One designer's review of the Local Motors Rally Fighter.

To whoever mentioned the X6. Yeah. And I hate to be down on such an innovative company, but I think both of them are retarded. Two door slinky coupes are great on low, high horsepower cars that huge the road. Off road vehicles are typically chunky, masculine, and brutish. There is a reason that these two types of things don’t really cross pollenate, because they are suited to two completely differnet purposes. I mean… .the X6 for example. It seats fewer people than a regular SUV, offers no performance benefits, the slight improvement in aero doesn’t really matter, etc yet it costs MORE than something more practical. Why? I just find the idea of such a thing hilarious, and sad. It reminds me of the Simpson’s Homer-car. Yeah! I want a sports car! Yeah ! “Do you want it to offroad?” “Yeah, I want that too! I want that and some side pipes! Yeah! And some aluminum strips! Yeah! YEAH! And maybe some huge wheels! yeah ! And some graphics! yeah! And two types of paint and surface treatments YEAH YEAH YEAH YEAH!!!” It just reminds me of what a caffiene-addled child with ADD would say, if he were designing a car.

See: http://simpsons.wikia.com/wiki/"The_Homer"

Yeah, it turns heads, but not in a great way, like when I see an Aston Martin, or a GT40. It’s just visually screaming at the top of its lungs, without having anything to actually say. Basically…

Also… for LM… I guess I was hoping for something actually relevant. You guys built a toy for rich people. Lots of companies already do that. What I was hoping for, when you were first starting, was something fresh. A RWD car with an efficient 4 cylinder, like a modern remake of the AE-86 Corolla, or something along those lines. Today everything is either boring, or macho and expensive. The Hyundai genesis coupe is the first move of a change in direction… which I am welcoming. But it’s still too much. I think something similar to the Dodge Razor concept would be an EXCELLENT Local Motors next move. Something priced under 20 grand, simple, designed with off the shelf parts, EASY TO WORK ON, easy to repair, efficient, and basic. Not some ridiculous off-road toy for people who think more of everything is better.

Unfortunately… I don’t see this happening with your current business setup. Currently (and correct me if I’m wrong), you have online voting for your designs, and the direction of your company. I can’t see anything relevant working with that. It seems like it’s always going to be the most outrageous, ostentatious design that gets the most votes, because it is so ridiculous. And that, is too bad, becuase local motors will always be just another “expensive toy” company, instead of a company that I’d ever purchase a product from. Again, I really want you to succeed, and provide an ALTERNATIVE to the big 3 in detroit, but right now you’re just providing an alternative to Polaris, Bombardier, and other “recreational vehicles”.

I must be the only person who actually likes the X6 in the world…

Good points in there Cash… particularly regarding online voting skewing the direction of the company to the most ridiculous answers. But, to their defense it doesn’t seem like the set out to make the next VW “People’s Car”. They did make an expensive toy, but aren’t ALL cars simply expensive toys? We’re put on this earth with an easy way to travel (our feet), so you could argue that any form of transportation you have to purchase or pay for in some way is an expensive toy. You’ve got 2 perfectly good feet after all.

I didn’t want another people’s car. We already have the civic, corolla, etc. I was hoping with all the engineers, designers, talent, and passion for automobiles, they’d produce a car FOR ENTHUSIASTS, BY ENTHUSIASTS. A person who buys a $50k+ anything isn’t really an enthusiast, because with that kind of money I doubt they do much of their own work. Something like an old 240 in modern form would be perfect. Sorry if I wasn’t clear about that in my previous post.

Wonderful - we’d love to have you over! I am available on Skype/phone/email - whatever you like. I’ll drop you a line so we can connect.

It’s important to note that when designers enter the competition or checkup critique process, Local Motors does NOT own their work. And we don’t want to. We own the work ONLY when we purchase it.

This sets us apart from other competitions, and many crowdsourcing companies.

Talk to you soon,

Ariel

aferreira@Local-Motors.com

I too like the X6. Raw and unpractical, love it. But it appeals to many peoples testosterone side. That is one reason why I basically like the Rally Fighter. Unforgiving and unapologetic. Im still a petrol head, but I’m trying to wean myself off.

