• Jun 16th 2008 at 11:29AM
  • 32
Click above for more pics of the Dough Heffron's 75 mpg "tandem" Metro

Like a number of other folks who didn't get much attention at the time, Doug Heffron was worried about gas mileage and pump costs way back in 1993. That was back when this particular blogger had a VW Jetta that could be filled to the tippy top for $11, and having to spend $13 was considered criminal banditry. But Doug wasn't happy with merely cheap fill-ups and 56 mpg in his Geo Metro Xfi. So he turned it into the car you see above.

That meant installing tandem seating on the left side, fairing the wheels, changing the gearing, and chopping off the right side and replacing it with, well, nothing but a wing. Once finished, the car got 75 pg. All that work might sound like a lot for an extra 19 mph, but one should expect a bit of aero tweaking and math to squeeze a 34-percent gain in fuel economy from an already frugal econobox.

The car was driven for two years in all four New England seasons, and then gas prices went down and it was put away in a barn. In 2006, however, the barn doors opened again, but Doug hasn't said what he plans to do with the car. We're not saying that everyone should drive this type of... thing, but if a guy in his garage can crank out something like this, then... come on Chevy Volt! Thanks for the tip, Ted!

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 7 Years Ago
      I find that most spammers also lack a basic understanding of physics (or at least hope the spam-ee does.) Thermodynamics says you get less energy from combusting the hydrogen than you spent cracking it out of water. No ifs, ands, or buts.
      • 7 Years Ago
      "Once finished, the car got 75 pg. All that work might sound like a lot for an extra 19 mph"

      I thought you guys had an editor?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Nope they got it right. Its now the fastest Geo Metro EVER! j/k

        Still 75mpg is pretty damned impressive. Imagine if automakers actually started THINKING a bit. We could have 40mpg full size trucks and 90mpg minivans!
        • 7 Years Ago
        "Let's remove half the passenger compartment to reduce weight and drag" isn't abnormal thinking, it's straight forward compromise like every other design decision.

        That this wasn't done at the factory isn't because the squares there didn't think of it, it's because it's not a compromise paying customers are lined up to buy.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Wait, you mean we don't have phasers and teleporters and Scotties? Damn.

        Ok, so maybe I stretched it a bit. Still, a bit of abnormal thinking can produce a lot of impressive things.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "We could have 40mpg full size trucks"

        Well, we have those darn laws of physics we have to get around, and emissions laws.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Wow... you living in StarTrek universe? 40mpg for a truck? Made of what, plastic? Not just physics is at play here... finance too.
      • 7 Years Ago
      All that work might sound like a lot for an extra 19 mph...

      but now he can keep up with traffic on the highway.
      • 7 Years Ago
      He could sell it on ebay for $7200...
      Chris Taylor Jr
      • 2 Years Ago
      I can squeeze 70mpg out of my 94 xfi with NO MODS except larger 155/80r13 tires Just drive slower. that is all you really need to do. I average 55mpg winter 65mpg summer and this is on E10 crap fuel. I plan to mod it to 70+mpg by removing the water pump and alternator. install electric water pump two deep cycle batteries and charge it up once a week or so. will add a solar panel to boost things a bit for charging. 75mpg should be doable with proper driving and small modifications to the car. and this is NO aero modding yet. (I drive slow enough that aero modding won't help as much for me as others) eli motors is coming out with a 3 wheeler next year at 84mpg. $6800 brand new.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Frickin' brilliant. What could you do if you weren't afraid?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Goes to show what can be accomplished if you're willing to sacrifice modern safety and comforts. I always wondered what could be accomplished with modern engine technology on a REALLY small and light car. I wish automakers could design a bare bones small car that doesn't have to meet the modern safety requirements (to save weight). As long as they made it clear to the consumer upfront that it doesn't meet all the safety requirements I see nothing wrong with it. Imagine what kind of MPG numbers you could get.

      On second thought, I guess I just described a few of the cars that are being developed for the emerging markets in India/China. They should sell some of those cars over here. I'm sure there are people crazy enough to sacrifice modern safety for 75-80 mpg.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Could always got Smart Car style and turn it into a roll cage with wheels. Throw in a seat belt and some body work and away you go. to me that seems safe enough.

        Hmmm, production tube frame cars...All in the name of "fuel savings" . I'm game.
      • 7 Years Ago
      50 + 70 = 120
      • 7 Years Ago
      uggh... first, change you name. second, go away.
      • 7 Years Ago
      And on top of all the fuel savings, it is such an attractive conversion as well.
      • 7 Years Ago
      I'm not saying that I'm not impressed, but I do wonder why people assume that these mpg numbers are so hard to achieve even for subcompacts like the geo. There are small cars sold in many parts of the world that are in production that get fuel mileage at least close to this if not matching or exceeding those numbers. If only the majority of us consumers in the USA could be a little more open when buying new cars. Whenever a friend of mine here sees a smart car or something of the sort, "Dayam, that thing is so friggin SMALL!" are the first words that come out of his mouth. Maybe if these kinds of people lived in India or Asia one day they would consider subcompacts like midsize sedans! Anyone ever think about Dacia? Nasr? Tata? Remember the Yugo (now known as Zastava)?!

      And people say going small is sacrificing safety. I understand their concerns, but someone here tell me why there are not more accidents in places like europe and asia when compared to the number of auto accidents in the USA? Maybe its not just the size of the car rather than other factors like our driving habits in general, how often we drive, where we drive, etc.

      Oh and one more thing. This car gets 75 mpg. It is not a hybrid. It is a diesel. It is a small but not rediculously small station wagon. In equivelant of USD it probably costs no more than $5,000 new. And its not a concept. Why can't American automakers who are spending millions to find out how to get these fuel numbers just think a little simpler like that for a change?
        • 7 Years Ago
        Wishful thinking there my friend, but never gonna happen. America isn't Europe and it isn't India.

        When I see a Smart I think, wow that thing is incredibly useless, unsafe, and expensive. There are more accidents in the USA because there are more people driving, that much should be obvious. Maybe if an Indian lived here one day he'd think wow "cars" available in India are tiny and suck. If you haven't noticed we don't buy little deathboxes in droves. Civic outsells Fit, Yaris,and Aveo combined.

        I'd rather get 20mpg and have 6000lbs of safety surrounding me than drive a 75mpg plastic box.
      • 7 Years Ago
      or he could just buy a motorcycle.... would be just as practical.
        • 7 Years Ago
        "New England seasons,"

        it could get a bit interesting come winter.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Unless you are pushing a scooter, its unlikely that you'll reach this kind of MPG. Of the three bikes i've owned (Scrambler, FZR1000, KLR 250) only the KLR broke into the high 50s. As effecient as motorcycles are, this has them beat.

        not to mention rain...
        • 7 Years Ago
        Don't know where you live, but in New England, as in the Midwest, after about October, and until about the middle of April, Motorcycles disappear from the streets. So this is much more practical than a Bike.
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