Several months ago, the Globe visited Local Motors in Wareham, a kit builder that challenged an Internet full of aspiring car designers to create a wild, one-off ride for series production. At the time, the Rally Fighter, chosen from more than 21,000 submissions and 1,600 users on Local-Motors.com, was only a scale model (and at full size, a wooden mock-up). Now the company, run by retired Marine John Rogers, Jr., is taking $99 deposits on their $50,000 Baja-style off-roader.
Local Motors — and the buyers themselves — will build a maximum of 3,000 Rally Fighters, each with a custom-designed vinyl wrap (as shown in the P-51 Mustang-like graphic above) and adjustable ride-height suspension. The chassis and various parts connecting with OEM-sourced components are made in-house.
Local Motors hasn't revealed the entirety of those OEM pieces, but the gem is the Rally Fighter's 3.0 liter twin-turbo diesel from the BMW 335d, which bellows 425 foot-pounds of torque at 1,750 r.p.m. Power steering, anti-lock brakes, a double-A arm front suspension and solid rear axle round out the mechanical specs, but there's still no word on transmissions or what the interior will look like and offer for comfort and convenience.
But luxury isn't the Rally Fighter's mission. This is a road-legal car that, with some modifications, should be race-ready for the dunes. More details on the Rally Fighter should emerge as orders arrive and the first owners begin their building experience.
We hope to land a first drive before the year ends, with the car wrapped like one of our green Boston Globe delivery trucks. Impossible? Not with these guys.
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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