My submission will be in after work tonight.
The Criterion Motors, Pierrie Ecoshaker.
The reason you shouldn’t buy anything else.
[IMG 1] Rear Center High Mount Taillamp for safety, reducing rear end collisions!
[IMG 2] The Ecoshaker hood forces air into the engine at highway speeds to increase efficieny and reduce engine pumping loses!
[IMG 3] Securi-Tanks! Equipped with dual 16 gallon tanks and a 37.7mpg*, you have a 1200 range! Our Securi-Tank fuel doors prevent fuel theft!
[IMG 4] Optional front guard available for $100, why let mother nature stop you from enjoying your fuel economy?
*37.7mpg est highfuel economy, 26.3 combined mpg
Entries are now closed! Expect the first round of reviews within 24 hours!
The Baltazar Quark
1974 Quark 1500 E Auto, 3-speed automatic gearbox, 24 mpg, all for $6,300
Sorry for the late ad, the car itself was sent in time. Sort of.
1974 Bogliq Horizon GL
Bogliq USA was caught on the wrong foot with the fuel crisis so they partnered with Wentworth in England to import a whole bunch of their Horizons to fill the gap. The Horizons were imported engineless to get around car import laws and have been fitted with Gamma family small 4 cylinder engines to make them very parsimonious with fuel usage…
Price is $6544 AMU’s or $1,485 USD
Please note, the first batch still had Wentworth badges on them so they’ll be more collectible later on in life!!!
(Thanks zschmeez for accepting my car even though I was late by half an hour or so… Much appreciated!)
Buy better, buy Bogliq
December 5, 1973
Los Angeles, CA
It had been a week since John had the brilliant idea of buying a more efficient car. He had finally managed to find some gas for his Impala, but still, it seemed to be getting worse by the day. On his way home from work, John stopped at a local store, and bought a copy of that month’s edition of Motor Review World. Arriving at home, John made himself some coffee, sat down, and started reading through the reviews.
@abg7 - Hanson Heron 2.0
“…was surprisingly quick in our tests. However, with rather unremarkable styling, and mediocre fuel economy, there are better options for the price.”
“Hmm…” thought John. “Maybe not this one. Let’s see what else there is…”
@B1ill4Har8din1 - Voguish Parliament
“…a more premium option in the compact space. However, the odd use of different size tires front and rear, underwhelming performance, and high cost, means we’d recommend you look elsewhere.”
John shook his head, sighed, sipped his coffee, and flipped to the next review.
@Tsundere-kun - MingXing YingYang
“…with very odd styling, including rear suicide doors. Combined with its inability to use regular leaded gas, thanks to a catalytic converter, and its poor fuel economy, we would shy away from the MingXing YingYang.”
“What an odd looking car…” John thought, before flipping to the next page.
@Jaimz - FM HiWay GE2000
“…an excellent compact sports car. However, it is not really ideal as an economy car, with seats lacking in padding, and an uncomfortable ride thanks to the sport suspension. If you want a lower cost sports car, the HiWay GE2000 is an excellent choice. If you’re in the market for a commuter car, we’d look elsewhere.”
“Yeah, I think not,” thought John, crossing the car off the list. “Too much sport, not enough economy.”
@Camjkerman - Estrada Citadel
“…a handsome car, let down by its internals. The 3 cylinder engine and 3 speed manual transmission are inadequate for a car in this day and age. While it is cheap, it’s definitely not the best option out there.”
“A 3-speed, in a modern car? Really?” John crossed the car off the list.
@VicVictory - Keystone B1400 Savant
“…cheap to buy, cheap to maintain, but lacking in any features that make it stand out from the crowd. Combined with only average fuel economy for this segment, and the severe lack of comfort, we would not recommend the Keystone B1400 Savant.”
“Nope,” thought John. “LA roads are bad enough already, I need something at least somewhat comfortable.”
@Conan - AEKI Krabba 1400
“…attractive retro styling, but only average fuel consumption. The manual transmission is also rather closely spaced, meaning you’ll be shifting a lot. Not exactly ideal for a long commute. Still, if the styling is appealing to you, the Krabba 1400 remains a decent option.”
“Eh, seems a bit outdated,” thought John. “Let’s see what else there is.”
@Flamers - FC-Feino Mk I
“…one of the most comfortable in the batch we tested. However, it is also one of the more expensive, and the very complicated 16 valve engine means that overall reliability is questionable at best. We’d recommend you stick with more mature technology.”
