Friday, November 23, 2007


New cars are fat and heavy. I mean really heavy. When I see a neat, "small" car, I usually get pretty enthused. But today's small sporty cars are real porkers when it comes to weight. Look at the Mazdaspeed 3, for example. It would seem like the kind of car that I might like. It's Mazda's smallest car (for Canada, at least) and offers a really nice turbo engine. How much does it weigh? 3153 pounds. Holy crap. To put this in perspective, a 1990 Miata weighed 2116 pounds. My 1988 Honda Civic weighed 2138 pounds in street trim, with a roll cage.
The 88 Civic at racing school
A new Golf GTi weighs 3162 pounds. A new Mini Cooper S weighs 2668 pounds. A Civic Si weighs 2877 pounds. The Lotus Elise is quite light at 1976 pounds, but when it came out it only weighed 1665 pounds. This shows that even Lotus cars are getting fatter.

I understand that people want more features and safety equipment, but this is still a sad phenomenon. The more weight you add, the more power you have to add to gain performance. It's a vicious circle.

I wish car makers could build a really simple car with about 100 hp that weighed in under 1500 pounds. Imagine how economical such a car could be. I don't think it's unrealistic... there have been cars much lighter than that. Here are a couple of examples:

The Lotus 11 was a sports racer from the 1950's. It weighed 838 pounds.

I love this drawing
The Light Car Company Rocket weighed only 828 pounds. We're talking about a car from the 1990's here! It had a 1.0 liter engine, but still did 0-60 in 4 seconds.

Light Car Company Rocket
When you read about historic racing, you will see that there used to be classes for cars under 1.0 liter. I think it would be really interesting if manufacturers brought back these 1.0 liter and 1.5 liter sports cars. The technology is there, and the fuel economy would be phenomenal. If I had the funds to start my own car company, this is what I'd be working on...

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