"Get On It!"

Four dollars a gallon - youre pissing me off

by motorfoot 5/27/2008 1:33:00 PM

Geez, $4.00 plus a gallon for gas today! Uncle! I'm ready for a hybrid. And I don't have an addiction to oil, ok? I hate that phrase.

I didnt flinch at $3.00 a gallon, but $4.00? Hmmm. Now you're pissing me off.

I think of my vehicle as more than basic transportation. I like vehicles that evoke emotion, so call me a cave man. Yes, it's our common curse (why didn't I get the stamp collecting gene?)

But alas, nothing in the fuel effecient realm built today really moves me (so to speak).

Except...Toyota. Yes, Toyota.

They are on the right track, at least for me.

I am referring to the Toyota ABAT concept.

It doesn't look like a little 'happy car'.

It has cool styling, it has truck looks, and it is fuel effecient.

If this thing was on the lot today and it got 40 MPG I'd buy it.

I wish Ford or Chevy would enter this area asap.

Come on, throw a Volt truck out there!

Are you crying uncle yet? Are you considering trading a perfectly good auto for a more fuel effecient auto?

The Open Platform Car - Part 2

by motorfoot 5/23/2008 12:11:00 AM

Ford recently sponsored a design contest to reinvent the iconic Model T. But what is really needed is to reinvent the auto company.

In my first article titled "The Open Platform Car", I talked about my vision for a new car company.

The main points were:

1. Open up the design of the car. Only a select few designers ever get to see their designs get to production. How sad for them, and for us.

2. Style changes at a different rate than engineering. Therefore the rate of change in engineering should be decoupled from the rate of change in design.

3. Customers want more choices in visual design. Why have one version of the Camaro for six years?

Enter the unexpected... Local Motors.

I was quite surprised when I stumbled upon Local Motors while reading a car design blog. The vision of Local Motors is very similar to what I see in the future. The Local Motors Mission statement is:

"Lead the next generation of automotive manufacturing, design, and technology in order to revolutionize the industry with game-changing efficient vehicles and an unprecedented standard of customer service."

Whether this company is successful or not, it proves that change is here. The auto companies are too big to handle this kind of change because it is a completely different business model. I will definitely be following this company.

>> Detroit Free Press - Reinventing the Model T
>> - Local Motors Website

  Also on MOTORFOOT:

>> The Open Platform Car - Part 1


The Open Platform Car

by motorfoot 4/18/2008 1:05:00 AM

What if designers could come up with several styling versions of a car, and sell them all?

What if you could drop your two year old car off at the dealership styling center and have it "re-bodied" with a new design?

What if an auto company designed a platform car with fixed three dimensional body attachment points that were guaranteed not to change for ten years? The engineering underneath could change, but the fixed coordinates could not be altered.

With this fixed three dimensional contract, the aftermarket could invest in designing compelling niche body styles. The money they invest would pay off because the product would be valid for a long period. This would open up the visual aspect of auto style to match the pace of demand and give us more choices.

On a smaller level, Harley-Davidson has been doing this for decades, and because of this, has a huge after market for bolt on products because their basic platform design changes very slowly. Do auto companies see this?

There's room for a new auto company. An auto company that will free us from the tyranny of time to market. An auto company that embraces choice and style and engineers its platform to enable this aspect of car culture.

What do you think? 



>> The Open Platform Car - Part 2


T-Rex -- My Kind of Smart Car

by motorfoot 12/22/2007 4:56:00 AM

I think the motorcycle companies are missing an opportunity. As gas prices climb upward fuel effecient small cars become more appealing. But most of these new small cars look as they took a front bench seat and built a shell around it. I think there is a market for a motorcycle class three wheeler like the Canadian made T-Rex. The T-Rex is classified as a motorcycle and is propelled by a 1164cc Kawasaki engine. Car guys like looks and performance. The T-Rex provides both. Plus, you can save some fuel too. Problem is, the T-Rex is sold at a price point that not many can afford. The big auto makers will not make anything like the T-Rex. The small niche auto makers will not make anything like the T-Rex at a price point, say, around 20K.

That leaves one solution: the major motorcycle manufacturers such as Yamaha, Honda, Kawasaki, Suzuki.

Let us know what you think. Email your thoughts to AutoFREQ at

Close, But No Cigar



Trirod Motorcycles


Volkswagen thought about it, built it, then changed their mind.
VW GX3 Scrapped -

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