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Anyone hear about this Dodge "sling shot" concept? Sounds like if they go forward they will be aiming at a little of the Solstice market share (price-wise anyway).

Small rear-mounted engine (3 cyl) makes it a bit strange. Might be based on Euro "Smart" car platform. Besides the power I'm not crazy about the styling myself (looks a little Honda Del Sol for me). Might be better aimed at Mini buyers? Anyway, here's the poop....

Pictures:
http://www.dodgeboy.net/news/slingshot/index.htm

Mentioned in today's (9/5) Chicago Trib with regards to Solstice market...

Sling Shot: Remember the Dodge Copperhead concept coupe from the 1997 auto-show circuit? Terrific looking, but never made it into production.

Sling Shot has a better chance because it rests on the same platform as the Smart sold in Germany. Smart is a member of the DaimlerChrysler car group that will have its first offering in the U.S. in '06.

Very stylish. Very sporty. Sling Shot is a possible low-cost, $20,000 entry that looks like a $50,000 machine designed to attract new faces into Dodge showrooms.

It would be aimed at youth on a budget--the same folks expected to check out the Pontiac Solstice roadster that comes out for '06 as an "under $20,000" entry.

The two-seat Sling Shot comes with a power convertible top, though for the top to work, you have to insert guide rails front to back.

It also comes with a 3-cylinder aimed at optimum fuel economy teamed with a clutchless manual with tap shift to move through the gears.

Most concepts look far better than they behave because they generally are styling and not engineering exercises. Suspensions usually are hard as marble with no give. Engines stammer and stumble. Steering is stiff and the only power assist is whatever muscle you put into it.

Sling Shot is an exception. Engine, suspension and steering were as road ready as any vehicle resting on a showroom floor.

If produced, it could ride on the 18-inch radials featured on the concept. And it could be produced if Chrysler takes advantage of platform sharing with Smart to bring out a niche vehicle. Stay tuned.
 

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When I first heard about this vehicle, i heard it might come out as an ultra-low cost vehicle, i remember being quoted the "$10K" area. Especially considering it's pint-size, low power, and very manual top (seems to be more work than the Solstice's will be). This article looks to put it in the just under $20k category, which would blow any of my interest in the vehicle.

Just my $.98
 

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Hmm... I just noted that the above article noted a power top on the vehicle. Perhaps they've retooled it, because I knew I had read that the top was kinda complicated... here's what I found from edmunds about this vehicle...

"In an era where 300 horsepower is not big deal, Dodge builds a concept that shows you don't need crushing power to have fun. The styling of the Sling Shot is decidedly mechanical, with even the instrument pods resembling the gears and belts of a motorcycle engine. A center-mounted exhaust outlet with three holes hints at the power source, a diminutive three-cylinder engine that makes but 100 ponies. Dodge claims that the lightweight Sling Shot still manages to run to 60 mph in around 10 seconds. Sports carlike handling would also be part of the deal, says Dodge, thanks to the coupe's four-wheel independent suspension and four-wheel disc brakes.

Equally enticing is the prospect of top-down thrills in this budget coupe: The main roof panel and passenger compartment side rails can be stowed in the trunk, while a secondary canvas roof panel slides out of the way like the cover of a rolltop desk. So done, the hypothetical owner will find himself at the wheel of a quasiconvertible (not unlike Honda's mid-1990s Civic del Sol). If produced, the Sling Shot would be aimed at young hipsters, with an affordable price and fuel economy that could take them up to 45 miles to the gallon."

To me, that sounds more like a "under $15k" vehicle than a "sub $20k" vehicle...

there... now that's my $1.00 and some extra change.
 

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front end looks like a boxier version of a honda S2000, with a bigger trunk (hatchback thingy), i like it, though wouldnt it be a low-end crossfire?
 

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They'd have to sell it under 15k, it is no way a Solstice or Miata. Their claims seem a little optomistic, I doubt it will really come in at 1750 lbs, and with 18" wheels I doubt it will do 10sec 0-60 times. If it does, don't count on 45mpg! If that's a Smart chassis, they must have stretched it and adjustments needed to make it handle well will most likely drive the price too high.
I also don't consider a targa type top "open air" driving. I think the hard top is a manual assembly. the reference to a power top might be in regards to the canvas top that extends after the hard top is removed.

