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Old 04-12-2019, 11:35 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Partial chop top/teardrop on a metro

Yesterday I bought a 92 metro 4-dr hatchback. Neither back door currently opens from the outside, and the driver's side doesn't open from the inside (broken door handles). This car is going to pretty much be used exclusively for me to commute alone as my family of 6 won't fit in it. So here's the idea: I was thinking I could chop this thing behind the front seat area and taper it back to fit the ideal teardrop shape. I'm thinking I would build the rear end to fit the long low rear window of a comparable coupe, something like the last gen Mercury Cougar, or maybe a Chevy Cavalier, depending on the price of glass, dimensions, etc.

Posts before have expressed concern about the safety of chopping a unibody car, which I fully understand, but in this case I would be essentially converting this car into a 2 (or 1) seater, and would be leaving the front seat area intact, as well as possibly adding some tube steel to beef the structure up a little. The fabrication shouldn't be an issue for me as I have done a lot of work with both steel and aluminum fab, and have access to both in a large variety of gauges, and can even have them laser cut for me for a pretty good price.

Thoughts, comments, concerns? I haven't done any rough figuring on the cost of this project yet, just a rough idea that popped in my head when I look at the very boxy nature of this car.

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Old 04-12-2019, 11:44 AM   #2 (permalink)
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The nature of the metro already makes it kind of a death trap, but I think that adding tube steel would go a long way for protection. I definitely would do something like that for peace of mind.

I can imagine you getting some pretty good efficiency gains from your idea. Seems perfect for a daily commuter.
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Old 04-12-2019, 11:50 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Taylor95 View Post
The nature of the metro already makes it kind of a death trap, but I think that adding tube steel would go a long way for protection. I definitely would do something like that for peace of mind.

I can imagine you getting some pretty good efficiency gains from your idea. Seems perfect for a daily commuter.
Death trap is pretty much what I thought. I figured I'd build a cage that more or less fits NHRA specs, and I would be pretty safe at that point. I'm going to try and use the aerodynamic simulator tool thing (I have the best words) and see if I can make it do what I'm considering with this car.
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Old 04-12-2019, 11:53 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Been done a few times. Here are some examples.
https://ecomodder.com/forum/showthre...ild-35034.html

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Old 04-12-2019, 12:32 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Been done a few times. Here are some examples.
https://ecomodder.com/forum/showthre...ild-35034.html

JJ
Thanks for the link, some interesting builds there. I want to leave the front passenger area alone, so I can use a factory windshield (which needs replacing) and factory glass in the front windows. I'll have to fab the rear part to fit whatever rear slope window I decide to put in, and I figured that the sail panels would either be solid, or I could just get some flat tempered glass cut to fit at a glass shop.
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Old 04-12-2019, 01:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Brake reduction clips, lighterweight HX or Insight rims with the Brigestone tires, 60 PSI, Kammback or boattail, side skirts, belly pan, air dam, etc.

The Metro has a small engine and light weight like the Insight, but aerodynamics make it much less fuel efficient. Unlike the Insight, there is a lot one can do to improve the aerodynamic efficiency of the Metro, and see some pretty sweet gains.
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Old 04-12-2019, 01:36 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpg_numbers_guy View Post
Brake reduction clips, lighterweight HX or Insight rims with the Brigestone tires, 60 PSI, Kammback or boattail, side skirts, belly pan, air dam, etc.

The Metro has a small engine and light weight like the Insight, but aerodynamics make it much less fuel efficient. Unlike the Insight, there is a lot one can do to improve the aerodynamic efficiency of the Metro, and see some pretty sweet gains.
kammback, side skirts and an air dam I had thought about, but I kinda want to chop it just to be different.

I'm afraid I don't know what you mean by brake reduction clips, and would the wheels you described bolt up? how about hub size? I'm always leery about wheel swaps because I've seen so many people put wheels with the wrong hub bore on without hub rings, and even at that I don't really trust hub rings as anytime I've taken off wheels with them they always seem to be cracked.

