Friday, 25 May 2012

Street-legal Ford Fusion NASCAR

NASCAR has developed far beyond its 1940s origins of bootleggers and moonshiners running souped-up engines in their standard-looking road cars; the fundamental ethos remains, but the NASCAR racers of today are barely related to their showroom namesakes. Take the 2011 Ford Fusion, for example: like all of the current grid line-up, it features a silhouette bodyshell draped over a spaceframe, front-engined and rear-wheel drive with a proper manual gearbox. The engine is a pushrod 16v V8 which may sound archaic, but the amount of money poured into the series ensures that this old-school engine design is brought as up-to-date as physically possible. These monsters post average race speeds of over 180mph, with 210+ possible with slipstreaming. They're brutal, noisy and somewhat enigmatic in construction; in some areas very simple and basic, in others fiendishly complex.

They are by no means modified road cars, so you have to take your hat off to somebody who has achieved what we see here: you'll notice that this Fusion NASCAR has licence plates. Look closer and you'll see that the painted-on head- and tail-lights that are a signature look of the series have actual lights hidden within them. The bodywork is cartoonish, the windows are Lexan, the rollcage is proper NASCAR-spec... and yet this all-out racer is out and about, prowling the streets of Southern California. Yes, the wheels are a bit bling, but overall it's a hell of an attractive proposition. As long as you never need to give anyone a lift.
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