Disneyland Autopia: We drive the new Honda-powered cars – Autoweek

6.5 hp never ever felt so thrilling

For millions of drivers about the world, the Disneyland Autopia was their initial time behind the wheel of a much more or much less genuine “car.” Maybe it was your initial time, too. Anyone that could reach the pedals could strap in to one of the fiberglass-bodied, gasoline-powered two-seaters and haul keister at 6.5 mph about one of the four “scenic miniature motorways” that take up close to a third of the park.

Autopia was one of the original attractions once Walt Disney opened the doors to The Happiest Place on Earth on July 17, 1955, and it is still popular today. It’s even a featured attraction at Disneylands in Tokyo, Paris and Hong Kong. There is a fundamental and fairly sturdy desire among individuals about the globe to drive a car, and that desire starts at a fairly young age.

Now, after a five-month shutdown for refurbishment, the original Autopia at the original Disneyland is open once again, and we were among the initial to experience it.

Ride sponsor Honda is financing the remodel. The process involves repainting all of 96 Autopia cars in several various Honda colors, from Kona coffee metallic to white diamond pearl. There are likewise Honda badges front and rear on all of the cars. Brand-new tires are section of the deal, too, also as Brand-new engines. Gone are the old 286cc Kawasaki mills, replaced along with Honda’s own iGX collection of engines (remember, Honda makes every little thing from business jets to weed wackers, so a small engine is merely one more product in a big portfolio of mechanical wonders). The 270cc iGX270 makes 8.5 hp at 3,600 rpm and 14.1 lb-ft of torque at 2,500 revs. The Brand-new powerplants are no rattly yard mower polluters from the ‘50s, either: They contain every little thing from variable-timing digital CDI ignition to CARB and EPA certification. Honda says the engine is “…one of the most effective in the business. much more power. Quieter performance. Reduced fuel consumption. Reduced emissions. Much better features. Exceptional performance. Honda’s GX collection lives up to the legend, then some.”

The fiberglass cars themselves haven’t changed due to the fact that 2000, once then-sponsor Chevron introduced the most recent three models: Suzy the cute VW Beetle convertible, Sparky the sports vehicle and Dusty the off-roader (we were constantly partial to the faux Corvettes from the Atlantic Richfield sponsorship days). The cockpits of these racy vehicles have actually to accommodate merely concerning every size modern human, which is to say they have actually to be fairly big. The ginormous bench seat could probably hold a horse, and the seat belt, along with its plastic buckle, serves much more as a reminder to continue to be seated at all of times compared to to preserve a physique in place throughout a crash, of which there were several per lap. While the original cars from 1955 had no crash absorptive qualities, those cars were soon splintered to smithereens. The impact-protective fronts and rears on the most recent cars could strike a brick wall and be none the worse for wear.

Autopia engine

The engines at Autopia are now 270-cc Hondas making 8.5 hp.


Not that you’d strike fairly hard. Max speed is governed at 6.5 mph, no matter exactly how hard you stomp on the single, center-mounted (and parent-reachable) gas pedal. We know, since we merely drove one. Step on the gas, the centrifugal clutch engages and off you go, much more or less. Steering is, as it constantly has actually been, among the worst in automotive history. It appears not only purposely vague — as if to challenge the driver’s concentration — yet diabolical, as if the quantity of free play on focus had been determined by the personal injury attorneys association of better Anaheim. There is a guide rail down the middle of the track, so you can’t steer off in to the weeds, yet neither can easily you steer straight. It’s section of the ride’s charm.

The scenic section of the attraction is still under development. Honda promises better amusement here in the form of various pro-Honda billboards and others decor. In fact, the whole ride is still under development, so preserve coming spine every couple months (at $105 admission!) to see just what comes next.

You could be forgiven if you’d expected much more from a Honda refurbishment. Must there be a much more sophisticated powertrain on these cars? Say, electric drive? Yes. The Autopia in Disneyland Hong Kong gets electric drive. Thinking about that there is already that metal focus rail, exactly how hard could it be to construct some sort of slot car-adore inductive charging for an electric motor? That’d surely be cleaner, emissions-wise, and quieter. Of course, all of it would certainly take would certainly be one inebriated guest from Palooka, Texas, to step from the ride and fry your man or herself on the third rail and that would certainly be the end of Autopia (the individuals Mover, the Sky Buckets and even Tinker Bell, you Might have actually noticed, all of fell victim to various government safety regulations).

But this is much more concerning obtaining youngsters behind the wheel, a tradition that has actually carried on for 60 years. And we’re surely in favor of that. So your hard earned cash in your bonus check, delivering the youngsters down and take a couple laps. Tell them Soichiro sent you. They won’t have actually Any sort of suggestion just what you’re talking about.