Automobiles: The Great Electric-Car Race

The countdown came over an amplified telephone hookup beamed from Cleveland. "One minute before race time, gentlemen," said the starter. In Pasadena, Calif., the three-man team starting from California Institute of Technology climbed into their red-and-white Volkswagen bus, which sported a sign reading "Socket-to-me." Across the continent, in Cambridge, Mass., a two-man competing team slipped into their modified white Corvair. Said the starter: "Get ready to throw your switches." Then, with a hum rather than the usual roar, the Great Electric-Car Race was off.

The idea for the race came from Caltech...

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