While KiddingNoOne continues to live in fantasy land and is in total denial of what the Chevy Volt is (An overweight, fat, pig) here is a company with a proven record of success (They won the X-Prize) that has the right idea:
Back in 2006 I was given a book called Racing and Sports Car Chassis Design. I am now re-reading the book for perhaps the 7th time. Looking at the link for the Lotus 6 makes me want to make my own car more than ever. I love the look of polished aluminum car bodies. And I can understand the book, the principals described in it are described so well. I have put some practice chassis designs on paper and have done the calculations using formulae from the book and other places. That Lotus 6 is just beeeauuutifull. If I didn't need to work I could make a car like the Lotus 6. All I would need to buy would be an english wheel, a stretcher, a shrinker, an air planisher and a few other sheet metal tools. I already have the machine shop to make the other components. Man, I really want to make a Sports Car. Eric
The genuine Lotus 7. Colin Chapman's ultimate "add lightness" exrecise. Good friend of mine has all the jigs and has built or rebuilt more 7s in North America than Chapman. Lots of "originals" are original serial number tags on a Wolf built chassis.
If it wasn't so hard to insure and register a non-original 7 in Ontario, I'd have one!!!!
Interesting. It's no problem to register one in NJ, and my insurance guy told me it would not be expensive to insure. His dad had insured my AC Aceca, and that's a *real* money hole. I wonder why it's difficult there?
BTW, my college roommate has one of the 55 Lotus 7 Mk. IVs that was imported into the US, gray-market, through Windsor, ONT. in 1971. It's the pea-green one that Lotus displayed at the Chicago Auto Show that year.
The Mk. IV was never fully accepted by the Lotus crowd. The Caterham 7 made now is a continuation of the Mk. III.
You'd better include ear plugs + muffs there, Eric.
I wanted a Lotus Europa for the longest time as a teen. Then I saw one in person and that dream dissolved. It was in ratty shape, smoked, and had a splintering body. I switched to a Countach. I'd still take one if anyone has a spare. ;)
What do you see in the Lotus 6 which would make you want to own one? I rode in a holey MGTD in LoCal for a year and wouldn't ever want to own one. It took my buddy Tommy several thousand dollars a year just to keep it running, not including maintenance items or gas. The 6 seems to fit into that slot in my eyes.
Both LOOK nice. No competition for the Volt though.
I have to chuckle at all these impractical and or pie in the sky vehicles, most of them 2 seaters that are being touted as lighter than a Volt, which is a 4 seat series hybrid hatchback with serious utility that one can actually buy here in the present reality. AKA reality. Duh. We might as well add this as well
Apples to oranges, and lots of unobtainium and impractical layouts. How many years was the Aptera touted as being the next new thing? 2 seats, 3 wheels, licensed as a motorcycle and could haul about as much cargo as a bike. Yet it still ended up at nearly a ton and its main claim to fame was being on magazine covers and burning up investment cash. Both the projected weight and the price kept creeping up with every new revelation until bankruptcy. Never did prove that it was safe enough to compete in the market as a real car. Of course the backers said it absolutely could. The very same people who kept claiming perennially that it was soon to be available, and that they could sell a vehicle with $20k of EV components for $20k. At some point it appears they were going to 4 wheels and 4 seats, which I bet they figured out was the only route to mass market and funding.
The VW XL1 is headed down a similar road. 2 seats, small interior volume, expensive materials, and bound to be hundreds heavier the closer it gets to market, which it is now another year overdue for even the projected handful of samples. So long as anything can maintain its vaporware status its promoters might as well say it only weights 1000 pounds, can go 1000 miles, and costs $1000.
