American Roadster Experimental June 1991

If you stretch the yardstick of automotive development about two feet beyond current thinking, that’s where you’ll find the pedals of the American Roadster Experimental (AREX) prototype sports car. This limited production prototype was developed by David Stollery of Industrial Design Research (Laguna Beach, California) and Gale Banks Engineering (Azusa, California).

Its cab-forward design places the flight crew just behind the front axle and beneath a full perimeter windscreen that also shields the headlamps of this two-seat cafe racer. Specially grooved 245/ 45ZR17 Goodyear Eagles are stuck beneath wide front flairs that converge on the nose like an F/A-18 on an Indy car. The epoxy/composite body lines continue rearward over huge 375/30ZR17s to create its sleek engine cover and tail section with slotted accents.

The chassis is similar to those of other concept cars–a semimonocoque steel tube fitted with triangulated tube subframes supports coil sprung, fully independent suspension, and massive disc brakes. Jac Brown of Industrial Design Research is the chassis engineer for the AREX.

But unlike most visual concept cars, the AREX puts its right foot forward with a Gale Banks Engineering Twin-Turbo TPI 5.7L Chevy, producing 585 horsepower at 5300 rpm in full emissions trim through a five-speed transaxle. With twin Banks turbos and wastegates leaning on first-rate internals with 16 psi or boost, this road rocket can rip the hair from your head with protected 3.4-second 0-60-mph times, quarter miles in 10.8 seconds at 143 mph, and a top speed of 200 mph. Now try and imagine what a 720hp sports version will do! Oxygen masks and pressurized flight suits may be standard equipment.