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Old conservative designers (archive)

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Posted by Gary on September 28, 1998 at 17:14:32:

In Reply to: Where does weight come from? posted by Praveen on September 28, 1998 at 15:28:33:

In the Z3, there has not been a lot of use of lightweight metals.

The block is still cast iron, the body is all steel (aluminum is lighter).
BMW and Mercedes tended to be more conservative and the Japanese tend to push weight reduction through carefull material selection more.

And of course the open top design requires more bracing.

Cars like the NSX, Boxster, and others use more of a "only as much material as needed" philosophy to save weight, plus extensive use of aluminum or composites.

Even my 19 year old P-car 928 has aluminum doors, hood, transmission, roof, and aluminum suspension components.

I'm not knocking it, (I do own an MZ3) but the Z3 was not a "state of the art" design.

Modern computer aided design allows car designers to only use as much material as needed, keeping weight at a minimum. This is a philosophy that takes a while to work out, as changing to too light a material can cause reliablility problems.

In high performance sport motorcyles, Honda was a leader in '93 when they used these methods to reduce the weight of 900 cc sportbikes by about 125 pounds, which was an incredible 20% weight reduction.
They were only able to do this and produce a reliable bike due to thier extensive CAD/CAM capability, and manufacturing expertise.


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