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Many of you have already seen this on the news stands but if you haven't here's a few quotes. I'm sure all these articles will be on web in about a month. I highlighted a few items that have been topics of conversation around here.

Stuff They Liked:
"In the case of the Solstice, the cockpit is defined by sturdy box within hydroformed frame rails, reinforced amidships by double-walled driveshaft tunnel - much like a mini Corvette."

"The elements attached to this chasis are text book for sports cars: an engine-driven steering pump (as distinct from electric) and rack and pinion steering, aluminum knuckles. forged aluminum unequal-length upper and lower control arms with coil spring surrounding Bilstein monotube shocks, vented rotors lurking behind all four 8.0 by 18 aluminum alloy wheels, and the only questionable element is the tire choice. The 245/45R-18 Goodyear Eagle RS-A tires are low profile and provide plenty of foorprint, bu all-season rubber seemed a little timid. However, the Solstice chasis guys are predicting skippad numbers around 0.90g which is same as Madzaspeed Miata's."

"The more robust Ecotec sends it's power to the rear wheels via a five-speed manual transmission with surgically precise engagements. The gearbox is Aisin, the company that supplies the superb six-speed employeed in the Honda S2000. It's crisp action, augmented by excellent heel-and-toe pedal layout, promises to make Solstice a treat to operate on sport-car roads."

"As to performance, we guess the Solstice should be quicker than Mazda Miata to 60 mph, which would put it somewhere in the mid-seven second bracket. The Solstice has considerably more grunt, but at an estimated 2850 lbs, it's a bit chucky and outweighs Miata by 300-plus pounds. There's a boosted engine somewhere in this car's future...and when it comes along the Solstice engineers will be thinking about challenging cars like BMW Z4 and Honda S2000. But no one is talking specifics on that front yet. "

Stuff They Knocked:
"The joy of other Solstice elements, however remains to be seen. For example, the convertible top will need considerable work to make it a user-friendly device. It's distinguished by a flat-glass rear window and flying buttresses snugged down atop the teardrop fairings that extend behind the headrests and rollbars, eventually blending down into the deck. Stowing the top entails some complicated folding before the whole business disappears beneath the rear-hindged deck. Getting the top to seal properly looks like a real challenge, and when the top is tucked away, there's no place to put any luggage. In fact, these test mules didn't seem to have any storage space of any kind."

This one contridicts the other mags?
"There seemed to be a shortage of longitudinal space in the cockpit. If things remain as they are, anyone over 6 feet tall is going to feel cramped, although the Solstice team says it will gain some fore-and-aft room when the production rear bulkheads are in place."
 

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Who has an electric power steering pump ? And "elements attached to this chasis ... an engine-driven steering pump "

Huh ? Run that one by me again. The pump is attached to the chassis and is engine driven ? This I have gotta see (small matter of motor mount movement).

Dunno why there would be a problem with the rear window considering the hig body sill. Unzip (yes, Virginia, oncet upon a time convertible rear windows had zippers and could be lowered without dropping the top for added ventilation) and drop straight down into a body cavity behind the seats. Pop clips, open clamshell, and fold straight back.

Can see a prototype having an assembly kit like my old MGA but GM owns a big slice of FIAT and they have been making one hand folding tops since the fifties (make me wait too long and a pristine pre-bumper 124 Spyder is liable to appear). Also DOHC 4 and five speed.
 

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padgett said:
Who has an electric power steering pump ? And "elements attached to this chasis ... an engine-driven steering pump "

Huh ? Run that one by me again. The pump is attached to the chassis and is engine driven ? This I have gotta see (small matter of motor mount movement).
the new malibu has electric steering assist with its ecotec (no PS pump on the block). it has a very VERY artificial feel. not good for us! maybe the story is poorly worded. the engine is attached to the chassis and it has a normal PS pump.
 

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padgett said:
Who has an electric power steering pump ?
My '91 Toyota has one. It's an MR2, though, so it makes sense. With the engine in back and steering rack up front, it's easier to run electrical lines than hydrualic lines. The steering feel is pretty good, since the amount of boost can be easily adjusted with electronics. Still, it could be better.
 

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Relative to rack and pinion systems:

Honda S2000 has electric power steering, but the assist is provided on the rack. Steering feel should be close to normal hydraulic steering.

The BMWZ4, the ION and the Malibu have electric assist but the assist is provided on the column. The assist provided on the column means the steering boost plus your steering effort has to work completely through the universal joints connecting the column and the steering gear. This means possibly less overall "feeling of being connected" to the road.

The MR2 uses "electro-hydraulic", which means a motor runs a pump which provides the assist hydraulically. Steering feel should be nearly indistinguishable from a normal hydraulic system. This is also what the Acura NSX runs, as does the Lotus Esprit (which incidentally used basically the same system that never made it into production for the 1988 power steering fiero). The Opel Astra also uses a similar setup.

Most everyone else uses a normal, engine or camshaft driven pump, hydraulic steering system.
 
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