polar moment of inertia, he explains, you get a maximum theoretical
tip-over limit of 3.27 lateral g, which is greater than the tyres can generate,
so it will slide rather than tip over.
Also, the very low polar moment of inertia yields quick
transient responses to steering input. Under hard braking, around 33 per
cent of the vehicle weight is on each tyre, with approximately 66 per cent
of the weight on the rear tyres, behind the centre of gravity, so the vehicle
is in a dynamically stable condition; lock up and it wont spin.
If you want more of this sort of stuff, Bob is happy
to oblige. He can bang on about yaw rates, axes of rotation,
stress loadings, weight transfer and static loadings until
the hind legs have fallen off any number of donkeys.
However, the important thing is that, unlike many
of the weld-it-and-hope chancers that have bodged together three-wheelers
in the past, he has actually done his sums. After
all, fighter planes use the same layout as the Vig, he insists. The calculations
of weight and balance Ive used are closer to aircraft design than traditional
And, somehow, it works. With a bit of why didnt
anybody think of this before? surprise, you can see what the means. It has
a simple motorbike-type steering arrangement with no power
assistance, but it does have a turning circle a London taxi
would kill for, and it goes round corners very quickly with a whiff of oversteer.
You can actually unstick the rear tyres more easily than the front one strange,
The top speed of this car, with the current 345bhp
engine, is estimated at 215mph. Thats right, 215. With a proper race-spec
engine developing 700bhp, it would crack the 250mph mark easily and keep
going towards . . . well, God knows. I certainly dont, because it wasnt
going to get anywhere near those figures with me in it.
But it feels highly possible. And at an estimated
$125,000 (or more, if you
want a tuned engine), thats a lot of bang for your bucks.
It makes a Ferrari F50 look slow and costly.|
Bobs planning to start building Vigillantes to order
just as soon as hes sorted out a bit of financial backing, and even has
half an idea of reviving the TriVette concept using a Volkswagen Golf turbodiesel
engine to achieve ludicrous economy.
Personally, I hope he starts making Vigillantes
very soon. After, all, the idea of screaming around at 250mph in something
thats a dead ringer for a de-winged jet fighter
is irresistible. Robin meet the Batmobile.