Yesterday saw a pretty funky collection of cars on the RideLust field, and today looks to be more of the same. I’m not sure we have any epic matches, like yesterday’s Denmark vs. Japan battle, but it’s only going to get more competitive from this point forward.
North Korea vs. Côte d’Ivoire
North Korea fields a Pyonghwa Hwiparam. Essentially a Fiat Siena built with little to no quality control, it’s primary advantage is a low price (by Western standards, at least). Powered by a gasoline motor, special features include doors, windows, seats and wheels with rubber tires. Zero to sixty times, assuming the Hwiparam can reach 60 miles per hour, are best described as “faster than walking”.
Côte d’Ivoire fields a vintage Baby-Brousse, built in 1979. Based on the legendary Citroën 2CV, the Baby Brousse features a Jeep styled body made of folded sheet steel. To increase durability and ease of field servicing, body panels are bolted, not welded together. The 602cc flat-two motor doesn’t offer blistering acceleration, but it has proven to be rugged and easily repaired with materials at hands (such as chewing gum and boot laces).
In a bizarre turn of events, the entire North Korean squad defected to South Africa, leaving their Pyonghwa Hwiparam abandoned trackside. North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong II, threatened to rain nuclear devastation on South Africa unless their players were returned, but was reportedly pacified by an copy of Pulp Fiction on Blu-Ray, signed by Sam Jackson and John Travolta. The match goes to Côte d’Ivoire by default.
Portugal vs. Brazil
Portugal fields the Vinci GT. Designed with a retro flair, the car features a contemporary drivetrain sourced from a Chevrolet Corvette. How much of the engineering is domestic versus outsourced remains a point of debate, especially since the engineers involved with the Vinci GT came from designing armored vehicles. There hasn’t been an updat on the Vinci GT since 2009, so it’s likely that Vinci is not yet producing cars.
Brazil fields the Lobini H1, a hand built, low volume sports car currently available only within Brazil. Domestic taxes drive the price of the H1 up to the equivalent of nearly $100,000 U.S., but there are plans for export at a lower price once the global auto market improves. What do you get for your money? The H1 is a mid-engine, rear drive sports car with a low curb weight (under 2,300 pounds) and an Audi-sourced 1.8 liter turbo motor. Stock horsepower is 180, but plenty of aftermarket tuners offer ways to increase this. Even in stock form, the H1 can get to 60 miles per hour in under 6 seconds, on its way to a top speed of 150 miles per hour.
Brazil threw down a beating on Portugal, decisively winning the match when the Portuguese entry turned out to be a body shell without a motor. The Portuguese squad tried valiantly to push the car around the course, but to no avail. Victory goes to Brazil.
Chile vs. Spain
Chile fields no entry, since they produce no cars domestically. The Chilean team did send some righteous red wine and really good beef, for which the judges wished to express their appreciation.
Spain fields the SEAT Ibiza Cup, featuring a 178 horsepower, 1.4 liter twincharged inline four cylinder motor. The Ibiza’s diminutive size makes it nimble, and the 178 horsepower only need to move 2,150 pounds. The Ibiza Cup won’t win any drag races, but it can certainly hold it’s own when the road throws in a tight curve or two.
In a hotly contested vote, the match goes to Spain, who promised to send bottles of sangria and an old family recipe for paella to the referees post-match.
Switzerland vs. Honduras
Switzerland fields the Leblanc Mirabeau, a mid-engined, rear drive sports car styled after open cockpit endurance racers but entirely street legal. Sporting a supercharged 4.7 liter V8 that puts out over 700 horsepower, the 1,800 pound car is quick out of the box and capable of a 230 mile per hour top speed. Interior appointments and options are limited only by the customer’s budget, as the factory is happy to give you almost anything you could want in an open cockpit sports car. At a base price of $670,000, the LeBlanc Mirabeau is not for the faint of wallet.
Honduras, sadly, also has no domestic automakers. They do have a lot of beaches, rain forests and Mayan ruins, so add them to your “places to see in Central America” list.
As you’d expect, the victory goes to Switzerland by default.
Tomorrow’s matches are Uruguay vs. South Korea and the U.S. vs. Ghana, so check back for the results.