"What the heck is that thing?"
We heard that over and over throughout the afternoon as we made our way down a desert trail east of Phoenix, Arizona. What people saw on a rocky wash trail frequented by dirt bikes, quads, and 4WDs was the Local Motors prototype Rally Fighter, and we were putting it through some high-speed desert running and some low-speed rock bumping.
It was a modern-day concept that spawned a modern-day vehicle. The Rally Fighter is an off-road vehicle, yet an on-road vehicle. More on this after we tell you a little about this car company.
Local Motors is a fairly new car company that was started with the idea of creating a collaborative community of car designers, engineers, and enthusiasts who could come together to create unique new car designs. They hold online community design contests, and there, other car nuts join to share, learn, and grow new vehicle concepts.
Beyond that, they have a goal to turn some designs into working rigs sold in 2,000-vehicle production runs. Their intent is to offer innovative designs produced in small, highly efficient factories in the USA. Once a car design is adopted by the community, and it's decided it will be produced, a prototype is built. Once the design wrinkles are ironed out, the design can go to production in one of the new micro factories.
The Rally Fighter was conceived and designed by Local Motors community member Sangho Kim and is currently being built in the first micro factory in Phoenix. Local Motors describes the Rally Fighter as a vehicle designed for the American Southwest. It's got capability both on-road and off, and will be street licensed. It's what you might commonly refer to as a truggy-style rig, with long-travel A-arm suspension up front backed with a linked solid axle rear setup. The chassis sports 18 inches of front wheel travel and 20 inches in the rear and is built to have a dual ride height with the choice of 275/70R17 (high ride height) or 265/50R20 (low ride height) Goodyear MTR tires. The car is wrapped in a fiberglass body with functioning hood and doors, and has the creature comforts of air conditioning and heating.
We followed the wash trail downstream and the 2WD Rally Fighter did some downhill rock-cra
Tucked into the powdercoated tubular chassis is the GM 6.2L emission legal LS3 sold as the
Exhaust travels back through dual catalytic converters and then to dual Spin Tech mufflers
The rear axle is positioned using a three-link with Watts link to control side-to-side mot
The braking is setup with a four-wheel anti-lock system. Both the 13-inch rotors used up f
A 1.75-inch tubular chassis is tucked under the fiberglass skins and the Rally Fighter is