Looking Out From the Garage: February 2011

53 Cool Concepts... Part XLII

It is a time honored tradition among car companies... and it makes a lot of financial sense.  Build cars with similar components.  If they can dive into the parts bin instead of designing a new piece from the ground up, they can save a lot of money.  Everything from floor architecture to minor switchgear may be shared among cars.

2010 Ford Taurus SHO photographed in Columbia,...
Image via Wikipedia

A great example of this is with Chrysler.  The Charger, Magnum, 300 and Challenger all have the same underpinnings... suspensions, brakes, steering... and also (with a few exceptions) the same engine and transmission offerings.  In the case of the Charger, Magnum and 300, the front clips could be interchanged... although it wasn't a direct bolt-up.

And then there are cases like the Toyota MR2, where a common front wheel drive powertrain was relocated behind the driver to build a mid-engine, rear wheel drive car.

So... what can we do with that?

Ford has the Taurus SHO.  It is a higher powered version of a reasonably boring, but competent car.  There aren't that many front wheel drive 365hp powerplants floating around.

Toyota MR2 ( SW20 )
Image via Wikipedia

Twenty years ago, Ford took the SHO powerplant and transplanted it into a Fiesta... the result was the SHOgun.  Nasty powerful and incredibly twitchy.  A wolf in econobox clothing.

What they really need to do is make a Ford GT for the rest of us.  Perhaps a 2 seat, mid engine car, maybe weighing under 2400lbs.  Back it up with a 6 or 7 speed transmission and a limited slip differential.  I would bet that it could stretch 30+mpg on the highway.  The Taurus weighs in at almost 4400lbs.  Dropping a ton and reducing the frontal area would rock the mileage, even with a sporty tune.  The Taurus SHO is rated for 25mpg on the highway.  The SHO kicks out around a 5.5sec 0-60 time and a 13sec 1/4 mile.  I would expect that a 2400lb mid-engine car with good traction could drop that time under 4sec for the 0-60 and 11.5sec for the 1/4.


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Comment balloon 1 commentLane Bailey • February 13 2011 10:28PM
53 Cool Concepts… Part XLII
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