The 7 Most Insane Street Legal Vehicles Ever (Part 3)
Every breakthrough in modern transportation, from the first airplane to the first hybrid car, was forged by a combination of genius, determination, and imagination. However, for every Orville and Wilbur Wright trying to achieve immortal greatness and propel mankind into the future, there is a John DeLorean who just wants to get his cocaine-fueled hallucination out onto the road so he can afford to buy even more cocaine.
The following are all examples of that second type of self-indulgent craftsman, the kind of people who look at a perfectly good automobile and/or piece of furniture and say, "What if I stuck six engines and a pair of wings on that son of a bitch?"
(The first car was invented before the American Revolution. Find even more modern inventions our snuff-addicted ancestors came up with first in The De-Textbook.)
The 48-Cylinder Motorcycle
The 48-cylinder Kawasaki is the creation of custom motorcycle builder Simon Whitlock, who boldly decided to take the standard number of cylinders in a motorcycle and multiply it by 8, because to some people engineering and physics are just an escalating series of dares. The end result is a steel torpedo with six freaking engines stacked on top of each other like loafs of Parmesan oregano in a Subway bread warmer.
Because this behemoth has so many cylinders, a regular electric starter simply doesn't cut the mustard -- it takes a smaller, separate gas-powered engine, installed underneath the seat, just to get the damn thing to start. Once the Herculean task of turning the motorcycle on has been accomplished, you are free to attempt to ride it. This requires you to lean forward as far as you can until you are basically lying face down with your arms stretched out in front of you like a Kryptonian demigod and lash your hands in a white-knuckle grip around the handlebars like you're about to have a musket ball removed from your spine by a Civil War field surgeon.
Yes, the engines roast your genitals. Suck it up and steer.
The only acceptable reasons for driving a motorcycle like this are if you are a mini-boss in a Contra video game or a paranormal investigator from the late 19th century. Your center of gravity is so far forward that we're pretty sure any attempt to turn this mythical beast would immediately result in the motorcycle tipping over and pancaking your leg into crimson memory dust at 60 mph.
The FastFood is a 100 percent street legal dining room table with a top speed of over 100 mph built by British custom car designer Perry Watkins for the explicit purpose of turning Christmas dinner into a white-knuckle thrill ride.
As we've discussed before, building vehicular logic puzzles is the reason Perry Watkins was put on this planet by whatever chaps-wearing motorcycle deity invented him, so it should come as little surprise that his efforts would eventually lead to a mobile dining room set. This pile of wax fruit and thrift store furniture can rocket from 0 to 60 in about four seconds, which is certainly faster than a motel still life was ever meant to travel.
The vehicle is clearly excited at the thought.
As you can see, the albino G.I. Joe ninja (whom some of you may recognize as the Stig from the British TV series Top Gear) isn't actually the one driving the table. He's just sitting there waiting for service. The driver actually sits underneath the table, strapped into a bucket seat by a racing harness. His head pokes up through a trench cut into the tabletop just below the turkey, which is a sentence that should never be used in a description of a motorized vehicle.
Also, there are fire jets, because we're already driving a table down the street, so why the hell not?
The candles stay unlit, though. Let's not go too crazy.
We would like to shake hands with whichever public official took a look at this demonstration, nodded sagely, and said, "Yeah, we can put a license plate on that."
Lazareth's Wazuma V8F
At a glance, that might look like an actual car, but then you see the handlebars and seat and realize that this is a goddamned all-terrain vehicle, like those four wheelers typically seen catapulting drunk people in YouTube fail compilations.
That is Lazareth's Wazuma V8F, an ATV that looks like what Batman forces Robin to drive instead of letting him ride shotgun in the Batmobile. It looks less like an actual means of conveyance and more like a selection from the toy chest at the dentist's office.
So what makes the Wazuma V8F different from a typical ATV (other than the obvious lack of a cup holder for your Keystone Light)? Well, the "V8F" in its name stands for "V8 Ferrari," meaning the Wazuma is powered by an eight-cylinder Ferrari engine. That gives it around 250 horsepower and a top speed approximately three times as fast as what Marty McFly required to travel back in time.
It's roughly equivalent to a helicopter, apparently.
The makers of this beast, Lazareth (which is a fitting name, considering that driving one of these things will almost certainly result in an immediate need for a divine resurrection spell), also outfitted the Wazuma with a six-speed sequential BMW gearbox and custom made Momo rims. Essentially everything about this ATV is a custom job, which means you're going to need around a quarter of a million dollars if you want to roll one over on top of you while trying to go mudding in the dirt field behind the old high school.
