The Truth About Cars » Mid-Engine http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Fri, 18 Jul 2014 16:16:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.1 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars » Mid-Engine http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Beat Resurrected: Meet the Honda S660 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/the-beat-resurrected-meet-the-honda-s660/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/10/the-beat-resurrected-meet-the-honda-s660/#comments Thu, 24 Oct 2013 12:00:41 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=632914 Honda S660 01

Honda’s rear-driven products built for two tend to be motorcycles, scooters and ATVs for the most part, but every now and again the company will unveil a roadster whose name begins with an S, and ends with the number of cubic centimeters the engine provides.

Such a car is set to return soon to the showroom floor, and will make its debut at the Tokyo Motor Show in November: The Honda S660.

The word on the street is the S660 will be powered by a 660 cc turbocharged engine placed just behind the driver and passenger, with all of its 67 ponies going to the rear wheels. Unlike some of Honda’s current and future offerings that are or will be powered by a combination of internal combustion and electric motivation, the new roadster is strictly gasoline-only.

The featherweight roadster, has its roots in the company’s EV-STER electric-only concept from the 2011 Tokyo Motor Show with regard to styling, penned by designer Ryo Sugiura. That said, don’t try to tell him his roadster is the second coming of the late Soichiro Honda’s last gift to the world, the Beat:

Some people might think this will be the remodeled version of the Beat. But it is not. This is totally brand new.

The S660 is one part of a potential three-pronged attack by Honda in the sports car segment. With it and the NSX forming the outer forks, the automaker plans to forge the center fork through the introduction a mid-engined Toyabaru hunter with a price point to match the GT86/BRZ/FRS when it makes its debut. In the meantime, the U.S. domestic market may not need to wait 25 years for the S660 to come over; Honda plans to sell the roadster in export markets with a 1000cc engine and minor changes with regards to safety regulations. S1000, anyone?

The S660 will make its production debut in Japan for the 2015 model year, in time for the automaker’s return to Formula One.

 

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Piston Slap: SHO-in off the MetSHO! http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/piston-slap-sho-in-off-the-metsho/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/piston-slap-sho-in-off-the-metsho/#comments Mon, 18 Mar 2013 11:00:59 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=481543

TTAC commentator crabspirits writes:

I stumbled upon your Lemons Z34-fiero article.  My brothers both had LQ1 Cutlasses and whoever designed that engine was a sadist. They both blew the headgaskets and were impossible to work on. FYI: we run the SHO-swapped, mid-engine Geo Metro in the 24 Hours of LeMons. I had some good battles against that LQ1 Fiero, some captured on my helmet cam.

Thought you might find it interesting. I could’ve had him on the straights easy, but our clutch was slipping badly, and I didn’t want to divebomb him. Still, a worthy opponent.

The Metro has an ongoing track diary attached to the build thread. You can probably glean a lot of material from it. 

The car feels like a 200hp MR-S with better brakes. The suspension is built with all warranty returns from a local suspension company’s dumpster. It feels fine for what it is, but every now and then, a corner of the car will feel “weird” and you get an unpleasant surprise. When something fails on the MetSHO, it is always a case of “I can see it, but I can’t reach it”. It basically sucks to work on.

The main thing on the car that holds us back is tires. Good sized wheels for the taurus bolt pattern are hard to find, then you realize you can’t fit them when you factor in the coilovers and Geo real estate. We recently managed to squeeze some good rubber in the rear, but the fronts are still plastic-like. The brakes are good, but nearly everyone in the top 10 has big aftermarket setups. We usually get a best lap time in the top 5-10, but with our talent, we can’t seem to hold that kind of speed in this car without getting into trouble eventually. Fortunately, we are all drifters, so when trouble happens we usually know what to do. There have been many pleasant and unpleasant experiences with this car. Lemons has taught me a lot about car prep, tech stuff, driving, planning, and priorities (#1 is have fun).

