No Clunker Here: 20 Years Old Car Shows Us What Can be DoneSeems like the 95 MPG DIY Aerocivic has met its match! Chang Ho Kim took part in a fuel economy rally with his modified1989 Honda CRX HF, and he won with an impressive 118 MPG (over 104 miles of winding roads through the southern Adirondack mountains). In fact, his MPG score was so good - especially since it was his first time competing in a MPG rally - that the judges had to verify more than once that they hadn't made a mistake at the pump when calculating how much fuel had been used.
Chang Ho Kim in his '89 Honda CRX HF. Photo: EcoModder
The other finalists were a a 1998 Geo Metro/Pontiac Firefly in #2 with 106 MPG, and a 2000 VW Jetta TDI in #3 with 90 MPG.
Our friends at Ecomodder write: "The 2nd generation Honda CRX HF is a good platform for fuel economy. It's light (1830 lbs), has a small 1.5L 62 horsepower engine, and relatively tall gearing. It's rated at 41 city / 50 highway / 45 combined mpg (US) by the EPA's revised 2008 ratings."
Here's a partial list of the modifications to the CRX HF
- Tires: low rolling resistance 155/65/14 Nokian HakkaR snow tires, brand new for the event, pumped up to 50psi mounted on Honda 14×5 alloy wheels
- Shocks: Konisport, revalved with SPSS1 valving, double adjustable, shortened body, set to soft
- Springs: Ground Control coilovers with 350 front 250 rear springs.
- Lowered car 2 inches, front camber at -3.5, toe set to zero front and rear, zero thrust angle
- Front wind deflector and rear wheel skirts made from thin polycarbonate, aluminum duct tape, self tapping screws and 3/4″ aluminum band
- masking tape to cover all panel gaps / seams, passenger door handle (forgot to do the driver side door handle)
- removed passenger side mirror
- I added lightness by removing the passenger seat, spare tire and tools, floor mats
- 6 pound race battery.
Of course, Chang's Honda isn't exactly the most practical car, with all the seams sealed off with tape (which is why the doors didn't open during the competition) and its long nose, but it shows us that no fancy hybrid technology is required to get great MPG. Weight reduction and aerodynamic improvements can go a long way on their own.
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