“Well, it does look pretty nice. But I want something a bit more reliable.” Thought John.
@NormanVauxhall - Znopresk Z214FS
“…more traditional layout, with a solid rear axle. With many of the cars we tested having independent rear suspension, this felt like a definite step backwards, and it did make it a less comfortable place to be. On the plus side, fuel consumption was rather good for a car of this size, predicted service costs are low, and the editors found the car to have a great presence and excellent styling.”
“Hmm… reminds me of a smaller version of my Chevy. I might go check it out. Also has plenty of interior space, so might be good for the carpool.” John made a note to call up the dealership the next day.
@BoostandEthanol - Keika Tour
“…almost unreasonably slow, taking 19 seconds to reach 60 miles per hour. On the plus side, the interior is very comfortable, and the automatic transmission tuned for highway mileage nets a very good 32 MPG highway. However, the rather complicated drivetrain is bound to inflate repair costs, so this might not be the best for long term running costs.”
“19 seconds to 60? How am I going to keep up with LA traffic?” thought John. He crossed the Keika off his list.
@SkylineFTW97 - DMV Gust Sport
“…rather bland styling, and very poor ride quality and interior. The very peppy 3 cylinder does manage to make the car feel quick, and delivers above average fuel economy, but the very harsh ride ruins the whole experience. For commuting use, we would not recommend the DMV Gust Sport.”
“I’m only getting older,” John thought to himself. “Maybe such an uncomfortable car isn’t a great idea.” He crossed it off the list.
@Nicking_HC - CSM Canastar PC Sedan
“…well-priced, but with the smallest rear doors we’ve seen, and an underpowered engine, we’ve definitely seen better. Fuel economy was slightly below average in our tests, and comfort was about on par with many of the other options in the class.”
“How is anyone supposed to fit through those doors?” John thought to himself. “Not exactly great for carpool…” He crossed it off the list.
@EchoWaffle8 - Humanoidsautomobile C2120 GS
“…was astonishingly quick, though the speed came with some drawbacks. Fuel economy wasn’t great, especially considering the car’s small size. Interior comfort was about average. However, our biggest concern would be the very complex dual overhead cam engine, a technology which still needs more time to mature.”
“Not exactly a very big car, either. At that size, I’d honestly like a bit more fuel economy.” John flipped to the next page.
@Knugcab - IP Freeway Star 1300 Astro Royal
“…a rather intriguing concept. Instead of making a smaller car for the gas crunch, IP made a smaller van. As such, it’s rather heavy, not exactly quick, and doesn’t do great on gas. Combined with a lack of comfort, we’d recommend you look elsewhere.”
“A van? Yeah, I think I’ll pass.” Shaking his head, John flipped to the next page.
@Machalel - Epoch - M10 A1500 (74)
“…does not excel at anything in all honesty. It is one of the more expensive cars we tested, but really, your money does not get you anything special. Fuel consumption is slightly below average, comfort is alright but not excellent, and the car as a whole feels rather sluggish. We’d recommend looking elsewhere.”
“Yeah, that’s just a tad too pricey for what it is.” John turned the page.
@Marcus_GT500 - Ishima 770
“…rather poor as a whole. While the Ishima has rather attractive styling and an even more attractive price tag, we’ve heard horror stories of severe injuries in crashes. Past investigation has revealed the use of shoddy welding in many key places, making the car liable to crush you in anything bigger than a fender bender. Until these quality issues are taken care of, we would strongly recommend you not purchase the Ishima 770.”
“Yikes, that’s not good. I don’t really feel like being crushed by my car.” John turned to the next review.
@Obfuscious - Wisconsin Motors Gazogene
“…the perfect car for a gas crisis. Sure, it’s not very comfortable. Sure, it’s rather slow. This is still one of the most intriguing cars we’ve tested. Able to run on any combustible fuel, such as wood or coal, you will never have to worry about a gas crisis again. And even if you are running it on gasoline, you can expect over 30 MPG. If you are in the market for a modern economy car, we would definitely recommend you consider the Gazogene.”
“A wood burning car, you say… Very interesting.” John made a note to visit the dealership, and turned the page to the next review.
@thecarlover - Dominion Fox Deluxe
“…a decent, if not outstanding, economy car. The Fox delivers fuel consumption about on par with the rest of our test vehicles, along with middling performance and slightly below average comfort. However, we believe there to be better options on the market.”
