Evolving, Transforming Artcar

Evolving, Transforming Artcar

Postby Coyote88 » Wed Sep 24, 2008 8:02 am

I have plans in the works for an Evolving Art car for the evolution theme.
Not in the sense of replicating one of the TRansformer characters from the toys, cartoons and movies, but any vehicle that has the capability of a movable, changeable self contained
exterior.
i think it would be amazing to have some vehicles that change from one thing to another.
ive seen some incredible things done with hydraulics on the playa
this should be no exception. Let your inner engineer get to work
Brainstorm on that one!
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Postby dragonfly Jafe » Wed Sep 24, 2008 3:45 pm

Yeah, I have been thinking about the same - basically an adult sized tinker toy set with shade cloth that plugs into sockets built into the car. By arranging the fiberglass tent pole shafts in different patterns from different sockets and attaching various fabrics in differing ways, the look would change a considerable amount. Add flood lighting with varying color gels and maybe plug-in el-wire that can be quickly attached/unattached.

I wonder what the DMV will think of the many such proposals/applications it will receive in 2009?
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Postby Dr. Pyro » Wed Sep 24, 2008 4:43 pm

My guess: They'll be against it.

Why? Because you probably cannot submit the changes in a photographic fashion far enough ahead of time to let such fine judges of mobile art as (and this is only a modest example) Rat Bastard to approve them. You would be much better off bringing out the same dreary cupcakes every year instead.

YMMV
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Postby gyre » Thu Sep 25, 2008 6:07 am

Have you checked out the movable bodywork on the Audi, I think it is.
Flexible material that can be moved.
Somebody's show car anyway.
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Postby Coyote88 » Fri Sep 26, 2008 8:17 am

hey i dont mean like different panels you can change out
but like a rose that opens up and out and down to reveal the inside of the petals is made to look like a huge spider or something of that nature where it can change its appearance by moving panels on the car by hydraulics
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Postby gyre » Fri Sep 26, 2008 12:02 pm

The one I'm talking about has movable fabric of some type.
Worth checking out anyway.
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Postby Clown Shoes » Fri Nov 21, 2008 7:18 am

I think a good base vehicle to use would be an early Saturn or Pontiac Fiero, these are built on space frames with removable Duraflex Panels. You can strip all the panels off in about two hours (with practice), what's left behind is barely recognizable as a car and it's still fully functional. It'll look more like a airplane cockpit on wheels. Then you have a soild platform for mounting hydraulics or muscle motors. Best part, you'll have a mounted power plant and drivetrain. I'd go with the Fiero, mid mounted motor with storage area in the front and rear for pumps, batteries and such. Problem is their getting hard to find. The Saturn might present a problem as some of the panels are glued on, but if you're not using the panels, cut them off. Using this platform you could pull off the transforming flower/spider. Building a fiberglass flower, seperated into pedals mounted to hydraulics that push out and down becoming the legs of the spider the revealed cockpit/space frame would be the body. Hope this helps get you started.
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Postby gyre » Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:52 am

A fiero in good shape will be very expensive.
Stock they tended to burst into flames at a whim so many have been modified to prevent this and/or rebuilt after burning.

The good one was one with a special suspension which I think was only made in 1988.
Not all made at the end had the real suspension.
This is the drivetrain the car was designed for, but wasn't built to save a few dollars.
Later cars may be less likely to burn up though.
Maintenance is also difficult due to engine access.
A classic example of why to never buy gm products.
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Sat Nov 22, 2008 3:15 am

gyre wrote:Maintenance is also difficult due to engine access.
A classic example of why to never buy gm products.


Bullshit, difficult service access is inherent with any mid-engine car. The Toyota MR2, the most comparable car, is no easier.
Following your logic, it must also be a classic example of why to never buy a Toyota product.
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Postby gyre » Sat Nov 22, 2008 4:45 am

I have seen few Toyota bursting into flames of their own inspiration.
I'm not too impressed with the access on the Mister 2 either, but it is better even with the supercharger.
If I had one, I would cut access ports.
I did get a friend into the fwd version of the Mr 2.
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When a car must be completely modified to be functional and accessible (and not toasted), it is noteworthy.
Bad access is much more than location of the drivetrain or apparent space.
It is much more to do with engineering the car so that owners cannot work on it for a profit motive, which gm has admitted to doing.
I recall with horror the 15 hour access to the radio, in the eighties car my brother had.

