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Learning how to build Lotus Seven replicas...together!
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PostPosted: May 10, 2017, 1:10 pm 
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Like I said it's just one of those wild (odd) thoughts. Actually the 850 engine/trans is small enough to easily go in the rear (with a little extension maybe) of a locost. Really as light as one is it could be a quite fun nimble car. Remember in the early days of Ca-Am the smaller two liter cars were beating up on the bigger cars. Because they could squirt around the corners & Ss. The chassis could be built even lighter than most are these days. Because it wouldn't have to absorb so much torque & horse power. Bigger is not always better (Un-American thinking I know LOL)


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PostPosted: May 10, 2017, 1:32 pm 
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Torque steer, understeer, braking/turning/accel with the same tires just don't seem like something to strive for imo but if it's what makes you happy go for it :D


Actually, the preponderance of rear drive and dearth of limited editions from Europe has more to do with the cost of emissions/crash testing than any inherent U.S. customer bias.
Look at how many modern cars :ack: are front drive, seems like most of them.
I also note that even Honda went from the N300/N600 to it's current models, what was that about "Bloated American cars"?

The Limited production models may be fun in Europe but the manufacturers appear to find the U.S. regulations more hassle than they are worth.
Several such past efforts have not gone well in the long run, think of the Merkur XR4Ti as an example.
Renault, ANY Renault, are now very rare in the U.S.
I've been trying to locate another Fuego five-speed transmission for a long time now, seems I would have to get one from Europe and they are no longer common there either.

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PostPosted: May 10, 2017, 3:06 pm 
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Sam_68 wrote:

Torque steer hasn't been a problem for some years, now. Ironically, it was Lotus who established a lot of the ground rules for curing it, with the M100 Elan, back in the '80's.

... but in any case, torque steer rather depends on having an engine that delivers an appreciable amount of torque, which is unlikely to be an issue for a Fiat 850!

A lot of the best and most fun driver's cars here in Europe (from the original Mini through to recent 'hot hatchbacks' like the Renault Clio Sport 200 Cup) have been FWD for decades, but the US market is so addicted to bloated boulevard cruisers that I guess many of them will have passed you by - the manufacturers simply won't bother exporting their more extreme models to the states?


No one told Nissan about that torque steer in the 90s I guess...Quite a few had it going into the 2000s :P (my nx2000 had lots of it for the first 3 gears at wot in boost :wink: ) but maybe not relevant in every situation. But my point is when pushed to the limits fwd cars will find their mechanical limits sooner if compared to similar weight/power rear drive cars.

All of Americans don't enjoy driving big bloated mashmellow riding cars. Ive always been jealous of the European "hothatch" market. Around my city sub 100hp cars are likely to get run over by a slightly distracted soccer mom hills in 265hp mini vans with hills and turns included. My first car was a 70s beetle, everything on the road was immensely faster everywhere. I learned to drive it with my right foot on the gas at all times just to try and stay out of the way. Pulling out of a dead end residential street everyday that lets onto a 55mph 3 lane road can sour the fun of small slow cars.


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PostPosted: May 11, 2017, 2:58 am 
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Front wheel drive became popular with manufacturers because of easy packaging & lowered production costs, not because of any inherent handling qualities. Actually, it's taken several decades of constant development to reduce FWD's inherent handling faults to a manageable level.

IMHO, if FWD was all that good, Formula 1 would use it. In F1, cost is no object in the pursuit of handling performance...

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PostPosted: May 11, 2017, 3:13 am 
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zetec7 wrote:
Front wheel drive became popular with manufacturers because of easy packaging & lowered production costs, not because of any inherent handling qualities. Actually, it's taken several decades of constant development to reduce FWD's inherent handling faults to a manageable level.

I wouldn't dispute it. But it's now been developed to the point where it can 'manageably' accept 300bhp+ and produce some stonkingly good performance cars in the process.

40bhp from a Fiat 850 isn't going to trouble it... the original Mini was doing that in the 1950's, and set a new benchmark in road car handling, above all the then current RWD sports cars, in the process.

Get a sense of perspective, guys.


