What would your ideal car include

Okay, I’ve got some time on my hands today. Lake many, I’ve long wondered what it would be like to build my own car from scratch. I’ve often thought of ideas to include. I’ve included some below. What would yours include?


  1. A-frames up & down, front & rear. The inner articulating joint of the A-frames would be as close to the center of the vehicle as possible. This should reduce the amount of camber necessary in order to maintain a cosistant tract as the wheel moves through its travel, thus keeping the tread as flat on the ground as possible.
  2. Camber, caster, and toe in on both front and rear sdjustable “on the fly” via a plug-in control box. Perhaps by adding a VSS input a program could allow settings to be saved for various speeds and create automatic constant changes as the speed changes. This could probably be accomplished vis program-driven synchro motors with worm drives.
  3. inboard brakes fromt & rear
  4. lightweight wheels to keep unsprung weight to a minimum. Off-the-shelf to keep replacement costs to a minimum.
  5. tire widths only as wide as necessary to reduce rolling resistance.
  6. wheels placed as far out to the corners as possible.


  1. a midmounted horizontally opposed engine of reasonable economy. Mounted low, for a low Cg. Perhaps a Honda Goldwing engine would do the trick.
  2. one of them newfangled auto/manual (optional) trannys.


  1. fiberglass body panels with the color in the panel…like boat builders do.
  2. door window frames that wrap up over the roof to a center rail and contain removable “smoked” roof panels.
  3. Long, dihedral opening doors that, when combined with the over-the-roof window frames, create extreme ease of entry.
  4. a vertical rear window, power opening. That, with the roof panels removed, should provide a convertable like experience.
  5. a rear spoiler with good surface area that could rise to become an air brake when the brakes are applied. (stole that idea from McLaren). Perhaps it could be powered by scoops that open via solenoids to allow airflow into pneumatic actuators. That would eliminate the need for hydraulics, using wind pressure rather than loading the crank with a pump.
  6. a front end designed purely for aerodynamics, panels providing downforce while at the same tike directing flow past the brake discs.
  7. rearward-facing bullet-cameras at the crest of each front wheel arch and the center of the rear. Three (or four) small screens could project the images providing a panoramic view of whats beside and behind the car. Much more effective than mirrors.
  8. large side scoops would feed the radiator etc.
  9. the rear would be wide open with only horizontal slats, to allow air coming past the engine and through the scoops to exit without creating unnecessray drag or undercarriage pressure (lift).


  1. simple and straightforward, with a flat dash with analog gages arranged simply and toggle switches to control functions (lights, wipers etc.)
  2. regularly used functions (directionals, cruise, radio, etc.) on the steering wheel.
  3. paddle shifters.
  4. low, laid back seats, the most comfortable available.
  5. tan leather

What would be your idea?

A flux capacitor so I can get to work in no time.

Well just about the dead opposite of everything you want.

Lower control arms pivot outboard enough to compensate for tire roll under, which would be out a bit because I would not want tires with a profile less than 60 and I would want a lot of roll resistance, big sway bars.

Regular doors that i can hold onto to help get in and out.

Chair height, up right seating and no thigh support, it cuts off the blood to my lower legs. I do want good lumbar support and maybe a tailbone cutout.

Solid roof, no sun/moon roofs or the like.

No spoilers, airdams or scoops, just good plain aerodynamics for fuel economy.

Mirrors large enough to do the job, square. About 3.5x5"

LED dashboard with selectable displays to suit my needs, but enough sensors in the engine that I can select a full analog or digital display of all critical information.

Tan leather would be nice.

Keith, you made me chuckle. Our diametrically opposite preferences perfectly illustrate the difficulty in answering those “what car do you recommend” posts.

Tailbone cutout sounds like a good idea.

I’ll settle for a well engineered 4 door, 4 cylinder gas powered sedan with automatic, air, power windows, door locks, cruise, backup camera, fully independent suspension, folding side mirrors, cloth buckets, kleenex dispenser, and not much else.

That’s pretty well what I have now, except for the backup camera. That one is on my Christmas list.

Interesting Thread that’s going to get many different type vehicles.

My current vehicle is a SUV. Because of our family needs an SUV fits nicely.

. I’d love to see a Diesel SUV about the size of my 4runner. 4-cylinder Turbo Diesel. From what I’ve read about them in Europe and South America they should have more then enough HP and Torque for my needs.

. Power Windows and door locks.

. Rear defrost with heated side mirrors.

. I prefer Cloth seats.

. Analog display. Get rid of the Tach. I’d prefer to see other useful gauges instead (oil pressure, oil temp, Tranny oil temp) just to name a few.

. No sun-roof.

. Rear Spoiler to keep the window clear in wet roads.

. HD Radio. I can’t live with out one now.

. For and SUV I’d rather give up a little cargo space for more space in the rear seats.

. Rear window like I have on my 4runner. It operates like a side window. My pathfinder’s rear window operated like a hatch.

. If I must settle on a gas SUV…I want one with a fuel filter I can replace without dropping the gas tank.

. A NON-Interference engine with a timing chain. Again probably not a problem if Diesel.


