Lots of car companies claim to build dream cars. Nearly every luxury and exotic car manufacturer has a department for special orders, and there's no shortage of tuners that turn these cars inside-out, but aside from Louis Vuitton seats and stainless steel hoods, there's not much original thought involved. Chinese brand BYD has the lofty phrase "Build Your Dreams" in its name, but its creations are nightmares. Even Tesla Motors can't climb its way out of a Lotus Elise.
Local Motors of Wareham, Mass., is building bespoke automobiles the old-fashioned way: take a sketch, bring the buyer into the shop at every step, and churn out a car that resembles no other set of wheels on earth. The company's website even invites designers to compete and submit drawings for potential production.
Globe reporter Emily Sweeney and photographer Steve Haines got a tour of the factory and its handsome Rally Fighter, above, which is an upscale Baja buggy that will cost $50,000 when it enters production this spring. Local Motors also has selected a wild design for a three-passenger electric vehicle, dubbed the "Boston Bullet".
It's certainly courageous of CEO John B. Rogers, Jr. - a retired Marine and Harvard Business School grad - to gather millions of dollars and pay 10 employees in these times. Give this man a nice federal loan - he'd deserve it.
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About Boston Overdrive
|Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
|Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
|John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
|Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
|Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on About.com. He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
In the garage: Mazda 5, Dodge Neon
|George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
In the garage: Lifted 1999 Jeep Cherokee