Stevens worked on a “lawnmower car” (via Road & Track) with his son Kip and designed the front end and rear hatchback from scratch. However, the doors, dashboard and windshield were borrowed from a second-generation Volkswagen Scirocco, while the four-speed manual transmission, clutch, front He suspension, and rack-and-pinion steering were borrowed from a Ford Pinto (via Jay Leno’s garage).
Under the hood was a ‘stock’ Briggs & Stratton 42 ci (694 cc) engine producing just 18 horsepower at 3,600 rpm. The flat-twin engine was air-cooled and had a 7-gallon gas tank (via Hagerty). The company’s engineering technician, Craig Claerbout, claimed the car made 30 mpg at 55 mph, a 200-300% improvement over most other vehicles of the time (via Jay Leno’s garage). It proved that the little engine actually works as intended.
Sitting on the rear dual wheels were twelve Globe-Union 6-volt DC lead-acid batteries with a range of perhaps 40 to 60 miles (via Jay Leno’s Garage). All these batteries required a second axle and a set of wheels that acted like a trailer to support the weight. Despite this, the car only weighed 3,200 pounds (via Road & Track).
The car reached a top speed of 68 mph…on a closed track driven by NASCAR king Richard Petty. While Leno was behind the wheel, he accelerated to 60 mph, but this car hadn’t been driven since his 1988. If the world was a little more open-minded in 1980, we might all be driving around “lawnmower cars.” today.
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