“Yeah, seems a bit… well, boring. Doesn’t really stand out.” John took another sip from his coffee mug, and turned the page.
@TheTom - AMW Cricket
“…a rather average cheap car. Styling is unremarkable, and rather bland depending on your angle, and the interior lacks comfort. Fuel economy is above average, but there is nothing that really makes the AMW Cricket stand out to us. There are likely better options on the market.”
John yawned, and looked at his watch. “Hopefully this will be done soon” he thought to himself.
@Xepy - Ars Zepar E1500
“…a good low-cost economy car. The Zepar combines attractive styling with above average fuel economy and a nice interior. It also feels plenty quick, thanks to a torquey flat 4 engine, and will have no problems keeping up with traffic. The best bit is the price, starting at just $6694. We’d definitely recommend the Ars Zepar E1500.”
“Huh, I like the look of that. Seems actually pretty good all around, especially for the price.” John made a note to call the dealership in the morning.
@yangx2 - Saibou Hajime
“…a very handsome car let down by some bad engineering decisions. While this is very cheap, and very fuel efficient, it has one massive flaw. Its transmission is a 2 speed manual unit, which would be more at home on a farm tractor than a modern economy car. As a result, we would not recommend the Saibou Hajime.”
“A 2 speed? I think Grandpa’s Model T has one of those.” John quickly turned to the next page.
@DukeOFhazards - Yotata FTi
“…at $8,162, this is by far the most expensive car in the batch. Combined with middling fuel economy, below average performance, and an interior completely unbefitting of the price, we would not recommend the Yotata FTi.”
“Yeah, that’s a bit out of my budget,” thought John, crossing the car off the list.
@Mikonp7 - Deer And Hunt Reema 1970 Eco
“…a light truck masquerading as an economy car. As such, it’s not very good at being economical, with rather poor fuel consumption, and comfort is severely lacking. We’d look elsewhere for an economical commuter car.”
“Yeah, I think I’ll pass on this one. Just seems a bit too overkill.”
“…an excellent piece of efficient engineering. With an outstanding fuel economy of nearly 38 MPG highway, this is the most efficient vehicle we’ve tested so far. It also manages to be reasonably quick, easy to drive, and plenty comfortable. We would wholeheartedly recommend the Epsilon 1200 eC.”
“Wow, 38 MPG. That’s definitely worth taking a look.” John made a note to call the dealership.
@Dorifto_Dorito - Nohda Assent Gen 2
“…delivered rather good fuel consumption for its size. However, the car itself was very uncomfortable to drive, was not exactly quick, and just was not as good as some of the other vehicles we tested.”
“Shame about the bad interior. I like the looks of that one. Oh well…” John flipped the page.
@4LGE - PMD Sino (Taore 616)
“… delivers rather good fuel economy for its size, with a highway rating of 34 MPG. The Sino is also well priced, rather speedy, and overall, an excellent option. We also appreciated the styling, which we found to be unique and rather quirky. At a starting price of $6,273, we would definitely recommend the PMD Sino.”
“Yeah, definitely like the looks of that one. Should be worth a test drive.” John made a note to visit the dealership when he had a chance.
@Chipskate - Arai Starling 1300GL
“…a very attractive option in the economy segment. The Starling delivers an incredible 37 MPG highway, attractive styling, a low purchase price, and decent performance. It also comes standard with some very advanced safety equipment, and a reasonable, if not outstanding, interior. With prices starting at only $6,471, we would definitely recommend the Starling 1300GL.”
“Well, I like the sound of that.” John made a note to visit the dealership.
@Crash77 - Concord Gran Belray Eco
“…completely misses the point of being an economy car. The Concord Gran Belray is - there’s no other word for it - enormous. It is very much a car designed before the oil crisis. The 4.9 liter V8, strangled by a single barrel carburetor, makes a depressing 104 horsepower, and the overall fuel economy is an incredibly poor 11.4 MPG. We would not recommend this car if economy is anywhere on your shopping list.”
“I’ve already got my Impala,” thought John. “ I don’t really need another gas guzzling land yacht.”
@Der_Bayer - BAM Bavaria 414 JC-E
“…fuel efficient, but also very expensive. The Bavaria 414 delivers unique styling and a very efficient engine, but is a bit lacking in performance and comfort, especially for the price. On the plus side, the interior is well appointed, and it comes with very advanced safety equipment, but these positives simply cannot outweigh the extremely pricey nature of this car.”
