Size doesn't matter! Small is just as good as large! It's not the meat, it's the motion! These are ten of history's greatest tiny-engined cars as selected by you.
This is Answers of the Day — a feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
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10. Lotus Seven
Suggested By: Crossdrilled
Why It's Great: Crossdrilled nominated the entire company, which is a good call, but I'm going to narrow it down to just the Seven. Off the lot, the original Seven could be had with any number of different tiny British powerplants, some producing power in the low double-digits. Eventually Lotus got their hands on some Cosworth powerplants, which delivered a mind-warping 85 hp from 1,340cc of fury. Early Sevens weighed around 1100 pounds. 'Nuff said.
Photo credit: TailspinT, flickr
9. Honda N600
Suggested By: Whitetrashsteve
Why It's Great: Paving the way for today's Civic and Fit, Honda's original tiny car came to the States in 1969 with a diminutive two-banger that could spin to 9000 rpm. Sure, it was only good for somewhere between 36 and 45 hp, but in a car that weighed only 1100 pounds, it was enough. Americans being Americans, the car didn't sell well, and importation ceased in 1972.
8. BMW 700
Suggested By: macshome
Why It's Great: Did you know that the BMW 700 was the first BMW to be built with a unibody? Now you do. Did you also know that it had a 697-cc flat twin mounted in the rear of the car? There, that's two things you've learned today. That twin initially produced 30 hp, though engine modifications throughout its six-year production run eventually raised that number closer to 40.
7. Abarth Zagato
Suggested By: tonyola
Why It's Great: Looking like a shrunken Ferrari of the era, the Fiat 500-based Abarth Zagato came with engines that ranged between 700cc and 2.0 liters. They also appear to be great candidates for pranks: get four or five able-bodied assistants to help pick up the parked car and flip it around the next time you see one at a vintage event.
Photo credit: Seattle Italian Concours D'Elegance
6. Berkeley SA322
Suggested By: nataku8_e30
Why It's Great: Born in England in the mid 1950's, the Berkeley SA322 originally came with a 322-cc motorcycle engine under the bonnet. After the first production run of about 300 cars, that engine was swapped out for a 328-cc unit. The power gets to the front wheels via chain drive, and the cars were equipped with drum brakes and three-speed transmissions. Roughly 2500 were produced.
Photo credit: Hobidas Auto
5. Renault 5 Turbo
Suggested By: Vavon
Why It's Great: The 5 Turbo has one of the largest engines on today's list, clocking in at 1.4 liters. But that didn't really matter once you got behind the wheel of one of the most bloodthirsty rally monsters ever birthed. As Sharky points out: "You HAVE to go around corners with the rear hanging out and the tires spinning because you HAVE to keep the revs up in the boost — otherwise you're dead coming out of the corners."
Photo credit: Compomotive
4. Mini Cooper S
Suggested By: Volvo4Life
Why It's Great: In 1964, the Cooper S got an engine upgrade — all the way to 1275 cc. That powerplant helped the Mini achieve its legendary back-to-back-to-almost-back wins at the Monte Carlo Rally. The cars placed first, second, and third in 1966, but they were disqualified because of issues the French governing body had with their headlights. Regardless of illumination, these tiny cars built the brand's reputation, the reputation that the marque is currently attempting to tarnish (I'm looking at you, Countryman).
3. Suzuki Cappuccino
Suggested By: nataku8_e30
Why It's Great: Everyone's favorite little starter car from Gran Turismo, the Cappuccino originally sported a 657-cc mill. It also looks like a Dodge Viper that was left out in the sun too long. The Cappucino handles well, has an open roof, and looks great. What more could you want?
Photo credit: CarFanatics
2. Saab Monte Carlo 850
Suggested By: Alfisted
Why It's Great: Based on the Saab 96, the Monte Carlo 850 was named a little optimistically. The car was equipped with an 841-cc two-stroke good for 52 hp, one that sounded like an angry swarm of chainsaw-wielding bees. But I'll be damned if it doesn't look like fun. Maintaining momentum is clearly the name of the game.
Photo credit: Youtube
1. Mazda RX-7
Suggested By: Daniel Parmelee
Why It's Great: Small compact rotors spinning at high rpm makes for a very happy sports car. The RX-7 wasn't the first — and certainly won't be the last — to use rotary power, but it was one of the best. First-generation cars initially came with a 1.1 liter engine producing 100 hp.
Photo credit: Motortopia