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PostPosted: May 11, 2017, 3:45 am 
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You're quite right, and I had the pleasure of racing & rallying my Austin Mini Cooper Mk. 1 for many years. It was very competitive and, with some massaging of the suspension, it was a serious contender in all the competitions I entered. I was only every beaten once in an Autocross...by a Super 7.

FWD certainly has its place, and it can be a lot of fun. At the limits, though, RWD is more fun IMHO, and capable of delivering better overall performance.

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PostPosted: May 11, 2017, 9:31 am 
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FWD has two advantages not mentioned: First is the removal of the bulky transmission tunnel, but more important from a dynamics standpoint is that having all that weight over the driving wheels results in better traction under marginal traction conditions than front-engined-rear-drive, as anyone who has lived in snow country can probably attest.

The elephant in the room, however, is the perception that RWD is simply more FUN! While I agree to a large extent, I have had a very good time driving FWD cars quickly, and even though drifting isn't the same in one, if you're bored driving a fast FWD car, the problem is likely between your ears, not in the car.


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PostPosted: May 11, 2017, 6:30 pm 
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kreb wrote:
The elephant in the room, however, is the perception that RWD is simply more FUN!


Yes, I think it's just that: a perception, by people who lack the necessary knowledge and driving skill.

The two most fun cars I've ever owned for road use were a Lotus Elan Sprint and a Mini. I'd be hard pressed to call which was the most enjoyable, but at the time the Mini was approximately 30 times cheaper...

Lift-off oversteer in a FWD car can be just as much fun (or more so) than power oversteer in a RWD car; the 'Scandinavian Flick' was a standard driving technique in the Mini to kick it into oversteer then pull through it using the FWD traction.


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PostPosted: May 12, 2017, 3:02 pm 
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Mike S wrote:
I have an 850 Fiat Spider & a spare trans & 2 engines. It's a rear engine car. I was just thinking about how cool it might be to move the engine & trans up front. Build a front wheel drive with the engine in line. Unlike so many that are transverse mounted. Requiring a wider body. No more problem of the drive line tunnel. Just the reverse of what Lotus did with the Europa. The R16 Renault was a front wheel drive with the engine ahead of the trans. They just moved it to the rear & had a mid-engine set up. These days with so many front wheel drive cars & 4X4s. A set of front uprights shouldn't be hard to come by. Could do the same with an old VW bug engine & trans.



Hi Mike,
I am familiar with rear wheel drives and IMO they are excellent designs. My first car as a young man I a Fiat 600 which I enjoyed. Then I had a Simca RWD (forget the name) for a while. Later when I could afford it I bought a Porsche Carrera. These machines were all superior to the FWDs I had then , including a Renault LeCar.
My current build (the second seven) is a RWD. It was a deliberate choice. I went out and bought a 1965 Corvair and built a chassis for a seven that would receive the Chevy flat six in the back . Ultimately I think that this projects will be the closest thing to having a poor man's Porsche 911.
The jury is still out with respect to the respective merits of designs. and FWD-RWD , Mids.. it all boils down to personal preference and driving style. Recently a well documented argument was made in the press favouring the Porsche 911 (RWD) over another more recent Porsche with a mid engine. The bottom line was that a bit of oversteering is better than understeering...etc

Back to your question. A Fiat 850 RWD power train would be a suitable choice for a RWD rear engine seven. You may want to build a chassis that will accommodate the engine in the back. Move the seats forward as I did (about 12 "). Set your fuel tank in front, as well as the spare wheel). As others have suggested the 850 engine can be turned into a lively little monster if you need it . If you build your seven light it will be quite a machine. :cheers:


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PostPosted: May 12, 2017, 5:19 pm 
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Two years ago at the Good Guy's Run What You Brung autocross in Scottsdale AZ, everybody was humbled by a stock Ford Focus driven by an expert front wheel driver. The announcer kept rubbing it in to all the other "hot" cars when announcing their times: "That was a very respectable 28.933 seconds for the Corvette ZR-1, a full 4 seconds slower than the 3 door Ford Focus". The audience would just roar.

Tom

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PostPosted: May 12, 2017, 5:22 pm 
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The good guys "autocrosses" that I've seen have been far too tight to take advantage of musclecar power. What you're describing is like weightlifters playing tag. That's not what they're built for.


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