Plastic Engines?

Here’s something I didn’t know.  There’s a compnay that’s been around for several years, and it makes plastic internal combustion engines.  The New York Times reports on Matti Holtzberg, an engineer in New Jersey, whose been building these things for quite a while.

Apparently, back in 1984 and 1985, he even raced a Ford Pinto with a plastic engine, and its only failure in the International Motor Sports Association’s Camel Lights series was a busted con rod–a bad part from a supplier (I wonder if it’s the same one that supplied the con rods for the Aprilia RSV4 Rs that went TU during the press launch?).

Anyway, the guy took an 88HP Pinto, pulled the 415-lb hunk of Ford iron from under the hood, and replaced it with a 152-lb plastic engine that put out 300 HP.

Obviously, there are difficulties replacing steel and aluminum in current engines.  And, of course, with aluminum engines, the plastic–polymer, actually–bits would only cut the weight by 30%.  Still, 30% is a signifigant savings. Imagine, if you will, a 250HP motorcycle that weighs 340 pounds.

Uh.  Hmmm.  Actually…that’s kind of scary.