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Local Motors takes orders for Rally Fighter

Posted by Clifford Atiyeh  July 16, 2009 11:21 AM

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(Local Motors)

Several months ago, the Globe visited Local Motors in Wareham, a kit builder that challenged an Internet full of aspiring car designers to create a wild, one-off ride for series production. At the time, the Rally Fighter, chosen from more than 21,000 submissions and 1,600 users on, was only a scale model (and at full size, a wooden mock-up). Now the company, run by retired Marine John Rogers, Jr., is taking $99 deposits on their $50,000 Baja-style off-roader.

Local Motors — and the buyers themselves — will build a maximum of 3,000 Rally Fighters, each with a custom-designed vinyl wrap (as shown in the P-51 Mustang-like graphic above) and adjustable ride-height suspension. The chassis and various parts connecting with OEM-sourced components are made in-house.

Local Motors hasn't revealed the entirety of those OEM pieces, but the gem is the Rally Fighter's 3.0 liter twin-turbo diesel from the BMW 335d, which bellows 425 foot-pounds of torque at 1,750 r.p.m. Power steering, anti-lock brakes, a double-A arm front suspension and solid rear axle round out the mechanical specs, but there's still no word on transmissions or what the interior will look like and offer for comfort and convenience.

But luxury isn't the Rally Fighter's mission. This is a road-legal car that, with some modifications, should be race-ready for the dunes. More details on the Rally Fighter should emerge as orders arrive and the first owners begin their building experience.

We hope to land a first drive before the year ends, with the car wrapped like one of our green Boston Globe delivery trucks. Impossible? Not with these guys.

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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25 comments so far...
  1. If they can bring this in at only $50k, it's a truly awesome vehicle. Would love to commute in that!

    Posted by Old Poor Richard July 16, 09 11:57 AM
  1. holy moly WANT WANT WANT WANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    3.0 liter twin-turbo diesel from the BMW 335d

    YES PLEASE!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by mikeybigboy July 16, 09 12:56 PM
  1. Clifford. Great article. We appreciate your balanced approach and enthusiasm. Be sure you are on our list of first visitors. Would love to see the delivery truck RF!

    Posted by John B. Rogers, Jr. July 16, 09 01:02 PM
  1. Richard & Mikey - you guys are invited to LM as well :) After all, this is all about LOCAL community. Stop by! We are in the process of choosing the NEXT car to be built - possibly the Boston Bullet. You guys choose.

    Hope to meet you!


    Posted by Ariel Ferreira July 16, 09 02:40 PM
  1. Wow... that is absolutely beautiful.

    Posted by Mike M July 16, 09 02:48 PM
  1. Street legal, really? No NHTSA crash testing required? Is that because it's considered a kit car or because of the maximum 3000 units or what?

    Posted by Slash July 16, 09 03:05 PM
  1. i sent this through to Jalopnik and they just posted it:

    Posted by mikeybigboy July 16, 09 04:00 PM
  1. Because it is customer built, same idea as kit car construction but better since you'll be assisted by an expert. You'll also learn about your car inside and out. All FMVSS & EPA standards will be met, and many times exceeded - so it is safe, even by fed standards. But it is MORE safe because you will understand it completely.


    Posted by Ariel Ferreira July 16, 09 04:10 PM
  1. Economical turbo diesels are the future (they took the top three places at Le Mans this year.) Hope this company makes it, so to speak. In college, I built a street-legal dune buggy using an old VW bug and a kit from Meyers Manx. One of the best, most exciting cars I ever owned. Took it to Crane Beach with my girlfriend, (Think "The Thomas Crowne Affair"). This new rig is simply the latest (rather expensive) generation of wild off-road vehicles. By the way, I signed up for Local Motors e-mails the minute I heard about this exciting company. Best of luck, Mr. Rogers, perhaps I'll stop by when I'm in your neighborhood.

    Posted by Rudderman July 16, 09 06:24 PM
  1. John,
    Congrats this is fantastic publicity. Can't wait to come down and see the real thing. Looks amazing! I want one too

    Posted by Bryan Dank July 16, 09 06:37 PM
  1. ah, so $50k for the kit, assembly not included?