The concept is not without merit, they could sell these, it doesn't look too bad, a little derivitive maybe, but at 20k they are joking. In case they haven't noticed their own advertizing lately, they're in a horsepower war right now. Maybe wait till gas goes to $3 a gallon then go for the pocket rocket idea, but now people don't seem to be in a conservation mood. The whole project kind of reminds me of the Geo convertable, not in looks, but spirit.

I don't think they should give up on it, just they'll have to price it at bottom of the market and figure out a way to make it profitable. I don't think it will justify it's expense to be a Halo car because it's not, the Viper is.
 

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gas prices are either going to skyrocket, or go back down, theyre so high thanks to President Bush in Iraq, but mostly because of one of the major companies owes a huge amount of money in backtaxes to russia, which might shut them down. So prices will either skyrocket or go down, but wintertime is here so theyll recede a bit, (they already have)

-actually i like the car, gotta wait for more definate specs etc to come out.
 

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The car is not too bad, but at $20K its a joke. I am also not sure the American public will want to buy too many 3 cylinder cars, regardless of the styling. Compared to even most economy cars these days, its going to have anemic power. That would really hurt it. I think Dodge would have something if they could get their 4 bangers in this car! Just imagine, the SRT-4 turbo in a < 2000 pound car for $20K-$25K! It would make the Lotus Elise look overpriced and underpowered!
 

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Fformula88 said:
I think Dodge would have something if they could get their 4 bangers in this car! Just imagine, the SRT-4 turbo in a < 2000 pound car for $20K-$25K! It would make the Lotus Elise look overpriced and underpowered!
That's what they should be working on, an SRT-4 roadster to be a little brother to the Viper. Those that really want a Viper but can't ever afford it could get something from Dodge that's almost as fun. Problem is, to do it right they'd have to start a new platform from scratch, and without other divisions to share the cost, it's probably a money hole for a company that's trying to make a come back in profitability. Don't think they'll try to squeeze the SRT motor into the Smart chassis, not much room there, but maybe you could. Again though, the process of making the Smart chassis go like stink will probably cost more than they are willing to spend right now on a car with limited sales appeal. I think the Sling Shot concept is to be a Smart with different sheet metal and a slight tune to the motor. Not a ton of R&D, and probably not the greatest idea unless they can sell it dirt cheap.
 

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AeroDave said:
Problem is, to do it right they'd have to start a new platform from scratch...
The Neon and PT Cruiser are essentially the same platform, right? And there's a PT Cruiser convertible, so they have a small-car platform that can handle a convertible of one sort or another. There's also a PT GT convertible, so the platform can handle at least approx. 220 HP. It might be possible to simply make slight modifications to that platform to handle something that size.

Of course, after typing all that out, I just realized that it'd be FWD. I can't remember if the Sling Shot concept was FWD or RWD.
 

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Solstice006 said:
The Neon and PT Cruiser are essentially the same platform, right? And there's a PT Cruiser convertible, so they have a small-car platform that can handle a convertible of one sort or another. There's also a PT GT convertible, so the platform can handle at least approx. 220 HP. It might be possible to simply make slight modifications to that platform to handle something that size.

Of course, after typing all that out, I just realized that it'd be FWD. I can't remember if the Sling Shot concept was FWD or RWD.
I believe that the Smart, and therefore Sling Shot, are rear engine, rear drive.

They could no doubt put together some kind of roadster on the Neon platform, but it would have to be a compromise and not the critical success it would need to be to benifit the Dodge brand. Buyers of a PT convertible are not going to be too concerned about handleing, body flex and frequency, weight distro, overall weight and skid pad numbers. All they care is that the top goes down, it looks cute and there's room for two more friends.

When you venture into the roadster market the buyers and the press get a whole lot more critical, and Dodge must know this after building the Viper. Putting out a roadster that falls short of it's competion that are all made on purpose built platforms, isn't going to do the brand any favors. Point in case would be the Thunderbird. It's adapted from a sedan platform and it shows when you drive it. A smaller, more performance oriented roadster would be even more difficult to achieve success from a sedan platform. IMO a FWD Neon based roadster would be slammed by the press and most buyers. Probably more of an embarrassment than it's worth. The Sling Shot may also end up a failure of a roadster, but if it's real cheap, and it's cute, people will buy them anyways. For a while.
 

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When you venture into the roadster market the buyers and the press get a whole lot more critical, and Dodge must know this after building the Viper.
An SR4 powered Smart para-roadster that looked as good as the Sling Shot would be a force to reckon with.
But one problem, Bob ain't at Chysler no more!
Thanks for building it Bob!
 

