Acabion's chief designer, Dr. Peter Maskus, is a former engineer for BMW, Porsche and Mercedes Benz. Having spent more than 20 years in the automotive industry, designing high-end sports cars, Dr. Maskus decided he wanted to build his own car.
The Acabion GTBO is what's known as an enclosed motorcycle or road streamliner. Streamliners are hand-built two-wheeled dragsters that resemble land rockets and are commonly built for land speed racing. In this case, the GTBO is a street version (but not yet street legal). According to Dr. Maskus, the initial concept for the Acabion GTBO came out of his affinity for motorcycles and flying. Looking at the vehicle, it's easy to identify the two concepts.
As a general rule, engineers who build race cars and purpose-built vehicles for speed consider weight the enemy. Motorcycles already have this advantage -- they're small, lightweight and have a high power-to-weight ratio. As a result, motorcycles can reach high speeds and typically out-accelerate even the most exotic sports cars. Motorcycles also have less rolling resistance or friction to overcome since they only have two wheels in contact with the road versus four on a car.
The Power of Neodym Magnets
Neodymium or neodym magnets have unique properties that make them stronger than typical magnets found around the house or sticking to your refrigerator. As a result, neodym magnets can be dangerous to handle. A small child lost his hand after picking up a neodym magnet approximately the shape and size of a hockey puck. When he approached a similar magnet sitting on a nearby table, the magnet flew through the air and slammed against the magnet in his hand. With a pull force of 270 lbs (122.5 kg), the two magnets became one and obliterated the young boy's hand [source: United Nuclear].
The other conceptual design at work is aeronautics. The cockpit looks similar to a glider and even has wings and tips at the rear. The shape resembles a bullet and the wings give the GTBO sufficient downforce for stability.
Unlike a typical streamliner, the GTBO is built for more than just speed. The GTBO's interior is made from fine Swiss leather, and the sound system contains 26 handmade lightweight neodymium speakers that play in Dolby 5.1 sound. The inside of the cockpit is symmetrical, allowing for dynamic acoustics.
A driver and one passenger sit one in front of the other inside a cockpit designed to withstand severe impacts much like the monocoque of a Formula 1 car. To achieve the necessary strength and safety standards, the canopy is made from carbon Kevlar® composites and is extremely lightweight. The engine is mounted behind the passenger compartment, yet concealed underneath the canopy, and the entire surrounding frame is made from high density aluminum. To make servicing the engine easier, three large bolts are all that connect the engine to the aluminum frame. A skilled mechanic can remove the engine of the GTBO in a very short time.
The fastest production cars and motorcycles in the world don't even come close to approaching the speeds of the Acabion, and the most fuel-efficient hybrids are gas guzzlers in comparison; however, there are similar vehicles. On the next page you'll meet the Acabion's distant cousin and we'll attempt to determine if the claimed speeds are fact or fiction.