The Likamobile Project

Bob Noble contacted Randy about his steam powered Likamobile, one of only three in the world. The car is powered by steam, heated in a boiler. Because of insurance the heating of the water to make steam could no longer be done using coal. Instead, the burner had to be converted to electric to provide better control of the heat and resulting steam pressure. Here is a portion of Bob's Letter….


The burner and blower together require 6 amps. The idle speed is zero, (direct drive, not transmission). The blower and burner run all of the time. The steam pressure is controlled, by turning the fuel off and on. The electric burner and blower are powered by a deep discharge 12-volt battery, which has enough capacity to run all day, (6 to 8 hours), then can be charged over night. That is the reason I want the alternator to provide a minimum of 6 amps at 15 mph. The battery can take care of the car at lower speeds, such as in a parade. I would like an alternator output of at least 10 amps at higher road speeds (15 mph) to keep from draining the battery, I want an alternator for when the car is taken on tour where no battery charger would be available.

Bob Noble



Two other shops had tried to build an alternator for this application with no success. It is very difficult to build an alternator that will provide a strong output at such a low rpm. Fifth Avenue was able to do it and exceed the required output needed. Fifth Avenue's special built alternator provided nearly 7 amps at 3 miles per hour and just over 18 amps at 15 miles per hour highway speed. Thus, the battery could remain fully charged eliminating the need for the battery charger altogether. In addition, the car could be driven at full power without the worry of a dead battery.

The Likamobile
The Likamobile.
The Likamobile Alternator
The Likamobile Alternator
The Likamobile Alternator
The Likamobile Alternator

Fifth Avenue Facts

Randy has worked on several movies providing classic cars, including Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.