Jay Leno gets a close look at the coolest hybrid you’ve never heard of.
Did you know Briggs & Stratton built a car? Yes, that Briggs & Stratton, the company best known for the small engines used on lawnmowers. And it’s not just any car, but a hybrid … built in 1980 no less. Honestly, we didn’t know such a machine existed until this video cropped up at Jay Leno’s Garage, but when we saw this six-wheeled hatchback with styling not unlike a 1980’s L-Body Dodge Charger, we couldn’t not click on it. And once we watched the video, we knew we couldn’t not share it with you because it’s actually very impressive.
This is strictly a one-off concept car designed to be a technology demonstrator, and actually, its top speed isn’t so impressive. According to the video, Richard Petty managed to get this car to a whopping 68 mph on a closed course. On the streets of California, Leno and Briggs & Stratton Engineering Technician Craig Claerbout achieved 60 mph, but when you realize there’s just an 18-horsepower (13-kilowatt) air-cooled twin-cylinder Briggs engine under the hood, that’s not such bad speed. An electric motor is connected to the engine, which then connects to a four-speed manual transmission sending power to the first set of rear wheels