By Deane Barker | August 9, 2008 | 3 Comments
BRABUS smart fortwo wins latest Cannonball Run: What is the state of the automotive industry when a Smart Car wins the Cannonball Run?
Amazingly, despite all of the high-power entrants into this year’s race, a smart fortwo managed to take the victory after traveling some 3,000 miles. The machine was already a few years old and had been modified with a revised engine map from BRABUS along with some basic suspension goodies. Other than that, the little two-seater was basically stock.
Still, they only got 35 m.p.g. which never ceases to surprise me. Geo Metro’s were getting 46 m.p.g. back in the 80s.
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Um, what kind of mileage would a Geo Metro get in a cross-continent race?
And you do know that safety related laws have significantly increased the minimum possible weight and reduced the maximum achievable aerodynamics of commercially produced cars, right?
I mean, a 1973 Honda CVCC got 40mpg. Of course, it weighed 1500lbs (less than a Lotus Elise), had 50 horsepower, and, compared to today’s cars, was a total deathtrap (and fragile to boot — it didn’t even meet the 5 mph bumper damage requirements).
It’s a silly apples-to-rivets comparison. Laws have changed, and race driving is not comparable to street driving.
Still, 35mpg in a race like the Cannonball is respectable (and a win for a Smart is remarkable.) The article doesn’t say what kind of speeds were involved, but my guess they were a bit north of normal highway driving.
Not to mention that fuel formulations have changed over the years and are less efficient thanks to our tree hugging friends. They are now less efficient but are supposedly less harmful to the environment. The degree to which this is true is AMAZINGLY miniscule. So you can’t really consider the mpg you got several years back to what you will get today.