(Steve Haines/Globe Staff)
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.
A sketch of the final version of the Rally Fighter, center, is surrounded by previous mock-ups.
John Rogers, Jr., CEO of Local Motors Inc, sits in a mock-up of the Rally Fighter on the floor of his garage.
John Rogers, Jr. in the midst of the ribs of the Rally Fighter mock-up.
Colby Whipple uses a hand held 3D scanner to scan a Ford axle that they will use in the Rally Fighter. Once scanned, it will be used in the computer so they can test various performance capabilities.