6 July 2011

Readers respond to top 10 fuel-sipping classics

Last month’s story on the top 10 gas-sipping classic cars generated a huge reader response. So we thought we’d let you weigh in with your comments, criticisms and additions to the list. Read on to learn where readers thought we went off course.

Citroën 2CV6: Ron from Washington asks, “How can you not list the Citroën 2CV6? 50 mpg (2 cyl.; 29 hp) with a top speed of 70 mph.”

Mini Cooper: Bruce says, “I have a 1966 Mini Cooper that gets 52 mpg – highway!” We specifically excluded cars that get 52 mpg, Bruce. Unlucky times four!

Daimler SP 250: Rodger from Rhode Island says, “My 1963 Daimler SP 250 gets 30 mpg on the highway cruising at 65 mph. It has a 2.5-liter (152-ci) 140-hp Daimler hemi V-8!”

Dodge Dart: According to Greg, “I noted you mentioned the Nash Metropolitan. You might have expanded that article a bit to include the 20+ mpg cars and engines that were easily available from U.S. manufacturers. Omitting them does a disservice in a way as not every American-made car/engine was a gas-guzzler. I offer my ’67 Dodge Dart (225-ci slant six) as evidence, as it easily gets 23 mpg highway.”

Karmann Ghia: David from Illinois touts the Ghia for longer distances: “I have a 1961 Karmann Ghia convertible that gets 38 mpg traveling from Mercer, Wis., to Wheaton, Ill.” Not our first choice for roadtrips, David, but we see your point.

Fiat 600 Multipla: Mark says, “How about the Fiat Multipla? Here is a quote from AutoWeek: ‘Contemporary testers praised the little Fiat’s build quality, its 770-pound payload with 34-42 mpg economy and, like us, were ultimately enchanted by its noisy, nimble brio.’ My 1959 Multipla has all the charm that the others on your list have, too.”

King Midget: Several readers assert we missed the mark by omitting the Midget. According to Dick, “The No. 1 in best mileage should be the King Midget, which was built by Midget Motors from 1946-1969 in Athens, Ohio. The average was 60 mpg with some reaching as much as 80 mpg. There are still more than 500 being driven regularly. The National King Midget Car Club Jamboree is being held in Oklahoma City from Aug. 10-13.” That is a lot of miles and not a lot of gallons, Dick. Question: Do you crown an actual King of the Midgets at each year’s Jamboree?

Studebaker Champion: Charles from Oregon remarks, “It might be worth noting that Studebaker consistently won the Mobil fuel economy runs for decades.” According to TIME magazine, the Champion averaged 29.58 mpg in the Fifth Annual Mobilgas Economy Run of 1954, beating out Ford, Plymouth and Chevy in the “low-priced field.” 

Peel P50: Dave from Pittsburgh suggested the “100+ MPG” Peel P50. Capable of fitting “one driver and a shopping bag,” the three-wheeled P50 was advertised as a “city car.” It is the smallest car ever to go into production, with measurements of 54 inches long by 41 inches wide and a weight of 130 pounds. Two prerequisites: The driver must be extremely petite and relatively unconcerned about safety. Good call, Dave. Our judges were large men from the NHTSA, so you can see how they’d be biased … (For a video that demonstrates the “tiny apeel” of the P50, click here.)

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