Sunday, March 27, 2011

Mid-Engine Eurofighter Typhoon Car

I have wanted to make a cool mid engine car for some time. They're zany and fun. It's something that you either get or you don't. They're not classically good looking. They're beast-like. They're scary and strange and very very fast and exotic.

As it happens, I made my first few such designs a couple months ago.

This was more of an exercise than anything else, just because I had never done it before. Turned out okay. Looks a bit nascar from its profile. Maybe a hint of Ferrari Enzo in there. Perhaps a nod to cadillac in the taillights. From the front it's more formula one-ish. Or like an old school roadster. When I'm doing something as abstract as "a mid engine car" I don't necessarily have a goal in mind when I start so I just do what I know and however it comes out is how it comes out.

What I learned from this first experiment, among other things, is that what really makes these cars look so cool (to me anyway)is that the cabin appears to be moving so fast that it's pulling ahead of where it's supposed to be. It looks like your cockpit bubble is pulling ahead so fast that it's warping the shape of the car, and the wheels are being dragged behind, hanging on by a liquified thread. I love that. Of course this is total bullshit, since the engine is behind the cabin the engine is actually pushing from behind, but if you didn't already know that then I doubt you care. Anyway, it's all about the illusion of refinement. Really all cars are combustion engines with smoke coming out of them. This is all a bit of theater.

Well, I gave it a second go, and this time I really liked the result. It's a lot more menacing, and aggressive. Ideally I'd like to put lots of segmented panels, spiked or robotic arms or something on it, all pointing down and forward as though the car is about to start drilling or hulk smash into the ground infront of itself, indicated by the squiggly lines in the background.

So, now that I had a vague concept to run with, I gave it another go. This time, I still really had no goal other than mid engine but I went for aerodynamics. I don't really know anything about aerodynamics, but I think I know how to make something LOOK aerodynamic. The result is kind of similar to something like a Bugatti Veyron maybe.

Speaking of the Veyron, today I saw a video that finally solidified my concept. It was a race between the Bugatti Veyron and the Eurofighter Typhoon which is a badass military jet.

It wasn't designed to be aerodynamic, it was designed to be agile, and what's sick is how well the position of a plane cockpit corresponds to that of a mid engine car (or maybe vice versa)and how it's such a symbol for speed. It won the race, btw. I'm confidident that this is a very good albeit original concept. It's badass, it's a wacky shape, and it's got tons of vents, intakes, fins and missiles on it.

Here are some sketches I drew up today to make a car that specifically looks like this jet. All I did to start was space out the wheels where I needed them to be on the side view and then draw the jet around it. Of course it's ridiculous, and I have to tame it down a lot so it doesn't just look like a jet with wheels on the sides, but I think this has finally gotten me in the right direction. This gives me the proportion ques and the details to separate it from something as generic as my previous stuff. I will revise this probably about a million times to make it look more like a car, but I tell you, it will still necessarily have to be bonkers enough to be worth my time.

Does the shape of this remind anyone of something else besides a jet, btw? *hint hint* What a great insignia that's going to make.

Here are some ideas, for the sake of innovation I don't want a spoiler. The obvious thing to do with that fin is, instead of putting it in the middle, one would put one on either side of the rear and connect them on top, thus forming an epic spoiler. Instead, I think I can taper mini wings or buttresses on the sides. For one thing a jet without wings and a huge fin in the back isn't a jet. Second, if I angle them just right, the wings can give the down-force that spoilers are supposed to give anyway. Plus, since I saw the new Saab Phoenix concept I've been thinking that maybe spoilers aren't necessary. Maybe there is a better way, or maybe at least, alternatives for redirecting airflow to the back of the car.

The fin can act as a rudder for stability and to keep the back end from swinging out like crazy since the car is probably going to be way off balance. Also, even though I didn't convey it very well, there are some air intakes under the nose of the jet that I would put under the nose of the car since it's up so high anyway.

The missiles near the rear wheel, I think it would be cool and unique to use those as exhaust pipes coming out of the sides rather than the back, like a motorcycle or a hot ride. The jet engines on the back, will probably be the tail lights.

There are some problems of course. For example, the front wings which are part of what make this particular jet stand out from others like it, if I put them where they belong, they'll be covering the wheels. I originally had that in my drawing until I noticed that the wheels wouldn't be able to turn. I put an air vent where they should be instead so at least you get some sense of their presence from a side view. In thinking about this again though, maybe I could extend those grills out. Maybe I could have the mirrors on those little wings. Who knows...

And speaking of that nose I mentioned a moment ago, it's really hard to translate 2D to 3D. Obviously my 2D drawing is better than my attempts at drawings on angles but that said I think I did an okay job of interfering how something could appear cylindrical/cone shaped from the side, but then like a car from the front. I really have nothing to reference for that.

My last thought really is that I have never made a car with headlights like a Mitsubishi Eclipse, Maserati Quattroporte, or Aston Martin DB9 even though those are without a doubt my favorite headlamp shapes. I will probably implement those here somehow.

That's all for now.

UPDATE 4/4/11

Today I took another whack at this jet car. I went back to my first drawing for a lot of ideas. Most noticeably, the overall shape of the car is more like a car and less like a jet. I decided to make the front of the car very narrow and the rear fenders very wide and pronounced with massive air intakes. I also went with that jagged angular style. For one it looks cool, and two, it's the general shape of a jet right? The front is pointy like a rocket or a missile. The back has big wings and fins on it. The shape, ,in concept at least, would have the rear fenders modeled after the wings, ideally adding downforce to the car to keep the real wheels planted on the ground for added traction and control. I'd still like to put small wings on the front...those ones would most likely just be aesthetic but i guess they could work as a sort of front fender/spoiler. well here be my 2nd draft sketches:

In really thinking about this, I have decided to use a wheel based on the ones from the king of all Porsches, the 944. I bet most people think they look like crap. To me though, they just look tough. And in all fairness they look like landing gear.

See what I did there ? ;)*Troll face*

But seriously, the rear fenders look like wings. ha...ha-!

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