Looking forward to such an article. I’ve never gotten the chance to meet with the Fiero team. I’m sure we share a lot in common. Same with the team that brings the Alfa 164-swapped Fiat X1/9.

Sajeev answers:

Z34-powered Fiero, SHO-Metro.  Fiat X1/9 with an Alfa motor. My goodness…every time I judge a LeMons race I am thankful for at least two things:  the free shit you cheaty-cheaters are obligated to give me, and your ability to make me look normal.  I sincerely appreciate both.

A friend of mine (using the term loosely, since all you people are certifiable) once mentioned that making a LeMons car is like freebasing on automobiles.   So if a freebasing (admit it!) gearhead such as yourself has such information proving the LQ1′s complete terribleness, it must be right.

What else is there to say?  You made a fantastic machine, you certainly don’t need my advice…though I will say one thing: Thunderbird Super Coupe or Lincoln Mark VIII. Ditch the 6.5″ wide wheels and get a set of 16×7″ inchers from the big Ford coupes.  They are dirt cheap so they work in a LeMons budget. The extra .5″ will get you a slightly wider tire, and every bit counts. But since wheels/tires are considered a safety(?) item, you can go nuts and buy the aftermarket 9″ wide rims.

I have faith that you can make a 9″ wide rim fit in the rear.  And why not? Then again, talk to Jay Lamm before doing so…as citing me as a source might be the dumbest move on your part.  Dumber than freebasing cars, that is.

Best of luck, I wish you and your team well this year in LeMons.

Send your queries to sajeev@thetruthaboutcars.com. Spare no details and ask for a speedy resolution if you’re in a hurry…but be realistic, and use your make/model specific forums instead of TTAC for more timely advice.

 

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VW Ends Sportscar Branding Battle By Screwing Audi http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/vw-ends-sportscar-branding-battle-by-screwing-audi/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2011/05/vw-ends-sportscar-branding-battle-by-screwing-audi/#comments Fri, 06 May 2011 15:49:09 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=394032

There have been a number of important meetings in the auto industry over the last several years that TTAC dearly wishes it could have been a fly on the wall for, including GM’s decision to keep Opel, Fiat’s negotiations with the White House and Saab’s visit to its local payday loan store, to name just a few. But perhaps one of the more interesting boardroom battles of recent years has to be the new VW-Porsche Group’s struggle over how to brand its forthcoming mid-engine sportscar platform which first debuted as the VW BlueSport. Bertel reported last Summer that Porsche, Audi and VW were all bidding for the group’s sportscar development work, but that Porsche was likeliest to emerge with the title.

And it turns out he was right, as Auto Motor und Sport reports that VW has solved the problem by canceling Audi’s planned version of the BlueSport, leaving small mid-engine sportscar efforts in the hands of Porsche and VW. Though the decision makes the BlueSport’s branding challenge quite a bit easier (while cementing the prominence of firms related to Ferdinand Porsche at the expense of the Horch-created Audi brand), it has one less-than-ideal outcome: it removes Audi’s ability to bracket Tesla’s Roadster, a move which would have surely hurt the Silicon Valley upstart. Still, internal politics are more important than obliterating a limited-production competitor… and at least VW has its branding ducks back in one relatively orderly line.

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Catfight In Wolfsburg: Audi v.v. Porsche In Re Sportscar Dominance http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/catfight-in-wolfsburg-audi-v-v-porsche-in-re-sportscar-doninance/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/06/catfight-in-wolfsburg-audi-v-v-porsche-in-re-sportscar-doninance/#comments Thu, 03 Jun 2010 15:42:18 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=357989

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Ferdinand Piech is cultivating long standing traditions. He always liked to watch a good catfight between his people. In the olden days, he did let plants in Europe compete and bid for cars. Now for the battle royale:  Who will develop the basics on which all future sports cars in the Volkswagen empire will be built? Porsche or Audi? The answer should be obvious:

Audi.

