New Trend In Automotive Design?

There is a new trend emerging on the automotive scene-the minimalistic trend of ExoCars.  If you’re not familiar with these types of automobiles, start with a little research on the Ariel Atom.  This is the car that started it all, I don’t care what anyone says, the Atom was Adam in this Automotive book of Genesis. 

ExoCars are characterized by their lack of body panels, open cockpit design, and open wheel concept.  While some do have body panels, most just have the wonderful tube frame out in the open for everyone to see.  These vehicles also follow a doctrine very near and dear to my own heart, this is the “Less Weight = Go Faster” school of thought.  You get rid of everything that isn’t necessary for the vehicle to perform it’s main tasks of rocketing forward, taking corners with cat-like agility, and stopping so fast it sucks the tears right out of your eyes, and then you pretty much have yourself an ExoCar. 

Let me break it down for you further…
Body Panels – Gone
Windows – Gone
Doors – Gone
Power Steering – Gone
AC – Gone
Big Stereo System – Gone

What you have left is basically a frame, 2 seats, a rockin’ suspension, light weight aluminum wheels with motorcycle style fenders to keep road debris from beating you senseless, and any type of front wheel drive engine you desire to put in the back of this beast.  Now remember, this car will weigh NO MORE than 1,400 lbs without driver.  That’s right, this is a big go-kart!  With a vehicle which weighs so little, not a lot of power is needed to propel it to astronomical performance figures.  0-60 times of under 3 seconds are common, even EXPECTED from these vehicles. 

If you install a 350 hp engine in the heaviest of ExoCars you still have a power to weight ratio of  1:4.  That means every hp only has to move 4 lbs.  That’s INSANE!  For comparison, the Enzo Ferrari weighs 3,009 lbs and unleashes 660 hp.  That equals 1:4.56 power to weight.  That’s extremely close, but lets compare prices.

These vehicles are available from many different manufacturers, as stated before, but they do all share a pretty common thread… Affordability.  These cars range in price from $12,000 – $80,000 depending on your wants and needs and options.  Most do hover around the $20,000 mark though.  Most are powered by very affordable and very common bone-yard engines such as the 2.0L Honda’s, the GM Ecotec’s, and the Dodge 2.4 Turbo from the SRT-4 family of vehicles.  These engines are all inexpensive, reliable, affordable, common, and best of all LIGHT WEIGHT!!

For more information and details concerning these cars, you can visit the dedicated ExoCars forum for the latest from manufacturers, build threads, info from owners and manufacturers, as well as cool pictures and videos.




2 Responses

  1. “There is a new trend emerging on the automotive scene-the minimalistic trend of ExoCars”. So putting the most powerful engine you can in the lightest chassis you can in a new trend…

    Where the hell have you been for the last 90 years?

    • Wow,
      Thanks for the comment. The basis of all high performance automotive design IS to put the most powerful engine you can find in the lightest chassis you can find/design. As you so eloquently put it, that’s been the trend for as long as the automobile has been around.

      The new trend is the ExoCar itself. The exposed tube frame design of the vehicle is the new trend. The fact that the vehicle is little more than a go-kart with an automotive engine. It would help if you read the whole article before trying to be cute.



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