Particularly bad routing of hoses and wiring was a major part of the fiero issue.
My friend's fiero caught fire three times, burned to the ground twice.
Same friend that ended up with the toyota too.
Total destructive fires with the toyota= zero (even when his son rolled it upside down)

I have done much on an italian car with very tight dimensions.
However it was carefully engineered so that there is a way to do every single operation on the car.
There are access ports cut in all the proper places.
Many things can only be done by feel, but are easy when you understand how it works.
This is particularly impressive when you find out the car was engineered with a 1.1 litre pushrod engine and mine had a 2 litre twincam- much larger in the same engine bay. (They ended with a supercharged version.)
Also, they made a mid-engine version which was far easier to work on, because they built it that way.

As a contrast, my ford ltd has enormous amounts of space in and around the engine bay, but requires special tools to do many things on it.
Room is only part of the equation.
In this case, ford sacrificed utility to good engineering practice for strength.
I'm okay with this, but european engineers had to keep practicality high due to the more compact engine bays.
It is much harder to work in that six foot wide engine bay than the supposedly nightmarish italian one.
There is room to see what you can't quite do though.

Lastly, the mid-engine car I have is the easiest car I have ever worked on.
GM motor too- 302.
GM has no excuses.
Hell, they have criminal liability for the Fiero.

Too bad they didn't build the one they promised until after everyone lost interest.
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Postby gyre » Sat Nov 22, 2008 4:59 am

Captain Goddammit wrote:
gyre wrote:Maintenance is also difficult due to engine access.
A classic example of why to never buy gm products.


Bullshit, difficult service access is inherent with any mid-engine car. The Toyota MR2, the most comparable car, is no easier.
Following your logic, it must also be a classic example of why to never buy a Toyota product.

More a reference to gm producing a really bad chevette after promising technical innovation.
The good one was one with a special suspension which I think was only made in 1988.
Not all made at the end had the real suspension.
This is the drivetrain the car was designed for, but wasn't built to save a few dollars.


From Wikipedia:
The 1988 Fiero brought a new suspension design, thought by many to have a striking resemblance to those designed by Lotus, which at the time, was about to be acquired by General Motors. The suspension was never a Lotus design though - it was the suspension the Pontiac engineers had designed in the beginning, along with what they learned from the racing program.
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Postby Clown Shoes » Sat Nov 22, 2008 9:29 am

To be exact 1 out of every 462 1984 Fiero's burned to the ground due to cheap connecting rods that were made by an outside supplier. All effected engines were recalled and repair according to GM. The Fiero use's the 2.0 litre "Iron Duke" 4cyl or the 2.8 Litre 6cyl mounted to a standard X body front wheel drivetrain/cradle set up, all of which parts are very cheap and easily available. The fires happened on just the 84's with the 4cyl motors. So stay away from the 84's, The 88 GT's did have a suspension design for GM by Lotus. There is a badge on the Left quarter panel that says "Suspension designed by Lotus"(Wikipedia, the place for know it alls). Lotus's design is little more then a trailing arm setup instead of the stock control arm setup (only in the rear).

My original point was to use a space frame vehicle for the purpose of an artcar. That's not going to be doing 120mph across the playa. We can argue powertrains all day. No one will win or lose, because the fact is no one has perfected the powertrain yet. As far as maintenance is concerned, I think any vehicle with their body panels removed is very easy to work on.

Now a Toyota MR2 is a more reliable engine setup then a Fiero. But, as far as stripping the exterior goes the Fiero's got it beat. Here's were we can come together. The X body cradle that's in the Fiero can easily be modified to except the MR2 drivetrain, Hell, they even make kits for this conversion.

