TopGear.com America is trying to carve a name out for itself, which is difficult to do with the original UK magazine and wildly popular TV show looming overhead and the specter of a U.S.-based program in people's minds. Still, we're totally behind the way they've gone about it, which is to make their first big original feature an interesting project car with a practical purpose.
The team started in late February with a mission to build a car for $7,000 that could get 70 mpg and reach 60 mph in 7 seconds. Project Sipster was born. A 1981 Volkswagen Rabbit Diesel was picked to have its heart yanked out and replaced with a present-day diesel TDI engine. A modern HKS performance suspension was added to increase safety and improve handling, and the original, brick-like lines of the donor car were enhanced with makeshift aero mods they hoped would help the Rabbit achieve its 70 mpg target. Fifty-five days after they started, TopGear.com America has their answer and plan on telling you how to build your own Sipster soon. Hopefully your build won't involve Chinese fuel filters, missing doors and an underbelly pan of sheet aluminum and plywood.
We highly recommend reading the final post in the Project Sipster series, as the TopGear.com America team is as funny on paper as Jezza, Hampster and Captain Slow are on the small screen. You can also follow the jump to watch the Top Gear-style wrap up video.