Transparent Cars

Transparent Cars

The company ZF Friedrichshafen made the presentation of its products through a transparent car.

The Consumer Electronics Show is the world’s largest consumer electronics trade fair, which every year is held in January in Las Vegas. In recent years, more and more space in the exhibition halls has been used to occupy exhibitions for automotive companies.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra: “We will see more change in the industry in the next 5 to 10 years than we have in the last 50.”

So does that mean we’re going to see transparent cars on the roads?

Apparently, manufacturers are targeting Asia with these, and maybe Pakistan as well.

How To Build A MicroCamper

My friend Abbie is  DIY genius. She has a talent for taking plain or disparate materials and creating gorgeous art, practical items, and inventive objects that catch the eye. One of the first things I remember talking about with her was the mini-conversion she did for her station wagon to make it more of a “camper”. She sewed curtains and put them up for privacy, had a bed in the back, and even had a water rig she could use outside the car to wash dishes. I love hacks like this because it takes all the guesswork out of camping — even with inclement weather. And apparently this isn’t just popular in North America – there are people all over Europe converting their vehicles into “microcampers”.

D. Textor posted his own version of the “microcamper” on Instructables, complete with step-by-step photos of everything the project entailed. The end result is impressive, especially since the vehicle he used, the Renault Kangoo (the Renault version of a mini-van), is so fuel efficient. The camper part can also be taken apart so that the vehicle is usable during the week when running errands, going to work, or picking up the kids from school.

The first installation is the “Backside Box” which is perfect for storing items such as shoes, hiking gear, your cooler, and kitchen items. It’s the width of the vehicle, which means plenty of space, but narrow enough that it doesn’t take up a lot of the room that will be used for sleeping space. The “Frontside Box” fits snugly between the back box and the driver’s seat, with enough space to pack an entire closet of clothes, should you wish. Both the boxes are low enough so that the mattress you’re using can be placed atop them to make your bed. Depending on how much work you want to do, you can simply put a mattress and some egg crates on top, or you can cut up a mattress to make putting up/breaking down the camper easier on yourself.

There’s also instructions on how to make thermal screens and an inner tent so that you are protected both from the sun and from any bugs who’ve decided you’d make a tasty meal. However much you want to add, you can, but you can also interpret this design how you will and create elements that fit your specific vehicle. Just make sure you measure accurately and sew carefully. There is nothing more frustrating than coming up with a good idea and then not being able to execute it correctly. If you know expert sewers, DIY-ers, or engineers, ask them for their opinion or even time – maybe they’d enjoy a camping weekend away as well.

If you want to see the full conversion and DIY processes done by D. Textor, you can do so at the Instructables site. There are updated how-tos, plenty of photos, and a new post about another conversion done after the loss of Textor’s first vehicle.

Deora, DIY Custom Truck that Became a 'Golden' Hit

In the mid-1960’s, a custom truck was created that has lived on in automobile history, from taking part in the 50th anniversary celebration of the Detroit Autorama, to becoming a plastic model kit and one of the first Hot Wheels cars. This was the Deora, a modified Dodge A100 pickup that went from a blue collar vehicle to a glittering star.

The Deora’s creation started with two brothers, Mike and Larry Alexander. In 1964, they commissioned a designer by the name of Harry Bentley Bradley. Once the design was complete, the vehicle was taken apart and put back together in a sequence reminiscent of the creation of Frankenstein’s Monster, though this experiment would end on a positive note.

The custom vehicle was completed and then shown in the Detroit Autorama in 1967, garnering nine awards, including the Ridler award, which is named after the first promoter of the Detroit Autorama, Don Ridler. The award is given to the vehicle that wins “Best In Show” and has been awarded to deserving vehicles ever since the 12th Annual Detroit Autorama. The Autorama is also known by another name, “America’s Greatest Hot Rod Show”, which hints at the type of vehicles allowed entry: custom vehicles and hot rods only.

While most of the parts for the Deora came from the Dodge A100, it was also comprised of a windshield from a 1960 Ford station wagon. The A100 comes as a compact two-door (truck or van), with a slant-6 engine, a 3-speed transmission (either manual or automatic), and a wheelbase of 90 inches. The remodel moved the transmission and engine about 15 inches backward, and the windshield became the entryway. The Deora was painted gold, and given the name “Deora” after a contest, although it is likely that the boy who named it meant to call it “Dorado”, the Spanish word for “golden”.

The altered pickup was so popular with crowds and companies alike that Chrysler opted to lease the vehicle and display it alongside their own concept cars. After a few years, however, the Deora was sold and then re-emerged in the late 1980’s, when it was restored and used to celebrate the Detroit Autorama’s 50th anniversary. With its glittering body, futuristic design, and glowing history, the Deora is a car most likely not to be forgotten.

As a Hot Wheels car, the Deora has seen a few iterations over the years, including a mark II version that arrived in 2000. In 2003, Chip Foose was tasked with building a life-size, working Deora II for Hot Wheels’ 35th anniversary celebration. It had a Cadillac Northstar V8 engine installed. The vehicle even made an appearance on screen, as a prominent feature in the Hot Wheels Highway 35 film, as well as in various video games, including Hot Wheels Velocity X and Hot Wheels: World Race.

In 2009, the original Deora was unearthed again, and this time was put up for sale in California in an auction. It was sold to an unknown buyer for $324,500. Although it has disappeared yet again, I like to imagine that it will be brought out to celebrate the more unique visions of America’s greatest vehicle builders again, and someday soon.