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The Specifications of a Disney Stunt Corsa

18/11/2016

We’ve all heard of bike engined Mini’s but not so much of bike engined Corsa’s, unless you happen to be in Disneyland where you’ll suddenly find yourself surrounded by them.

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Moteurs… Action is a stunt show first performed in 2002 at Disneyland Paris just 2 years after the introduction of the Corsa C from General Motors. During the show a red “hero” car, designed by specialists from the Opel International Technical Development Center in Rüsselsheim, Germany is chased by a number of villains driving Black Sapphire Corsa C’s with facelift rear lights. The audience witnesses jumps, explosions, gun shots and cars being split in half. In Febuary 2003 construction on Disney’s Hollywood Studios stunt arena began and Lights Motors Action, a copy of the show from Paris officially opened in 2005. The show in Hollywood Studios has since closed as the area was required for a new Star Wars Land, the show does however still continue at Disneyland Paris.

There are lots of video’s, pictures and interviews on the internet from the show but it’s very hard to come across any detailed specification of the cars. In this post I’ll give the best specification I can from research, photos, videos and my own assumptions. Photos from Paris taken by myself (marked with the Weekendtoyz Logo) whilst the Orlando photo’s are courtesy of Dominik Wilde and some other photo’s courtesy of Chance Morris, Matt Ferratusco, Ashley Livingston, CanalAuto and WDWMagic.

Each car was built in Opel’s Technical Development Center and depending on when it was built is powered by two variants of Suzuki Hayabusa engine mounted in the rear. Original cars would have had a 1299cc, estimated 155bhp engine from the generation 1 Hayabusa whereas newer cars use the generation 2 engine released by Suzuki in 2008, this 1340cc engine boasts 172bhp, subsequently the dashboards also vary. The coolant reservoir is mounted high directly behind the driver and the exhaust exits at the left of the rear bumper exactly like the production car. The car can do 0-60 in about two seconds and a top speed of roughly 70 miles per hour. A bike engine is designed to be fitted in a very light vehicle, so a bike engined car needs to be very light and most modern cars equipped with modern safety systems are very heavy. Disney’s stunt Corsa weighs in at less than half the weight of a standard production Corsa at 600kg. Whilst published interviews quote the drivers referring to the cars as stripped out production cars they are actually no more than a space frame chassis with Corsa panels attached to them, hence why none of the panels line up very nicely, especially on the cars from Orlando which as you can see from the photo’s also have other visual differences. Weirdly the number plates on the Paris cars appear quite genuine as if they are registered and all the ones I saw suggested they were registered in 2006, could the cars have been replaced within 4 years of use? The combination of mid engine, OEM glass front window and small fuel tank under the bonnet probably give near perfect weight distribution. The side, rear quarter and rear windows are all Perspex. The rear quarters incorporate bulged vents to get air flow to the engine, the left quarter linked by ducting to the air box, and the rear windows three upper bolts have spacers in to allow air to vent from the top, another two bolts hold the bottom of the window in place. The gearbox is apparently designed by Disney, there are four forward gears but the driver can twist the top of the sequential shifter to select the same gears in reverse allowing the car to achieve top speed facing the wrong way! During the show gear two is mainly used, even from standstill, gear three is used when higher speed is required.

Bonnet pins are mounted in a slam panel which appears OEM, the boot lid is also secured with bonnet pins, no OEM boot lock is in place on the Paris cars but can be seen on the Orlando cars. The bonnet hinges are custom fabricated. The OEM front bumper is mounted by 2 bolts either side and 2 bolts from the grill to the slam panel. Under the bonnet you can see what appear to be GRP inner arches, a 4 litre fuel tank (of which only 1 litre is used during a show), and single storm wiper all mounted on the tubular chassis. Also visible is a red cable indicating that the battery is also mounted under the bonnet, although in the Orlando cars the battery is visible in the passenger foot well. The rear bumper is also OEM and is secured from the outside with screws. Black plastic panels have been put in place of the reflectors on the rear bumper, only the bare minimum of external panels has been ordered, reflectors would be a separate part number from the bumper hence why they have been blanked. OEM wing mirrors are fitted along with OEM aerials which may be utilised by the teams radio system.