“$7999? Yeah, that’s a bit much.” John siupped his coffee, and moved on to the next review.
@Knightophonix - FAAL Foreia 25DM US
“…a welcome blast from the past. This car presents as large and in charge, though this does hurt fuel economy a bit. The 5 cylinder diesel engine provides 28 MPG highway, a respectable number for a car of this size. The large interior is rather basic, however, and the high price tag and poor fuel consumption compared to most of the economy cars we’ve tested means this isn’t ideal for a fuel-starved world.”
“Hmm… large and in charge is right. Really like how that one looks,” John mused. “Not great on gas, though. I think I’ll look elsewhere.”
@nerd - Rado Communt 67 Standard
“…we thought someone had spiked our morning coffee when this monstrosity arrived at our test track. Straight from the good ol’ USSR, the Rado Communt features a terrible 1.1 liter 4 cylinder making slightly more power than a lawnmower. Combined with a 3-speed transmission from a few decades ago, it struggled to even reach highway speeds. Luckily, this car will never be available in the US market, as it fails to meet even the most basic safety and emissions standards. How it ever ended up on our track remains a mystery.”
“I knew communism was bad, but I didn’t know it was that terrible…” thought John. “What a pile of junk.”
@SilverRemix - Aniki Siera
“…delivers acceptable fuel economy, but doesn’t do anything particularly well. The main issue is the overly complex engine, with a 4 cam V6 of only 1.7 liters displacement. While this may sound impressive, it only makes 75 horsepower, meaning that the car is actually rather slow. Combined with the poor comfort and bland styling, the Siera would not be the top of our list.”
“Wait a minute… 4 cams… Last I checked, that was a Ferrari thing. What’s it doing in an economy car?” John shrugged, and sipped his coffee. He could see that he was getting close to the end of the magazine.
@Stm316 - G&W Seax 1960 - 2700 L (US)
“…a sporty grand tourer trying to pass off as an economy car. However, it is rather difficult to drive, and delivers pretty poor fuel economy, so it achieves neither goal. The only thing that stood out to us was the smooth overhead cam straight 6, which did deliver quite good performance. However, if you are shopping for an economy car, we would recommend you look elsewhere.”
“Yeah, not really what I’m looking for,” thought John. He turned the page.
@Mr.Computah - Ascari EM (Coupe)
“…reminded us of the muscle cars of the 1960s, though without any of the performance. With mediocre fuel economy, only slightly above average performance, and poor interior comfort, this car really isn’t very good at anything. The only high point for us was the styling, which we did find to be rather attractive.”
“Yeah, I don’t think I want an economical muscle car, thought John. “Kinda defeats the purpose.”
@Rk38 - Beneventi Viato 1300 (US Spec)
“…delivers slightly above average, but is rather average as a whole. The styling is quirky, though not overly attractive, and the car as a whole seems rather average. The major issue we have with it is the complex engine, which features dual overhead camshafts. This is technology not seen often on more budget-oriented cars, and as such, it may still need more time to mature.”
“Hmm… not a huge fan of the styling,” thought John. “Seems a tad overdone. And the gas mileage isn’t great either. I think I’ll go with something else.”
@EnryGT5 - Seishido Achernar 1600LX
“…attractive styling, let down by less than impressive fuel economy and performance. The seats and ride both made for a rather uncomfortable driving experience, mainly let down by a leaf sprung live rear axle. Another major flaw was the lack of power steering, which, with the car’s weight, made it rather difficult to drive. Overall, if you are looking for an economy car, there are better options.”
“Well I do like the looks,” thought John. “But I’d prefer better gas mileage.”
@DeadlockRiff - Pirrie Ecoshaker
“…a rather odd vehicle, to be perfectly honest. Featuring a unique dual fuel tank system, a hood scoop advertised to reduce pumping losses at high speed, and a third brake light to prevent rear end collisions, this is definitely the most unusual vehicle we’ve reviewed so far. However, this car is let down by its only average fuel economy and an overly strangled engine.”
“What an odd car,” thought John, taking another sip of coffee. “Still, gas mileage isn’t great. Maybe I’ll look elsewhere.”
@Leonardo9613 - Quark 1500E Auto
“…features styling which we would almost describe as ‘cute.’ Other than the styling, however, the Quark 1500E is rather generic. Fuel consumption is slightly below average for our test group, and comfort can best be described as ‘fine.’ This isn’t a bad car by any means, but there are definitely better options out there. Though at only $6,333 with an automatic transmission, the price is more than fair.”