As far as the voting side of Local Motors, there is a part of the voting that goes to ‘how producible’ is the design. That automatically cuts out a lot of the most outrageous designs.

but that doesn’t address the fact that you have scores of people who are doing work for you that don’t get paid. Whether you use that work is not relevant to the time (which = money) that people have put into it.

I am completely torn when I see something like LM. I love its spirit and I do think it presents an interesting alternative to giant global companies all racing towards the bottom.

On the other hand, I hate the idea of my future being nothing but Spec work.

Also, of course the designer is amped about seeing his work on the road, he is/was still in school, but will he feel that way long term and as viable career? dunno.

I like the X6 too. The thing is so mean running down the road.

Have to agree with Yo’s points regarding design and paying designers.

I’m unsure of how something with that much wheel gap and ground clearance can look mean to you. It looks dorky, poserish, and unpurposeful, from my perspective. Low= fast, mean, aggressive. Jacked up = tipsy, dorky looking.

Local motors business wise: I applaud that they are trying out a new model. I applaud that they leave all rights to the creators until they buy them. They aren’t perfect, but they just started. I think you are either with them or already comfortable with the current corporate systems.

Rallyfighter & X6: I was excited by the rally fighter when I saw that it was more car-like in form. Although I was hoping for something more like this:

Rallyfighter v. some other type of car: I think this made a lot of sense from a few different directions. First, no one has ever made a bad ass off-road car before. This means they are entering a market with no competition. Second is approval. I know what a pain it is to approve a light fixture with UL, I can only imagine how hard it is clearing all of the hurdles to approve a car (crash testing, emissions, etc). Local motors can start by selling this off-road car who want a toy, not an approved highway vehicle. Once they get some capital flowing, they can go into a higher production mode.

Last, Local Motors guy: could we turn a tour into an IDSA/ADIQ event? I know there is nothing designers like more than motors, so it would be a hit.

my email is r.jepson (@) stelpro.com

I think mean looking can mean a lot of things. Other vehicles I find mean, in the same mean theme as the X-6. They all happen to be “jacked up” and have lots of wheel clearance, yet they are still mean looking. I actually think the Rally Fighter is pretty mean looking despite the fussiniess of some of the surfaces and details.
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Yes! We can do it in Phoenix this summer :slight_smile:

Ariel

aferreira@local-motors.com

Thanks for the clarification. It might seem like semantics, but that makes a huge difference. In that way you are shopping for ideas in a self created marketplace of design. I like that.

Not to totally derail, but I don’t think the x6 will go down as a good design. Some fantatic surfacing, and nice exploration, but it just not quite right… an off road coupe that did work in the Lancia Stratos:

Bad ass personified.
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Mac Daddy.
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Designers love cars.

But everybody does. And the Rally Fighter was not made for professional designers.

Design of the Rally Fighter:

I for one think that it is very well aimed at the target audience.

And I don’t second much of what Yo brought up in his first statement. A little more consistency throughout the design
would certainly help. But this is not to be seen religiously with the rally fighter, as a fighter plane or superbike might have rough edges as well.

What do I think:

  • I love the vertical intersections in the cabin windows.

  • I would leave the door handle in that position or change it to something
    even more industrial, like the one on the Fiat Barchetta.

  • The front lights are good, as they are not recognisable from another manufacturer,
    so they don’t mess with another identity. But they are in no way from the same animal
    as the rear lights. That makes the front and the rear two different cars.

  • the Design of the 1995 Renault Sport Spider has some family ties to the design of the
    Rally Fighter and you can see a different solution here:

There is an abundance of round rear light clusters available. I’m sure there is a perfect fit
amongst them.

  • the gaping round mouth of the car feels a little unresolved and unfinished. Something is
    missing here. There might be the possibility to develop a real grille that snaps into the opening
    and thus might be mountable on already delivered cars as well.

This is what I see here on a first glance without having the chance to see the car in person.


Business approach of Local Motors:

One main difference in the profitability of the “co-creation” model might be, that only the
winning submission is paid. How are the engineering hours counted and paid??

I am working as a product developement and sales manager right now and I can tell you,if we only had to pay the bills for the final winning design and not all the reloops (as pointed
out by the FORD guy) this would be one fine thing!

But most of our CAD Modelers and developement staff would starve.

