Man, we got the best readers around. You are looking at reader Marjin van der Poll's entry into a niche vehicle design project sponsored by Vredestein tires. Some of you may remember that Maybach Exelero was also a design contest winner sponsored by a tire company. In this case, Marjin designed the CM426 Merlin to look like a Can-Am racer, which means that he is our kind of designer. So much so in fact, that we're just going to let him take it from here:
...the car was built on top of a VW chassis, which I always use for my cars, it was fitted with disc brakes, 18 inch Breyton rims and sits on Vredestein Sessanta tyres (designed by Giugiaro), they were sponsors of the project.Wheelbase is 240cm , the car is appr. 175cm wide and 426cm long hence the name CM426.
The interior is simple with just the minimum of dials. The retro digital speedometer/rpm/tripmeter is from a german company who designed them for motorcycles.It uses a sensor mounted on the rear disk and takes the RPM from the coil. All the edges of the car are in fact sheets welded onto a 6mm stainless steel tube, which were then grinded down to form te edges, true craftsmanship which led me top leave the car bare. The anti rollbar is more of an aesthetic element, I wanted to give the car some height, suggesting a roof structure without it was formed by shaping tubes by hand and welding one sheet on top and two sheets at an angle at the bottom creating a rounded triangular shape that casts beautiful shadows. The project is now finished and so the car is for sale.
After receiving an invitation at the beginning of the year to participate in a niche vehicle design project I designed and built the 'CM426 merlin'.The car was inspired by the Canadian American Challenge Cup racers of the early seventies.The CM426 merlin is a contemporary study of what still is the least regulated race series ever to have existed.The Can Am series lasted for just a few years producing iconic cars like the Porsche 917.Half car, half sculpture, the CM426 merlin is both a piece of design and old fashioned craftsmanship.The car was built on top of a self-supporting chassis powered by a rear mounted flat four engine.The body was constructed out of stainless steel sheets which were laser cut and welded to a steel subframe.It stems from a time of bold advertising, saturated colour TV and before we turned to sms games and micro-casting to get a message across.
Marijn van der Poll:" It's hard to compare the design and building of a car to my other design work.It is the combination of moments of pure joy and shear frustration trying to dist ance myself from all that has come before. This is an illusion because it is driving in its most broad meaning that provides a context for all of my automotive designs and is a continuous source of inspiration, from muscle cars to vintage monoposto's.The CM426 merlin is a pilot oriented automobile, connected to its driver. A mass produced product reduced to one hand made object".