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Old 07-02-2021, 01:45 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by California98Civic View Post
Good point. But in the era of the early 50s, when the Nash Rambler was defining the compact segment, wasn't a wheel base of 100" an integral part of the standard?
Not sure how you could relate to that, but if you take a look at some modern econoboxes you'll notice the sedan usually has a longer wheelbase, as they're more sought after both in third-world countries where they fare as the all-around family runabout and in the American market where a roomier interior is a valuable commodity, in contrast to the hatchback with its more city-oriented approach.

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Old 07-02-2021, 08:41 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Wheelbase is a bad mesurement of vehicle size:

In case of the MR2 series, the ZZW-30 is the smallest, yet has the longest wheelbase.
ZZW-30: 2451 mm wheelbase 3886 mm length
SW-20: 2400 mm wheelbase 4170 mm length
AW-11: 2319 mm wheelbase 3950 mm length

It's actualy 69 mm shorter than the Mazda MX-5 (NB) even though it has a 181 mm longer wheelbase.
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Old 07-04-2021, 06:12 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Yes, wheel base is not a contemporary measure to define the segment called "compact" (or any other segment), but it apparently was in the 1950s, before more contemporary measures. A Nash executive apparently devised the term circa 1950, according to this website, which cites Heon Stevenson (2008) American Automobile Advertising, 1930-1980: An Illustrated History., p. 214. My 1998 Civic is 103." The Ford Model A was of similar size. The VW Beetle was smaller but not radically smaller at about 95," so the history of it was of a little interest. I like freebeard's theory above that it has something to do with seating and legroom. I also suspect that point can help explain 6 seater carriages in the 19th Century that nonetheless seem to have the wheel base of a Beetle or a Civic: people were smaller/thinner and seating took less space because it was just planks of lumber, mostly. That's interesting, a little. I still wonder if it was partly about vehicle stability in the 19th century. Vehicle width would be part of stability. I guess there might be a craft history linkage, too. Builders of coachmakers would have been a lot of the early builders of automobile bodies. Their habits of thinking about what made an appropriate sized and marketable carriage would probably affect early autos.

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Last edited by California98Civic; 07-04-2021 at 06:13 PM.. Reason: many typos!
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