SsangYong's saviour revealed at last! Preferred buyer chosen to save Korea's number-three car brand ahead of promised electric revolution: report
The SsangYong saga is all but over, with South Korea’s number-three...
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With eight wheels, a hot tub and a BBQ, a Cadillac Eldorado Biarittz currently up for auction at Shannons is not your average commuter car. But it’s far from being the strangest vehicle around, so we’ve taken a dip into the feverish world of car design to bring you the standouts when it comes to weird wheels
Think the custom dropped suspension on your favourite local hoonmobile is low? Trust us, compared to the 46cm tall ‘Flatmobile’ that car’s a giraffe. But the Flatmobile’s oddness doesn’t stop at its bitumen-hugging height. It’s based on a 1963 Hilman Imp and powered by the Imp’s standard 875cc engine. But because in standard form that means it struggles to shoot fire from its exhaust, the car’s creator decided to install a jet engine. As you do.
Brooke Swan Car
Swans are beautiful creatures: regal, classy and elegant – although inclined to get beakily nasty when upset. So, any time you design a car that looks like a swan, you shouldn’t neglect that aspect of their personality. Which is why the 1910 Brooke Swan Car – which in its day cost three times as much as a Rolls-royce -- not only looks like the bird, but also shoots boiling water out of its beak to clear the road ahead. However it does have some upmarket features, including Indian silk upholstery, gold leaf accents, and brushes to keep the wheels clean. And it deposits imitation excrement at the rear.
Colim Detachable Caravan
Looking for something that blends your love of caravans and science-fiction terminology? Look no further, because this modern Caravan comes complete with a ‘motorised living pod’ (or car, in other terms) that can be detached from the main body of the van when you inevitably decide to go and look at a historical fort, or a jam shop -- or a rock. You know… the things that caravaners are interested in. We can see just one small flaw in this design. It’s already possible to detach your tow vehicle from your caravan, and when you do that, you don’t have to drive about in half a caravan which can only carry one person…
Inspired by James Bond’s Lotus Esprit from The Spy Who Loved Me, the Rinspeed Squba is a Lotus Elise Submarine. Since it would be nearly impossible to the make a British sports car completely watertight anyway, Rinspeed went all out with the open-top Squba, which in submarine mode fills with water and requires occupants to breathe through scuba-style diving regulators. Underwater the electric-powered Squba can travel at up to 3km/h, and on the road its top speed is 120km/h.
It’s almost impossible to drive a Robin around a corner without rolling over. With just one front wheel dealing with the weight of the engine and direction changes the laws of physics simply don’t allow the Robin to turn successfully. Despite this, a 2011 survey reported that Reliant Robin drivers were actually Britain’s safest drivers -- presumably because almost all of their cars had crashed and been taken off the roads long before the survey was done.
Pyramid Dream Car
You know what’s wrong with modern automotive design? There’s not enough ancient Egyptian influence. Which is probably what lead George Zanis to produce the Pyramid Dream Car. Clearly it’s well-designed to be the final resting place of a pharaoh, but it also claims to be a rival for the Bugatti Veyron as world’s fastest car. Mr. Zansis says that this fully electric vehicle could one day do a massive 400km/h, which would make it significantly quicker than the McLaren P1 and the Ferrari LaFerrari. Allegedly.
Smart Monster Truck
The Smart Car is probably the least appropriate monster truck donor vehicle in the world. Designed to squeeze into parking spaces sideways, and pootle around congested cities efficiently, the Smart’s job description is the polar opposite of a monster truck’s. Monster trucks should also look tough, and the Smart Car looks about as menacing as a poodle pup. But at least with the standard 62kw Smart engine on board the fuel bill won’t be scary.
Back in the 1970s Michelin needed a vehicle to test its development truck tyres. But rather than simply purchasing a truck, Michelin decided to enlist the services of Citroen, and the pair came up with this monster. It’s got ten wheels, four-wheel-steering, two 5.7-litre V8s, and it weighs more than ten tonness. One V8 is used to power the rear six wheels, and the other is used to spin and, ultimately destroy, the test tyre. Summernats here we come…
GM XP-21 Firebird III
Today supercar manufacturers are trying to make their cars feel like fighter jets for the road. For example, Pagani likens the noise and the thrust of their Huayra’s engine to that of a jet engine and say the body was designed to mimic the form of a jet taking off. And it’s a similar story at Lamborghini. But none of these cars capture the ‘fighter jet for the road’ feel in the same way that General Motors’ Firebird III did. It’s got wings, a central tail fin, air brakes, and a pair of bubble canopies. The steering is even operated via joystick – which should make it a hit with those who grew up playing Pac-Man on an Atari.
Batman Tumbler 2013 Gumball 3000
When you’ve got ridiculous amounts of money you can afford ridiculous things that make a Cadillac with a hot tub seem a mundane yawn. For example, you could have your own replica of the Batmobile built, then take it on a rally tour of Europe with a convoy of your similarly overindulged supercar-toting mates. This custom built, ‘street-legal’ monster was created by a Middle-Eastern group called ‘Team Galag’ which completes the Gumball 3000 rally each year. The Batmobile seats three and is powered by a 370kW Chevrolet V8. But with a top speed of 160km/h, you could overtake it in your nanna’s Toyota Corolla.