“Yeah, seems almost a bit boring,” thought John, turning the page.
@HighOctaneLove - Bogliq Horizon GL
“…impressed us with its styling, but disappointed us with its performance. Where the Horizon GL really excels is with its visual design. The car looks imposing, and very handsome. It even manages rather respectable fuel economy, of 30 MPG highway. Sadly, this comes at great cost to performance, with a 1.3 liter 4 cylinder that takes a painful 19 seconds to reach 62 mph. If it weren’t for the engine, this car would definitely be high up on our list, and at a price of $6548, it delivers a lot of car for not a lot of money.”
“Man, it’s a real shame about that engine,” sighed John. “I really do like the styling.”
John closed the magazine, and finished off his coffee. On the table sat the list of the 6 cars he would test drive. “Soon,” he thought to himself. “Soon, I will be free of the pains of the oil crisis.”
Final reviews will be out sometime in the next 24 hours.
This might sound like a whinge, but I’m trying to find ways to improve my engineering. It’s your round, and you know what John is looking for, but I have to ask, what would have been “good” driveability?
I thought 25Mpg @ 55Mph was quite good (2.2 gallons an hour?) [My RL car gets around that, I have a heavy foot], for a 2.7L engine, and it’s about 80% better at suburban speeds.
From the challenge description and requirements I thought that John had a budget of $8000 and tried to find the best car within the budget. While I don’t think I had one of the overall best car stats-wise (I would have had to choose FWD for that), it was still a bit misleading to not have the purchase price as a medium to high priority factor in the challenge description (it seems like it that, looking at your reviews, value for price was important).
Still, it was a fun challenge, I’m looking forward to the final results!
I had an Automation rating of 26 MPG, and detailed stats showed about 32 MPG @ 55 MPG. And I still got knocked somewhat for fuel economy.
The kicker was then also getting knocked for comfort, but anything I would have done to improve that would have negatively impacted both reliability and economy, which I was focusing more on. Personally I’m still trying to figure out what people do here to get such insanely good fuel economy numbers without turbos. My engine was running pretty damn lean, had a decently economical cam, and theoretically should have been pretty well power matched to the body.
That said… good challenging round, zschmeez.
John must be a very picky man indeed…
But you deserve kudos for determining the finalists right away. And yes, I should have gone for a smaller engine for economy’s sake.
Well, he’s got a whopping 39 cars to choose from. So it doesn’t take the rest of December for him to choose a car, he has to be rather picky.
Hehe. Still can’t get over how the 1974 Ford Gran Torino’s 4.9 V8 got out 14 mpg. Well, good luck picking the best eco car!
I hope the stats are released of all entrants at the end.
December 6, 1973
Los Angeles, CA
John left the house, behind the wheel of his Impala. Sure, the gas in his tank was draining away at a prodigious rate, but this would be about to change. Today, he would be buying his new commuter car, one that would get him to and from work every day for years to come, while using as little gas as possible.
@Obfuscious - Wisconsin Motors Gazogene
John’s first stop of the day was at the local Wisconsin Motors dealership, just off the 405. This was the home of the Gazogene, a car which could apparently run on wood, coal, or anything combustible. Though he was not really planning on buying it, John definitely wanted to take a look, since it was one of the more interesting things he’d seen in quite a while.
Arriving at the dealership, John stepped out of the Chevy, and was greeted by a friendly salesman. They proceeded to walk over to a Gasogene parked in front of the dealership, and the salesman began to explain the system to him. “So first, you have to knock out any soot in the air intake in the front, as it could interfere with combustion. Then you can fill the hopper with whatever you want, as long as it’ll burn.”
“Can it run on regular gas, if I don’t want to worry about coal?” John asked.
“Yes, it can, and it even gets up to 34 MPG highway. There’s a 5 gallon fuel tank in the back. Anyways, as I was saying, you fill it up with whatever you want to burn. We use coal at the dealership because it’s the most convenient. Then you flip this switch, here on the front, to “Pre”, which will start the warmup process. This usually takes around 5-10 minutes.” The salesman flipped the switch, starting the warmup process.
“10 minutes?? What if I just want to go to work?”
“Well, you can start it from the gas tank, and let it warm up as you drive. Just turn the fuel dial inside to “gasoline” and turn the key. Once the temp is in the green, you can switch over to “hopper” and run on whatever’s in the hopper. It explains all of this in the manual, make sure to follow it closely so you don’t damage anything.”
