Imagine driving from Atlanta, Ga. to New York City in just over two and a half hours. Sound impossible? You're probably thinking you can't even fly between the two cities in under three hours. With all the airport transfers and walking through baggage claim and dealing with security, you'd be lucky to make it in five hours. But what if you really could make the drive in that time? Let's crunch some numbers.
It's approximately 870 miles (1,400 km) from Atlanta to New York City and we just said we'd only be in the car for a little more than two and a half hours, so that means -- wow! We'd have to drive 340 mph (547.2 km/h)! That's impossible, right?
Streamliners: The Inspiration for the Acabion?
For more than 80 years, racers, engineers and speed demons alike have traveled to the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah to set speed record after speed record. Everything from modified street cars to streamliners and lakesters -- a dragster built to drive on dried lake beds -- take a crack at amazing speeds. In 2006, three streamliner teams attempted to break the 16-year record speed of 322 mph (518.2 km/h). For five days the teams clipped speeds approaching 350 mph (563.3 km/h). On his last run, Sam Wheeler recorded a new record speed of 355.303 mph (571.3 km/h), making him the fastest man on two wheels [source: MotorcycleUSA.com].
That's not what the designers of the Acabion GTBO think. Short for Grande Tourismo Bionic Optimised and named after the Acadia National Park in Maine, the Acabion GTBO looks more like one of the cars found on Space Mountain at Disney's Magic Kingdom than a road car. But unlike the iconic rollercoaster, the GTBO is a luxurious, efficient and very fast automobile.
The Need for Speed
At quick glance, the Acabion's low-slung design looks like the fuselage of a jet fighter with motorcycle wheels sticking out of both ends. But unlike a motorcycle, the GTBO drives like a car. The driver sits upright and grips a steering wheel, just as someone would in a typical passenger car; however, instead of cruising down Interstate 95 toward Manhattan at 70 mph (112.7 km/h), the Acabion can do it at 342 mph (550.4 km/h). Not only that, the GTBO gets better gas mileage that a Toyota Prius.
Since 1985, one man's idea has evolved into a futuristic vehicle that may revolutionize road travel. In this article, we'll look at the design concepts and break down the mechanics of the GTBO to see whether this street missile is capable of living up to such lofty claims.
Speed on over to the next page to find out why the Acabion is actually very similar to a ground-bound aircraft.