There’s nothing like getting a new car, but it’s even cooler if you were able to help design and build that car. A local company is making that happen.
Jay Rogers’ Wareham-based Local Motors is putting the finishing touches on its first prototype car, the Rally Fighter. It’s a southwest desert racer that has stealth-like lines. It’s like a 1968 Camaro on steroids, with a 3.0 liter BMW engine, stuffed with 265 horses. ( see the car in action below)
“We grew this from a piece of paper, a concept that wasn't ours. It was from a community that said this car in this segment would be really cool if you could engineer it,” said Rogers.
Rogers is all about making it work. The Marine Corps Commander and Harvard Business School grad comes from good stock. His grandfather owned the Indian Motorcycle Company in the 1940s.
“There were many people already that said, ‘You'll never get the car done. You’ll never let it meet the design goals that are out there,” Rogers said.
Local Motors is flooded with thousands of designs from all walks of life.
Those designs are paired down and shaped by their Local Motors computer community, which is how the Rally Fighter was hatched. A 15-month group effort designed by a Korean College Student who got his idea from the P-15 Mustang, a World War II fighter plane.
“We have on the site right now, 50,000 designs all being shown, shared, some desired to be built. And what we look for is the customers and the people that design them to come in and say, I want that car,” Rogers said.
And here's the best part: Each owner will actually spend two long weekends helping to build their own car.
“You'll plum the brake lines, you'll burp the radiator, you'll put the engine trainee in, you'll put the body down on the car, you'll hang the doors, you'll put the glass in. You will build the car,” said Rogers.
Eventually, Rogers hopes to open a network of 35 micro factories across the country developing 30 different regional models.
And the original isn't even finished yet.
Local Motors hopes to restore some of the passion in American-made automobiles. He unveiled the Rally Fighter in Baja, Calif., this past November, and got it revved up at 95 miles per hour in the sand.
Rogers doesn't want to compete with Detroit. For him, it's not about volume, but creating an experience and sharing it along the way. And with 14 million new cars sold last year, he figures Local Motors will find its niche.