“Fascinating. Mind if I drive it?” asked John.
“Of course. I’ll go get the keys.” The salesman walked back inside, and came out with the keys. “We can leave in a few minutes, it’s almost done warming up.”
John and the salesman waited around for another couple of minutes, until finally, the Gazogene was ready. John sat down in the driver’s seat, and the salesman got in the passenger seat. John then turned the key, and the car’s rear-mounted 1 liter 3 cylinder sprung to life.
Pulling out of the dealership, John was not very impressed with the performance. He had to work the car pretty hard to get up to the 45 mph speed limit on the road. “Is it supposed to be this slow?” he asked the salesman.
“It’s the usual tradeoff. Do you want fast, or efficient? The head honchos went for efficient. 0-62 in 19.5 seconds, by the way.”
“Huh. Alright then,” replied John. Putting his foot to the floor, he accelerated up the highway ramp onto the 405. The 5 speed manual gearbox felt good, with reasonable gear spacing and a nice amount of overdrive. Reaching highway speeds, the tach on the dash displayed a reasonable 2400 rpm. However, he was discovering that the seats were quite hard, and looking behind him, he also noticed that the rear seats were not full sized. Having seen enough, John pulled off the highway, and headed back to the dealership. “Well, it’s a very interesting concept. But I’m not sure if I’m ready to make the jump to alternative fuels.”
“No problem. Thanks for stopping by!” They both got out of the Gazogene, and John got back into the Chevy. The big block came to life with the usual roar, and John pulled out of the dealership parking lot. Back on the highway, John began heading for his next destination.
@4LGE - PMD Sino
The next stop on John’s route was at the PMD dealership, off I-10. Arriving in the parking lot, he was once again greeted by a very friendly salesman. Spotting a Sino off to the right, the two walked towards it, and the salesman began giving the usual pitch.
“The Sino has a best-in-class 1.6 liter 4 cylinder making 71 horsepower, and you’re able to do 0-62 in 13 seconds flat.” John did some mental math, and figured out that his Impala had many times the power. He tried to get the thought out of his head. “…5 doors, 4 seats, a 4 speed manual gearbox, 4 wheel independent suspension, and the whole 9 yards. What more could you want?”
“Well, I’d like to take a test drive, if that would be possible.”
“Sure, let me go grab the keys.” The salesman rushed into the dealership, and came back out in record time. They both got into the car, and John started the engine.
“Sounds alright,” remarked John. “A bit loud, though.” Shifting the car into 1st, he pulled out of the dealership. Rowing through the gears, John was somewhat surprised by the performance. “Not bad for 71 horsepower, eh?” he said to nobody in particular. Coming to a stop sign, John gunned it, and the front wheels broke loose. “Now that’s something I didn’t expect.”
Reaching the highway ramp, John got on the gas, and the car reached highway speeds with no problems. The tach showed an rpm of 2100, and the engine quieted down as it reached a comfortable cruising speed. “Ah, it has overdrive. Nice.”
When John was satisfied with his test drive, he made his way back to the dealership. After shaking hands with the salesman, John headed back to his Chevy. Sitting down in the driver’s seat, he thought back to the drive. “Yes, that was definitely better than the wood burner. Still, we’ve got 4 more on the list. Let’s see what else there is.” Starting the Chevy, he left the dealership, and headed for his next destination.
@NormanVauxhall - Znopresk Z214FS
John soon arrived at a car dealership he could not pronounce, near the 101. Stepping out of the Impala, he was greeted by yet another salesman. As John could not remember the string of letters and numbers that made up the car’s name, he looked around the lot, spotted one, and simply said “that one.”
They walked over to the car, the Znopresk Z214FS (according to the badge on the back), and John gave it a look-over. It was very handsome in person, with an imposing front fascia and chrome accents that followed the body’s lines. With 4 doors and a nicely sized trunk, this was definitely the most practical of the cars on his list. However, as John had neither a wife nor kids, rear doors were not absolutely necessary.
After the salesman had grabbed the keys from inside the main office, the two men got into the car. John turned the key, and the car’s unusual flat 4 came to life. “So yeah, it’s got a 1.4 liter flat 4 with an overhead cam on each bank, and it makes 60 horsepower,” said the salesman. “Oh, and a 5 speed manual transmission. Trust me, it’s actually pretty quick.”
