Wednesday, May 26, 2010


Although development with the diesel powerplant has not ceased, we have opted to include the GM E-Rod package. Like the diesel powerplant, the E-Rod allows specially constructed vehicles to be titled and registered in even the strictest of states (including California) when it comes to emissions standards. It's also widely known in the auto industry, loved by enthusiasts and car builders everywhere for it's ease of use in custom applications, ability to be modified be even low budget builders and obtain big leaps in performance, and heralded by many as one of the greatest engine lines ever produced.

With this package, you can lower your carbon footprint and not sacrifice your power and torque since this engine is the same 430 hp/424 ft-lb engine from the Camaro SS and Corvette. In the past, this engine and those like it were available for installation in custom designed vehicles, but the issue was how to handle the electronics to run the engine, how to mount it, and how to pass emissions. The people at GM Performance Parts have taken all of those hurdles into consideration and delivered this great powerplant in a package that comes with the engine controller, exhaust (with catalytic converters), and Oxygen sensors. The mounting albeit, is still up to the customer.

However, having worked with this engine platform in the past, we knew that the Corvette and Camaro mounts were available as options for mounts and we could fabricate the necessary mounts on the chassis side to accept them. Other components that have to be researched for a fully functional engine are the A/C Compressor and brackets, the Alternator, and of course the right transmission for our application.

Normally this would be a major undertaking of time and capital, but with the help of the SEMA Techtransfer, decisions on what components will work for us are made much easier. As members of SEMA, the Techtransfer allows us to make a request for certain components in CAD so that we can use them in our chassis model to determine how (if) they will fit, and what we'll need to fabricate (unless they'll work right off the shelf as-is) to mount them. The level of detail, as you can see in the image below, is pretty astounding. Without these models we would have to research the parts by scouring the internet, calling dealerships, buying the parts, then reverse engineering them to put in our model. With the Techtransfer, we can submit a request for the data and usually have it within a day or two to incorporate into our model. This has been invaluable in the quest for which engine accessories - like the A/C Compressor and Alternator - can be used, and certainly which transmission(s) will fit in the car.

Stay tuned for more updates on the development process of the Local Motors Rally Fighter and the E-Rod.

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Fate of Pontiac

As we continue to gear up for production of the Rally Fighter, the exact reasons why GM had to slash the Pontiac Brand are the very same reasons upon which the Rally Fighter and all subsequent Local Motors vehicles are built. This is best summarized by a statement from GM's Head of Sales Operations in the U.S. in an MSNBC article about the final days of Pontiac,

Despite the pain of the shutdown, "it will pay off in the long run,” said Susan Docherty, head of U.S. sales operations for GM.

"This will let us focus our limited resources where they’ll serve us best,” Docherty added. She acknowledged that the once-seemingly omnipotent General Motors simply couldn’t keep spending billions to develop so many different products for so many different brands, and then invest the additional money needed to market them.

One of the final 2010 Pontiac G6 sedans moves down the line at General Motors Orion assembly plant last week in Michigan. The production marked the end of the line for the venerable Pontiac nameplate (

Over spending on development of multiple (and unnecessary) products, then spending exorbitant sums of money to market them are largely avoided through listening to our community of designers, engineers, and consumers from the earliest stages of vehicle development to develop only the vehicles of the utmost desire, using as many existing components off the shelf across multiple platforms; then executing sales and marketing through the channels of that community, branching out to the outer limits by simply being as visible as possible in local car enthusiast communities both in the virtual and physical worlds.

The death of such an iconic brand is an avoidable one had the voice of the muscle car community surrounding the Pontiac brand that started in the 1960's and 1970's around such legendary cars like the GTO and the Firebird been allowed to truly guide the brand responsible for "building excitement." Sure, there were many factors driving the "end" of the Muscle Car Era, but that spirit could have not only lived on, but been well executed in the forms of other vehicles consumers would feel connected to, and as a result prevent the death of such an icon in automotive history.

It's these types of lessons learned from our automotive manufacturing counterparts that the engineering team here at Local Motors will strive to keep at the forefront of our minds as we deliver exciting vehicles to the underserved car loving communities of the world such that we don't suffer a similar fate.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Making a List and Checking it Twice

We might not be Santa Claus here at Local Motors, but we're taking a page out of his book this December.

