Back in March of 2008, a start-up brought a new paradigm to the automotive world. That start-up was Local Motors, a Massachusetts-based venture that believed it could build innovative, environmentally responsible cars by crowd-sourcing design and building cars on demand at a series of "micro" factories. While it remains to be seen if Local Motors' vision will be successful at actually selling cars--only about a dozen have been sold so far, according to a recent MSNBC article--it has certainly been successful at developing innovative, attention-catching automobiles and designs, particularly the Rally Fighter, its first (and only) production car.
Developed over the Internet after an initial call for designers to submit sketches and input as to their dream cars, the Rally Fighter, submitted by Sangho Kim, proved to be the winning design. And why not? What's not to like about a 430 horsepower LS3 V8-powered, street-legal, tubular-steel space-framed, carbon fiber-bodied, off-road-hungry car-meets-jeep? The suits sitting in Detroit sure aren't going to be offering anything like that anytime soon--that's all about designers, students and other creative minds left free to wander.
Well, as it were, the next Rally Fighter may be imminent. Local Motors is holding a new design competition called "Terra Prix 2085." This competition calls on designers to sketch and submit land-based vehicles that could be used in a hypothetical race around the world in the year 2085. Because the car will need to rove over pavement, dirt, sand, mud and everything else that gets in the driver's way, focus is on "longevity and adaptability". The vehicle needs to seat a passenger and navigator and be accompanied by a support aircraft. Basically, you get to design a car that could be used in some real-life version of Death Race.
Gotta' be honest, I kind of thought that's the type of event the Rally Fighter would be good for. I can't wait to see how extreme and wild the Terra Prix designs get.
Local Motors will be accepting submissions for a week beginning on Tuesday, May 31. It looks like this is purely a design exercise, so I don't think the winner will be joining the Rally Fighter at Local Motors micro factories, but it should be fun to see what designers come up with.
You can get more information about submissions and requirements at local-motors.com.
In the meantime, you can check out the Rally Fighter in all its glory.