Last month, open source DIY automaker Local Motors launched its next big design contest, and this one has production ambitions. The goal? Create a high-performance, low-cost track racer for performance purists.
Local Motors has has existed for just a few years, but its open source philosophy has garnered it a lot of press. It’s first (and so far only) production vehicle, the Rally Fighter, was designed via the same kind of contest being held for the sports car platform. This has naturally drawn talented designers from across the world, and 200 submissions have been entered into this dream contest. The stakes are high too, as first prize gets not just $7,500 in prize money, but a royalty check for every car they sold build on the “SportsCar” platform.
That could add up to a lot of cheddar, as Local Motors is targeting a market segment ripe for the plucking. The design contest calls for a small, two-seat rear-wheel drive race car with a four-cylinder engine, no roof, no roll cage, and no doors; you just get in and drive that bad boy. It should also weigh less than 1,600 pounds, and cost about $30,000. Voting began on Monday, reports Jalopnik, and ends on the 12th of September.
Dedicated track racers like the Ariel Atom redefined how many people thought of sports cars, though the high cost made it impossible for most people to justify owning one. But at $30,000, Local Motors could build a car with a much wider potential audience. While it definitely still falls in the “toy” category, it’s the kind of toy the average man can actually aspire to own one day.
Meanwhile, Local Motors is trying to change how we think of designing and building cars, not just open sourcing their designs, but also embracing 3D printing as a means of automotive manufacturing. Local Motors is no Tesla, but it’s also changing the way we think about manufacturing automobiles.