Subject: Re: Definition of a Sports Car
>Even though I think the Miata is probably one of the more true-in-name of
>the term "sports car", my definition of a sports car usually includes the
>factor that the car is not a convertible.
As they say here in Minnesota: That's different.
>This is mainly from a structural standpoint... and becomes less of an issue
>as cars get stiffer.
There's part of the difference between performance car and sports car.
The most important thing about a performance car is numbers. How fast does
it accelerate. What is the maximum speed. How quickly does it brake. What
lateral g-forces can it generate. How fast can it negotiate a given course.
The most important thing about a sports car is how much fun it is to drive
it. The wind in the hair can be a big part of that. The Europa is clearly a
sports car, even though it has a fixed roof and even though ACBC really
envisioned it as a European GT car. But my wife feels that a real sports
car must have a top that goes down and a seating position rather more
upright than a Formula Ford. So the TR4 suits her idea of a sports car more
closely. It stands to reason that, at a similar level of development and
prep, the Europa will still blow the doors off the TR4 on an autocross
course. A strange reversal can occur here. The stick of the car as it
increases to be higher performance can actually reduce the sports-car fun in
street use. The Europa, and even the Midget, could not be driven in a
sporting manner on the street if the car was wearing sticky autocross tires.
The speeds need to work the car were simply too high. Jails, hospitals or
death would likely occur first. On the other hand, a Midget with sway bars
and skinny all-weather tires can be driven safely to a very sporting edge
and be virtually unnoticed.
One other factor that occurs to me is isolation. The heavier the car and
the more isolated the driver is from the road and the weather, the less
"sports car" it becomes.
This does not seem to be a serious discussion of the correct definition of
"sports car". I am very grateful for that. That would be a
largely-fruitless exercise. Better we should just drive them and have fun.
Now, for the purposes of Solo 2 autocross rules, the definition of sports
car seems to be cars which do not qualify under the official definition of
"sedan". Close enough.
>And I agree with the 2 door, 2 seats, and less than 3000lbs... but I think
The later incarnation of the Lotus Elan is a sports car. Trust me on this.
>with an LSD would be good.
Actually, in a Europa, a Limited-Slip Differential is seriously ungood.
Dedicated readers of this list know how I disabled mine to improve the
low-speed (Hey! That's autocross!) handling markedly. A TorSen-type
differential might not sabotage the car with overwhelming understeer like
the more-common Salisbury or Positraction styles. Since the car certainly
has no problems with wheelspin in cornering, it seems particularly foolish
to have spent the time, money and effort to put the damned thing in there.
Phil Ethier Saint Paul Minnesota USA
1970 Lotus Europa, 1992 Saturn SL2, 1986 Suburban, 1962 Triumph TR4 CT2846L
LOON, MAC email@example.com http://www.mnautox.com/
Daughter Amanda has presented us with a second grandchild. Sirena Mae
arrived on the first day of Spring 2001, weighing 7 pounds 3 ounces.