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Cars made of strange stuff

Cigarette packets - sports car by Xi'an University students
Cars made of strange stuff

For some folks, conventional substances won't be enough to satisfy their 'car' needs.
The car pictured was made in China from cigarette packets and certainly falls into the latter category. It was unveiled in March 2012 by the engineering students who designed it. The vehicle took 10,280 cigarette packets and eight months to build. It really drives too but there's no word on who did all the smoking. We'd guess that they're not feeling too hot right about now.

Play-Doh - Chevrolet Orlando
Cars made of strange stuff

Londoners were greeted to the extraordinary sight of a bright blue life-size Play-Doh replica of the Chevrolet Orlando in March 2011, when it was parked in the street as a publicity stunt. Eight model-makers took two weeks to build the car, which was the world's biggest Play-Doh sculpture at 4.6 meters long. Ironically its 1.5-tonne weight was identical to a real Orlando.



More cars after the break

Bamboo - BamGoo
Cars made of strange stuff
Japan's Kyoto University is behind this daft single-seater electric car, whose body is made entirely of woven bamboo.

Hemp - Ford prototype
Cars made of strange stuff
Henry Ford might have had something strange in his pipe when he came up with the idea for this 1941 prototype, which was made of resin-stiffened hemp fibre. He was so confident of the car's strength that he demonstrated it by hitting it with a sledgehammer.

Spandex - BMW Gina
Cars made of strange stuff
More usually seen tightly clenching the nether regions of band members in Mötley Crüe, spandex seems an unlikely material in which to envelop a car. But then BMW's Chris Bangle never did do 'ordinary'.
The BMW Gina concept of 2008 had spandex bodywork that changed shape at the press of a button thanks to a moving framework underneath.

Canvas - Velorex Oskar
Cars made of strange stuff
Ever felt a burning desire to drive a boy Scout frame tent? Thought not. But that's pretty much what thousands of Czech people were forced to do in the 1950s, 60s and even 70s. The Velorex was a sub-Skoda people's car whose bodywork was made of canvas stretched over a metal frame. Now where did I put those tent pegs?

Plasticised textiles - Trabant
Cars made of strange stuff
No, the urban myths are wrong: the Trabant never had a body made of cardboard. But the reality was little better. To circumvent a chronic lack of steel in communist East Germany, engineers used Duroplast, a plastic reinforced by textiles - basically trash imported from the Soviet Union.
Although that made the Trabant the first car to have recycled bodywork, sadly Duroplast isn't very recyclable itself. The only use German authorities have found for it is crushing Trabants and making pavements out of them.

Transparent plastic - Rinspeed eXasis
Cars made of strange stuff
Swiss loons Rinspeed made the eXasis in 2007. It uses a completely transparent body and floor out of a substance apparently called Makrolon. Even the seats and armrests were transparent, as were the instrument displays. Rinspeed made the eXasis drivable, although Britney take note - you really need to wear your pants this time.

Plastic bottles - Chrysler CCV
Cars made of strange stuff
Chrysler's 1996 Composite Concept Vehicle (CCV) was made of plastic obtained from recycled drinking bottles, so it could be cheaply manufactured in developing countries like China. The idea was recycled in more than one way. Chrysler admitted that it had pulled apart a Citroën 2CV to get inspiration for the car - and even gave a nod to it in the name, made up of two Cs and a V.


Foam - Spira
Cars made of strange stuff

A team based in Thailand created this solution for pedestrian safety: make 90% of the car's body out of foam some six inches thick. The irony of a safety car with just three wheels is not lost on us.The motto for the Spira is 'soft, safe, sexy', which has the unfortunate effect of making it sound like a prophylactic.

Leather - Lancia Musa 5th Avenue
Cars made of strange stuff

Lancia is synonymous with luxury, but the Musa 5th Avenue shown at the 2010 Geneva Motor Show might just have been taking things too far. It featured not just an all-leather interior but a leather exterior as well - the whole roof and tailgate were covered in dead cow.


Stainless steel - DeLorean DMC-12

Cars made of strange stuff
Unpainted brushed stainless steel sounded like a fabulously exotic, sci-fi idea in 1981. The down-to-earth reality for DeLorean owners was a surface that scratched like chalk and was impossible to repair if dented. DeLorean's suggestion for panels that got damaged was simply to replace them wholesale. How very practical.


Titanium - GM Firebird II

Cars made of strange stuff
No car sums up the space age optimism of the 1950s better than GM's Firebird II of 1956. It remains the only car ever with a body made entirely of titanium. Predating DeLorean by 25 years, its designer Harley Earl left the body unpainted with a brushed, lustrous finish. Unlike DeLorean, the Firebird II was only ever intended as a pure flight of fancy.


Balsa - Humvee

Cars made of strange stuff
We know this sounds wrong, but the US army built this Humvee out of balsa wood and other lightweight materials to give its soldiers better protection. The idea was that the lighter bodywork would allow extra armour plating to be fitted to counter roadside bombs.


Plywood - Marcos Xylon

Cars made of strange stuff
If making a car body out of plywood sounds like a episode of DIY SOS, the Marcos Xylon's creator, Frank Costin, had a background in aeronautics and really did know what he was doing (except in the styling department, perhaps).This very early Marcos was built almost entirely from mahogany, spruce and plywood, and was nicknamed 'Xylon' - the Greek word for wood.


Cake - Skoda Fabia
Cars made of strange stuff

Skoda's memorable 2007 TV advert saw a legion of bakers construct a Fabia out of sponge cake. From its sugar-dusted roof to its treacle-filled engine, the car was made entirely out of baking ingredients, including 42kg of fudge, 100kg of caster sugar and 12kg of jam.
However, Skoda couldn't have its cake and eat it: it had planned to distribute sliced Fabia cake to local schools and hospitals, but the hot TV studio lights made it go rancid, so the car ended up being used as compost on east London allotments.


Copper - Mercer-Cobra

Cars made of strange stuff
Virgil Exner's extraordinary Mercer-Cobra of 1965 shined, not with gold, but with copper. The green-tinged stuff was applied to much of the (frankly hideous) bodywork, cockpit, engine and wheels. Even the brake discs were made of copper.
The whole thing was sponsored by the Copper Development Association to further the use of copper and brass in cars. Which of course resulted in us all driving copper-clad cars today. Didn't it?
Source: MSN cars


1 comment:

  1. What a funny car! Should they need a car turntable to show it well?

    ReplyDelete

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