Nick Croken was sailing off of Canada's Pacific Coast when he came across this bizarre sight: A decommissioned warship connected to a trash barge, atop which sat a pristine Audi RSQ prototype like the one used in the Will Smith sci-fi action flick I, Robot. He turned to Jalopnik for answers. Here's what our exclusive investigation turned up.
"The boat was tied up to a ship that is apparently being readied to be sunk for a dive ship," said Croken. "This looked peculiarly like the [Audi] R8 and some concepts shown for the potentially smaller version."
The biggest clue in this mystery, literally and metaphorically, was the giant warship attached to the strange flotilla. Commissioned in 1964, the stripped hull was once the proud H.M.C.S. Annapolis. At one time it was one of Canada's most modern destroyers, but now it was relegated to duty as a sunken ship for divers to explore.
This led us to Howie Robins, president of the Artificial Reef Society of British Columbia, whose organization is overseeing the cleaning and sinking of the vessel for divers.
He assured us that, while the Annapolis is sinking, they won't submerge the Audi.
"It wouldn't be very reef-able," Robins explained, although he wasn't entirely sure of the strange vehicle's provenance so he turned us over to Wes Roots, the man leading the salvage operation.
"Some of my crew found this scaled down car abandoned on the outskirts of Vancouver," said Roots. "They thought it would be an interesting temporary decoration onboard ex-H.M.C.S. Annapolis."
The car is made of fiberglass and is approximately 10'x5'x3' and weight less than 200 pounds, which is how two men were able to hoist it onto the ship.
"Someone thought it might be a prop from I, Robot with Will Smith," Roots said.
A comparison to the vehicles used in the film show it does look exactly like the hero car driven by Smith in the film. Not coincidentally, IMDB shows much of the film was shot in British Columbia. The prop car was likely used in either stunt sequences where close-up details weren't necessary. Say, like when the car is flipping through a tunnel with robots attached to it.
So what's to happen next with the prop car? Since it's too nice to sink and in decent condition, Roots is willing to part with it.
"It has become quite a local novelty, but we would be willing to sell it," Roots said. "Revenue is always tight on a project like this."
If you're seriously interested in buying it drop me an email and I'll forward it on to them. If no one wants it maybe we'll buy it.
(Thanks to Nick Crocken for the tip!