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fast_eddie_72
fast_eddie_72 Reader
9/7/10 5:03 p.m.
wcelliot wrote: How heavy are those heated power seats and stereo systems again? ;-)

Well, not sure about heated power seats. I've had an interesting experience recently. I bought a 1984 Celica ST. Only options, power steering and rear window defog. I asked some guys on a forum about weight. They swore up and down that the cars weighed 2800 lbs. They had weighed them and by golly, that's what they weigh. Okay, they decided the coupe would be a little lighter and the options would weigh a little. So they said maybe 2700. If I stripped it they figure I could get to 2600.

I got a set of corner wight scales from a buddy of mine. With nothing in the car and a quarter tank of gas it was 2400 lbs. So the difference between a stripper coupe and an optioned out hatch looks like it's 400 lbs.

Now, that car had IRS on the heavily optioned versions, so it picks up more weight than some other cars. But everyone was surprised how much all that "stuff" added up to.

I'm not super up to date on all the federal regulations, but back in the day, they had to put those 5 mph bumpers and side impact protection in cars. The difference in the '72 Mercury Capri vs. the '74 was about 300 lbs. So it comes down to a little of each.

I'd love to know what the major weight gain regulations since the 80s are. I'm sure 16 air bags weigh something. But I bet 9 speaker stereo surround weighs something too.

speedblind
speedblind Reader
9/7/10 5:23 p.m.
wcelliot wrote:
speedblind wrote: 2. Re: gov't regulations - yes, cars are going to be a lot heavier due to all the crap that a. safety regulations demand and b. modern consumers demand. Hint: option b adds more weight than option a. By a mile.
Actually, I think you'll find that the other way around. All those power options _do_ add weight, but not nearly as much as the structural and safety additions required by regulation. Again, look at the Smart car as an example... over 15% heavier with the same basic options both here and there... or the new Fiesta (~19% heavier here... at least compared to the previous generation... the current Euro generation got a lot of the US DOT structural and safety "adds") I don't think you're going to see convenience additions approaching 15% of a car's weight... even if you're adding in items like AC (which is common enough in Europe now that you can't fairly count it) much less adding more weight "by a mile"

I would've thought it the other way around too, to be honest. I used to talk about the extra weight of safety features all the time...and I was wrong.

In terms of crash standards, Europe is generally much more stringent, their tests are more realistic, and their standards higher. Especially compared to NHTSA (when was the last time you hit a completely flat surface perfecly head on...but I digress). That's not the argument, though. The argument is weight.

So, here goes:

Your average compact car selling for 19-22K (let's take the Honda Civic or Mazda3, as that's what I'm most recently familiar with). Not including stuff that's pretty standard, like A/C:

Leather seats...power leather seats in some cases. Ever picked up a power leather seat?

Navigation - this includes the head unit, various modules for the satellite, etc. Much heavier than your Garmin.

Premium sound system w/ amps/8-10 speakers, etc.

Heated seats (little weight, but nice to have)

Power steering. Lots of components, and even the electric systems add weight.

Soft-touch material in the dash, door panels, etc. (heavy).

Large-ish alloy wheels (gotta have 18s or people won't buy)

Lots and lots of sound deadening - firewall, floor, wheel wells, etc.

Sunroof (gotta have a sunroof)

Quiet exhaust (find me an OE exhaust that weights less than 60 lbs. On many cars they're over 100).

And that's on a basic, appliance car! All that extra stuff adds up, particularly sound deadening/insulation materials used to make the car feel solid. Manufacturers do sound tests to ensure the door feels sturdy when you close it.

Side note - on luxury cars it's even more significant, as you'd imagine. I remember seeing the wiring harness for a Phaeton (similar to what any given high-end sedan offers) laid out on a table once. All 240 lbs. of it. All wiring. That's a lot of weight.

speedblind
speedblind Reader
9/7/10 5:32 p.m.

Forgot another point - the issue of cars always having to be "bigger". The Gov't doesn't do that, consumers do. The Accord is now a full-size car, not because it will crash better or be easier to certify, but because people want more room.

