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Old 07-30-2007, 02:09 PM   #1
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Reason with me before I destroy a classic

Ok, I've got 2 cars in consideration, both of which will be severely altered eventually. I payed essentially the same amount of money for each, either, will be running 1.0 3-bangers with manual trannies and will be real-world 65 mph daily drivers. Neither are to be "beaters", all modifications will be finalized in a durable, attractive, functional and well-finished manner. Either will wear full rear wheel skirts, belly pans, smooth wheel covers and as many known and common aero mods as are practical.

One is a 1994 Geo Metro 3 cylinder, approx. weight 1680 lbs., Cd about .32 in stock form.

The other is a 1978 Triumph Spitfire, approx. 1760 lbs. with factory hardtop, Cd. about .38, stock.

Advantages, Geo metro: Cheap! Put the expense and effort into chopping the top in the manner of Dave Cloud's racer:

http://www.seattleeva.org/wiki/Image:P6250018.JPG

(mine will retain the hatch door and will have side glass ) to decrease the Cd. and leave it alone. Initial Cd. very good, and I have no qualms about cutting into it.

Disadvantages, Geo metro: Shedding weight difficult without turning the driving experience into an ordeal and/ or destroying mechanical integrity of car. Improving aero limited by hatchback design. Top chop time consuming, prolonging completion. Aero vs. weight?


Advantages, Spitfire: Cool factor blows Metro away. Weight easily removed in large increments by replacing large mechanical components with lighter versions. Swapping to 1.0 Metro motor w/ Samurai tranny good for 100 pound savings alone. Possible 1,300-1,400 finished weight without compromising creature comforts. Cd. easily (though not cheaply) improved with bumper changes, headlight covers,etc. Most changes reversible, component replacement can be gradual process rendering car driveable.


Disadvantages, Spitfire: Unknown degree of final drag reduction possible, limited by 3-box design. Final reduction may be no greater than Geo in stock form. Less willing to cut into this one, but willing to increase windshield angle and/or chop factory hardtop. Weight vs. aero?

Which do you think has the greater potential, hacked Metro, or lightened/aero'd Spitfire, and why?
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Old 07-30-2007, 03:38 PM   #2
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Which do you think has the greater potential, hacked Metro, or lightened/aero'd Spitfire, and why?
I don't know about potential, but man it'd be really really cool to see a 50mpg+ spitfire! I eagerly await watching the build thread which ever way you go.
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Old 07-30-2007, 03:43 PM   #3
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do it like I plan on with my 78 spitfire I have sitting in the back of my garage and stick the entire metro drivetrain in the spitfire and have the best of both worlds.

Hub to hub width they are almost identical. So if you don't mind a bit of fabrication build a replacement frame for the spitfire body with metro suspension and engine mounting points instead of the spitfire ones you will have a more or less bolt together combination. Everything fits except the front struts will need shorter ones in place of the metro stockers.

The spitfire motor and drivetrain generally sucks it is really unreliable for daily use. Building a custom car out of both will get you the mileage and looks all in one package and be reliable enough to actually drive every day without having to put oil in the stupid carb

I plan on keeping the front wheel drive configuration and having the drivetrain 100% metro so it is easy to repair. I learned the hard way that randomly using car parts is ok when building a car but when you have to fix it later on it is really hard to keep track of where it came from.
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Old 07-30-2007, 03:58 PM   #4
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The spitfire motor and drivetrain generally sucks it is really unreliable for daily use. Building a custom car out of both will get you the mileage and looks all in one package and be reliable enough to actually drive every day without having to put oil in the stupid carb

I plan on keeping the front wheel drive configuration and having the drivetrain 100% metro so it is easy to repair.
^ right there is the only reasons you need . Other than the Spitfire will be worth 4 or 5 Metros if left unmolested . If it is already a semi basket case - dig in !
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Old 07-30-2007, 04:04 PM   #5
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The epa can give you heartache if you put another manufacturers gasoline engine in the spitfire. Good electric (or possibly diesel) candidate though.

I had one, man it was a PITA to keep it running, but hey if you like working on cars and expensive parts and lucas (trial and error) electrics than have a ball.

The racer looks cool, and least headache.
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Old 07-30-2007, 04:31 PM   #6
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Chopped Metro would prolly get better mileage, but the spitfire would be cooler. Iono, once you get past 50mpg, which both cars are capable of, the cost advantage of going higher really dwindles. Where you at in the high desert?
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Old 07-30-2007, 05:18 PM   #7
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I'm over in Cajon pass.

Here in Cali we can install any engine in any car, so long as it is originally from a passenger vehicle or light truck, is the same year or newer than the car it's going into and has all the smog stuff it came with when new.

The '79 Spit had a pathetic 53 horsepower stateside, so no real losses there with the Geo motor. The reason you don't see them on the road very much these days is that they are notorious for not passing emissions.

Coyote, I'm gonna stick with the rear-driver. Love to see how much weight your project saves.

I plan on using as many Geozuki parts as possible in place of the Triumph parts as nearly all of them will be lighter. This includes the radiator, electricals and accessories, right down to the wiring harnesses. The Prince of Darkness has never been my pal anyway. I already have a couple of Samurai transmissions, although they both need rebuilding.

The Spit front suspension is hard to beat. In the rear I'll eventually replace the eliptical springs with coilovers and install a lighter center section.

I gotta score another complete 3-popper car for mockup/ parts-swapping purposes as this will take the Spit out of service and the Geo will have to be my driver for now.

If done right I could literally keep a 1.3 or even a DOHC Swift motor on a shelf in the garge, swapping motors in less than an hour.

Anyone in the market for a one-owner 1500 and trans?
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Old 07-30-2007, 05:31 PM   #8
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I don't mean to sound like a lawyer, but "there in california" you are subject to federal (EPA) regs too:
http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resour.../engswitch.pdf

Really the only time I see it possibly being an issue is when they hook up the tach sensor on the spitfire and it doesn't work, because it is now 3 cylinders By all other measures it will be much cleaner burning.
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Old 07-30-2007, 05:52 PM   #9
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I don't mean to sound like a lawyer, but "there in california" you are subject to federal (EPA) regs too:
http://www.epa.gov/compliance/resour.../engswitch.pdf

Really the only time I see it possibly being an issue is when they hook up the tach sensor on the spitfire and it doesn't work, because it is now 3 cylinders By all other measures it will be much cleaner burning.
Cali law generally exceeds the Fed minimum. As I stated, swaps are permitted as long as they meet the current criteria. The car goes to a state referee who determines that all emissions equipment meets the requirements, the car is smog-tested on a dyno and if it passes, you're good to go. You may be subject to annual, rather than bi-annual emissions testing.

You can even combine some of the original parts with new parts. For example if the charcoal canister from the Triumph functions identically to the Suzuki item and has the same number of ports, you can use it.

Like the sate referee told me, "I don't care if you wanna stick a big block Chevy in your little Samurai, as long as you follow the rules."
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Old 07-30-2007, 06:10 PM   #10
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I'm over in Cajon pass.
...
Anyone in the market for a one-owner 1500 and trans?
Yer right around the corner, so maybe. How much you askin?
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