Fast Company

Retro Car Goes From Canada to Mexico on a Single Tank

Avion

Energy efficiency has only recently become a popular concern among vehicle owners, but some people have been thinking about it for a long, long time. Craig Henderson and Bill Green designed the Avion, a fuel-efficient sports car, in 1984. Two years later, the vehicle set the Guinness World Record for fuel economy, getting an average of 103.7 mpg all the way from the Mexico border to the British Columbia, Canada, border. Now Henderson has revived the Avion for another jaunt from Canada to Mexico.

The latest iteration of the vehicle is just 1500 pounds and features an aluminum monocoque frame, a carbon fiber, kevlar and fiberglass body, and Goodyear "Fuel Max" tires. After receiving a sponsorship deal from Goodyear, Henderson decided to go from border to border once again--this time, on a single tank of gas.

Jalopnik reports that Henderson began his latest journey on August 29th. He stopped only to go to the bathroom, grab food, and catch a night's rest. The result: Henderson burned only 12.4 gallons on his journey to the Mexican border for a fuel economy of 119.1 mpg, breaking his own Guinness World Record from 1986. (He drove at a pretty constant 55 mph.)

Henderson is gearing up for limited commercial production of the Avion. If our fascination with fuel economy is any indication, he won't have any trouble selling it.

Below, check out a video about the Avion from 1982.

Ariel Schwartz can be reached on Twitter or by email.

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5 Comments

  • Myron Mesecke

    Car does not meet safety standards as shown. I don't believe concealed headlights are legal anymore due to the possibility of them sticking shut from ice. No corner reflectors or signaling lamps. No airbags. Does it have ABS, traction control and stability control? What will it cost to redesign it and what will it weigh after the redesign? Does its diesel engine meet upcoming diesel emissions regulations? I wish them all the luck but in today's regulatory world I don't ever see then getting the capital to afford getting it certified by the government.

  • Daniel Torres

    You might be right about Henderson never getting the money up. But, with documented results like his and enough good publicity like this article, it won't take much effort to find investors. Truthfully, I don't see those investors having to put up (relatively) too much money to fix most of the problems you mentioned.

  • Mickey Bowles

    Disagree @Nate, price will be the win. There are a number of high efficiency vehicles coming out but you have to have the kind of money of someone who could care less about mpg to afford one. I would buy one tomorrow if the price is right.

  • Nate O'Shaughnessey

    I didn't even mention cost, because with them trying to build these by hand, there is no way they'll be able to price them competitively with other high-efficiency vehicles. I was assuming the only way they were going to be able to be profitable is to target the mid level price market for a sports car, $50-100k, and then use the mpg as as way to differentiate themeselves, not as the main selling point, not to appeal to people's wallets for mpg, but to their image of being an environmentally friendly, but cool person, like those that installed solar systems on their houses in the late 90's, not saving any money, but as a "green" status symbol. they can't possibly compete with lower priced high-efficiency vehicles on price, not with their production methods. THey could however possibly compete with higher end, if they could get their aesthetics updated and work on their corporate image. I don't know what price they're asking, but I don't think that will be an arena they can even attempt to compete in and be a viable business.

  • Nate O'Shaughnessey

    great concept, the technology seems right, and it's possible to pull it off from a business standpoint, but they really really need to do something about the aesthetics. It looks straight from 1984. my first car was an '84 fiero, and later an '84 porsche 944, and this has all the design of 1984... unfortunately.
    If they were going to update the materials, why didn't they update the aesthetics also?
    That's what's going to sink them.
    People like to get good gas mileage.
    People like to drive a car that is fun to drive.
    People like to have something exclusive.
    But most importantly, people like to drive something that makes them feel cool.
    At least in their target market demographics, those that would plunk down some hefty cash for a hand built limited production high tech sports car. They are going to need to compete with Lotus, a worthy and established opponent.

    Best of luck to them selling these. Great idea, but they need to know where their abilities end and when to bring someone else in... they seem very talented and versitile, but someone for the aesthetic design would be a very useful addition.