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Godfrey, Kneeland, Jr. (ed.) / The Wisconsin engineer
Volume 59, Number 1 (October 1954)

Kelm, Ronald
Factory testing of automobiles,   pp. 24-25

Page 24

by Ronald Kelm me'55
              The Proving Ground
 A proving ground is a plot of land equipped with
roads and (ldevices for the testing of cars. New cars are
teste(l before being, released to the public and old cars
are teste(l to find ways of improving the new cars. The
General Motors proving grounds will be discussed in
this article. Other proving grounds are similar.
  Roads. Everv kind of road surface is found at a prov-
ing( grotnid. There are smooth highways, wavy black-
toppe(l rural sideroa(ls, washboard gravel roads, boul-
kler-stld(le(ld, raaw-(lirt trails riddled with chuckholes
anld one simutlating the roughest and most brutal pave-
ments-the Belgianl Block road.
  A test track, five lanes wide is used for speed tests.
It is so steeply balnke(l that the cars can go around it
at 85 mp)l without si(lesway. There are other special
roads, stuchl as twvo level, concrete-paved test roads
arrange(l at righlit angles to each other. Test engineers
canl use the one over which the wind happens to be
blovwing in the desired direction for the particular test
they are conhicting. On a large circular paved area
known as thle "skid padl, cars are driven around and
aaround at varying speeds to determine the steering
-Photos Courtesy General Motors
Testing For Leaks.
quality and performance on turns. The effect of water
spray on the engine and brakes of a car is tested by
driving the car through a flooded area. This gigantic
bathtub is made by flooding a sunken area between
two retaining walls. In a similar pond, salt water is
splashed upon the car to duplicate winter driving con-
ditions when salt is used on the roads to melt snow and
  In addition to these roads at the main proving
ground, cars are tested on the hot, dry, dusty desert
trails of Arizona. There the engine's cooling system is
subjected to extreme heat. Air cleaners must prove
their worth in dense clouds of dust, and air condition-
ing systems are tested for their ability to maintain com-
fortable temperatures despite tropical heat.
  Hills. Various hill grades are also found at a proving
ground. Hill grades as steep as 60 per cent test the re-
serve power of cars. Most of our Federal highways
have grades less than five per cent, and no where do
they exceed 14 per cent. In the Arizona mountain test,
extreme punishment is brought to bear on the trans-
mission and running gear while the engine is handi-
capped by the rarefied air.
DAtermining Visibility From Driver's Seat.

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