Please Lord, Build These Cars


As we wait for more electric vehicles, hybrids, and small, efficient cars, as well as bemoan the execution of EVs by their very makers, we should remind ourselves that matters can always be taken into our own hands. Do-it-yourself car building has always enjoyed a following, but it does seem that the 70s and 80s saw a golden age of ingenuity and innovation in DIY jalopy workshops. I stumbled across a trove of plans for such project cars, many published in Popular Mechanics and Mechanix Illustrated, many of which are still available for purchase. A majority of these designs strive for high efficiency and low emissions; and talk about style! The car builders of today have so clearly lost their way and could learn a thing or two. Hacking your Prius is one thing, but building a "100 mpg hybrid-electric" Towncar (lower right) from scratch is something else entirely. Volkswagen's GX3 pales in comparison to the 3-wheeled electric Trimuter (lower left), or the Tri-Magnum (upper center). The Centurion (lower center), with its 3-cylinder diesel engine, boasts an impressive 128 mpg, and in overdrive can reach speeds of 65 mph. With bodies of fiberglass and chassis swiped from VW and Subaru, you are sure to get a unique ride. And seeing as several of these cars were, fittingly, extras in Total Recall, Arnold might have a soft spot in his now-even-greener heart for their future/retro design aesthetic. :: Robert Q. Riley Enterprises