Eight spoke four stud Speedline Corse alloys are wrapped with Goodyear rubber. The braking system consists of front and rear disks, the rears have two brake calipers, one presumably controlled by the pedal and the other by the hydraulic fly off handbrake. A coil-over suspension system with large travel is mounted at an angle, like an off-road vehicle, to the space frame chassis and connected to custom tubular wishbones. The front coil-overs appear to be mounted at a more acute angle than the rear, have a higher ride height and presumably soft spring rate to aid in landing from a jump.

Pictures of the Orlando cars reveal an under tray along the whole underside of the car, commonly a race car would have this for its aerodynamic benefits but looking at the construction of this I’d say it’s more designed to take impact if required. A yellow skid pan is attached to front of the under tray coming up pretty much in line with the front grill, presumably so that if a jump was slightly misjudged the front bumper would be lost but car would slide over its landing ramp. Vents are also visible in the under tray to aid engine cooling and the side skirt areas of the bodywork are bolted to the under tray.

Inside the car we can see both a driver and in some cases a passenger Sparco Pro 2000 bucket seat equipped with Sabelt Harnesses, the seats will most certainly be bolted to the space frame and I’d imagine the passenger seat only gets used during training although I’d love a passenger ride. A Sparco R215 suede steering wheel with yellow marking at top dead centre is fixed to a custom steering boss and presumably column, I doubt an OEM steering rack would be used as the power steering would require assistance from the engine. A couple of variants’ of custom made dashboards can be seen and have Suzuki Hayabusa gauges mounted to them, there are two variants of the Hayabusa gauges depending on whether the car is using a generation 1 or 2 engine. The dash also has a gear shift indicator and numerous switches controlling everything from pyrotechnics to engine cut out, it also appears that a green l.e.d is lit when the car reaches the optimum speed to jump the ramp. It appears that OEM doors have been used but with no door cards, the OEM handle and window winder appear to have been used. A racing pedal box has been installed and has brake and clutch master cylinders attached to it, presumably the accelerator is linked via cable to the engines throttle. A fire suppression system sits roughly where the passenger foot well would be. There is also a division behind the driver presumably as a safety barrier between driver and engine. The only other OEM part inside the vehicle is the rear view mirror.

Other than the differences that can be seen in the photos between the Orlando and Paris cars, Orlando ones also have a cooling system mounted under the bonnet that connects to the drivers nomex vest to keep the driver cool, presumably the French climate doesn’t pose a requirement for this.

blueprint-copyClick image for full resolution version

To conclude I’ve created the above drawing based on my research, its not completely accurate but is close enough to give a good idea of how the cars are constructed. The only OEM parts that I can see on these Corsa’s are the bonnet, slam panel, boot and boot handle, front and rear bumpers, front grills, side panels, doors with handles (internal and external) and side moldings, roof skin, aerial mount and aerial, front and rear lights, windscreen, middle mirror and wing mirrors. It’s worth noting that both the car that splits in half and the villain car with the Disney Cars themed mouth and eyes are both genuinely real Corsa’s with some modifications. The car that splits in half can instantly be spotted by the face lift bumpers and pre face lift red rear lights. Both these cars use the standard front engine, likely to be a 1.0, 1.2 or 1.4 variant.

As for the choice of vehicle, a relationship between Disney and General Motors stems back further than the show, the first alliance began in 1982 with the introduction of World of Motion at Epcot, which was later replaced with Test Track, both showcasing GM car technology. Since then in 2011 General Motors France and Euro Disney Associés SCA announced a partnership agreement, Vauxhall-badged vehicles have been supplied to the UK and Opel-badged vehicles supplied across Europe, a press release reads “Opel may now leverage the strength of the Disney brand and the attractiveness of Disneyland Paris in order to promote a wide range of vehicles”. Oddly whilst the Orlando cars do display the Opel logo, the Paris cars do not with a cover hiding the badge from the front bumper.

I can’t imagine how much fun these little Corsa’s must be, even with a lack of heater and stereo I’d still have one as my daily driver, unfortunately the only bike engined Corsa C I’ve seen since visiting Disneyland was a feature car in an issue of Total Vauxhall, I’m still yet to see one on the road.

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