As you can see I am far more critical of that new business approach than of the product
that originated out of it. American Design alway was a little brute and garish at its best.

You don’t have to throw a “homer” though.

All the best

yours mo-i

While I think there are a lot of valid point’s including cash’s (I too want a flexible RWD platform that isn’t as gay as a Miata or as expensive as a 350Z/Genesis) I think it’s also worth pointing out to LM’s credit that this is their first vehicle.

If they can get enough buyers in this very targeted niche (White men who live in rural areas that permit excessive hoonage) then it certainly gives them some room for a more broadly stroked second effort.

But that all requires getting this one off the ground first.

I understand everyone’s want and need to be respectful and appropriate of LM in this whole discussion. I certainly don’t want to start any flame wars.

I like the site. I like the talent I see (a lot of it anyway) and I love the interest in design they generate with their contests.

That being said, I’m really curious if anyone here has had the experience of sitting through the Local Motors presentation.

I have. (I’ll leave out the time and place to protect the innocent.) I have to say, I was really unimpressed. When the people I was with began asking the difficult questions, the mood of the room changed dramatically.

YO, to your point, it became very clear that they were trying to leverage the talent of school age kids who wanted to have something on their resume more than cash in their pocket. I suppose you have to kind of assume that when you sign up to participate in something like this.

What bothered me most was what I’ll call a “very quiet and key” point to their presentation. How the “owner” (who has in upwards of 60K to spend on this) comes to “experience” the build of his vehicle by doing some of it himself. At the end of the day the owner is the builder of record. Just like a kit car. To my understanding, this limits or even absolves the body originators (LM) of any liability should the vehicle have problems down the line.

Think about that in the light of what Toyota’s going through right now. LM vehicles are made with other OEM’s supplied components. Let’s just say they were using a Toyota engine or throttle control for one of their vehicles. Would they be legally compelled to recall that car? Could you sue because they put an unsafe product in your hands? At the end of the day, YOU built it.

Safety and Crash testing are two of the most important expenses and considerations when developing a vehicle. Anyone who’s spent a day working at an OEM could tell you this. A lot more goes into that than driving it really fast through a field and then looking underneath to see what broke. I haven’t seen any mention on the website or in the presentation of the LM team’s intent to test their vehicles on a barrier to prove their occupant safety.

Personally, if I WERE in the fiscal position to do something like this, I’d buy something more… OEM.

What are Local Motors actually selling? The ‘crowd-source’ design (i.e. a competition) of something gorgeous/ daring/ outlandish/ innovative etc. or a kit car building experience?

Because they are kit cars they can get around all the safety testing/ liability issues. It could be the best looking car in the world but a death trap in an accident. I would hate to be in a small car in a head on with one of those- you’d get a radiator at head level. A crash with a pedestrian would force the person under the car, rather than over the bonnet and onto the crumple zones- does it have crumple zones? Does the Rally Fighter have air bags for instance? Are they an option?

Cars are a system. You don’t design ‘a car’ but a whole collection of parts, some OEM, some from other sources, and a good design brings them all together. To me it appears Local Motors are focussing on the exterior/ interior ‘wow’ factor rather than the whole system.

That said, it is a striking design- and it does have ‘rally’ in the title, so it isn’t meant to be used to drop the kids at school. It wouldn’t look out of place in the Dakar.

Having build a few Caterhams (1 myself and a few with friends) I can tell you the joy of kit cars is fabricating something by yourself and being able to legally drive it on the road. The hours of blood, sweat, tea, and head scratching inevitably makes you feel like a giant of a man.

I Kinda like the whole halo styling, however my only question is, Will it be as timeless as a Lotus/Caterham 7? Could you live with it, would you feel that same rush pulling the cover off it ever weekend to go get excessively dirty ragging the shit out of your car? I kinda like the stratos influences, however you should remember your roots. Italians build Italian cars, British build frog eye sprites (ac cobra) and we need something to define this transitional age, not something which winks at you in a comedy fashion while our entire methodology of transportation is changing around us, weather we like it or not.


Keep up the good work guys, I view it like the first pancake. Its nice, but a little crap. The ones after it will always be better because you got your eye in.

That’s where I’d seen this car before! And I could see that it’s perfect for the wealthy Halo player, too.