This was the test from hell. We gathered 10 of America's best cars in Los Angeles for two days of absolute automotive euphoria.
During the 48-hour fiesta, we put each car through 14 tests ranging from driveability to fuel economy to all-out, on-track performance. We ran them on the chassis dyno, drove them on the racetrack and ripped them down the drag strip. Hell, we even gave a granny a ride in each, and allowed each owner to wow us with a gross display of horsepower.
The cars were also judged on their engineering and their presentation. Remember, these are street cars. They need to look good, drive well and get you there without leaving too many parts behind.
If you tuned in last month, you already know all about the cars. We covered all 10 with serious detail and reminded you that it was you, the readers of Sport Compact Car, who chose the 10 incredibly diverse vehicles from more than 70 entered. The cars you chose are the twin-engined 1998 Hyundai Tiburon owned by Michael McIntyre of El Paso, Texas; the 1996 Nissan Skyline GT-R (R33) owned by Justin Sykes of Torrance, Calif.; the 1999 Acura Integra Type R owned by Mark Allen of Jacksonville, Fla.; the 1994 Toyota Supra turbo owned by Mani Jayasinghe of L.A.; the 1990 Nissan 300ZX TT owned by Jason Kopocs of Vermilion, Ohio; the 2000 Nissan Sentra SE owned by Steve Mitchell of Torrance, Calif.; the 1972 Datsun 510 owned by Tod Kaneko of Torrance, Calif.; the twincharged 1985 Toyota MR2 owned by Mike Carwin of Poway, Calif.; the 1988 Ford Mustang LX 5.0 owned by Geoff Bennett of Annandale, Va. and the 1999 Ferrari F360 Modena owned by James Chen of Santa Fe Springs, Calif.
Don't look at us, you picked them.
HOW WE SCORED IT
Finding a clear winner from the chaos of this test meant inventing a fair scoring system. Thirteen of the 14 tests were worth 100 points, with the winner getting the full 100 points and the remaining scores based on how their results compared with the winner. The Gross Display of Horsepower test was only worth 25 points, but that didn't seem to slow anybody down. Points awarded are basically a percentage of the winning score. If the winner of the skidpad test measured 1.00g, for example, 80 points would go to the car getting 0.80g. (In reality, the winner made 1.092g, making 0.874g the 80-point mark.)
The same system was used on all the tests, including those, like the car show, that were scored subjectively by panels of judges. Those judges were allowed to form their own scoring system, which was then converted to our 100-point scale.
This relatively simple system reflects the true scale of some of the tests. On the road course, for example, the points spread was only 12 points, since even a full second gap on the road course is only about 2 percent of the total lap time. The point spread on emissions, however, was a full 70 points, showing how widely emissions can vary. Because there were so many performance tests and only one emissions test, performance still ruled the day.
Watch as 10 of the wildest street cars battle it out to win Sport Compact Car magazine's coveted USCC Trophy. Hear the roar, feel the thunder, see the big burnouts from 10 of the meanest, leanest street cars imaginable: A Ferarri F360, Skyline GTR, twin-engine Tiburon, 5.0 Mustang, turbo and rotary Datsun 510 and more! You've got to catch all the action and interviews. Sponsored by Jackson Racing, CC Tuner and Pirelli.
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Who won? Who has the ultimate street car? Who owns the bragging rights until we do it again next year? You'll just have to read on to find out. And speaking of next year, the entry form is on page 71. Does your car have what it takes? Do you? You know what they say, there's only one way to find out.