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In 1948, Georgia made a variable compression motor and outperformed Infiniti

At that time, when the ICE power supply systems were imperfect, and the gas distribution mechanisms were primitive, the return per liter was small, and the consumption of gasoline and oil, related to the dynamic qualities of the car, did not fit into any modern ideas, a lot of engineering minds were struggling over the riddle of increasing ICE efficiency due to changes in compression ratio. This task is not easy, and its “conveyor” solution appeared only in our time, when the relevance of the topic has come to naught. As you know, Infiniti engineers have introduced an additional link between the crankshaft crank and the connecting rod, controlling which you can change the working volume.

We will not delve into the theory of internal combustion engines, but will focus on the documents that fell into our hands, noting before that in the 30s and 40s of the last century the design engineer had nothing at hand except a slide rule and an arithmometer.It took a lot of time to calculate, even more to experiment. In general, the task of changing the compression ratio of the internal combustion engine in dynamic mode was comparable to sending a rocket to Mars, something that only eccentrics from science and visionaries thought then, and even that, in their free time from the main work.

But the young employee of the Georgian Agricultural Institute (SHI) by the name of Makhaldiani was lucky: he swung at the mechanism of changing the degree of compression precisely in his working time, more precisely, along with lecturing and conducting seminars. Vakhtang Vasilievich was born in 1911, in 1932 he graduated from Tbilisi University and came to the Agricultural Institute, where he worked all his life. In 1939, Makhaldiani decided to make his contribution to Soviet automotive science and in the workshop of the Department of Tractors and Cars, with very primitive equipment, began to study the possibilities of changing the compression ratio of ICEs based on a unit from GAZ-MM. Hopes, as they say, are fed by young men: improving a complex mechanism, Vakhtang Vasilievich developed a “theory of throttled carburetor engine.” In general, it is difficult to believe this, but the prototype of the motor was indeed designed, and the description of the design was preserved.
Fragment of a letter from Chudakov with a positive review about the Georgian experimental engine
In November 1947, the engine was mounted on a car and tested, which seemed to be like “great fuel economy and quite reliable operation of the compression ratio changing mechanism”, which worked depending on the load. Makhaldiani conducted all studies together with V.K. Beletsky, who in the correspondence discovered by us first appears with Vakhtang Vasilyevich “on equal terms”, then disappears, and Makhaldiani becomes the head of the whole work. In 1947, he was already considered an assistant professor and took the chair of the head of the Department of Tractors and Cars at the Agricultural Institute.

On December 29, 1947, inspired by the test results, employees of an agricultural university send an application for an author’s certificate and even receive a “Certificate of Superiority”. According to the Regulation on Inventions and Technical Improvements, approved by the CEC of the USSR and the Council of People’s Commissars on April 9, 1931, the “Certificate of Superiority” meant that upon preliminary examination by the Bureau of novelty (Patent Bureau) it was not recognized as “erroneous or manifestly unrealizable or clearly not new. ”
Fragment of a letter of negative review from the Ministry of the automotive industry on the construction of Mahaldiani
Further more. The authors inform the famous academician Evgeni Alekseevich Chudakov about the creation of a new design, the books of which are still taught to students of automobile specialties today. At that time, Chudakov was Director of the Institute of Mechanical Engineering of the USSR Academy of Sciences, and part-time head of the Automobile Laboratory. After reviewing the materials, Evgeni Alekseevich proposed to send a prototype to Moscow, and in April-May, on the basis of his laboratory, he conducted studies of Georgian design. In a letter dated June 17, 1948, sent to the Academy of Sciences of the Georgian SSR, Chudakov confirmed “significant fuel economy and the appropriateness of this type of engine”, enclosing a copy of the test report.

The Georgians did not rejoice for long, or rather, three and a half months. In response to a letter from the Agricultural Institute on June 5, Deputy Minister of the Automobile and Tractor Industry of the USSR Perovsky said: The Ministry “believes that the proposed design, with the goal of improving the performance of an outdated engine, provides a complex and cumbersome constructive solution.” The official further clarifies that the Ministry considers it necessary to conduct a study of this issue in conjunction with other problems, the solution of which will provide an improvement in the fuel and economic characteristics of ICE. It is logical that the Ministry proposes to solve these problems “when creating an engine design that meets the latest achievements of automotive technology”, and not when upgrading an outdated unit.
Fragment of a letter addressed to the Secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Georgia Charkviani
By and large, there are no contradictions in such various reviews. Chudakov, who received his first Stalin Prize during the war, knew the rules of the game and,…

The director of the Agricultural Institute notes that “the created engine <…> does not aim to improve the performance of an outdated engine, but provides a schematic diagram of the automatic change in the degree of compression depending on the change in vacuum in the suction pipe; such a scheme can be applied to any carburetor engine. ” Urushadze sincerely asks why “the application of a variable compression ratio should be re-studied <…> when this issue has already been studied in detail”, “why should a lot of work be ignored”, why does NAM include “research into questions that have already been investigated by others” in its plan? Indeed, where is NAM research and where is the usual training Agricultural Georgian …

At the end, Urushadze asks Charkviani to intervene so that “NAMI or one of the automobile plants” is entrusted with designing the internal combustion engine with a variable compression ratio “with the obligatory participation of the inventors”. Candid Nestorovich, of course, could not allow the associate professor of the Georgian university to be deprived of the all-Union fame as the first developer of the cunning ICE and on December 1 complained to the Minister of the Automotive Industry Stepan Akopov about Perovsky and his colleagues who did not react “with due attention to the implementation of this important improvement”. In the secretariat of the Ministry, after reading the letter, they put the question to the Board meeting.
Fragment of the first page of a letter from the leadership of the Georgian Agricultural Institute to senior officials, including L.P. Beria
Meanwhile, two weeks earlier, that is, in mid-November, the director of the Agricultural Institute Urushadze recalled that the institute was named after Lavrenty Pavlovich Beria. And now a letter is flying to Moscow – the almighty member of the Politburo. From the letter we learn another interesting detail. It turns out that “in June 1948, the authors of the aforementioned engine had a conversation with the director, his deputy and the chief designer of NAMI”, who “proposed to work together with the authors to design a mechanism for changing the compression ratio for the latest automobile engines,” but subsequently refused the proposal, “motivating with congestion other works. ” According to Urushadze, such a decision of the Ministry and NAMI “can facilitate <…> the possibility of appropriating other people’s ideas and ignoring the great achievements of the Department of Tractors and Automobiles of the Agricultural Institute of Georgia”, and, in addition, obscures the “primacy of the creators of the engine”.
A fragment of the last page of a letter from the leadership of the Georgian Agricultural Institute to senior officials, including L.P. Beria
At the end, Urushadze again asks us or one of the factories to produce “production samples of block heads with a variable compression ratio <…> with the obligatory participation of the inventors”, and ends the letter like this: “Please inform me of your decision.” In general, whatever you say, a bold ending, given the high position of the addressee. Meanwhile, Beria had concerns of a completely different scale, and Lavrenty Pavlovich remained indifferent to the fate of this Georgian development. The very topic of changing the compression ratio of ICE was discussed several times at the College of the Ministry of the Automotive Industry in the next 1949, but it did not receive development. How did Moscow engineers and researchers motivate their refusal to continue work? It may well be that we will talk about this in our rubric “Document”.

It remains to add that Vakhtang Vasilievich Makhaldiani continued to engage in theoretical research on changes in the compression ratio of ICE, wrote a book on this issue, which was even published in Tbilisi in the 70s.

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