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Are the best American-badged small cars now designed overseas?

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Old 03-03-14, 09:51 AM   #31
Out of Warranty
Lil4X's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: Houston, Republic of Texas
Posts: 13,914

Yeah, me too Josh. Where else could you get a new car with a 3-year warranty for the price of a decent beater? It's all over YouTube, and I discovered a little key to which model is which.
  1. The silver one was the prototype, developed to see just how the driving dynamics would work out. It actually has a Geo Metro engine that will NOT be used in production models. The headlights are on pods and the hood is pinned down. There is no cut-out for the trunk.

  2. The lime-green one is the first test mule. I understand it's mostly finished, except for a few points that will be sorted out in testing. I think it has another engine, but certainly not the final product. Still no trunk opening, but otherwise the interior is pretty well finalized.

  3. The orange "creamsicle" car has a functional trunk opening, the final steering wheel with airbag, and side curtain airbags. Lights are now faired into the bodywork. Under the hood, it appears to have a new engine, but details are as yet sketchy on that. It looks like the new IAV engine, but may not be the promised 70hp model.
If you look at this showing at the Sundance Film Festival last month, you'll get a look at the latest design. OOPS! Model may be NSFW!

Note the cycle fenders that now seem to be standard, opposed to the "wheel pants" used on the illustrations. Both may be available as they are said to be quickly interchangeable. The problem with the enclosed wheel pants is that they are more subject to damage in the parking lot and curbs. However they do offer a considerable reduction in drag at speed, so they might be something that could be installed for long highway trips, then stowed in the garage for commuting.

One of the guys I was talking to noted that there is no custom-made windshield-washer bottle. That's a needless expense, but most manufacturers design a convoluted plastic molding to fit in whatever space is left. The Elio uses a regular water bottle that screws onto the mount. It's lightweight and cheap - and replacements are available in any trash can. But here's an unintended benefit: If you run out of fluid on the road, pull into any c-store and buy a bottle of water, open the hood and screw it on. If you need solvent, take a good swig first and add your solvent of choice. Simple, no?

Last edited by Lil4X; 03-03-14 at 06:21 PM.
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