January 6, 1930 – Cummins takes a diesel drive

Clessie Cummins wanted to prove that a diesel motor was a viable option for passenger car travel. Founded in 1919, Cummins Engine Company focused on the development of the diesel engine, invented 22 years earlier by German Rudolf Diesel. To show the feasibility of diesel Cummins installed a diesel engine in a used Packard and traveled from Indianapolis to New York and back, completing his round trip journey on this day in 1930. The one way journey used 30 gallons of diesel fuel, costing just $1.38 at the time. This was the first of several publicity drives Cummins would complete, including one in 1935 from New York to San Francisco using just $7.62 in fuel. Cummins would first find success in the automobile industry as the leading supplier of heavy duty truck engines in post WWII America. Between 1952 to 1959 Cummins Engine Company owned more than half the truck engine market.  The Packard with a diesel engine driven by Clessie CumminsThe Cummins Special that competed in the 1931 Indy 500. It never had to refuel and cost less than $8 in fuel to finish the race. Driver Dave Evans came in 13th in the race.

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