The AIV Roadster, designed around the time when most American production cars were not renowned for their handling characteristics, was a breath of fresh air to many. While the car shares many components with Ford (allowing the car to be serviced at any Ford dealership), the things most important to provide a good handling car were meticulously designed to provide a fun, stable car that was just about as quick around the bends as any other sports (or even super) cars of the time.
It employs double wishbone suspension all-round, a near 50/50 weight distribution, light weight, at around 1170kg, and comes equipped with an LSD.
The engine represents a near perfect balance between power and drive-ability, while not producing the insane figures of some modern sports cars, by no means is the car a slouch either. Straight from the Ford Mustang, the engine produces 305hp, 407Nm, enough to propel the car from 0-60mph (96km/h) in just 4.6 seconds. Aerodynamic drag does significantly inhibit the cars top speed, though, to around 135mph (217km/h).
Driving techniques are not particularly difficult or unique to this car. It’s about as much of a fun car as you can have, control is relatively easy and drifting quite possible (though not the fastest way to get around the track).
To get the best lap times, it’s all about braking late and deep, avoiding that inside lockup, and fighting that extremely tempting urge to floor it and drift your way around the corner. Instead, keep it cool, feel where the maximum grip is, the rear should be kept just in a very shallow slide, and use the normal ‘slow in fast out’ technique common to most forms of motor racing.
The car has most of the common characteristics of street vehicles, some minor lift oversteer, and you can get power on oversteer with excessive throttle too, but in general the Roadster is a well balanced vehicle.