Now, if you ask me, Nikola Tesla was not only a genius in the truest definition of the word but also a master of showmanship. With talks about death rays and other fanciful things a car that can run off the power of the ‘aether’ sounds right on the mark. I would not be all that amazed if the ‘black box’ turned out to be a way to attract venture capitol.
In the summer of 1931, Nikola Tesla, the inventor of alternating current and the holder of some 1200 other U.S. patents, along with his nephew Peter Savo, installed a box on the front seat of a brand new Pierce-Arrow touring car at the company factory in Buffalo, New York. The box is said to have been 24 inches long, 12 inches wide and 6 inches high. Out of it protruded a 1.8 meter long antenna and two ¼ inch metal rods. Inside the box was reputed to be some dozen vacuum tubes — 70-L-7 type — and other electrical parts. Two wire leads ran from the box to a newly-installed 40 inch long, 30 inch diameter AC motor that replaced the gasoline engine. As the story goes, Tesla inserted the two metal rods and announced confidently, "We now have power" and then proceeded to drive the car for a week, "often at speeds of up to 90 mph." One account says the motor developed 1,800 rpm and got fairly hot when operating, requiring a cooling fan. The "converter" box is said to have generated enough electrical energy to also power the lights in a home.