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Re: second that notion.... (archive)

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Posted by kwillmorth on April 20, 2000 at 11:38:22:

In Reply to: Re: second that notion.... posted by Mike Zamarocy on April 19, 2000 at 20:03:03:

Funny, but the M coupe, using the E30 suspension, and a shorter wheelbase, exhibits some of the same stellar handeling the E30 M3 did/does. It appears the E36 suspension, the additional length, and the additional weight of all the safety gear (airbags, heavier side impact stuff, heavier roof structure, heavier front end structure to pass offset impact tests) are really putting the hurt on peformance.

Looking at almost every serious car on the market, most are hitting the 3000 to 3300 pound range. With the exception of the odd Japanese toys, with plastic trim and no top (ala Miata and Honda S2000, each with 4 bangers), getting weight in the sub 3100 range appears to be a black art. Even the Z8, all aluminum construction, hammers the scales at something like 3250! I believe it's the safety gear, plus the luxury stuff (leather, electric windows, etc...)adding up.

I built a 1982 Camaro Z28 into a drag car. We got the weight down to just at 2600 from its stock 3350. To do this, however, we had to gut all of the steel out of the bumpers and doors, remove all traces of heating/cooling systems, use aluminum heads, elliminate all power features, window operations, cut down door latches, remove all sound deadening stuff, carpet, most all trim, replace the fuel tank, and on and on. What we discovered very quickly, is the cars core structure was already heavy, nearly 1100 pounds, so you had a long battle getting real savings without killing durability. Then we had to add a roll cage, new rear suspension, floow stiffenig plates, etc...

I've not gutted out a BMW 3 series, but looking it over, I would guess it suffers the same problems, mostly driven by the crash test requirements, adding steel in the structure that wasn't there before. I'd also guess, that the "Sports" E46 M3, which is supposed to be lighter, still hits the scales at over 3100 pounds, which isn't really that light.

The new cars are stiffer for a reason, they are heavier and have more metal in them!

: :these are not cars that adhere to the colin chapman (foudner of lotus) principle of engineering lighter weight into the car.

: Having owned 2 old Lotus Europa's, I can tell you one flaw in your theory. Chapman also wanted to build his cars for one purpose - to win races. And to do that, the car should FALL APART at the finish line just as it crosses it, thus completing its purpose. Well, my 2 Europa's were exactly that too! :) Drive them one day, fix them the next six :)

: But as for the new M3, I have also heard it is no longer the Boy Racer that the E30 was, and the E36 moved slightly away from. If that is the case, give me an E30 M3 ANYDAY!!!!! And to support that, in my region of the BMWCCA, there seems to be more E30 M3's in it than any other BMW. And MOST of those are now Club Racer cars too! And are they SHARP! Drooooooool!!!!!

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