Another side note - once upon a time I had a 2005 S2000 and my friend had a 1994 Mazda RX-7. The Honda was surprisingly longer and wider. Even our two-seat convertibles have gotten huge.

Keith
Keith GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/7/10 6:33 p.m.

To be fair, crash standards do require a car to be physically bigger. The days of 1" thick doors are long gone.

Knurled
Knurled GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/7/10 7:18 p.m.
ReverendDexter wrote:
fast_eddie_72 wrote: but by and large, people don't buy the small, light cars that are available now.
Why would they? The small light cars available now are all crapbox FWD appliances (Accent, Yaris), or horribly expensive (Elise).

Put in context, you're basically describing the cars of yore that we collectively lust after.

Knurled
Knurled GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/7/10 7:23 p.m.
fast_eddie_72 wrote: Well, not sure about heated power seats. I've had an interesting experience recently. I bought a 1984 Celica ST. Only options, power steering and rear window defog. I asked some guys on a forum about weight. They swore up and down that the cars weighed 2800 lbs. They had weighed them and by golly, that's what they weigh. Okay, they decided the coupe would be a little lighter and the options would weigh a little. So they said maybe 2700. If I stripped it they figure I could get to 2600. I got a set of corner wight scales from a buddy of mine. With nothing in the car and a quarter tank of gas it was 2400 lbs. So the difference between a stripper coupe and an optioned out hatch looks like it's 400 lbs.

Heh. I had an '80 RX-7. With A/C, it weighed 2200lb.

I haven't been able to get an '84-85 model below 2400lb.

There isn't 200lb of sound deadening in there, and besides, that is something that the '80 had and the later cars did not, when I was through with 'em.

Some of that weight is in the rearend (about 50lb worth) but I am inclined to think that the rest of it was in the shell itself.

That's another thing - the '80 had those funky boxed sheetmetal braces in the "rear seat" area that the later cars did not have.

Dpvog
Dpvog New Reader
9/7/10 7:27 p.m.

Okay then, aside from the real fringe nut jobs, like me and Alfa Driver, the general concensus here seems to be that fat cars are caused by a COMBINATION of government regulation and consumer preference. Let's assume for a moment that since we are all car enthusiasts here, we all wish more lightweight sports cars were available. Since we can't do all that much about Grandpa's fondness for a rolling livingroom, we're stuck with government regulation instead of consumer preference as the obvious point of action. Would anyone here like to see if we can create some momentum for less government regulation of lightweight, low production sports cars, or should we drop it, and just keep making fun of the CRZ?

Will
Will HalfDork
9/7/10 7:30 p.m.

Just a few thoughts:

-SUVs became popular due to CAFE standards. People never stopped wanting big, heavy, powerful cars. However, as it became tougher for companies to meet the CAFE standards for these big cars, they realized they could create a big, powerful, heavy truck and sell it in place of wagons and big sedans. CAFE regs are entirely to blame for the popularity of SUVs. I'll bet if they were relaxed for cars (not saying they should be) you'd see big sedans make a comeback and SUV sales fall.

-Real world fuel economy for my dad's 1990 CRX HF is 45 MPG. That's on California gas, which is supposed to reduce mileage a bit.

-The reason there isn't a modern version of that HF is that no one wants a car with 62 hp. Okay, there are 12 people who do. But 10 of them will sue Honda when they get run over by an Explorer. "No one told me this car was unsafe!!!"

-Cars in general are becoming less interesting because people don't care. Most people are more interested in whether they can tell the car to dial home instead of having a manual transmission.

-Someone mentioned the Elise: Lotus got a specific exemption from the DOT so that it wouldn't have to install 5 mph bumpers. It successfully argued that the low volume of production wouldn't bankrupt the insurance industry when every Elise driver hits a road cone. If Toyota built the same car and sold 10X as many, the car would have to weigh more.