Yeah, your list illustrates why there remain a number of choices in cars. Tan leather? No way. Leather yes but dark. And low seats, naw. I’m short and need power seats up high. I don’t like to sleep while I’m driving. I’ve also never been a fan of fiberglass. Its a lot easier to repair a dented metal panel than a cracked fiberglass one. Rust is not a big problem now.

I actually am pretty satisfied with a lot of the designs at this point. Some of my criteria was a little hard to find though. I want a long long warranty-10 year, 100K bumper to bumper. 4 wheel disc brakes are mandatory. Front wheel drive. Comfortable interior with guages and easy to understand info centers and audio. Good styling, but fold down seats to be able to carry a 2x4 or so in the trunk. At least able to tow a couple thousand pounds, and of course reasonable gas mileage (30).

Good power to weight ratio. 200 HP per ton of car would be a good starting point.
18 MPG or better overall
Good front seats
Rear wheel drive or AWD with a rear bias
Good sound system
dual mode exahust like on the newer corvettes and Boss Mustangs
4 pot brakes up front , 2 pots in the rear (or better)
fully defeatable traction/stability control
power windows/locks/seat
full instrumentation
a hood with gas struts rather a prop rod
timing chain
remote start
manual transmission
limited slip diff

The ideal engine would be a small inline 6, turbo charged, direct injected, very high compression and solenoid operated valves controlled by a computer that will optimize the valve timing to conditions and including as needed, 2/4/6 cycle and gas-diesel operation. A simple two or three speed automatic with lockup TC would be all that is needed because of the super wide band engine.

A small straight 6(1.4l) with direct injection, gear driven camshaft, and throttless engine control driving an 8 speed manual and twin plate kevlar clutch in a subcompact wagon, much like my dearly missed xB. That car had a light enough pedal that it could squirt through traffic without making it a chore on the left knee. A multiple clutch would lighten the pedal even more. Hybrid with capacitor storage would be nice but it has to be a manual. Honda did it so it can be done. Power going to the rear with a dedion rear suspension mounted in a rear subframe so I can tow with it.

And I liked the cathedral like head room and the uncompromised structural rigidity so no sunroof for me. In fact give me the fold flat seat arrangement of the Honda Fit. Continuously variable seat adjustments would be nice but not critical. Speaking of the fit, I felt a little unprotected without side airbag.

Give me electric power steering with fast ratio and it should shut down completely at high speed. Why would anyone want to be able to steer with one finger and not know exactly what their tires are up to while their lives are depended on them at 70 mph? I want disc brakes with no dead travel in the pedal.

Power everything except seats would be nice. But I don’t need auto climate control. I want to adjust my temp just by groping the knobs instead of looking at them while moving. I liked the instrument panel in the middle, as it opened up space for wallet, phone, gps, etc. Instantaneous mileage read out would be nice.

A diesel powered series hybrid with an electric motor powering each wheel in a mid size full frame SUV. A suspension system that raises and lowers the chassis as needed for ground clearance or handling.
I NEED power lumbar support and climate control. They are absolute necessities.

The U.S. is losing jobs to people who struggle to afford these.

They may be coming to a dealer near you soon.

Unique, to say the least. Peoples in third world countries come up with ways to utilize whatever they can lay their hands on.

And if you were to build your own car, Rod, what features would it have?

The features would change from day to day, mountainbike. I guess that’s why I have more than one vehicle. But avante guard styling and technology is anathema to me. My late wife used to say “You’re not much to look at but I can depend on you to get the job done.” I took it as a complement and look for the same quality in my vehicles.

My perfect car…hmmm…let me think about that…

Well, first of all, it would have to be designed for very easy servicing.

It would also have to be big enough to accomodate 5 passengers in comfort, with abundant legroom and headroom, and a floor without a “step-down”-- but not so long that it is a pain to do parallel parking.
Most likely a wheelbase of ~113 inches, with an overall length of ~194 inches, and a width of ~70 inches would provide that combination of generous interior room, coupled with a relatively compact exterior.

It would have to have power that is more than just adequate, coupled with class-leading fuel economy.
Most likely, an engine of ~4.5-5 liters would provide that good balance between power and economy.

It would have to have a logically laid-out instument panel, equipped with easy-to-read gauges and no idiot lights.

And, of course, it would need oversized disc brakes.

Oh my God!
I just described a 1964 Studebaker Lark Cruiser sedan!

Yup, all you would need to do is to adapt the engine to fuel injection and computerized engine controls, fit it to a modern 5 or 6-speed automatic transmission, and make it compliant with modern safety regs, and you would have a sedan that would still look contemporary, and would rival the less-expensive Mercedes sedans in terms of performance, albeit for…many thousands of $$ less.

Rod…like the wife of a friend of mine is always saying to him…" if you can’t be handsome, be handy".

Dag, your friend’s wife must watch Red Green. He says that in every show.

Anybody else got any ideas that aren’t being used in current cars?

Well, since Studebaker stopped producing cars in 1966, I suppose that their designs have little in common with current cars!


We thank the Lord for that…