    Posted by smosh July 16, 09 08:54 PM
  1. deposit made... whooop

    Posted by rollin in reading July 16, 09 09:07 PM
  1. This is amazing to bring a car to production in just 13 months. Congrats to the team at LM

    I am hoping that the majors can start thinking outside the box like LM and Mr. Roger's team has.

    It is time to bring back the glory of American manufacturers back!

    Posted by Car_enthusiast July 16, 09 09:11 PM
  1. Thanks Ariel.

    I want one!

    Posted by Want July 17, 09 12:42 AM
  1. this would be tight. would haul through the trails...
    DO WANT...

    Posted by Tyler July 17, 09 02:26 AM
  1. Interesting, Thank you, Ariel. Tell me, to what extent is the purchaser responsible for building his/her car? In other words, what does "assisted by an expert" mean? Thanks.

    Posted by Slash July 17, 09 11:09 AM
  1. Good to see that Mass is finding ways to make the economy work while the rest of the country is crying about it!!

    Posted by Bud July 17, 09 11:49 AM
  1. Wow. As soon as I saw the pic above I thought it looked like a P-51D with the bubble canopy. Beautiful design.

    Posted by Kirby July 17, 09 02:42 PM
  1. LM and the Rally Fighter shifting to Top Gear;), John. Best of luck, can't wait to see one in the flesh.

    Posted by Winston July 18, 09 07:11 AM
  1. I want one of these! My husband and sons will have to get in line!

    Posted by ann July 18, 09 01:05 PM
  1. $100 deposit on a $50,000 car? I think they may need business a consultant. They may be stuck with cars after production.

    Posted by kev July 19, 09 11:31 AM
  1. $50,000 ... awesome. When all is said and done I find it hard to believe that the car will stay within the said budget. Plan on spending more. Think of the millions auto manufacturers spend on research and design before a prototype has been built. I would love to own one regardless.

    Posted by James July 20, 09 09:10 AM
  1. I've been keeping an eye on Local Motors ever since the first mention of it here on I thought the idea of the micro factories is an excellent idea.

    This model is amazing and is a great vehicle to introduce LM to the world.

    I have always been into car design and have many of my own. I did visit the Local Motors site and saw some unique and very unusual designs as well as some that are similar to my own tastes.

    I would love to share a few of my designs but do not have enough training with Photoshop and other graphics programs to really showcase my work. If Local Motors gets to the point of branching into more design studios I would love to be part of that. I am currently in the Worcester area as an architectural engineer.

    I would be excited to come to a LM open house to see one of their complete models.

    Posted by Andrew July 20, 09 12:31 PM
  1. A waste of money and natural resources. Can't you people do something that actually improves the well being of your fellow earthlings?

    Posted by Jim July 20, 09 08:41 PM
  1. Bah! My 98 Civic 5speed with 200,00 miles will smoke this puppy. And then some. I got 106 screaming ponies under my sheet metal. Count'em baby. 1.0.6. HP. Bring it on!! 98 Civic LX vs Rally Fighter

    Posted by shlocko July 21, 09 11:54 AM

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Clifford Atiyeh is an automotive writer and car enthusiast . He has spent his entire life driving cars he doesn't own.
In the garage: 1995 21-speed Iron Horse, 2002 Jeep Wrangler X (by association)
Bill Griffith is a veteran Boston Globe reporter, having reviewed cars for more than 10 years and serving as assistant sports editor for 25 years. He was also the paper's sports media columnist.
In the garage: 2006 Subaru Baja
AAA's Car Doctor, John Paul John Paul is public affairs manager for AAA Southern New England, a certified mechanic, and a Globe columnist. He hosts a weekly radio show on WROL.
In the garage: Hyundai Sante Fe, Chrysler PT Cruiser convertible
Craig Fitzgerald has been writing about cars, motorcycles, and the automotive industry since 1999. He is the former editor of Hemmings Sports & Exotic Car.
In the garage: 1968 Buick Riviera, 1996 Buick Roadmaster, 1974 Honda CB450
Keith Griffin is president of the New England Motor Press Association and edits the used car section on He also writes for the Hartford Business Journal and various weekly newspapers in Connecticut.
In the garage: Mazda 5, Dodge Neon
George Kennedy is a senior writer for WheelsTV in Acton, which produces video reviews for Yahoo, MSN, and other auto websites.
In the garage: Lifted 1999 Jeep Cherokee
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