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Beautiful Wind-Powered Creatures Foretell Our Silent Automotive Hell Future

We’ve answered the question of whether or not trains are cars? (yes) and are Zambonis cars? (emphatically yes), but now we tackle are sail-powered art pieces, in fact, cars? Yes, we declare the Strandbeests cars, and they are awesome.

Well, not really. But close your eyes and imagine a world where the Strandbeest is the main form of transportation. Instead of snow days, people would stay home from work and kids from school during doldrums. It’s a world where kites are heavily restricted rather than drones and a plastic bag caught in the wind really is the most beautiful thing you’ll ever see. A world with no polluting exhaust, but also no beautiful noisy engines either.


These Strandbeest come directly from the mind of artist Theo Jansen, a Dutch artist who has been building these elegant monsters since 1990. They’re made mostly of tubing meant to insulate wiring, string, zip ties and a large sail to provide locomotion. Jansen hopes to one day build a herd of these amazing creations and let them loose on a beach to “live their own lives” as he says on his website. Our own David Tracy is working on a similar plan for when he opens David’s Home For Mostly Rust Jeeps, where herds of JLs and Willys will be free to run and climb rocks in their own paved-over field.

Strandbeestland sounds very peaceful, or boring, depending on your flavor of mobility enthusiasm. For those of us who enjoy the roar of an engine or the whine of a turbos, or just moving fast at all, it sounds like a very quiet and beautiful hell.

Managing Editor of Jalopnik.

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Eddie Brannan

Loved these things since I first came across them in the pre-internet era. I wish he shared the designs or sold kits. I get that they’re his art, but I’d love to make one.

No need for that “of” in the title, btw. “Foretell” is synonymous with “predict.”