Since the Rally Fighter prototype is returning from a long roadtrip (it left on the truck to SEMA the last week of October) later this week, then going back on the road for another couple months starting in January, we've got to make the best of our limited amount of time. Therefore, were taking this time to compile two lists:

1. What needs to be done to get the prototype ready for a full battery of off road testing and what is necessary to make it street legal,

2. What needs to be changed/added based on that for our June production launch date.

For those of you itching to see the transformation from Mihai's Interior Competition winner, it will most likely be a few more months before items like the dash and the center console are crafted to the original design Mihai so skillfully designed. The reason behind this is simple - we have one month with the actual protoype in the shop to redesign, modify and test certain things critical to the performance, safety and manufacturability of the Rally Fighter that simply CANNOT be done without the car here. Namely, we will be making modifications to the steering, finishing the wheel wells, adding seat belts, making adjustments to the shock locations, tuning the suspension etc.

Also, some of the modifications made as a result of such modification and eventual testing can affect the volumes within which Mihai's design are executed, so we will need to make those modifications (keeping his design in mind), then adapt the dash, center console etc. to the chassis and subframe. This design work will then continue in 3D CAD while the car is back on the road. Soon after it returns from it's next trip, the roles will be reversed, and the focus will be on building the first article of the dash, center console etc. maintaining the intent of Mihai's vision as close to the original as possible.

Monday, November 16, 2009


After it's official Release Party in Las Vegas on the last night of the SEMA show, the Rally Fighter headed to ATG in California for some final tweaks to the braking, power steering, and the electrical systems. Once there, Dave and the team from ATG in conjunction with a local BMW dealership debugged the electrical system and made the necessary changes to the braking and power steering and after only a couple days (including down time waiting for parts), the car was running and driving around the parking lot!

Here are some quick videos of the Rally Fighter's first drive:

Stay tuned for more photos and video upon our return from the Baja 1000 in Mexico (Nov 19-22) where although we won't be racing the Rally Fighter just yet, we'll have it in the pits and we'll be experiencing the event hands-on both during Prerun and the 1000 itself!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Local Motors Flip Cam Giveaway with Exclusive Rally Fighter Build Content

This could be yours.

A Flip Cam with video of exclusive Rally Fighter build content.

All you have to do is guess when the Rally Fighter will be completed.

Just make your best guess via Twitter by clicking this link & filling in the date and time you think it will be finished:

I think the Rally Fighter will be finished on 0/0 at 00:00 am #localmotors

Sure, with this exclusive content you will likely learn a thing or two about car building and the Rally Fighter build process, but you will also get a chance to see team triumphs & late night pranks. Maybe you'll meet my girlfriend who now visits me at Local Motors headquarters because I rarely return home (we've been pulling some late nights working on the build!) You might get to hear some of Jay Rogers incredible ability to quote just about any movie you can think of.

Who KNOWS what the exclusive content will include?

You can win this AND the Flip Cam if you are the closest to guess the day and time the Rally Fighter build will be complete.

Hint: The Rally Fighter will be premiered at SEMA on November 3rd in the "Making Green Cool Zone" (booth #30215).


1.) Price is Right Rules apply. Over-bidders are disqualified (have some faith, people!).

2.) You can only guess ONCE (yes, we check).

3.) Only the guesses which are tweeted prior to the Rally Fighter build completion will be eligible.

Follow this blog or our Twitter for regular Rally Fighter build updates to help you.

Go Local!

Friday, October 23, 2009

First Ever Engine Install

Another Great Success today! After getting the control arms, chassis, and engine/trans cradle back from the powder coater (Prism Powder Coating just down the street from us) we got busy making the final preparations to install the engine such as bolting the engine and transmission mounts in place, bolting the cradle to those mounts.

Once those things were done, we were ready to begin the install, which took a little finesse since it was the first time we were marrying engine and trans to chassis, but overall the process went very smooth. Overall an amazing job well done by our Build Team to make sure things came together according to plan. Special thanks to Prism for getting the job done on such short notice.

More pics to follow tomorrow. For now, some much needed rest.

Chassis off Jig Table and Going for Powdercoating

Colby, Dave and I had to pull an all nighter to make it happen (we had several of the LM team and our Build Team assist late into the night)but we just finished the chassis and got it off the table and on to the powder coating rack.

The shocks also arrived today, so once we get the chassis back from the local powder coater, we will put them on the chassis and get it rolling post haste.

Here's a few pictures from the day/night. Check out the Build Page for more.