<VV> The Atom car - Lots of Info - actually has Corvair content

Tony Underwood tonyu at roava.net
Tue Oct 4 13:02:07 EDT 2005

At 07:53 hours 10/01/2005, UltraMonzaWest at aol.com wrote:
>In a message dated 10/1/2005 12:05:11 AM Pacific Daylight Time,
>lechevrier at earthlink.net writes:
> > There was one with California plates on it at the SoCal speedshop open
> > house held in conjunction with the LA Roadster Show this year. A 
> father and son
> > put on helmets and drove it away right through all the cops doing traffic
> > control. Must've been sorta legal, at least.
> >
> > Bill Strickland
> >
>In Calif. anything is possible!   I've seen a street legal Harley powered

Anybody who's ever looked inside the LP album cover of Steppenwolf's 
"For Ladies Only" will see what's good for CA highways, at least in 
the past (late '60s/early '70s).

Built on what appeared to be an old MG sportscar chassis is a "car" 
shaped precisely like a certain piece of human anatomy, coloring 
included, which was quite apropos to the LP in question.   Don't know 
if *I* would have had the nerve to drive it around town or 
not...  but somebody did.   I noted that this "car", when 
photographed, also did have a CA police car parked behind it.   Not 
sure if that was a factor in the "car" being parked downtown or not.

Now:    As far as the Atom is concerned, I've wondered time and again 
why somebody hasn't cooked up a pocket-rocket type car for the US 
market, unless DOT reg-nazis are that stiff on making such a vehicle 
pass every friggin' little regulation humanly possible to stuff into 
a transportation/highway bill.

That being the case, one could suspect that the next trick would be 
*Kitcar*.   I see some sorts of projects that use the typical 
chassis/pan of an existing design with a composite body plopped over 
it and marketed for bigbux, milking the lunatic fringe etc.    Then 
there's the fiberglass Cobra replicas which cost more than the 
originals did.   Out of my league.

It gets left to the innovator to put something together himself, from 
existing hardware which would be able to sneak a VIN past the local 
DMV and achieve registration, not unlike the earlier kitcars of the 
'60s like the Valkyrie or the various full-frame buggy chassis kits 
(one of which is beside the driveway, courtesy of Ryan) designed to 
mount Corvair suspension/driveline components... which still tends to 
leave one with issues of weight on the back/wheelstands etc should 
you put an engine with some umph in the chassis while attempting to 
keep weight down.   The chassis outside, without the front or rear 
suspensions mounted can be picked up easily by two guys.   With the 
engine/transaxle and suspension members in place, 4 wheels on the 
pavement, I can still pick the front end up off the 
ground.    Obviously a reversed engine/transaxle setup would be more 
workable for a Vair based pocket-rocket on the streets.

Of course in this day and age, nobody cares about such, so the 
alternatives would be to use a current production driveline (ala the 
Atom's Rover or Honda drivelines) on a custom chassis of some 
sort....   while trying to finagle a way to register the thing, or 
bend the rules with an existing chassis of some sort that sports a 
VIN on it somewhere and whittle it to within an inch of its life and 
simply carry the title to the DMV and not say anything...  ;)

I've knocked ideas like this around for a long time but never really 
could afford the sort of project I wanted... too busy wasting my 
money on stupid crap like bills and food and mortgage etc.    Mine 
would have included a Mopar bigblock (mainly because I have a 440 
Magnum engine on a stand in the basement) w/automatic transmission 
midmounted, independent f&r suspension on a tube chassis of some sort 
with a simple 'glass body, two seats in the middle, minimum 
accessories.   A playtoy.  Total weight would be around 1600 lbs or 
thereabouts, half of which would be the driveline.    I think it 
might be able to hit off 0-60 in around 4 seconds or thereabouts, 
maybe quicker if you could ever get the thing to hook.     Hell, a 
1600 lb car with a relatively stock 140 hp Vair engine would likely 
do 0-60 in ~7 seconds if the engine is set up right.

That is, if you can keep it from wheelstanding one way or 
another.    This is the issue to resolve with the chassis I have.

A friend thinks I should put a short wood floor bed in back, behind a 
1948 (or thereabouts) Jeep PU cab simply because such is available 
locally.    It would be an odd looking duck...   but not a Vair 
powered pocketrocket.    Still, the idea sounds interesting.

Meanwhile:   No Atom for me, the cost and registration issues would 
be way too much to fool with.    I guess I'll just have to keep 
fooling with these Vairs.


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