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Old 06-10-2008, 04:52 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Fabric car?

Just ran across this article: http://blog.wired.com/cars/2008/06/bmw-builds-a-ca.html (hope the link works). I've been puzzled at the lack of interest here in ways to lighten a car, and this should do it. Would save on minor body repairs, too: instead of expensive body shop work, you just zip in a new panel :-)

It's not an entirely new idea, either: up until WWII, most airplanes were built with fabric over tubing (or even wood) frames.

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Old 06-10-2008, 05:28 PM   #2 (permalink)
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That's awesome.



I'm betting there are going to be a lot of links from fabric covered recumbent bike sites to that article.
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Old 06-10-2008, 05:34 PM   #3 (permalink)
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The "eye lids" are so trick! Check it out @ about 2:25.

Tail lights are great too.
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Old 06-10-2008, 05:39 PM   #4 (permalink)
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jamesqf -

Really cool. I like how they solve folds by putting them in the parts of the door that you don't see.

Maybe Paris will start having car-fashion shows, .

EDIT: And the bikers can have 100% leather cars!

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Old 06-10-2008, 05:58 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Thanks for posting this is really something. I wonder how durable the fabric is and if it easily damaged from heavy rain or road debris.
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Old 06-10-2008, 07:55 PM   #6 (permalink)
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drool..
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Old 06-10-2008, 08:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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That is a really beautiful car.

I don't think the fabric they chose would be the most practical, though. Most modern wood/tube aircraft use doped dacron, which feels slightly less rigid than a drum top. Based on its stretchiness, I'd imagine bubbles of deformation to exist as that car drives down the freeway.

The fiber's biggest enemy is going to be the sun. I'd bet traditional dacron would only last 5-10 years constantly in the sun (w/ a UV protective coat). It would also suck for a punk with a pocket knife to "declothe" you car in a matter of minutes.

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Old 06-11-2008, 12:59 AM   #8 (permalink)
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That's a VERY sexy car.

My only question, how will it pass a crash test?
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Old 06-11-2008, 01:24 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NoCO2 View Post
My only question, how will it pass a crash test?
Why wouldn't it? From a safety perspective, it's the frame underneath - essentially a roll cage structure - that provides the crashworthiness of most cars. The skin is just there for appearance/aerodynamics. Get rid of the morphing features, and you could have a crashworthy inner structure that's common to all models of similar size, covered by a very light aerodynamic skin.

Minor body damage could become a thing of the past, too. Minor dings would just pop out. For cuts & tears, just zip in a new panel of fabric (which the factory could ship in an envelope, instead of a crate).

PS: An idea for aerodynamic eco-mods. Instead of adding weight by pasting on extended noses & tails, why not cut off some of the sheet metal, and mold a shape of foam (for stiffness) covered with thin, doped fabric? Seems like you could get pretty significant weight reduction that way...
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Old 06-11-2008, 02:05 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Interesting ... there are some very lightweight boats made from a frame with a stretched skin over it, which might be applicable to an ecomodder trying to lighten the weight of a car by replacing a heavy hatch, hood or other panel.


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