Switched.com clued me into the story of Craig Henderson. In 1984, Henderson developed a sporty looking eco-car which required very little power to push it along and some slippery composite body work. Henderson’s car called Avion reaches back into automotive history where sport cars from the likes of Lotus and Abarth paired small engines with slippery body work to come up with decent performance.
Not surprisingly, at the time auto-makers and investors didn’t realise what they had on their hands, it was a decade since the last real oil crisis and whilst Iran and Iraq where knocking seven bells out of each other and taking pot shots at tankers in the Straits of Hormuz now-and-again life was pretty good. Environmental concerns were more about Three Mile Island, nuclear annihilation due the cold war, phosphates in rivers and the hole in the ozone layer.
Over the next quarter of a century further refinement of the car design has created a vehicle that can cruise at high-speed yet yield 80 – 100+MPG and make your average Prius look like a jelly mould. It goes to show you, that there is no such thing as a new idea, although it does remind me of the kind of thing you may have seen in Logans Run.