Geo Metro halved for better mileage


[Doug Heffron] modified this 1989 Geo Metro way back in 1993. Gas prices had just started breaking $1.00/gallon and he wanted to show manufacturers how to build a fuel efficient vehicle in such troubling times. The car already got 58mpg (Prius: 46mpg), but [Doug] decided he could do better with some aero modifications. The car was converted to tandem seating and stripped of any extra weight. In its final form, it got 75mpg, but then gas prices stabilized and it was laid to rest in a shed. You can find out more about the car and see photos from the build on its site (painful resizing).

[via Autoblog]

Comments

  1. James says:

    I’ve seen the unmodified versions of these things after a highway crash, and I seriously question his definition of “safe”.

    If you look up the average highway fatality stats before and after CAFE standards went into effect, you’ll see what I mean…

  2. Jeffs3rd says:

    This thing can’t seriously be street legal, can it?

  3. Kit says:

    Getting higher gas mileages isn’t that hard to do. Cars could be produced that get up to the 60~70 mpg range by stripping off all the heavy protective framework. But those cars would get destroyed in accidents, and never meet the required safety standards to be put into production.

    Recently though, they’ve started designing cars to ‘crumble’ in a controlled fashion, to improve crash ratings while remaining light, but are still fairly expensive. Or you could make your own and just pray you never get hit.

  4. *.Safe
    *.Fuel Efficient
    *.Cheap

    … pick two

  5. Orv says:

    @1: The NHTSA crash test ratings for later Metros are actually pretty good. The early ones like this one aren’t so hot, though.

    @2: Why not? He hasn’t modified any of the required safety equipment. It’s still got bumpers, headlights, and tail lights. Why wouldn’t it be legal if the original car was?

    Actually, this may shock you, but in most states you can actually *build your own car* from scratch and license it for road use as long as it passes a basic inspection.

  6. alfiesauce says:

    This can’t be any more unsafe than cruising down the road at mock chicken on a moped.
    And to refine #5 to explain why the Prius gets less mpg than this unit-
    safe or lightweight

  7. Orv says:

    @6: Yeah, true, compared to a motorcycle this thing is extremely safe. ;)

  8. alfiesauce says:

    And 4 season friendly for those of us who have to deal with winter 10 months of the year.

  9. tanntraad says:

    Norway:

    Unleaded 95: $9,90/gallon
    Diesel: $10,16/gallon

    Think I’ll strip down my car now..

  10. giskard says:

    This car could make a great base for an electric conversion. It’s already light and low drag, and with all the space on the passenger side for the battery box, and posible a generator for series hibrid use, you could get some serious range.

  11. Dean says:

    If my geo metro wasn’t my only source of transportation, i might consider doing something like this to it. last year it cost $20 twice a month to fill the tank, but now it’s more like $35…

  12. static says:

    There is street legal and legal to sell in large scale. In most States if the car retains the basic safety items to pass annual inspection, along with the emissions inspection, modified cars generally are considered street legal. Then of course the is my home State Kansas that has no annual vehicle inspections of any kind. However that doesn’t mean you can get by not having basic safety items if LE notes that there not there.

    As far back as 1974 cars where designed so the sheet metal crumple to absorb the crash energy. The fact that a car has terrible looking damage after an accident doesn’t really mean that car is inherently unsafe.

    I have to be sure a person capable of creating custom transmission gears, would also be able to retain the car’s crash safety features.

    Both the manufacturers and the vehicle buyers share the blame. Even if the manufacturer did offer economical auto, the buyer gets rid of them the moment it becomes affordable to consume more. Perhaps that’s about to change as gas here in the US moves onto $5

  13. Rune says:

    @9
    For comparion, here are the Danish prices right now:

    unleaded 92: 11.65 DKK/liter or 9.19 USD/gallon
    unleaded 98: 11.97 DKK/liter or 9.44 USD/gallon
    diesel: 11.35 DKK/liter or 8.95 USD/gallon

  14. KP says:

    Are there any good resources for aeromodding or on basic aerodynamics out there?

  15. tim says:

    you can lower the drag coefficient of a civic hatchback anywhere from .26 all the way to a crazy .17
    http://ecomodder.com/forum/showthread.php/aerocivic-how-drop-your-cd-0-34-0-a-290.html

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