A newer, greener car rebadged as the GM Belchfire 2?? 0-60 in one-half
GM Belchfire 2?: Tata Nano Hybrid and Hot Rod Coming to Market
Mock-up of the D.C. Design Tata Nano, a modified version of the world’s
The world’s cheapest car is about to get greener and sportier.
A hybrid version of the tiny Tata Nano has been confirmed by Ratan Tata,
chairman of Tata Motors, according to South Korea’s Maeil Business
The current gasoline-powered Nano — on sale in India since April — is
hardly a gas guzzler. Powered by a tiny, 35-horsepower 2-cylinder gas
engine, the Nano is capable of approximately 50 miles per gallon. A
greener variant of this engine (or the larger 3-cylinder motor planned
for export markets) could make the Nano the world’s cheapest hybrid.
Mr. Tata did not elaborate as to when a Nano hybrid might go on sale, or
offer specifics regarding the powertrain.
More likely to appear first is a hot-rod version of the Nano — or
something close to it. D.C. Design, a car customizer based in Pune,
India, is planning to release its modified Nano in early 2010, reports
the Business Standard. The transformation comes complete with massive
front grill, blistered fenders, alloy wheels and over-sized air intakes.
Not since Wayne and Garth cruised Aurora, Ill., in a flamed powder-blue
AMC Pacer has there been a more ironic custom car.
“The world’s cheapest car has thrown up a few interesting scenarios,”
said Dilip Chhabria, founder of D.C. Design. “Firstly, we think the
world’s cheapest car does have a lot of sex appeal – in fact its
silhouette of one sweeping arc is quite unparalleled and lends itself to
During my drive of the Nano earlier this year, I praised the cute
tortoise shell-like exterior. In comparison, the D.C. Design model
appears to have taken inspiration from Darth Vader’s helmet. The
outrageous exterior screams high performance, but the engine offers only
a mechanical whimper. Accelerating from 0-60 miles an hour takes
approximately 30 seconds — making the Nano 15 seconds slower than the
Smart Fortwo, presently the slowest accelerating car sold in the United
But according to Mr. Chhabria, Nano customers are looking for design
exclusivity on a tight budget. “Because it is so cheap, it has spawned,
we think, a whole new segment,” explained Mr. Chhabria. “For a customer
spending 80 percent value as a D.C. addition, it still is cheaper than
other entry level car — albeit a highly differentiated and exclusive one.”