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I was thinking this weekend :D ;) . When I was driving around in, unhhh, a car.

Has anyone else driven an SSR (or something similar that I can't think of right now) or even a 'vette or Z4 (possibly even the Fiero) vs. a Miata or a Honda S2000, or Toyota MR2, or Lotus Elise or Z3?

Something I noticed is the Miata/Honda/MR2/Elise/Z3 have either a very low w/shield base or a high seated height (relative to hood and windshield base). Actually. the effect in a miata and the Z3 is actually very annoying to me as I feel like those clowns that ride on miniature bicycles... but, I digress.

This visibility allows one driving such cars (MR2 and Elise especially, since there's really no engine that forces the hoodline up) to see pavement VERY close to the bumper. I think the auto companies call this downward vision?

The SSR, 'vette and even the fiero, and to some extent the Z4 (it's amazing how far a little friendly dealership conversation goes) give the impression of a very looonngg hood (Z4) or the feeling like you're sitting deep down in a bathtub (SSR, 'vette, Fiero to some extent). The SSR and the new corvette also have a very high door top that makes the traditional elbow-out-the-window driving experience a little more difficult. With the top down in the SSR I found it actually more comfortable to just hang my hand on the outboard corner of the header with my elbow on the top of the door.

In my Fiero, it seems like either the seat is touch too low, or the windshield base is a little too high, but I would classify the feel closer to a 'vette or SSR rather than Miata/MR2. Not a problem for me, but it does give a different vehicle impression.

What if, (and this is an IF as in hypothetical musing) the Solstice was closer to a bathtub feel rather than the small-car-knees-bent-teeny-english-car-too-small-for-me-look-over-the-header feel of the miata?

I know it wouldn't be a dealbreaker for me, as I tend to prefer a little more car around me. I actually like the feel of the SSR, Z4 and the Fiero.

But... are there some of you out there where this would ruin your impression of a car with the characteristics and seating position of, say, an SSR or Z4 as opposed to the older Z3? Would such a seating position matter if the steering were still spot-on and sharp with great feel, the ride decently firm and still reasonably forgiving, the structure were noticeably better than a Miata, the handling tight and tossable, and the limit handling feel were outstandingly predictable with great grip? :jester
 

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I have thought about this with the Solstice. I am a guy that likes to drive with my arm out, and that looks like it won't be too practical in the Solstice. If it means that in exchange for airing out my elbow, I can see under the windshield header, I think I can live with that. But it will be something I will miss alot. The Thunderbird is like that. The belt line is too high/seats too low for letting the arm out, but the stratagy of grabbing the windshield frame does placate me for a time. In a perfect world, I would want high windshield and low door height, but you can tell from the pictures that Solstice is probably not this way. I'll live. :rolleyes
 

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Well you are not going to be able to pick up a newspaper without opening the door.

Have had a couple of Fieros and is more of a car you wear, the seat grips more firmly than any GM car I have driven. Did feel that the central gas tank cover was a tad high, had to grip the shift knob oddly to keep from bumping my elbow.

And there was no cupholder.

That said, the Reatta has even ->less<- headroom but I was able to velcro a cupholder over the ashtray.

Both are coupes and should not be an issue with a roadster. That said I am concerned about the ability of the seat to accomodate my rearward and reclining (arms straight out) driving position. Fiero was perfect, Reatta required some modification to get low enough (heck, I had to modify the seat in my Judge as well) however the real bulkead in the Solstice seems quite close.
 

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I think this photo should tell you alot. If Lutz is average size, then the arm out the window isn't too far off. Although, if he is somewhat short in stature, then the arm out the window is no problem. And I'm assuming he's not sitting on a pillow or raised up some other way.

Anyone know how tall Lutz is??
 

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I only ever have an arm out the window when I'm at a complete stop. Otherwise I have both hands on the steering wheel, except for shifting of course. Especially if I'm going to be at an auto-cross or something.

I've sat in, and driven a corvette before. If you're used to driving your normal daily car/truck/suv/van it's really an amasing difference just to sit in the car. I agree, the hood seems to be extremely long from that sitting position.

Are you talking a hood that feels as long as a corvette, or a little shorter at least?
 

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piippor said:
I think this photo should tell you alot. If Lutz is average size, then the arm out the window isn't too far off. Although, if he is somewhat short in stature, then the arm out the window is no problem. And I'm assuming he's not sitting on a pillow or raised up some other way.

Anyone know how tall Lutz is??
Here's an image of Rick Wagoner, Bob Lutz, and John Divine. He's the shortest of the 3 in the middle. Not sure how tall the other two guys are though :D The image is from GM.com.

The second image is of Bob and Rick again with Ron Zarella and a 4th person.
 

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An Imaginary Car? COOL!!!

OOOHHH! I like the idea of an imaginary car Solsticeman, one where you could post more "Hypothetial Musing" questions ;)

Perhaps you could even come up with a hypothetical name (i.e. Solster).

Since their is little to ponder on the Solstce until more info comes, maybe we could discuss the solsticeman's Solster?? ;)

On the point of the bathtub feel, I already envisioned the Solstice to be like this based on it's dimension, and I like the idea. I hope it's like a mini vette, much more so than the idea of it being closer to the size of miata.