Also what Bridgestone tires are you referring to? The stock size is 145/80/12 and I'm learning they are hard to come by.
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Old 04-12-2019, 01:47 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Chopping it would be cool, and you would definitely see gains from that, especially if you continued the chop with a tail at the end.

Brakes use friction to slow the car, but even when the brakes are not being engaged, the brakes are still dragging slightly. Brake reduction clips eliminate this and help you coast better. Braking distance may be affected slightly, so you would have to test it. I run brake reduction clips on my Insight and so far have experienced no issues in braking.

I'd have to double check, but I'm pretty sure people have run the 13" VX rims on Metros just fine. HX and Insight rims are 14" so if VX rims fit, HX and Insight rims would. If the Metro's bolt pattern is 4x100, the rims shouldn't have a problem clearing the calipers since 14" is a bit larger than 12".

The Bridgestone Potenza comes in the size 165/65R14 and is the stock tire size for the G1 Insight. It is generally thought to be one of the most fuel efficient tires out there. 165/65R14 is slightly larger than 145/80R12, so you would also get slightly taller gearing (6.2% taller: 2000 RPMs becomes ~1880 RPM), which would also improve economy.

^ although if the goal is an ultra cheap car, replacing tires/wheels may not be the best idea until you actually need to. HX/Insight rims will generally cost ~$200 for a set unless you are lucky, and the Bridgestones are generally $70-$110 per tire depending on seller.
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Old 04-12-2019, 01:57 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mpg_numbers_guy View Post
Chopping it would be cool, and you would definitely see gains from that, especially if you continued the chop with a tail at the end.

Brakes use friction to slow the car, but even when the brakes are not being engaged, the brakes are still dragging slightly. Brake reduction clips eliminate this and help you coast better. Braking distance may be affected slightly, so you would have to test it. I run brake reduction clips on my Insight and so far have experienced no issues in braking.

I'd have to double check, but I'm pretty sure people have run the 13" VX rims on Metros just fine. HX and Insight rims are 14" so if VX rims fit, HX and Insight rims would. If the Metro's bolt pattern is 4x100, the rims shouldn't have a problem clearing the calipers since 14" is a bit larger than 12".

The Bridgestone Potenza comes in the size 165/65R14 and is the stock tire size for the G1 Insight. It is generally thought to be one of the most fuel efficient tires out there. 165/65R14 is slightly larger than 145/80R12, so you would also get slightly taller gearing (6.2% taller: 2000 RPMs becomes ~1880 RPM), which would also improve economy.

^ although if the goal is an ultra cheap car, replacing tires/wheels may not be the best idea until you actually need to. HX/Insight rims will generally cost ~$200 for a set unless you are lucky, and the Bridgestones are generally $70-$110 per tire depending on seller.
Any more info on those clips, or they an off the shelf part or would I have to make them? I've never heard of them before though I did know that there is slight brake drag usually.

From what I can find the Metro bolt pattern is 4 X 114 (haven't measured this yet though). As far as budget if dirt cheap was the only goal a major fabrication like a chop top would be out: my logic is that paying less for the car means more money to mod.

$110 a tire is steep, my f150 tires can be had for less than that. I'm probably going to try and find some 13" LSi wheels as I know they'll bolt up right.
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Old 04-12-2019, 02:31 PM   #10 (permalink)
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These are the brake reduction clips I used. There are other sizes available; not sure what size works on the Metro.

Ebay has the Bridgestones for $149.99 for two, which isn't a bad deal. Costco sometimes has them for $250 for a set, including mounting and balancing.

You're right about the bolt pattern - 4x114; I just looked it up. Bummer on that. Smooth wheel covers would improve the aerodynamics of the LSi wheels.

155/80R13 tires are pretty cheap ($40/ea?) and they will also provide taller gearing and the sidewall will help ride quality.

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