A Chevrolet lesson in automotive technology —80 years ago

(October 25, 2016) The automotive differential has been around as long as the automobile, first used on a car in 1897, according to historians. The differential allows the outer drive wheel to rotate faster than the inner drive wheel during a turn. This is necessary when the vehicle turns, making the wheel that is traveling around the outside of the turning curve roll farther than the other.

The average of the rotational speed of the two driving wheels equals the input rotational speed of the drive shaft. An increase in the speed of one wheel is balanced by a decrease in the speed of the other.

Chevrolet used a series of very interesting short films in 1936 and 1937 to explain how a "modern" car works. One of those films explains the differential. Sounds fairly boring, but we found it extremely fascinating, a basic lesson that is very instructional 80 years later.

The use of motorcycle acrobatics as a lead-in to the documentary film is a nice touch.