Once and Future Car

As the saying goes: “Roads? Where we’re going we don’t need roads!”

Microscale non-Neoclassic Space futurism. It’s been a while.

Casting around for inspiration after “The Ninja and the Dragon”, I thumbed through “The Art of LEGO Design”, one of those handy inspiration-and-reference manuals for AFOLs. What should I build? Minifigures? Nope. A building? Well, my element inventory is more geared to vehicles. What do I want to build? Spaceship? Nah, done it too recently. Rover? Mech? I don’t think so. I’ve built a lot of mechs lately. Build a real car or a ship? Well, the ones here are so well-put-together and I really know very little about the real-world automotive sphere and approximately the same about ships. Ah, here we go! “…since hovercars are a retro concept, try making them look retro…”

So I did. Pulling in some ideas gleaned from the various car model photos, I set about building this little hovercar roadster and ended up with something looking a lot like a refugee from a ZZ Top album sleeve.

The red colour was determined by the fact that I only have two of the elements I used for the front mudguards and they’re both red; the grey because I wanted something that would at least approximate a metal finish and I lacked the appropriate elements in flat silver. Ah well.

I think what I’m most pleased with in this model is the various juggling of widths. Different portions of the main body are two, three and five studs in width, but that’s what makes it work as a model. AFOL techniques for the win, right?

The book was right. Making a hovercar with a 1930s/1940s classic car-style body is a good idea. And it gives a respectful nod at the very least to the arcane and exacting science of real-world automotive reproduction in bricks. I love what you guys produce, but I don’t have nearly enough of the redneck “Love affair with the automotive world” gene to be able to compete.

Hovercars aren’t currently produced by Detroit, however, so I don’t need to worry about the finicky differences between a 1931 model and a 1935. It’s all good.

It’s a good thing, too, because that stuff has little to no hold on my mind. You can tell me and I’ll forget.

Anyway, here’s my hovercar.

The hovercar industry of the late 2160s was gripped by a fashion for antique “classic car” styling from the early years of the petroleum-burning groundcar age. The 2169 Stark Aeromotive “Roadster LE” is perhaps the exemplar of the period, with its flared mudguard-style repulsor unit shields and nearly cylindrical forward body containing the main power plant housing.

The bubble canopy provides excellent visibility for both pilot and passengers, and the sporty handling recalls the golden age of the original roadsters whose design it apes. The four gravitic repulsion focusing units provide both stability and lift, with dual-focus redundancy as a standard safety feature. The front and rear pairs are independently steerable and the Roadster’s onboard driver support AI manages these in a number of different programmable flight regimes ranging from the nimble “Sportster Max” mode emphasising handling and agility to the “FamilySafe” mode maximising stability and safety.

The upward-angled rear tubular housings recall the “exhaust pipes” of many custom-modified fossil-fuel-engined groundcars of yesteryear, though the Stark Roadster’s fusion plant is fully self-contained and certified by the Department of Environment and Industry’s Fusion Safety Board. The pipelike housings actually contain the transmitters for the emergency crash-protection repulsor-stasis field, which forms a short-lived protective bubble around the vehicle’s passenger compartment in the event of an accident.

At $862M US new, the Roadster LE fit squarely into the “sporty family sedan” bracket’s upper third. Not as luxurious as high-end models like the $1.12B Agustino Valiant nor as affordable as the $440M Seoyun Sportique, the Stark Roadster’s economic niche was upper-middle-class drivers wanting a more sporty and responsive ride that could also seat their family.


One thought on “Once and Future Car

  1. Luke Skytrekker

    Wow, I really dig this. I’ve always had a special place in my heart for retro sci-fi, though my interest in it is sadly underdeveloped. Particularly, I love the old ’30s and ’40s sci-fi, as I believe you’re aware, and so this just ticks all the awesomeness boxes for me. You’ve done a smashing job marrying retro car chic and retro sci-fi charm, and the result just works perfectly. Fantastic build!

    Liked by 1 person


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