Mr Wang’s Lamborghini
Two years ago low-res images of a battered Lamborghini Reventon appeared in Chinese media outlets.
It turns out the car was not what it appeared to be.
Having missed his chance to join a higher income bracket, a resourceful Chinese mechanic named Jian Wang channeled his mad building skills for the sake of a status symbol.
The result was lumpy sheet metal on the weld-modded chassis of an old Nissan. Obviously unfinished, it still garnered Wang his 15-minutes-of-fame.
This gets an ‘A’ for effort.
Wang now ranks among modern China’s most brazen innovators together with that other guy who built a race car from junk and that other guy who built a submarine for himself or the farmer who built a family of robots. Chairman Mao would have been very proud.
The Colani Truck
In some circles the name Colani is synonymous with “crazy.” As one of the world’s most over-the-top and distinguished industrial designers, the aging Luigi Colani has done it all. From teapots to airplanes, using little more than a pen and his imagination, literally thousands of objects have been designed by him.
His concept for an ergonomic truck, however, could have become his crowning achievement. Except it never entered production.
The funny part is the Colani Truck has long moved past the drawing board and is proven to be feasible.
Ever the Renaissance man, the 85-year-old German hell raiser is currently doing interiors.
Homeless Brazilian’s DIY wheels
Once upon a time in the Brazilian city of Sao Jose de Piranhas a frustrated homeless man decided to build his own car.
The problem was, he did not have any money. As in zip. Zero. Nada.
Cannibalizing motorcycle parts and whatever material he could salvage from a Fiat or two, Orismar de Souza began assembling his would-be ride in his plentiful spare time.
It might have taken four grueling years, but de Souza didn’t let his dream die.
The predictable result was a road- worthy cab with its own paint job.
Seriously, de Souza’s struggle has all the elements of a foreign-language drama film.
It seems like every generation has its own flying car.
In this age of smartphones and smart cities, it is a startup called Terrafugia who are reviving the concept.
Their first product, the Transition, was a minor success and earned a lot of viral buzz. But it has not gone into production because everyone still has misgivings about driving airplanes in roads.
The conceptual TF-X, on the other hand, is a brave step forward. Taking its cue from the V-22 Osprey, which rises like a helicopter and flies like a plane, the TF-X is a would-be civilian VTOL.
But it is not in production either.
To realize its machines, Terrafugia is actively soliciting support and investment.
MRAP (Mine Resistant Ambush Protected)
The MRAP is not so much a vehicle but, rather, a type of vehicle. Originating in South Africa, the concept of the MRAP was an armored truck to resist off-road conditions and land mines.
Thanks to the US quagmire in Iraq, however, where homemade bombs and IEDs were destroying Humvees in record numbers, there was suddenly a need for a transport that could take a lot of damage.
The US military subsequently deployed MRAPs in their thousands, often upgrading existing vehicles with lots of armor. The problem is these vehicles are not applicable in “normal” peaceful conditions. The 10 or 16-ton MRAPs are too heavy, too tall, and can be difficult to drive up an incline. Still, they kick ass.
If the MRAP does one thing well though, it is to resist big explosions.
Here is the kind of ride only Michael Bay could love. (Hey! There was an MRAP in the first Transformers movie.)
Print ed: 10/11