Could the Solster be considered a mini vette????

I look forward to more hypothtical questions :lurk
 

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Discussion Starter #8
piippor said:

...
I think this photo should tell you alot. If Lutz is average size, then the arm out the window isn't too far off. Although, if he is somewhat short in stature, then the arm out the window is no problem. And I'm assuming he's not sitting on a pillow or raised up some other way.

Anyone know how tall Lutz is??[/QUOTE]


Lutz is over 6 feet tall. I'd guess around 6'4".
 

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I prefer an upright seating position with a good view of the corners of the car, but that's often hard to find in a sports car. I would also like lower cut doors than what the Solstice has, but I know that's not going to happen. Neither of these are show stoppers to me.

My current sports car (a 350Z) has high doors and a low roof line. Feels like being in an old chopped coupe at times, but the seats are very comfortable and supportive, and all the controls are in the right places. The top down view in the Solstice will be a welcome change. I just hope that the placement and feel of the major controls (steering, shifter, and pedals) are up to snuff. If they are, I'll be satisfied.
 

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I would like to feel more IN the car, the bathtub feel wouldn't be bad. I'm tall so i dont want most of my body being out of the car. I remember one magazine article with the test mules, they said it felt like they were sitting low in the car and from the pictures it looked to be that way. The door line is high and the seating possition is low. I like that design.
 

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I actually prefer the low beltline of a Z3 as compared to say, a Boxter's higher beltline. Driving a Z3 gives you a little more of a sensation of speed. I like the feeling of being "out there." But then again, I'm a motorcyclist, so I'm comfortable with alot less around me.

Regardless of that though, it's not a deal breaker. Ya look cooler in a car with a high beltline :cool
 

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Discussion Starter #13
tcl said:
...but the seats are very comfortable and supportive, and all the controls are in the right places.

... I just hope that the placement and feel of the major controls (steering, shifter, and pedals) are up to snuff. ...

How 'bout a) pretty good (better than a miata?) and b) nearly perfect...?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
solsticeman said:
Lutz is over 6 feet tall. I'd guess around 6'4".
Correction: Wagoner is 6'4". Lutz is an inch (only) shorter at 6'3".

Wagoner used to play basketball at Duke.
 

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When it comes to high belt line, few are as extreme as the, rest your chin on the window sill, Prowler.

In piippor's picture of Bob Lutz behind the wheel, notice that inspite of the higher belt line, his vision through the windshield appears limited (vertically). If the roof had been up, it looks like there's a sort of tank driver, gun slot sort of thing happening. When driving with the top up, I'm wondering if I'll be spending time at stoplights, leaning forward with neck bent sideways, head on the steering wheel, trying to see when the light turns green. Of course, dropping the top solves that.

Outward vision through the windshield is more of an issue to me than driving position. But having to slide down in the seat, just to see the road ahead due to a low windshield header, is a pain. Would it be a deal breaker? Possibly, if it was bad enough. But, more likely, it'd be a reason to sell early, 'cuz I'll give myself a year or two to see if I can adapt.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
DreamerDave said:
When it comes to high belt line, few are as extreme as the, rest your chin on the window sill, Prowler.....
Forgot the Prowler, but that IS in the extreme category of bathtubs-on-wheels. I blocked the car out of my mind, I think (DREADFUL driving dynamics, choppy throttle control, so-so non-linear steering, crappy structure - I'm encountering nightmarish flashbacks...). I somehow think the Solstice won't be THAT bad. :smile

DreamerDave said:
...In piippor's picture of Bob Lutz behind the wheel, notice that inspite of the higher belt line, his vision through the windshield appears limited (vertically). If the roof had been up, it looks like there's a sort of tank driver, gun slot sort of thing happening. When driving with the top up, I'm wondering if I'll be spending time at stoplights, leaning forward with neck bent sideways, head on the steering wheel, trying to see when the light turns green. ....
This is a part of the roadster character. I have to do this in the Z3, Z4, Honds, Miata - so I wouldn't expect anything different for the Solstice, if-you-know-what-I-mean...

The reason is everyone wants the extreme windshield rake look - which drops the header height to the point where if you are over 5'6" tall you'll have to start doing the "stoplight-twist".
 

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I wouldn’t mind sitting down in the car a little more. I hate the feeling of being up on top of a roadster. I always felt the beltline of the Miata was a little too low and everything about the car a little too snug. The only thing I believe I would find annoying would be if my arm didn’t rest comfortably on top of the door with the window down. However, if its that or sitting on top of the car, I’ll take that.

I love the seating position in my Fiero. The door isn’t too high, and yet I do not feel like I am sitting on instead of in the car. The low seat does give you the impression of a large hood, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
 

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Maybe they just need to make door cut outs like they did in the Nash Metropolitan! :jester
 

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And with those wheel openings, there'd never be a discussion on getting plus sizes to fill the wheel wells (oops, wrong thread)
 

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I wonder if J.C. Whitney still sells those plastic lenses you glue to your windshield that refract light from above to give you a view of stoplights. Sort of like bifocals.

(Boy, I'm dating myself here)
 
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