The Maniwa boldly thumbs its splintery nose at the notion that cars should be maneuverable and resistant to extreme conditions, because someone decided that it would be neat to drive their front porch down to the liquor store. Which is to say, almost every piece of the car is made out of wood, including the hubcaps (hell, the windshield would be made of wood if wood were transparent).
Otherwise it's essentially a heavily modified electric scooter -- you even steer it using a set of scooter handlebars. It also sports a handy pair of bathmats to prevent you from tracking mud all over the fine hardwood floor, although we hasten to point out that the Maniwa has no roof, so unless the whole thing has been water-sealed, the bathmats are a gigantic waste of time.
It does have a CD player, though, so it's totally worth the $43,000 price tag.
The maker of the Maniwa, a woodworking company called Sada-Kenbi, prides itself on the motto "There is nothing that can't be made with wood." While this statement is technically true, it is noticeably lacking the important caveat "Being made of wood immediately limits the practical functionality of most things." For instance, you can whittle a donor heart out of industrial timber, but most would draw the line at actually putting it inside someone's chest.
Radio Flyer Car
Judy Foster and Fred Keller decided to take an old 1976 Mazda pickup truck and transform it into a drivable scale replica of a Radio Flyer wagon, which many of you may recognize as a toy no child has played with since polio was a national concern.
The couple spent $10,000 and 11 months on this wave of nostalgia, making sure to get every single detail correct without ever stopping to question the wisdom of building a giant convertible with less secure carrying space than an actual Radio Flyer wagon. The car made them minor local celebrities, resulting in appreciative waves and stares from fellow drivers and pedestrians, presumably along with numerous "clever" well-wishers jokingly offering to "fix their little red wagon."
They'd actually built a big, working wagon specifically because they hated that phrase.
As charming and impressive as the car is, we can't help but wonder how much of a logistical nightmare an 8-foot vertical handle must be when you're driving around town. That thing would be smacking into stoplights like a wrestler high-fiving people on his way out to the ring. And if the Radio Flyer ever gets into a head-on collision, it essentially has a massive javelin on the front that's going to go harpooning through somebody's windshield like the surfboard in the car chase scene from Lethal Weapon 2. We can't decide if that makes it more lame or more awesome.
The Fuller Dymaxion
The Dymaxion was the brainchild of Buckminster Fuller, who apparently took one look at a zeppelin and decided that it should be made of metal and driven along the ground on fewer wheels than a grocery cart. Fuller's nonexistent background in engineering inexplicably made the Dymaxion all the more attractive to investors, and he was able to convince someone to put up the capital to commission a prototype model, although the inflatable wings that were a part of Fuller's original design were left off of the prototype for reasons that were immediately obvious to everyone except Fuller.
The prototype also nixed the tail fin. Who'd ever put fins on a car?
The final product was 20 feet long and capable of seating 11 passengers, enough to instantly kill two entire families when it inevitably tipped over. The front two wheels were powered by a big ass V8 engine, and at about 90 miles per hour, the Dymaxion's single rear wheel would actually lift up off of the ground, because Fuller had designed the Dymaxion to be capable of flight in anticipation of a future wherein this would make sense (hence the inflatable wings).
The first Dymaxion was completed in July of 1933 and shockingly took until October of that same year to kill someone (by tipping over). Fuller couldn't find anyone else willing to give him any more money to fund his project (a struggle that would become synonymous with the name "Buckminster Fuller"), so the design was abandoned.
The Moller International Neuera
Paul Moller, a Canadian engineer and professor, has spent the past 40 years trying to build a flying car, because The Jetsons was apparently on television the first and only time his father hugged him. After many, many iterations (including the infamous Skycar, over which he was actually sued for fraud by the SEC), he has unleashed the Moller International Neuera (pronounced "new era"), which looks every bit as exciting as deliberately misspelling common phrases to convey your ingenuity.
Paul Moller isn't just the engineer. He's an extremely indifferent client.
That is easily one of the most depressing promotional photos ever published. The driver looks like he's waiting for an iTunes update to finish installing, rather than sitting behind the wheel of a flying goddamned saucer.
The Neuera uses a bunch of vented fans for vertical takeoff and landing (instead of jet engines and a stretch of unoccupied runway like most other flying cars) and can travel at a maximum height of 10 feet, which you may recognize as not nearly high enough to make a fucking bit of difference.
However, it can evidently travel back in time, because that man is clearly from 1978.
Luckily, a version of it is technically street legal, otherwise there would be no way to use it to travel anywhere, considering it can't even clear a retaining wall, much less soar over treetops and sunbaked canyons.
Related Reading: Ready for more of the craziest street-legal cars, click here. The smallest car in the world is more wee than Hot Wheels. Oh, and in case you're in the mood for crime-fighting check out this turbine-powered batmobile. For a look at some car modifications that need to stop happening click this link.