One of the most disturbing websites on the internet is forgottenfiberglass.com. There's no weird porn, just the stories of hundreds of nearly successful-to-completely failed automotive projects built after WWII.
What makes it so unsettling is that you can see how many hours people put into these handmade cars. They used fiberglass because it was the simple, lightweight way to build small batches of intricate body panels. People built their own personal Ferraris in their garages, and there is little to show for them today.
We got a look into the mind of someone who may find his work on some future version of forgottenfiberglass when we interviewed the maker of the DIY Supercar. Some of us hated his attitude, others just appreciated his work. Deckard weighed in with a fine response.
I have to admit that, having seen this on NASIOC waaaaay back when it first cropped up (and coming back regularly to check on the status of the project), I was far more impressed with the whole thing prior to having read this post. I'm torn, because as much as I appreciate the project for what it is (or perhaps more for what I thought it was...), the creator's personality and, dare I say it, contradictory nature kind of kill it for me.
Now, I'm a design student, so I kind of get it: sometimes what you want or need isn't out there, so you have to make it yourself. Some of the world's greatest designs/products/objects/THINGS were born out of frustration with then-current products in that field, and many a creative genius has been driven by the mantra "hate something, change something, make something better", but for all of Koji's posturing to this effect...I just don't see it. He talks a big game about how cars today are going in the wrong direction, and how you're not a REAL car guy if you're just buying parts and slapping them on, but as someone else pointed out, this is a selfish project. He's certainly not wrong about the modern automobile going in the wrong direction in terms of feature bloat, technology, and so on (which is a longer conversation for a different day), but building a one-off car isn't going to change that. Quite frankly, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, it's not even really going to get people to think and "get off their asses and DO something" any more than any other custom car project, because at this point, that's all it really is. A pretty impressive one from a number of standpoints, but still...
I think the thing that really gets me here, and makes me perhaps...a bit apprehensive about getting really excited over this kind of project is that there's a really interesting juxtaposition about, well, everything in this project. It's a current that runs through the whole thing, and it kind of makes you question whether the person behind it really know what they want out of it; we've got the talk about how cars are going in the wrong direction, and how they're full of useless nonsense, but then all this will be in the end is a one-off car that really won't do much to change that. Then of course there's the debate about how built-from-scratch the whole thing really is (It isn't. I'm sorry, but it's not. It's an impressive effort, but it's not built from scratch), and many other things that the creator himself brings up. I don't know, it's almost as if...it made more sense to me before he spoke out about the whole thing.
I don't want to disparage the effort of Koji and his "minions", because, like I've said, it's very impressive, and while the car isn't really aesthetically pleasing to ME, designing, building, and fitting your own body panels is no small task. I guess the thing that disappoints (or perhaps confuses...) me most of all is the end-goal of it all; to talk about how people no longer DO anything, how they supposedly waste their lives, to put down fellow enthusiasts because they don't share the knowledge or means to build a one-off vehicle in their garage, and then to follow all of that up by building a car that is, at the end of the day, for you and you only is...well, a bit selfish, and perhaps a touch misguided. But then again, maybe it's me who's missing the point.
Photo Credit: Car Craft/Forgotten Fiberglass