I don't know why you're downing just GM, Toyota is just as crooked, they just hide it better. They're under investigation for criminal neglagents. Seems they're to busy trying to "save face" when it comes to recalls. They haven't been informing their customers of recalls, only their dealers, except they don't call them recalls, they call them "mandatory product enhancements" that's nice. Same goes for all of the automakers, they're just as bad as big oil, mortgage industry or Walmart.
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Sat Nov 22, 2008 10:13 am

Anyone can write whatever on Wikipedia.
None of this has squat to do with mutant vehicle chassis options.
No one needs a Lotus suspension at 5 mph on the playa. The best mutant vehicle chassis is usually whatever runs well that you can scrounge up the cheapest, preferably with an automatic so creeping along is easier, and EFI so it corrects itself for the altitude and maintains idle when large alternator loads are placed on it at low speeds.
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Postby gyre » Sat Nov 22, 2008 3:27 pm

I have no criticism of the Chevette/Citation chassis for playa use except for high maintenance costs.
But bait and switch is a common tactic of gm.
I saw the original suspension design before the Fiero came out and it is essentially the one they eventually produced for two 1988 models, not all.
I considered buying one myself.
They were so undesirable I was offered a new one for $12000.

It is possible Lotus was a consultant on the suspension, but gm said nothing about it in the early days when it was released to the press.
Lotus consults often with other manufacturers

GM's data and promises are laughable.
They tried to blame owners for all failures.
I just asked my friend and one fire was headlight motor failure and one was dashboard fire initially.
When his car was in the shop, gm did a lot of secret recall work rerouting things to prevent additional fires.
I doubt 1/462 fires would even get gm to think about an issue.

I had them refuse to deal with issues already in recall on a 90s car.

Other companies do secret recalls, but gm has always lived by delivering as little as possible.
That was the credo for competing with ford in the beginning- flashy crap.
I think the actual cost savings on the cheap parts on the fiero suspension was miniscule for gm, priceless for the consumer.

These cars are probably still expensive for what they are as they are heavily used for engine swaps and body changes.
You have to decide if that is worth it to you.
Should be plenty of info on modifying them to make them functional though.
Info that instructed owners to put in the wrong amount of oil wasn't helpful.
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Postby Clown Shoes » Sun Nov 23, 2008 6:18 am

I agree with the Captain, how unusual for a thread to go off topic.
Guess the question is: Coyote88 what do you have to work with?
Based on that info, we could brainstorm with more direction.
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Postby gyre » Sun Nov 23, 2008 12:35 pm

I agree that attention should be paid to transmission choice and as much as I detest automatics, they will usually work best.
A manual would be fine if it was geared appropriately, perhaps with a granny first gear or a change to the final drive.

Many automatics resist going as slow as needed out there, so that is something worth paying attention to.
A looser torque converter or some other change in idle speed or gearing may make all the difference.
Even changing tire sizes may help.

It may be necessary to disable the lockup.
This is easy in most cases.

A lot of gm fwd cars have had issues with lurching coming on and off idle.
This is serious enough to cause accidents.
Make sure whatever you use does not have this problem.
Pedestrians are often oblivious to vehicles on the playa.
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Postby dragonfly Jafe » Mon Nov 24, 2008 4:54 pm

gyre wrote:I agree that attention should be paid to transmission choice and as much as I detest automatics, they will usually work best.
A manual would be fine if it was geared appropriately, perhaps with a granny first gear or a change to the final drive.


My Tongue car has controls moved to the back, and the only gear options are park, reverse, neutral, and first (the others are mechanically blocked). In most cases I can idle along at 5mph (if it's just me I end up braking a lot), but when fully loaded I have to give it some gas. If I were ever to fully punch it, it would go 30+ and that would be way too fast for my setup.

My previous vehicle was based on a Jeep J-10 Gladiator truck with a straight 6 and a granny gear. The granny gear was perfect for ultra slow maneuvering (like in town or on burn night). The rest of the time I kept it in first and idled. Only stepped on the gas rarely.

