"Information about an Invention by Dr. Nikola Tesla,
which is said to have harnessed Cosmic Energy" (Unidentified document
circulated in the early 1980s)
The following is a summary of an interview on 16 September 1967 of Peter
Savo, a nephew of Dr. Nikola Tesla, by Derek Ahlers, an aeronautical
engineer. An attempt was made to record Peter's answers to 36 questions
prepared in advance. However, Peter talked very freely, in a somewhat
rambling fashion, and repeatedly provided the answers before the
questions were asked. In addition, since Mr. Savo and Mr. Ahlers have
known each other for some 10 years, the subject had previously been
discussed and some of this earlier information is included.
Peter Savo was born in Knim, Yugoslavia, just before the turn of the
century. As Yugoslavia was then a part of Austria, he entered the
Austrian army and learned to fly at the military flying school at Wiener
Neustadt. After World War I he emigrated to Italy.
Dr Nikola Tesla was Peter's uncle on his mother's side. It was he who
suggested that Peter come to the United States. He met Peter at the boat
on arrival and seems to have taken a fatherly interest in him until his
death. Peter lived in New York for a number of years when he first
arrived and then moved on to Detroit. He became well established in the
Yugoslav community there and at one time rallied their vote behind some
political figure who in turn got Peter a job as a foreign trade
specialist at the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade and later in Bucharest. Peter
was captured by the Nazis, interrogated, and later repatriated. In the
postwar years he lived in New York.
Sometime in 1931, Dr Tesla took Peter to Buffalo, NY for the unveiling
and final testing of a new kind of automobile. Dr. Tesla acted somewhat
mysteriously about it, would tell Peter nothing in advance, and even
after he had seen the car, answered some of his questions with "Don't as
The car turned out to be a standard Pierce Arrow, with the engine
removed and certain other components installed instead. The standard
Clutch, gear box and drive train remained installed.
Under the hood, there was a brushless electric motor, connected (in
place of) the engine. The engine was said to measure 40" long by 28"
diameter. However, some of these figures may be estimates. Tesla would
not divulge who made the motor.
Set into the dash was a "power receiver" consisting of a box measuring
about 24" long by 10" wide by 6" high, containing 12 radio tubes. Three
of these tubes were model 70-L-7. A vertical antenna consisting of a
6-foot rod, was installed and connected to the power receiver.
The receiver, in turn, was connected to the motor by two heavy,
conspicuous cables. Two "spindles" (rods?) about 1/4" diameter by 3"
long protruded form the receiver towards the driver. Tesla pushed these
in before starting and said: "We now have power". These spindles were in
line with the two power cables coming out of the back of the unit and
presumable worked to separate power switches. There was a 12-volt
Willard battery installed in the car, but it was for the lights only and
much too small to run the car. In any case, the motor was an AC motor.
Peter said that Dr Tesla had built the power receiver himself in his
hotel room, and carried it to Buffalo. The motor was built for him by
some unknown company. The motor was completely enclosed and when Peter
first saw it, it was stopped. Later, after the engine was running, Dr
Tesla asked Peter to look under the hood to check whether the fan was
running. Peter asked what the fan was for and was told that "The engine
is running pretty hot". Maximum engine speed was 1800 rpm. Power rating
was 80 hp.
To start the car, Dr Tesla handed Peter an ignition-type key. Peter
inserted it and a green light came on, on the dash. Dr. Tesla thereupon
said: "The engine is now in motion". The engine could not be heard from
the driver's seat at all. When listening under the hood with the engine
on, there was a slight hum. The standard accelerator pedal was used to
control engine speed. Clutch, brake and gearshift were unchanged.
The instruments on the dash appeared to be standard ones. However, there
was a voltmeter which was used to measure output of the receiver. Dr.
Tesla commented that the receiver had enough reserve power so that you
could drive the car next to a house, connect the wiring, and light up
the whole house. There was also some kind of hydraulic pressure gauge on
the dash. Peter asked its purpose but Dr Tesla would not tell him.
Peter drove the car for about 50 miles at speeds up to 90 mph (the
speedometer was calibrated to 120 mph). Power seemed at least as good as
the normal Pierce Arrow engine. Acceleration in second gear seemed
particularly good. Shifting gears seemed somewhat smoother than with a
Tesla seemed enthusiastic on the first test ride and said, "Peter, this
day will make history!" When Peter questioned the source of the energy
to drive the car, Dr Tesla said: "It is a mysterious radiation that
comes out of the ether" (An expression of the 1930s referring to what is
now called "outer space"). He said that he did not know where it came
from but that it seemed to be available in limitless quantities and that
mankind should be thankful for it as it would soon drive boats, cars,
trains and planes. Dr. Tesla and Peter spent 8 days in Buffalo, testing
the car. Peter described on incident where they stopped the car at a
traffic light and a bystander commented that he could see no smoke
coming from the exhaust. Peter replied to him: "We don't have an
engine". When they left Buffalo, Dr Tesla removed the "ignition" key and
the radio tubes and took them with him. The car was left at a farmhouse
some 20 miles from Buffalo, not far from Niagara Falls.
The car was kept under tight security and this was the reason for
keeping it at such a remote spot. Peter heard a rumor that a secretary
of Tesla's broke security and told General Electric about it and
promptly got fired. Dr. Tesla acted somewhat mysterious and would not
answer many of Peter's questions. However, Peter considers this merely
part of security measures and categorically ruled out any possibility of
a hoax or practical joke.
Peter knows of no specific persons to whom the car was shown. However,
about a month after the Buffalo trip e got a phone call form Dr Lee De
Forest who asked him: "How did you like that car?" Peter expressed his
enthusiasm and De Forest then called Tesla one of the greatest living
About seven years ago Peter was approached by a Yugoslav diplomat then
at the United Nations (Peter could not remember the name but has a
record of it) who asked if he could find the engine and power receiver
of that car. He dropped the name Rockefeller and said that they "could
make millions" if they had this engine to copy. Peter made some attempts
to comply, but without results. Peter is very anti-Tito and probably did
not try very hard. The diplomat died about two years ago.
Asked whether he knew of any other applications of this type of power,
Peter said that Tesla was negotiating with some big shipbuilding concern
to build a boat with such an engine. However, when he asked questions
about this, Dr Tesla got annoyed and Peter never found out who the
When asked whatever happened to the car, Peter said that he had heard
that it had been shipped to Yugoslavia. However, he has written to
friends in Yugoslavia about this and they replied that nothing ever
Upon being asked whether there was any possibility that drawings of the
car might be in existence somewhere, Peter said there was a man in some
town in Pennsylvania who might just have such information.
Peter Savo is a lonely, bored old man, living in a cheap Manhattan hotel
and supported by his two sons who are US Navy pilots in Viet Nam. His
idleness and worries have induced a nervous condition with certain
accompanying physical symptoms. I told Peter that he needed an aim and
purpose in life and that reconstructing the facts of Dr Tesla's
invention and giving them to eh world would be such a purpose, to say
nothing of a probable financial reward. Peter thereupon said that he
would phone the man in Pennsylvania and would phone others in Akron Ohio
and in Chicago. He will also write to his relatives in Yugoslavia, who
are surviving members of the Tesla family, to get all possible
Since Peter was very poorly off financially, I gave his $20 out of my
own pocket for the phone calls and postage. Peter is quite intelligent
but lacks a formal education and has quite a thick accent. It is
possible that he may be unable to reach the people he has in mind.
However, in that event, it is still possible that a search by an
experienced investigator who visits the places mentioned above, might
locate them. However, this would of course cost more money and the
question would then arise as to who has sufficient interest in this
information to pay the expenses.