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Aerocon Boa Design and Performance
Saunders succeeded in building a light, well constructed car that, on paper at least, should handle well. The primary power plant from the 914/VW was only 95hp at best. However, because owners could put any level of tune, size and engine choice in the space provided the car could be quite a performer. The cars that we have uncovered to date did opt for the 4 cylinder variant and mainly from the 914 Porsche. There is room for a flat six Porsche engine which would provide lots of go! The car was designed to run an air cooled engine and modifications to the body work would be necessary to install a radiator for a water cooled engine.
The design lines of the car are a mixture of interesting and attractive views to angles that are cumbersome, ugly perhaps. The Mazda RX7 and Datsun 280Z are contemporary designs that competed with the Boa. The Boa is only 4 inches shorter than a 1970′s Corvette. All of these competing sports cars are much heavier than the Boa. For example, the Boa is also 500 lbs lighter than a Porsche 914-4/914-6.
The Consular Raptor in the early 1980′s was acknowledged to by a fine handling performance car that left cosmetics well behind function. The Raptor commanded respect on the track. The Raptor analogy applies to the Boa. The quirky lines of the Boa can be forgiven somewhat by the sophisticated engineering under the skin.
The roof and windshield of the Boa bolt off the car. It would be very easy to turn the car into a roadster and drop the weight to under 1500 lbs. At this weight a high performance 4 cylinder engine putting out 200-230 hp would make for a very interesting streetable track car. The installation of a flat 6 Porsche engine makes complete sense. As engine options were at the owner’s discretion any period engine could be installed and still fit in Vintage classes, SVRA Group 8, for example. Initial inspection would suggest that a high output engine could be tamed by a transmission girdle tied into the rear suspension pick-up points. Being conservative with torque is probably a good idea to avoid permanently twisting the monocoque.
At the front of the car, there are many years of learning and knowledge from the Triumph Spitfire that could be quickly applied to tweaking the front suspension. For some track uses, vented rotors and four piston caliper brake kits are available. At the rear of the car, again there are tons of options from the hot VW and 914 guys that can be added: from drive line and axle improvements to disc brake conversions. The wheel arches on this car can accommodate much wider tires if rules permit. The total package appears that a very light, balanced, fast well handling car could evolve out of the base Boa. Conclusion: super potential.
The Aerocon Boa had such a low production run and inglorious launch that the cars are virtually unheard of. The cars were well constructed with expensive build techniques. Historically, there are very few car built for road use that employed this level of engineering. The car clearly lends itself to adaptation to motor sports but then the owner I faced with a dilemma. With such a small production volume, unmolested examples may begin to increase in value particularly if the car guy’s start to know what an Aerocon Boa Type S is.