I was 19-years old and working nights at a Shell service station in San Jose, California, with my friend Jim Jett, when a tiny, roundish car rolled in that looked as if it had been inflated. A young woman stepped out of it and told us that a little red light was staying on. The car only had one instrument, a speedometer, in the middle of the dash. Integrated into it was an analog gas gauge, but temperature, oil pressure and charging were monitored by idiot lights.
We opened the hood and then stumbled around laughing. The battery was as big as the engine! We had never seen a motor that small in a car. The little inline, overhead valve, four-cylinder engine only displaced just under one liter (equivalent to one Big Gulp) at 948-cc and made a mighty 37 horsepower. It wasn’t even as big as one bank of a Chevy small-block! Yes, there were cars with even smaller engines back then, but we were used to seeing big American cars, with big American V8s.
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