It is quite difficult to describe what I have in mind with this car, especially to anyone that hasn't experienced bike-engined cars. My Fisher Fury R1 is raw by most people's definition but, this will take it to another level and yet add some 'practicality' and more quality at the same time. It might even have a reverse gear! Personally, I don't have a problem with the tag 'kit car'. It encompasses a wide range of vehicles, some of truly outstanding quality and better than the best mainstream production cars. By any definition, what I plan here is not a 'kit car'. It is a bespoke, one-off development of an extreme road car. I plan to use the best technology and designs I can, within my allocated budget.
The original Lotus Elise was a light-weight, mid-engined car with superb handling and involvement. I know, because I bought one. When it was conceived, it had a target weight of 600Kg and a roof that was described as a temporary measure to get you home. The Elise is basic inside but, is still relatively practical and usable on and every day basis. The Lotus Elise S1 that was launched in 1996 actually weighed over 720Kg and this was largely due to the addition of doors and some compromises to keep the costs down. If you take a S1 Lotus Elise and remove the doors, boot, radio and heater, then you have a pretty good idea of the sort of car I have in mind. Only a lot lighter. I like to think that this is the car Colin Chapman would have built next, a 'Lotus Elise Super Light' if you like (and no it is not going to be called that).
My currently preference is for a front mid-engined layout much like my Fisher Fury R1. The main reason is that this provides a more balanced looking car and also enables good weight distribution.
The design brief for car includes improved practicality. Time spent recently with a mkIV Mazda MX-5 proved really useful and this experience provided some good insight. I'm looking to add practicality in the form of:
- 100mm ground clearance in normal setup
- Removeable windscreen and surround
- Interior heater with windscreen demist capability
- Contour fit hard-top roof, which looks like part of the car, with wiper mechanism
- Removeable rear window and side windows
- IVA means that I will have to fit a reverse gear
- A usable boot capable of holding a spare wheel and tyre if need be
- Still no doors but I'm lowering the side cockpit height by 100mm to make it easier to get into.
Instead of a aluminium chassis tub, I wanted to use composites, with the resulting tub exposed on both the inside and outside. There may be coloured, exterior protective panels along the sides but, these will be very minimal. There will be no doors and you will have to step into the car. To keep the costs under control, the plan is to now use a steel space frame chassis.
|The chassis will have integral roll hoops and mounting points for both an aeroscreen or a full windscreen with surround.|
The windscreen frame and roll hoop moulding enables a removeable roof and gull wing door/window to be clipped in place. You may well wonder why go to such effort on an ultra-light track-day machine but, the simple fact is that sometimes I am happy to compromise performance slightly, if it means that I can drive the car in a wider range of weather conditions and over longer distances. In the summer months, the car will only have an aeroscreen fitted.
|Styling will be modern but, with a beautiful flowing curves. The closest car I had previously seen to what I have in mind is the Jaguar F-Type concept from 2000. In terms of styling it is remarkably close to what I'm looking to do but, my car will be much smaller. There will also be no doors to break up those curves. This is a modified photo of what I have in mind.|
|This Sergio Pininfarina concept is very close to what I have in mind too.|
400kg is a very ambitious target to meet and there are a few things that will make this target weight realistic and achievable, whilst also providing a degree of practicality that is currently missing from my Fisher Fury R1:
- The 400Kg target does not include the roof panels, gull-wing doors and roll cage, which will be optional.
- The 400kg target does not include the windscreen and rear window which will be detachable but, it does include the optional aeroscreen.
To be honest, my Fisher Fury R1 is about as fast a car as you need on UK roads. The opportunity to use its full potential does not occur very often but, since I'm going to the effort of designing a replacement, it kind of makes sense to add a bit more power. The transmission design results in a top speed of 140mph in 6th gear at maximum engine revs and it should get there quite quickly. 0-60mph should be achieved in about 4 seconds and 0-100mph in less than 8 seconds.
I plan to use a motorbike engine again. This time, I will be looking for a bit more power. 180bhp minimum (equates to 450bhp/ton) but, I'd like to get more if possible. My weight target is more important though.
I'm currently working to the following dimensions for this car:
- Overall length = 3300mm
- Wheelbase = 2160mm
- Maximum width = 1680mm
- Ground clearance (normal) = 100mm
- Height to top of screen height = 920mm
- Height to windscreen base = 700mm
- Step into car height = 600mm
Does this car make sense? Does it have mass appeal? Will it sell? These are questions that I don't really care about. This car is being designed by me, for me. Whilst I'll do everything I can to make it easy to build and produce in small numbers, I have no intention of making it a commercial enterprise. I quite like owning and driving a car that is totally unique.
Some of the ideas, designs and components described on this website are also be tested out on my Fisher Fury R1.
|Kimini - How to design a mid-engined sports car from scratch by Kurt W. Bilinski|