and history will be made as a set of Mechanix Illustrated 32 year old do-it-yourself back-yard plans for building a 100+ mpg car (Urba Centurion) is put to the official test. In addition to numerous privateers such as myself, students from Alfred State College and Oakland University will also be competing.
    Wish the Centurion luck as the hybrids look to put the smack-down!

    Green Grand Prix Corporation that’s on Facebook:
    (If the link doesn’t work, simply Google “Facebook Green Grand Prix Corporation”)

    The Centurion is one of the featured photos near the top of that Facebook page slated for competition.

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