In addition to what the Captain says, make sure the base vehicle does not leak any fluids (oil being the usual culprit)! And picking a "common" one makes it more likely to find spare parts on-playa should something go wrong.
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Postby Captain Goddammit » Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:01 pm

Torque converter lockup isn't a mutant vehicle issue, you'll never get out of first gear.
When the playa is smooth and hard enough, I do have to bump in and out of gear or just drag the brakes. In the normal world that would be bad, but at 5 mph on the playa one week a year it just doesn't matter.
If you're gonna relocate the driving position (and on a real mutant vehicle you probably are) an automatic trans is WAY easier to deal with.

Two chassis types seem ideal to me for mutant vehicles: Pickup trucks, because they are available cheap in any size from tiny to huge to suit your needs and have easily removable bodies and stout chassis, and front-wheel-drive cars such as the small GM x-cars because the front can be cut off, providing you with a tidy modular unit that has wheels, steering, brakes, and power. That's what I did in the Yacht.
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Postby gyre » Mon Nov 24, 2008 6:50 pm

Captain Goddammit wrote:Torque converter lockup isn't a mutant vehicle issue, you'll never get out of first gear.

It's not supposed to be an issue at low speed, but it sure is on many of that model car, to the extent of staying locked up at idle and killing the engine.
Mine is a pontiac 6000.
Some models it is very easy to disable the lockup if you won't need it.
On others, it requires massive work.
It can be very difficult to tell which is which.
If you use a gm prone to this, make sure it is one that can be unlocked by removing a plug.
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Postby Clown Shoes » Tue Nov 25, 2008 7:19 pm

You could over extend or use a spacer to alter the butterfly gap on the throttle body to maintain a slightly higher idle and use the parking brake as your speed govern. Then you could make a slow speed accelerator/brake anywhere on the vehicle as a one lever control.
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help...ideas for my lebaron!

Postby Crankful » Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:07 pm

I have tried a few posts in various threads to no avail...I have a 1990 Lebaron convertible and it wants to go to the playa as a MV or an art car. My thoughts are that a wood facade would be the best but if anyone has some ideas (relativly cheap ones!) please help me out!
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Postby gyre » Thu Feb 19, 2009 5:34 pm

Wood is heavy, so it depends.
Would a convertible bring more money than it is worth to cut up and let you get something more rugged?
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Postby Crankful » Fri Feb 20, 2009 3:58 pm

I haven't thought about that..cost $1,900..bought it for my son who got two tickets in a month at 18 and that was that..more on cutting it up please!
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Postby Elderberry » Fri Feb 20, 2009 4:37 pm

Crankful wrote:I haven't thought about that..cost $1,900..bought it for my son who got two tickets in a month at 18 and that was that..more on cutting it up please!


LOL that's funny.

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Postby gyre » Fri Feb 20, 2009 7:48 pm

Crankful wrote:I haven't thought about that..cost $1,900..bought it for my son who got two tickets in a month at 18 and that was that..more on cutting it up please!

It's just that most mvs get chopped up in one way or another and I see a lot of cars that are more valuable than they need to be get cut up.
If the body won't be seen, you need reliability but not cosmetics.
Depending on your design, some vehicles would be stronger or more suitable.
I don't think the dodge engine is the strongest around and if you start loading up the weight, you will have extra costs.
A car with minor, but costly to repair body damage can go very cheap.
And be in very good condition otherwise.

It all depends on your plans and weight.


I hope you aren't being too rough on your son.
It's very easy to get tickets at that age.
And there are a number of electronic monitoring and control devices for cars now, including video.
But if you're inclined, I'm sure some metal artist could do something so dramatic to the car that it will guarantee therapy for years to come.
Of course, there is the old classic of cubing the car.
Extra points if you rig the cube to respond to the car alarm.
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Postby Crankful » Sun Feb 22, 2009 11:21 pm

You got me thinking!..How about a 1986 Ford Aerostar...ex-wife is trying to sell the car I bought her and then I could destroy it...sounds theriputic!
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Postby gyre » Mon Feb 23, 2009 12:49 am

That works, depending on the weight you want to carry.
There is more than one mv using the aerodynamic minivan front ends.
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Done deal!

Postby Crankful » Mon Mar 02, 2009 4:37 pm

I am sticking with the convertible and turning it into a volcano with smoke this yers eruptions next year! WHOOPPPEEE!
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