At a recent classic car show in Japan a tuning company called Tec Art's, not to be confused with the Porsche tuning company Techart as it has that funny Japanese punctuation, had exhibited another one of those classic Japanese cars that have been tweaked by adding current automotive tech. This makes the a 20 or 30 year old classic run reliably on current technology for the ease of its owners. Tec Art's Eco Hatchi-Roku (86) is one of those type of modded cars but it has a twist. This old AE86 is an eco-mentalist's dream of a tree hugging classic car.
According to the design brief, the car is supposed to be more fuel efficient the original 4A-G engine and environmentally cleaner too. The engine is still a 4A-G but it now runs an APEX Power FC stand alone programmable ECU. This allows Tech Art to precisely tune the engine's air-fuel ratio.
The power steering has been modernized by replacing the hydraulic motor system with an electric motor (see photo above). It uses the original steering rack but it has been modified so that an electric motor assists in the turning. The only drawback to this system is the lack of feel. The benefit is usually a 3% savings in fuel consumption. I'd rather have the hydraulic system thank you.
Another upgrade is that a variable intake system is used. The intake manifold has two intake valves that switches between high and low rpm. To increase torque at low rpm the valve closes on one side (for more tumble and swirl) and at higher rpm both valves opens up. The valve control is manual where the driver can use a setting (for torque) for city commuting and the other for fast road driving.
Amazingly, this old 86 can make 18km/l. And at highway cruising speeds 19.6km/l was achieved. This means that this old car is as economical or even more economical than a Honda Jazz. A Levin at the very best made 11-12km/l. The best thing was that no power was sacrificed for this figures to be achieved and the Eco-86 made 129.9ps (at the wheel) and 161Nm of torque from the ancient 1.6 4A-G engine. The stock 4A-G made about 125bhp at the flywheel, so it still is a good improvement. Tec Art's intends to get 20km/l by spending more time fine tuning the system.
Quite an amazing achievement, modernizing a classic into something quite eco-friendly. Quite, as nothing had been said about having catalytic converters or stuff like that.