At least that’s what would have been the case before Volkswagen swallowed Porsche after Porsche choked on Volkswagen.  Now, there is a new kid in town. Porsche’s genes are not only pure sports cars. Porsche is also genetically tied to the boss. The boss also came to power via Audi. So Audi doesn’t want to throw in the towel.

The catfight is over who will preside over the development of the kit from which all sportier models in the vast array of Volkswagen brands will be built. The times of “platforms” are ancient history at VW.  All cars at Volkswagen literally are kit cars.

There are two families of erector kits which can be assembled into all kinds of cars at Volkswagen. They have Teutonic names like “Modularer Querbaukasten” (MQB)  and “Modularer Längsbaukasten” (MLB). The MQB has the engine “quer,” or transverse (like in most Volkswagen, SEATs, Skodas etc.). The MLB has the engine “längs,” or longitudinal, like in the larger Audis, future Bentleys etc. The quer kit falls under the purview of Wolfsburg, the längs kit is under the guiding hand of Ingolstadt. So far, so good.

Cue sound of hand slapping forehead. Now what about the mid-engine kit? Who will be the father of that brood of Legos? Says Automobilwoche [sub]: “Mid-engined cars are the Porsche Boxster and Cayman and the Audi R8.” They overlooked a few high volume models such as the Bugatti Veyron or the Lamborghini  Gallardo.

Anyway, the fight for mid-engine kit design dominance is on. Says the Financial Times Deutschland: “In the end, Porsche will take the lead. To make both brands compete, and to pit engineers against each other, may not be the most noble form of management, but maybe it will be successful.”

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Wild-Ass Rumor Of The Day: Mid-Engine Corvette Whispers Won’t Die Edition http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/wild-ass-rumor-of-the-day-mid-engine-corvette-whispers-wont-die-edition/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2010/03/wild-ass-rumor-of-the-day-mid-engine-corvette-whispers-wont-die-edition/#comments Wed, 17 Mar 2010 20:27:50 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=349343

Along with flying cars and hydrogen fuel cells, the mid-engined Corvette occupies the most spurious level of automotive rumor-mongery. GM has a deep, rich history of flirtation with the idea of a mid-engine ‘vette (too deep and rich for us not to commission a forthcoming brief history from Paul Niedermeyer), but even in the last three years the engine configuration of the C8 Corvette has attracted intense speculation. In October of 2007, Motor Trend kicked off the modern era of mid-engine ‘vette rumors with a lengthy piece which “revealed” that

GM vice chairman Bob Lutz reportedly has been pushing for a mid-engine C7… We hear Lutz is backing down from his support of a mid-engine C7, though other powerful GM execs reportedly still favor it. Those at GM who prefer an evolutionary, front-engine C7 are facing a tough battle.

Almost exactly a year later, MT took it all back. With GM facing bankruptcy and bailouts, plans for a new Corvette were put on hold and the RenCen pendulum was swinging back towards an evolution of the front-engined C7. And yet now, with bankruptcy still less than a year in GM’s past, the mid-engine Corvette rumors are bubbling back up again.

With rumors circulating that 10 GM studios from around the world were submitting designs for a new Corvette, AutoWeek spoke to some unnamed GM execs about ‘vette’s future, and unwittingly (or not) resurrected the oldest running line of speculation in auto-dom. AW’s scoop: the forthcoming C7 “will be the last of the traditional, old-style Corvettes,” according to a “senior GM insider.” In 2016, the C8 will launch with

a radical re-engineering, centered on a more fuel-efficient, [Ed: wait for it] mid-engined V6 powertrain, a lightweight alloy body and a more compact footprint.

With the C7 rumored to be just another evolution of the long-soldiering ‘vette internals, it’s a question that we (and GM) won’t have to answer today. And frankly, it may be a question that will never have to be seriously addressed: after all, we’ve been hearing mid-engined Corvette rumors for over 30 years now. Who really thinks it’s finally going to happen now?
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