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I agree that an SRT-4 based Smart would could run up the cost of the project, but they could charge a decent amount too and they would sell a TON of them, as long as they could produce in decent volume. I have no idea what the economics of it would look like, but the major cost would be fitting the SRT-4 drivetrain into the back of the smart chasis. As long as it fit, and could be properly cooled, there wouldn't be a ton of extra cost. However, if the engine compartment is simply too small there would be all kinds of problems.

I just do not see anyone buying a slow 3 cylinder two seater. 2 seaters don't sell all that well to begin with for the most part, and this one won't have a power advantage. Maybe they could turbo that 3 banger or something to boost output.
 

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I got to poking around about the Smart car and discovered that much to my suprise, the Sling Shot by and large already exists. In Europe Smart sells a roadster called the Smart Roadster and Smart Roadster Coupe. What the Sling Shot artical leaves out is that the Dodge offering would be simply a reskinning of the Smart Roadster already being produced. That makes the Sling Shot proposition a whole different matter. I thought Dodge was proposing to convert the Smart Fortwo (the only Smart I was aware of until now) into a roadster. Smart has already done this.

The other thing the artical ommits is the fact that the Smart Roadster engine a 3 cylinder 700cc intercooled turbocharged unit. The 100hp unit is tuned by Brabus. With only 700cc the engine is highly boosted to get to 100hp. That's all well and good, but my belief is that turbo lag is no doubt a major issue with this car, and I don't think American buyers would respond to a dinky little engine like that even if it does eventually get to 100hp. The transmission is a 6 speed semi automatic, electric shift and automatic electric clutch. Kind of like a paddle shift but there is still a stick on the floor. For a few extra bucks you can opt to have and electric logic module shift for you.

The roof is just like the Sling Shot artical discribes. The hard top removes and can be stowed in the trunk (which is in the front) and an electric soft top can be had optionaly. This car is very small and light. The SRT 4 engine I don't think is a practical option, there's just no room in the back, and to convert to front engine rear drive would blow the budget in R&D. A reskined, rebadged Smart Roadster under the Dodge name is intriquing, but I fear it is just to small for American tastes. Until we get to $3 a gallon.

Here's a link to the info page at the Smart website. http://www.smart.com/-snm-0135137740-1094540673-0000010528-0000004032-1094680854-enm-is-bin/INTERSHOP.enfinity/WFS/mpc-en-content-Site/en_EN/-/USD/SVCPresentationPipeline-Start?Page=issite://smart-Site/smart.com/RootFolder/smart/modelle/smartroadster/steckbrief/45kw.page
I also got some photos to compare to the Sling Shot.
 

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Have you seen what happens when you drive the fortwo in reverse to about 15 mph and slam on the brakes? I'm looking for the video now, if I find it, I'll link to it.

The front wheels come off the ground and the whole car rolls over backwards onto it's roof. It's hilarious looking.

Imagine what Consumer reports would say about that.
 

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AeroDave said:
That's what they should be working on, an SRT-4 roadster to be a little brother to the Viper. Those that really want a Viper but can't ever afford it could get something from Dodge that's almost as fun. Problem is, to do it right they'd have to start a new platform from scratch, and without other divisions to share the cost, it's probably a money hole for a company that's trying to make a come back in profitability. Don't think they'll try to squeeze the SRT motor into the Smart chassis, not much room there, but maybe you could. Again though, the process of making the Smart chassis go like stink will probably cost more than they are willing to spend right now on a car with limited sales appeal. I think the Sling Shot concept is to be a Smart with different sheet metal and a slight tune to the motor. Not a ton of R&D, and probably not the greatest idea unless they can sell it dirt cheap.
Other than the roadster part, you are describing my dream car. The Dodge Razor. A 2500lb, 2-seat, RWD, SRT based motor pumping 250+ hp, projected $16.5K sticker leaving lot's of money for mods. Mmmm, yeah baby! That's what I had been waiting for, but since they basically said it's off the table for now, I switched focus to the Solstice.


 

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AztekzRpurty said:
Have you seen what happens when you drive the fortwo in reverse to about 15 mph and slam on the brakes? I'm looking for the video now, if I find it, I'll link to it.

The front wheels come off the ground and the whole car rolls over backwards onto it's roof. It's hilarious looking.

Imagine what Consumer reports would say about that.
"Unsafe at any backwards speed!" Maybe it needs a wheelie bar. :lol
 
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