Wednesday, October 29, 2008

THIS is Passion!

Today, Ari forwarded me a link about a very interesting build which I think is the pinnacle of passion and dedication.

The post covers the story of a man who decided to build his own Lamborghini Countach replica in his basement after seeing one in Cannonball Run. If you read the article, it mentions several times how when the car was done, it was "dragged out of the subterranean depths" or "extracted" from his basement. In reading the article, I thought this simply meant that the car had never seen the day of light over the 10 year build period, so they chose their words accordingly to hype the act of the car finally being finished. After finishing the article and looking at the pictures, I noticed that I read too far into it and they meant exactly what they said - the car was literally dragged from the basement after knocking down a section of the house's foundation! All along, I was thinking there was a garage door and a driveway leading up to the basement, but apparently not. I'm pretty passionate about cars (some more than others) and when it came time to build a replica of my favorite, I don't thing the thought of building a car in the basement knowing i'd have to tear a hole in my foundation once it was done and drag the car out would ever enter my mind as reasonable.

All the more reason to believe that maybe if there was a build program for the Lamborghini Countach somewhere near his home he may have been able to finish his dream with the same result, but faster and without the headache of worrying that the house would come crashing down on all of his hard work as it was dragged from the basement! This type of passion and dedication to an automotive dream is always inspiring...Go Local!

Love this quote, as it captures the essence of what any person feels when they've been inspired to do the unthinkable, and have their dream come to fruition:

"Actually getting the car out of the basement was pretty straight forward to be honest. I built a skid to put the car on — a trailer without wheels you might say. The rig is basically an angle iron frame designed to make it down into the basement to which I added 4 swivel casters to move the car to the opposite wall. We used an excavator to dig a ramp and then cut the block of the foundation out. We pushed the car to the opening, hooked it up to the excavator and pulled it out. Simple. I was like an expectant father watching it come through the wall. I was literally shaking and running the supposed plan over and over in my head. 'Have I overlooked anything? Is some of the wall going to fall on my work of seventeen years?...' The blankets I covered it with surely wouldn't stop that from happening, but I worried nonetheless, an it was in the end, worry for nothing. It went as smooth as something like this could. The neighbors started gathering around as it emerged, waiting for me to remove the blankets. It was like a artist unwrapping his masterpiece. I had never seen it in the light of day either. As the last blanket and car cover were removed I knew at that moment I had accomplished what I had dreamed about so many years ago and to see it sitting there in front of me was surreal. The whole process took two and a half hours and there it was, my Lamborghini safely in the garage. The next day we filled the hole in the basement with new block in no time it was good as new."

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Continuing Talks with Fiberforge

We had a great call with Josh from Fiberforge today, discussing the possibilities of incorporating their technology in the Rally Fighter and future LM models. With each discussion, we learn more about the technology and what parts we could use it for, and how to manufacture those parts for the best results.

It's all going to come down to finding the part that is the right fit for our ideals of lightweight, rigidity, sustainability just to name a few key things, and of course, cost. The Fiberforge technology seems to make the most sense in replacing parts made from flat planes in areas with complex curvature and a deep draw where rigidity is key.

Check out the link above for a look at their updated website to follow along with their cutting edge process, just as we have done over the last few months.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Who Says We're Too Old to Still Be Playing with Clay?

Today I received some photos from Steve at Automotive Technology Group, who has been handling the milling of the 1/4 scale model, and most recently the clay model which is also 1/4 scale. As you can see from the photos, it looks amazing and I can't wait to see it in person, but for now it will be in the hands of West Coast design team of Ben and Dale (with Aurel back here in Wareham offering support) so the next round of the design process can commence in the most efficient and effective manner possible. We engineers, will just have to continue working in the virtual world for now.

There's still some fine tuning that needs to be done on the model, so once that is complete I will have more pictures to share, so stay tuned...

Monday, October 20, 2008

No Alternative?

An article on today discusses the notion that as oil prices have temporarily declined, and although they may spike back up somewhat, if they remain low on the whole, the sense of urgency to develop alternative power sources and implement them into new autos also declines.

Some say that this is a dangerous mindset to adopt for long term auto manufacturing since "designing and ramping up production of a new car takes five years," according to a Toyota Prius designer.

Enter Local Motors...

Instead of looking at just the power plant as the source of ending dependence on oil, we're considering better use of petroleum based power in our early goings concentrating on perfecting weight balance, materials usage etc. to stretch the efficiency of current technology. This will allow us to get a jump-start on that "five year" time line as we will keep in mind that using an alternative power source is possible for the future. Therefore, when the need for that switch becomes more urgent, we can implement one into an existing platform, significantly reducing time to production of new vehicles.

We can also cut down that five year schedule he mentions like it's an industry standard and there's no way around by re-writing the book on how cars are made. When paired with what's in the car, we will have great success in offering an alternative vehicle, and doing so quickly between the staff at LM and our community of designers.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

New Model

Here's a look at the latest creation from the 3D printer...

It's another wheel/tire that we will use with one of our scale models, but the difference from the original wheel and tire combo we first made is that this model is a bigger rim (20" vs. 17") and lower profile tire. We'll use the new wheel/tire combination to assess the feasibility of the Rally Fighter at a much lower stance than the off-road configuration. These images are of the wheels fresh out of the printer, so not to worry, once the final prep work has been done, the true color of the wheels (Aluminum) and the tire will come out and will help the models to really pop when you see them, which could actually be in person if you plan on attending the meetings our team has set up on the west coast as referenced in Ari's Blog!

Not to worry if you can't make it - we'll be sure to post plenty of pictures of the new clay model with the wheels in place so we can gather your all important feedback on the latest iteration of the mighty Rally Fighter, so stay dialed in!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Latest Engineering And Design Data come Together

Here's an update from the LM skunk works...

This is a pairing of the latest surface data from Dale and what Dave and I have been working on over the last week. You can see that the engine is in place as well as the suspension both front and rear. We've been inserting as many components as possible into the assembly to package the vehicle and design the chassis. One of the main things we're using the model for is to check suspension travel and how it affects both packaging and performance.

Stay tuned for more info and images on those studies.