If you've been near Astor Place in Manhattan lately you might've noticed the absolutely stunning bit of architecture that comprises the new Cooper Union building, and we had a visit the other day to check out a few end-of-year projects by students. One that particularly caught our eye was the competitive Chem-E-Car, from a team lead by Anthony Tantuccio. The team won the national competition in 2007, is advancing to nationals again this year, and has sunk quite a bit of tech into its vehicle. At the competition the contestants are given a distance and a payload on the spot and given an hour to prep their vehicle -- through the tweaking of gears and the shuffling of chemical reactions -- to hit that distance. Follow after the break to see how they do with about 15 minutes to work out some Engadget-prepped figures.