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Is This Where Elio Got Their 84 MPG Number?

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One of the things I've never fully understood about Elio Motor's still-not-quite-real new car is their focus on a gas mileage rating of 84 MPG. Why 84? Why not 85, or 80? What's so magical about 84? They almost certainly picked that number for non-technical reasons, since they don't even have an engine yet. Maybe it was this old VW ad?


I've always liked this ad, because it points out a rarely-admitted truth: gas mileage evaluations are far more variable and difficult than you'd think. That was even more true in the '70s, when this ad was made — numbers were often grossly over-inflated, and this ad, while taking it to the extreme, makes the point very clear.

Plus, There's something really satisfying, in a spindly, skeletal way, about this jockey-piloted 84 MPG Beetle. Are those bike tires it's running on? I bet that thing really felt bonkers to drive, and I wonder if it's still around in some museum basement anywhere. That hood's been very nicely cut and modified, too.


The typeface for the big '84 MPG' is odd, too It almost looks deliberately pixelated, but that sort of style was at least 40 years off. It's not VW's normal corporate type, so it makes me wonder.

Still, 84 MPG. Those Elio guys must have seen this ad, right? That number must have stuck.

So, come on, Elio guys — is this why you picked 84?