-The basic question is whether auto makers build the cars that people want, or whether people buy the cars that auto makers choose to build. I'd argue that it's the former, and that we're just disappointed in the selections that most buyers make.

alfadriver
alfadriver Dork
9/7/10 7:30 p.m.
wcelliot wrote: Eric: where is YOUR data? I'd like to see those 250 lb OEM stereo systems or 400lbs power heated seats. Electric convenience options simply don't weigh that much, but structural changes do. Mine comes directly from manufacturers... not hard to compare a US spec car to a Euro spec one... and a car like the Smart has the same convenience options both places... 15%... facts. Sorry they don't mesh with your pro-Goverment pro-regulation worldview. Again, while the DOT and EU specs are close in results, they are NOT close in how they have to be met. that's the whole point....

Exactly what data am I supposed to get? I asked you nicely for your sources, and you have yet to produce them. You post data without any location of where the data came from, so that I can understand where those numbers are coming from.

Facts? Sources. Need them.

I'm pro-Government? Perhaps- but that's because business has never show that it's capable of regulating itself on behalf of the public. That's true on so many levels. I'm not anti-Governmnet, that's for sure. I'm not anti-regulation, either, as I know that there is a point to it all.

If you really want to go back to the dark ages, feel free to move to China or Mexico.

I guess there is no point in showing you that your anti-Government attitude is pointless in this argument. A citizen or a group of citizens got tired of the auto industry producing cars that 1) were bad for the environment and 2) could be built to be safer, so they lobbied Congress to pass laws. Amazing how that works. Instead of a dictator telling us everything to do, we regulate ourselves.

It's pretty apparent that there is no convining you.

But I'll leave with this one last note- if you don't buy a new car, then why should any car maker make anything for you? We sell cars to people who pay us money for NEW cars. That's how the system works.

Have fun, all. Eric

wbjones
wbjones Dork
9/7/10 7:37 p.m.
patgizz wrote: power window guts do not add lightness.

unless it's a Lotus... they went with the power windows because the entire mechanism was lighter than a hand crank window setup... go figure

oh, and a Honda Fit is bigger/larger in every respect than the original Accord

Hasbro
Hasbro HalfDork
9/7/10 7:58 p.m.
wbjones wrote:
patgizz wrote: power window guts do not add lightness.
unless it's a Lotus... they went with the power windows because the entire mechanism was lighter than a hand crank window setup... go figure oh, and a Honda Fit is bigger/larger in every respect than the original Accord

So true. My 78 Accord hatch weighed about 1600 lbs. modified. My 04 EP3 Civic will weigh 2275 when done maybe and it's going to cost.

Knurled
Knurled GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
9/7/10 8:07 p.m.

Back to the RX-7...

~2200lb fun little 100hp car.

Heavier, heavier, next generation: bigger, heavier, more power needed to try to move its lard butt around, lagging sales.

"Hey, I have an idea!"

MX-5. ~2200lb fun little 100hp (110?) car.

Now what's an MX-5? It's a huge ugly tank.

We're due for another reboot, folks.

ScottRA21
ScottRA21 Reader
9/7/10 8:19 p.m.
alfadriver wrote: But I'll leave with this one last note- if you don't buy a new car, then why should any car maker make anything for you? We sell cars to people who pay us money for NEW cars. That's how the system works. Have fun, all. Eric

What happens when no one makes a car interesting enough to buy new, that's even remotely within my price range?

oldtin
oldtin HalfDork
9/7/10 8:30 p.m.

1953 corvette - 2900 lbs

1963 corvette - 3015 lbs

1973 corvette - 3742 lbs

1984 corvette - 3192 lbs

1993 corvette - 3520 lbs

2003 corvette - 3248 lbs

2010 z06 - 3175 lbs

Never a lightweight - but definitely fighting the fat trend - even if it's a little bit of a yo-yo dieter.

Dpvog
Dpvog New Reader
9/7/10 9:02 p.m.

In reply to oldtin:

I know. The Vette is one of the very few bright spots in the fat car wars. GM builds an excellent product at Bowling Green, and entirely against the tide, they have made it better, faster, stiffer, stronger, and more efficient while everyone else (except lotus, mazda with the miata, and a few others) were screwing up. 400 hp AND 26 mpg!?! WTF???

wcelliot
wcelliot Reader
9/7/10 9:24 p.m.
alfadriver wrote:
wcelliot wrote:
If you really want to go back to the dark ages, feel free to move to China or Mexico.