John slotted the gearbox into first, and pulled to the dealership’s driveway. When the way was clear, he mashed the gas, and was surprised by the large amount of wheelspin. “Is that normal?” he asked the man in the passenger seat.
“Oh yeah, that’s normal. Call it ‘sporty.’” John shrugged, and got back to the test drive. The car did seem quick enough, though it wasn’t quite as fast as the last car he’d driven. However, the suspension was not as compliant as he’d expected. Asking the salesman, he got the response. “Oh, it’s got a rear beam axle with leaf springs. Not independent.”
“Bummer,” said John. Pointing the car at the highway on-ramp, he mashed the gas once again, and the front wheels squealed in protest. Reaching the speed limit, the engine seemed to be turning a bit faster than in the other cars. Even with 5 gears, the tachometer read nearly 2700 rpm, which seemed a bit high. Heading back to the dealership, John thought about the car. Not too bad, he decided, but the fuel economy isn’t quite as good as he would like. Getting back in his Chevy, John set off to the 4th dealership of the day.
@Xepy - Ars Zepar E1500
Arriving at his next stop, John got out of the big Chevy. He had reached the Ars dealership in Glendale. The dealership seemed to be rather busy, so John walked into the showroom. Front and center was the new 1974 Zepar, the model he had been interested in. While John was admiring the styling, a salesman spotted him, and walked over. “Interested in the Zepar, I see.”
“Yep. Been looking for something that gets a bit better mileage than my Impala,” John replied, gesturing to his car, parked outside.
“Well, you’ve come to the right place. I’m free now, would you like a test drive?” said the salesman, pulling the keys out of his pocket.
“Definitely, that’s what I’m here for,” said John, and the two walked out into the lot. John followed the salesman towards a very nice looking green Zepar, and after the salesman unlocked the door, he got inside. Once the man was strapped into the passenger seat, John turned the key, and the engine, a flat 4, sprung to life. Shifting the 4 speed manual into 1st, John pulled the car out of the lot.
Once on the open road, John was pleasantly surprised by the performance. The flat 4 delivered plenty of pep, even managing to spin the tires on an aggressive start. The salesman in the passenger seat began the pitch. “As you can see, it’s pretty quick. 0-62 in 13.7 seconds. You’ll have no issues keeping up with traffic.”
“Seats feel quite nice too,” John said. Reaching a highway ramp, John gunned it, and the car very quickly reached the speed limit. Once at the speed limit, the tach read a reasonable 2300 rpm, and once at cruising speed, the engine became almost inaudible. “Wow, it’s almost as comfortable as my Impala,” John said, and the salesman nodded enthusiastically. “And 34 MPG highway, right? That’s quite a lot better than what I’m used to getting.”
Finishing his test drive, John thanked the salesman. This was definitely the best he’d driven so far, but there were still 2 more stops on his route. Firing up the Impala once more, John made his way back to the highway.
A short drive north on I-5 took John to Burbank, where he was greeted by yet another dealership, this time for Epsilon. A salesman saw him coming, and met John as he was getting out of the Chevy. “Welcome to Epsilon!” greeted the salesman, shaking John’s hand.
“I’m doing very well, thanks. I’m here to test drive the 1200 eC, would that be possible?”
“Yeah, definitely. Let me go grab the keys, I’ll be right with you.” The salesman jogged inside, and came right back out with a set of keys. “Right this way,” he said.
John followed the salesman, and spotted a very brown 1200 eC. On first glance, the car appeared almost a little bit bland, but it was not ugly by any means. Thanking the salesman, he took the keys, and got into the driver’s seat. Once the salesman had situated himself, John started the engine and shifted the transmission into 1st. He pulled out onto the road in front of the dealer, as the salesman began the pitch.
“The Epsilon 1200 eC is powered by a 1.2 liter overhead cam 4 cylinder, making 54 horsepower, and it’ll reach highway speed in around 14 seconds. But that’s not what’s important… why this car sells is that it gets nearly 38 MPG on the highway.”
“38 miles per gallon?” John said, astonished. “That’s amazing!” At the next light, John gunned it, and he could feel that it was a tad slower than the other cars he’d driven that day. However, with it getting almost 38 MPG, he was definitely willing to give up some performance. Reaching the highway on ramp, John got on the gas, and the car had no issues reaching the speed limit. Once at speed, the tach read 2200 rpm. “It has overdrive. Nice.”
“Yep, that’s how we manage such great fuel economy. The engineers really focused on efficiency with the engine, and when paired with this transmission, the results speak for themselves.”
