From the beginning of the industry cars and vehicle engines have had differing designs. Occasially, these have been silly and based on nothing. Fins for example, which people were sure made their cars go faster.

Or moon roofs, which were basically sun roofs by any other name. I will not even get into the fraud that is undercoats. Even fuels has been a point of some variance in the past.

Electric cars, for example date back to 1909, made by the Baker company and there was actually fierce, competition between electric and gas-powered models, with charge stations all over New York City.

Different car designs

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Variations in design that actually make sense are the number of doors, automatic doors and size of engine. The difference between a three, a six and an eight cylinder being very large indeed, in terms of gas mileage if nothing else, no matter what the slick sales people might try to tell you.

Another variation that people may not get, partly because it seems so very counter intuitive is the fact that some car models have the engine in the back and storage space in the front, there by reversing the usual hood and trunk (or bonnet and boot) arrangement.

Strange as it might seem, there is actually a fairly good and practical reason that some cars have their combustion chambers in the back.

A matter of balancing the engine and car performance

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The main reason for some car models having an engine in the back is a matter of balance. Most cars manufactured are either front wheel drive or all wheel drive. The momentum mostly goes forward and the onus is on the front two wheels. Logically, therefore, these cars have their engines located in the front.

There are, however, some models, mostly in the European luxury and performance market that are rear wheel drive with most of the power coming from the back, increasing speed.

This works because the center of gravity of most cars is past the rear axel. Though this design is still somewhat rare even in the performance market.

Technically one of three possible designs, most sports cars have their engines in the middle, as to prevent flip over on hard turns. The most commonly known and popular rear motor models are electric versions particularly Smart Cars and the Tesla S.

The Engine designed at the back


As well as the Volkswagen Beetle and most Volkswagen camper vans. Fiat are also big on the rear-engine design having it in their 500, 600, 850, 126 and 133 models, Then again they have never really been afraid of being a little bit different. It is part of their charm.

Like marmite. On the swankier side, Mercedes-Benz and just plain old Benz have a reputation for back-loaded automobiles, putting them in no less than five different models, including the Benz Patent-Motorwagon and the Mercedes-Benz 130 and 170H.

Then, of course, there is the granddaddy of all Italian-made dream machines. Founded in 1931 Porsche have been wantonly and blamelessly back-loading their sleek, high performance sports cars almost from the beginning and remain one of the few to still do so.



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Trevor McNeil spent much of his childhood playing video-games on early-form personal computers back when the disks were literally floppy. He attended the University of Victoria, completing a degree in Social Science with a concentration in Technology In Society, while also writing for the campus newspaper. He has written articles for such diverse publications as Humanity Death Watch, PopMatters and Perfect Sound Forever. He is a veteran of numerous “watershed moments” in the history of technological development and firmly believes that Han shot first.


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