This is a quick collection of companies or concepts I’ve been researching as I explore paths toward build a car. Each of these creations has provided to me some sort of insight, inspiration or new direction.
The New Stratos
New, limited and expensively purist.
Not aimed at any sort of retail market, the new Stratos is a cleverly inspired (and funded) way of re-imagining a real 70s classic for a very elite audience. The car itself is absolutely gorgeous and despite its all new construction has retained most of its original design roots. What appeals to me most about this car is the story of its journey from concept to reality. This gives me a few more ideas of how to “get there from here”. Great story and very beautiful car.
Find out more: www.new-stratos.com
Build your own. Crowd sourcing. Co-creation.
Call it whatever you like, the Local Motors approach is another very unique concept that I find inspirational. I’d love to spend some time with these guys learning more about the micro-factories and fundamentals of fabricating their own chassis (which I’m sure their relationship with Factory 5 has been a big help). Cool concept and a great first production, I’m just curious to see where it goes from here. Taking a page from their approach to community-built, I’m thinking of ways to blend co-creation with Kickstarter-ish models for yet another possible way to launch my own car business.
Find out more: http://www.local-motors.com
Reimagined = Built according to what they think a Porsche should be.
I thought it worth elaborating what appeals to me about the Singer Porsche (I previously mentioned in a blog post about Singer Vehicle Design being an impetus for my drive to build a car), so here goes: There’s a certain continuity that appeals to their approach of making a better new/old Porsche from a collection of original parts. The concept I want to pursue doesn’t have the luxury of pulling parts from cars made just a few years ago, but I admire these guys for making it happen with Porsches. For me, the top appeal is how Singer has made a splash with Porschephiles and created a new market/demand for something they can reproduce, sell and eventually make a profit (presumably). Again, another cool idea and interesting business model.
More about Singer Porsche: http://www.singervehicledesign.com
A Triumph TR bastardization.
Not nearly as appealing to me, but has its merits…the Bowtie 6 is a custom chassised, GM Ecotec/Aisin transmission transplant project for a Triumph TR6. I’m not terribly excited about dropping 4-cylinder General Motors engines into tweaked TR frames…but it’s interesting to watch, learn and take a note from this builder’s experiences. I do appreciate the DIY (do it yourself) approach and hands on attempt to reimagine the TR6…however, this is NOT what I have in mind at all for a finished prototype. My ambition leans more toward the New Stratos approach of building a newly built car with the heart and style of the original. All it takes is money, right? Ha!
More on the Bowtie 6: http://bowtie6.com
Italian-American. The crate motor V8 kit car taken to a higher level.
Panoz is definitely a spiritual leader for the concept of low volume sports car manufacturing in the USA. While I am personally not a big fan of the finished products, there is no disputing the value of the Panoz contribution to car making enthusiasts (and would be startup car creators). There’s an obvious genius to sourcing off the shelf crate V8s and slamming them into a nice body/chassis, and I think Panoz is fine example of that approach. For me, I’m most impressed with their dedication to racing and driving schools which I believe is a hallmark of any died in the wool sports car company.
More about Panoz: http://www.panozauto.com
Now THAT is retro.
Kudos to the Belgians for breaking out the defibrillator to revive a very obscure brand! This is a very ambitious and arguably very niche play on reviving a dead marque. Imperia hopes to make a dent in the small car maker market with their unique blend of green power options, retro design and luxury. I find their story interesting and applaud the ambition, but fear they are trying to kill too many birds with their oddball creation. Definitely cool, but entirely too niche for my ideas and tastes.
Belgian Car: http://www.imperia-auto.be/en/
No aspiring car builder or designer should go without taking a look at Tesla Motors. Presently, I’m not 100% onboard with the electric car ideology…but the Tesla Roadster has certainly given me hope for its future. What I find the most inspirational about Tesla, is their startup mentality. Taking a page from the dot com startups, the team behind this company touts their “Silicon Valley approach” as a key strength in their business. For the most part I agree with the philosophy and find plenty of inspiration in their unique take on how to build a car company. Over time I may be more convinced of the EV movement, but for now my strongest enthusiasm for Tesla is their innovative business model and high quality branding efforts. Oh, and the designs are gorgeous too. 😉
Each of these cars, business models and visions has provided some level of inspiration or ideas to further my own ambitions. I’ve modified my thinking several times (for the better) as a result of learning more about these inspired car creations. My thanks to those who have already blazed a trail, the lessons provided are truly appreciated!