Meanwhile, here in reality, I had a nice sunny drive in the Volt yesterday afternoon. About 35 miles to destination, came up about a mile short on the battery. But only because the last 4 miles climbed
1100'. On the return trip the engine only ran briefly on the downhill section. All the rest was regen or battery. Then went another 3 miles on the level before the engine started again. Sweet tech. In engine mode it still goes nearly as far past a corner on battery as it spent decelerating and braking. I fill up so seldom that last time I briefly forgot which side the tank was on. I'm surprised how many people recognize the car and want to talk about it. I even got a thumbs up from a usually morose construction flagman the other day. I'm more satisfied with the Volt than I've been with any of my new vehicles for quite a while, which is something considering I swore I'd never buy another domestic model. And I'm not alone.
Yeah I could be finding fault with the Volt and pining for a flying car or whatever instead, but then I'd be taking work from backseat drivers. Fuck, not even backseat drivers, full time chair drivers like Bonkers.
No. Those are post-WWII club racers. I only brought them up because of the "very light car" subject line. They make an interesting contrast with today's crop of superlights.
Those club racers had *horrible* drag coefficients, but low frontal area. The Cd on a Lotus 7 is around 0.70; the same as a bicycle with rider. The Cd for a Hummer H2 is 0.57. For a Volt, around 0.28. A paving brick is 2.1.
They were not designed for economy, nor for top speed. They were designed for acceleration and fast cornering on short road-racing tracks. For the hardy weekend hero-driver, they could be driven to work or school all week. That's the service my 1967 MG Midget performed; it was one of the last of the club racers.
The Volt is on the right track, given the batteries we have to work with. It's still a car for enthusiasts who want to be the first on their block. But so were the Lotus 6 and 7, in a different way.
In the Morgan article the author lovingly refers to those as "thoroughly useless" IIRC. :) I disagree, but then I think motorcycles are useful.
The Volt is aimed at the center mass of the market. It's a car that anyone from granny to enthusiast can enjoy, and it can replace any Camry, Accord, etc. 5 year cost of ownership will beat a lot of competitors.
It could be that it appeals more to techies, but you don't have to know a damned thing to own one. Put the fob in your pocket, unplug the charge cord, press the button on the door handle to unlock the car, hit the start button and you're ready to roll. Anybody who's driven a keyless car could drive one away without a word of instruction. Eventually you have to figure out where the buttons for the charge cord door and the filler door are but they're easy to find. The car has two display screens and a bunch of flush control buttons, but there's no need to touch any of it except to change the auto climate temp or diddle with the radio. If you get a chance, hop in one and take it for a spin. The silence and smoothness are a little weird at first, so is the instant torque. But dead easy to drive and obviously designed for the bulk of the tech to be low profile. You can navigate to the powerflow display but there's little interesting to see there unless you're in engine mode and want to monitor the transitions from regen etc.
Hey, those are fun, Paul. I rode in a Messerschmitt when I was 7; my camp counselor had brought one back from Germany, where he had been in the service. The ride was my prize for something I forget -- maybe for being the first to boil water in a stove made out of a #10 tin can. d8-)
Well, the original Morgan 3-wheelers, from the 1910s, were known as "cyclecars," and soon became some of the original club racers. They gave hell to some highly-touted race cars all over Europe during the '20s and '30s
There was one from the 1930s in Princeton when I was in high school. It had a Matchless V-twin motorcycle engine. Those were the hot ones.
I'm told that they were a little nerve-wracking to drive. The throttle was a lever pivoted in the middle of the steeting wheel, with no spring return, and you had to remember whether to push the lever up or down, depending on which way the steering wheel was turned. Yikes.
I wold like to try one sometime, but I'll tell you frankly: I do so little driving today that it would never pay off. I work at home, and my 2004 Focus ZX-3 has only 75,000 miles on it.
Still, it sounds interesting. As I listen to you, I'm tempted to explain how practical a '67 MG Midget could be for driving back and forth between Michigan and New Jersey. All you had to do was to swap out the 4.22 ring and pinion for the 3.727; remember to replace the heater in October; make sure you put the muffler back on; and have your rainsuit handy. Convertible tops stayed in the garage; they were too much weight. And they were for wimps, anyway. d8-)