On the highway, the car really settled down and became a comfortable cruiser. The engine was quiet, and the ride was very good, thanks to the advanced double wishbone front suspension. Heading back to the dealership now, John was very impressed. It was a very good car. However, at $7701, the Epsilon was rather close to John’s self-imposed budget limit, and as there was still one more car left to drive, John decided he would wait before making his final decision.
@Chipskate - Arai Starling 1300GL
It was getting late in the afternoon when John arrived at his final stop of the day, the Arai dealership in Pasadena. Stepping out of the Impala, he was greeted by yet another salesman. As it was getting late, John skipped the usual formalities, and simply said, “I’m in the market for a car, and I would like to test drive a Starling 1300GL.”
The salesman’s eyes grew wide with excitement. “Certainly, sir. Let me go grab the keys, then we can give it a go. If you’d like to wait by the car, it’s the blue one over there,” he said, pointing. John walked over to the car, and found himself strangely attracted to the styling. He could definitely see what the ad meant when it called the Starling “the big small car.” It really had a lot of presence for a car of its size. The boxy styling was also reported to be a big bonus for interior cargo space.
As he was admiring the car, the salesman walked over from the main office, and unlocked the car. Getting in, John could feel that it wasn’t quite as premium as the last car he had driven. Then again, with a $1200 lower sticker price, maybe he was willing to compromise a bit. John cranked the engine, and the 1.3 liter 4 cylinder sprang to life. Shifting the car into first, he guided the car out of the dealership.
On the road, the sales pitch began. “It’s got a 1.3 liter 4 cylinder tuned for both performance and efficiency. So you get 57 horsepower, and also class-leading 37 MPG highway.”
“Wow, that’s quite impressive,” said John. After a stop light, John gunned it, and was pleasantly surprised by a bit of wheelspin. “Definitely has enough power,” he said, and the salesman nodded in agreement. Reaching the highway on-ramp, John mashed the pedal, and the car reached highway speed in reasonable time. At 55, the tach read almost 2400 rpm, slightly higher than the others. However, the engine remained smooth and quiet, and even though the radio was a bit of a downgrade compared to some of the other cars, John was still able to dial in his favorite station, KLAC AM.
As he headed back to the dealership, John mulled over the options in his head. All the cars he had driven today had their quirks and features, but he could only buy one of them. Stepping out of the car, he shook hands with the salesman. He was about to pull the Impala out onto the street, when all of a sudden, it hit him…
John threw the Chevy into reverse, and drove the car, backwards, back into the dealership. He was exactly where he wanted to be. The salesman, confused by the sight of the tail end of the Chevy approaching at a rather fast rate, was taken aback at first. John brought the Chevy to a halt with a screech, lept out, and walked over to the salesman. “That Starling I just drove. I want to buy it. Right now.”
The two walked into the dealership. After quite a bit of paperwork, John shook hands with the salesman, and walked out to see his new car. In the time it had taken to make the purchase, the sun had already begun to set, and his new Starling was bathed in the glow of the setting sun. After checking with the dealership that it was okay if he picked up his Impala the next day, John got into the driver’s seat and started the engine.
On the highway home, John reflected on his purchase. The Starling was a very good car. It had everything he wanted. Good styling, a smooth and efficient engine, and excellent fuel economy, all for $1500 less than his maximum budget. At long last, he had his own personal solution for this oil crisis, and the oil crises bound to come. At long last, John’s Personal Oil Crisis had come to an end.
Congratulations to the finalists!
1st place: @Chipskate, with the Arai Starling 1300GL.
2nd place: @TheElt & @Vri404 with the Epsilon 1200 eC.
3rd place: @Xepy with the Ars Zepar E1500.
4th place: @NormanVauxhall with the Znopresk Z214FS.
5th place: @4LGE with the PMD Sino.
6th place: @Obfuscious with the Wisconsin Motors Gazogene, purely based on the creativity and out-of-the-box thinking of the design.
And a huge thanks to everyone who participated! I hope you all enjoyed it.
If anyone’s curious, here’s a link to all the car statistics.
Well, that’s a shock. Best finish and all I did was name and design it.
Good win for Chipskate.
Thanks @zschmeez for an interesting round.
Gratz to Chip!
I knew the HiWay was doomed when I saw all the Fiestas arrive!
On a more serious note, I personally thought the jump from Impala to Fiesta was too much and putting my eco 1.5 would have destroyed the “Ooomph!”