[CR]Colin Chapman's Lotus and weight theory

(Example: Events:Cirque du Cyclisme:2004)

From: "garth libre" <rabbitman@mindspring.com>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>
Date: Sun, 27 Jan 2002 17:56:57 -0500
Subject: [CR]Colin Chapman's Lotus and weight theory

I feel that the list has largely lost the main thrust of my point in reference to Colin Chapman's theory that nothing can compensate for excess weight, where handling in concerned. The Elan, (failure prone or not), is a sub 1,600 lb car, with only 126 hp on tap, coming from a 1.6 liter 4 cyl. The car's independent rear end with unequal control arms is generally considered one of the world's greatest sportscar designs. Performance was top speed 121 mph and 0-60 6.7 seconds. With modern tires this early 70's design will whip the backside of just about any Porsche, Ferrari or you name it, ever made, in a fair fight on a tight SCCA autocross track.

The modern approach to cars in general is devoid of connection to the task of driving. Even modern sportscars come with non-sequitors such as power seats, power windows, CD players, air-conditioning, power steering, on board guidance systems, cell phones, automatic transmissions, etc. Modern cars in general are so big, fat and bloated that they encourage the owners to resemble their cars as dog owners oft resemble their dogs. Even modern trends in car modifications oft include the addition of 24 lb 18 inch rims with stupid super low profile tires (40 series and now 35 series!!!!!) that no race car has ever had. Note Formula cars very often sport light weight 13 inch rims while even Daytona stockers have 15 inchers. Drivers continue to become more and more isolated from the task of driving as they become more insulated from road feedback, engine rpm's, and current SUV's lift them many feet from the road, defying physics for only a while before the inevitable rollover, with cell phone in hand.

Owning a ultra stripped down sports car with low horsepower and high handling quotient, will teach driving skills as no truck turned family car ever can. Owning a lightweight bike with nothing more to power it than the heart and soul of the rider will open one to life as no gas guzzling behemoth can. Mr. Chapman may have been guilty of a few mistakes in the execution, but his main thrust was exactly on.

Garth Libre in Surfside Fl. (One day I may own a Lotus to keep company with it's 2,200 lb grandson the race-ready Miata).