This project represents everything I
believe about cars. Though the components have changed over the years, the
spirit of the project has not. No one in the auto industry, I don't care
if you're Bob Lutz, Ferdinand Porsche, or Enzo Ferrari, gets to design and build
a car from scratch. Building this car is a dream job that doesn't exist in
the real world. It's design engineering meets component engineering, and
there are components out there readily available that if put together properly,
can deliver amazing performance. Motorcycles are the best place to start.
The Asian motorcycle industry is producing machines with hp closer to their unlimited prototype racing machines than any other industry. Let's face it, the most incredible racing machine (when I say racing, I mean road racing, because nothing else matters!) on two wheels is the Honda RC211V. It's probably 1/4 million dollars, and as extreme as it gets. Yet you can buy production sportbikes approaching 200 hp for 10 grand? The difference in weight is hardly enough to affect the math, so let's say you get 4/5 the power to weight ratio for 1/25th the price. Now, the most ultimate machine on four wheels is the Ferrari F1 car. Let's say 2005, because Bernie screwed it all up in 2006. Let's say 1000 lbs and 1000 hp to make the math easy. Granted, Ferrari's car is probably worth 2-3 Million dollars. But what can you buy that is 4/5 of that? Let's say you had unlimited money. The Bugatti Veyron? 1000 hp, 4?00 lbs? Hmmm, 1/3 the power to weight ratio for $1,000,000? Get my point?
Ok, let's go sub $100K. No matter how much I hate GM, I'm convinced that the best value out there is the Corvette. C5 or C6? Stock, or modded? I'll quickly do a complex averaging equation in my head : ), I'm thinking 400 hp, 3350 lbs for 30,000. That's being pretty generous, but it's out there. That's about 8.5 lbs/hp for $30,000. Keep in mind that I paid $2000 for 4 lbs/hp with my race bike, but we're looking for 4 wheels here. HP over 400 hp gets expensive real fast, and I don't want to push 1.5 tons around a race track, so we are going after weight. I won't go into how I came to this number, but 1000 lbs is the weight target, and to get there, the bike engine is the only way to go. 200+ hp with a 6 spd transmission built in. Buy a modded one like I did and you're at 230 hp. Now we're at 4.3 lbs/hp on four wheels. Sound good?
Years ago when I started this dream, 1000 lbs was much more inconceivable than it is now. While most people in the land that brought you the Monte Carlo can't even fathom it, in the land that brought you the Lotus Elise it is quite common, and the number of 1000-1500 lb motorcycle powered cars with 200-350 hp Hayabusa engines increases by the day. And if you look hard enough, these guys are in the states too, you just have to look for them. So what I'm doing isn't new, but it will be mine, and what very few others have is a desire to design a custom body. On the drive configuration, it would make a lot more sense to make it rear engine, but there is something magical to me about front engine rear wheel drive. And it is also imperative that it has two seats, as I love to share the race track experience every chance I get.
There aren't many cars that come close to the power to weight ratio I am shooting for, but here are a few:
Mazda Miata: 2200 lbs/120-160 hp
This was one of my favorite cars below:
Lotus Seven replica: By far the most common replica in this market
1200 lbs/200-300 hp This is a DAX below. in 2005 there were only three in the states owned by one guy. He lived less than a mile from Rhonda's brother in Ann Arbor, MI. I visited him when we were in Ann Arbor once. It uses a heavy donor car. It seemed too heavy for me.
Now, in the rear engine category:
Lotus Elise US spec: 2000 lbs/ 190 hp
Lotus 340R: 340 Stands for 340 hp/ton
When I first saw the concept drawing for this car in 1998, it scared me, as it was so close to the concept in my head.
And on the extreme side, non street legal:
Radical SR3: Approximately 1100 lbs/250 hp.
1000 lbs/250 hp
Similar power to weight ratio, but
only one seat and mid engine.
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