Actually I'd prefer the United States back when the Constitution was actually considered when expanding the Federal Government into areas it has no legal right to be in.

I guess there is no point in showing you that your anti-Government attitude is pointless in this argument. A citizen or a group of citizens got tired of the auto industry producing cars that 1) were bad for the environment and 2) could be built to be safer, so they lobbied Congress to pass laws. Amazing how that works. Instead of a dictator telling us everything to do, we regulate ourselves.

It's called the tyranny of the majority... something our Founding Fathers rightfully were concerned about. Whether it's a group of citizens deciding that guns are bad for society and convincing Congress to pass laws banning them (also in conflict with the Constitution) or groups of citizens deciding that the Federal Government has the right to take from one group and give to another in the interests of social justice or income redistribution (again, not something the Feds have power to do).

It's pretty apparent that there is no convining you.

Correct. As a student history and economics, I see the larger picture in the context of history and what an activist Federal Government always evolves into.

Ironic that you should mention a totalitarian system like China as an example of a less-regulated country than the US...

But I'll leave with this one last note- if you don't buy a new car, then why should any car maker make anything for you? We sell cars to people who pay us money for NEW cars. That's how the system works.

Point well taken. Generally I wouldn't buy a new car strictly due to the poor economics of the deal... but I would be buying a new car if (1) there was a real manual transmission in the SMART, (2) there was a 2dr hatch Fiesta being offered here, (3) if the Challenger didnt drive like a truck, or (4) if the Camaro didn't feel simutanously claustrophobic and obese....

But you are absolutely correct that I'm not the target market.. and neither are most of us here...

Dpvog
Dpvog New Reader
9/7/10 9:57 p.m.

In reply to wcelliot:

Did you know that the Founding Fathers actually debated as to whether suffage should be attached to intellectal means? The constitutional republic was the best compromise they could come up with to permit universal sufferage without surrendering the reigns of power to the hoards. If they were here to read Eric's posts, do you think they would have had second thoughts? -Doug

yuejals
yuejals New Reader
9/7/10 10:10 p.m.

This could be one of the stupidest analogies ever, but I think the older, lightweight sports cars of yesteryear are like the old-school clickety-clack IBM keyboards of the past. Some people (myself included) really like the old keyboards because they are well built, last forever, provide excellent tactile response for super-fast typing, and produce that clickety-clack sound that is so awesome. Obviously, then, these keyboards are the best ever, as voiced by many die-hard computer users. Yet most (regular) people don't care for buckling spring mechanical keyboards, preferring quieter, smaller, and cheaper mushy keyboards. Oh no!

One way to get an old-school mechanical keyboard is by paying a large amount to a speciality manufacturer, kind of like paying extra to get a Lotus Elise. What most people do, though, is simply tap into the nearly limitless supply of older keyboards available on eBay, kind of like trolling online for a Toyota MR2. Either way, the market segregates into the "premium" and the "budget" markets, depending on what people want to pay.

Light cars will never be completely gone. I just think that the budget light car market is already saturated with yesterday's sports cars, so the only place where there is demand for lighter cars is in the "premium" sports car market where the Corvette and the Elise live. As long as Craigslist exists, why worry?

I'll admit that it feels weird lurking around here since I feel like an imposter having swapped my 1990 Miata for a 2009 one. I know that my new car is over 300 lbs heavier than the old one but it's still fun, quick, it has functioning air conditioning, and -- call me petty -- it has a cool-looking three-spoke airbag steering wheel with the horn button in the middle, where it belongs. If that ain't progress, I don't know what is.

Jay
Jay Dork
9/7/10 10:20 p.m.
wbjones wrote: unless it's a Lotus... they went with the power windows because the entire mechanism was lighter than a hand crank window setup... go figure oh, and a Honda Fit is bigger/larger in every respect than the original Accord

I thought Lotus went to power windows because all six feet of Colin Chapman decided he had to fit in those Europas... They were physically smaller than the crank mechanism.

Keith
Keith GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
9/7/10 11:19 p.m.

Colin Chapman was 5' 7". Which explains why there's only one modern American who can fit in the Lotus Seven.

