Sunday, May 27, 2007

Yay! I'm updating again!

Well, now that summer's almost here, I'm going to be updating again. However, it won't ALL be speakers - some of the stuff here will be covering recording equipment, and some of it will simply be twisted products of my own imagination.

Anyway, as I do not yet drive, I'm stuck imagining all the awesome cars I'd like to own. And I figure I ought to post one every Sunday, if only because I think of the silly things so often.
Car #1:
Homemade Lotus 7, A.K.A "Locost", with turbocharged Hayabusa engine.

The Lotus 7 is, by nature, a pretty simple concept: Make the car very light and streamlined, and it will go fast. Due to its simplicity, it is also the subject for a remarkably popular book: "How to build a sports car for under 250 pounds (british currency)." These low-cost sportscars, or "locost cars", are a great way to drive a glorious old roadster without the insane pricetag and annoyingly maintenance-intensive nature associated with

Trevor Davis' Locost Car of the Year, 2005

The majority of Locost cars use old 4-cylinder engines, usually those from cheap economy cars. While the cars they come from are often quite slow, the vastly reduced weight and excellent agility of the Lotus design make it a drivable sports car. As an added bonus, the engines are usually quite cheap - hence the 250 GBP theoretical total pricetag. And, in the case of many Honda engines, there are a wide variety of cheap aftermarket parts, which can turn a $2,000 roadster into a $3,000 four-wheeled missle.

However, massive horsepower is going to require a massive engine. While the end result is certianly an improvement over the engine from your Geo, the bigger engine does go against the philosophy of Lotus design: "Add Lightness." The Lotus was designed to be as light as possible.

But what if one could have the best of both worlds?

Enter the Hayabusa.

To put it simply, the Hayabusa is very likely the fastest bike on the planet. With the stock 170hp inline four-cylinder engine, it can reach speeds of well over 180mph. Of course, so can competing bikes from Yamaha and others...but that's only half the story.

Photo courtesy of

Apparently, the astounding 170hp from the Hayabusa's little 1.3 liter 4-cylinder engine is only scratching the surface. You see, the 170 horsepower from the tiny little 4-banger is the spec for normally-aspirated engine, fresh out of the box - no tuning. In its eight years of production, the Hayabusa has generated a large number of aftermarket parts - and these are what truly make this engine impressive.

While 170 horsepower seems insane from an engine the size of a breadbox , that's nothing compared to a fully 'rodded Hayabusa. With the addition of a turbocharger or supercharger - for which there are multiple options - and a bit of tuning, 300 to 400 horsepower is not uncommon. There are reports of maxed-out Hayabusas, equipped with nitrous injection, capable of over seven hundred break horsepower!

In fact, Caterham has built exactly this: A modified version of the Lotus Seven, called the Caterham Super 7 Hayabusa. Availible from the factory with up to 350 horsepower from a modified Hayabusa engine, it's one of the fastest cars made today, capable of leaving Porsches and Ferraris in its wake. It boasts a 0-60 time of under 3.5 seconds, and that's for the baseline 185hp version.

Of course, anything this awesome is not going to be cheap. But then again, there's a thriving community of people building knock-offs of exactly this car. Considering that a Hayabusa enigne can be had in very good condition for less than $3,000, why not just build one yourself?

Well, I'd like to. Eventually.


Next week: Mopar hoonage!

No comments: