Building a Better Car

While Detroit's Big Three were fighting for survival, a trio of American upstarts were rethinking how cars are made. In Arizona, Local Motors is designing by comitee: Pros oversee safety and performance while enthusiasts propose tweaks, from suspension components to body shape, on the company’s website. (The first production ehicle is the Rally Fighter, a sports coupe with the stance of a monster truck). In Kansas, H-Line Conversions is retooling Hummers and Escalades into green beasts that run on biodiesel, with new power trains that provide the bost of a hot rod. And in California, Icon is handcrafting 4x4’s with parts from other industries-visors from Learjets, latches from Sub-zero fridges, even fog lights from Mars Lunar Rovers. It’s off-roading gone artisanal. “The standard suppliers’ products are indistinct, plastic, and temporary”, explains Icon founder Jonathan Ward. “Our idea was to revive art in transportation”. Don’t underestimate these indies’ reach- Ford, for example, is working with ICON to design a badder-ass remake of the orignal Ford Bronco.


Details Magazine December 2010