BTW, the power window mechanism in a Miata is 1 lb heavier per door than the manual. Not that anyone asked, but they're not a big contributor. All that extra chassis bracing added to keep the structure from flopping around? Ah, now there's an increase...

tuna55
tuna55 Dork
9/8/10 7:12 a.m.

Does the government have the right to regulate emissions and crash testing and define this structure by which an automaker must design to? Hell no!

Does the fault lie in a mixture of annoying whiny folks and overzealous lawmakers? Hell yes.

Dpvog
Dpvog Reader
9/8/10 8:57 a.m.

In reply to tuna55:

tuna55 wrote: "Does the government have the right to regulate emissions and crash testing and define this structure by which an automaker must design to? Hell no!"

Actually, T55, though I'm not a tree hugger, I'd have to disagree a bit on the emissions issue. While I would argue, to the death, my right to climb into any rickety death trap I can find and drive off to meet my maker, the air thing is an entirely different issue for me. When the government regulates emissions, they protect everyone from me. That is part of the government's job, as I see it. If I had drums of arcenic from electroplating the bumpers on my 58 MGA, I couldn't just go dump them in the nearest lake where your kids swim, and it's the government's job to stop me, or punish me if do it. On the the other hand, with crash standards on automobiles, the government is protecting me from myself, which is NOT the government's job, and never was. If I want to take a risk, that's my own business, but if I want to cause you risk, that's your business, and therefore, the government's business. To put it another way, "God save us from a government that would save us from ourselves." That's the principle that this country was founded on, and basically, I'd have to say that I agree with it. -Doug

ReverendDexter
ReverendDexter Dork
9/8/10 9:11 a.m.
Knurled wrote:
ReverendDexter wrote:
fast_eddie_72 wrote: but by and large, people don't buy the small, light cars that are available now.
Why would they? The small light cars available now are all crapbox FWD appliances (Accent, Yaris), or horribly expensive (Elise).
Put in context, you're basically describing the cars of yore that we collectively lust after.

Not really. All the typical lustyworthy cars here are cars that were expensive, and have been hit by the depreciation hammer. Someone bought them while new, but WE didn't. We let them take the hit so that we could pick them up for pennies on the dollar when they decided they wanted something shiny again.

Maybe the CRX is exempt from that, but I'm not sure how the Si was priced when it was new.

wcelliot
wcelliot Reader
9/8/10 9:35 a.m.
Dpvog wrote: In reply to wcelliot: Did you know that the Founding Fathers actually debated as to whether suffage should be attached to intellectal means? The constitutional republic was the best compromise they could come up with to permit universal sufferage without surrendering the reigns of power to the hoards. If they were here to read Eric's posts, do you think they would have had second thoughts? -Doug

Actually, no I don't think they would change their minds.

Recall that strong, activist central Governments were the norm at the time... exactly what Eric is proposing. The US was purposefully based on philosophically unique political principles which provided this country with freedoms and opportunities not seen elsewhere.

It's this exceptionalism that Constitutionalists celebrate and that collectivists either deny (as our President did just a couple of months ago) or wish to eliminate. This isn't a new concept... from the very beginning there were reasonably large percentages of the US population that preferred a benign paternal Government to the less controlled system based on individual rights. We've recently even seen China compared favorably to the US because the totalitarian regime there is "able to make hard decisions" about what is best for society as a whole without being subject to objections by the will of the people. Really scary stuff coming from a US politician...

I do recognize there was spirited debate (and many compromises) that occured during Constitutional negotiations. While trying to be philosophically consistent, they also had to put together something that would be ratified by the States.

"Universal sufferage" is a really unique historical/philosophical issue which would warrant a separate off topic discussion...

But back to the topic at hand... I'd be simply thrilled to see the US accept EU DOT safety standards (and preferably EU EPA standards, though I see that as being of secondary importance).. even if limited to cars under a certain weight and/or displacement... I do really think it could quickly transform what we drive here...

Autolex
Autolex HalfDork
9/8/10 10:02 a.m.
Keith wrote: ...The 50 "if only they would build it, we'd buy it!" 2003 Club Sport stripped out model languished on dealer lots for a year...

THIS one is STILL on the lot... BRAND NEW! (5 miles!)

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