Local Motors Rally Fighter – click above to watch the videos after the jump

Would-be automakers Local Motors have announced that they are now taking reservations for their madcap Rally Fighter, purportedly the world's first vehicle designed by Internet committee ("crowdsourcing"). Penned by contest-winner Sangho Kim, the Rally Fighter looks unlike any other street vehicle we can recall, taking the off-road coupe aesthetic shown in offerings like the BMW X6M and putting it on a crash course through Baja, or a Bowler Nemesis on a budget.

Your spot in line for the high-powered four-seater can be secured with a refundable $99 deposit. At some point in the future, you, a number-holder, will be contacted to lock in your build date with a $5,000 deposit against the estimated $50,000 build price. Then, if all goes well, the folks at Local Motors and you will sit down to design your own Rally Fighter, a vehicle that is promised to have 20-inches of suspension travel, be road legal, and achieve 36 miles-per-gallon on the highway (30 mpg off-road!).

In order to get the tube-framed, fiberglass-and-carbon bodied Rally Fighter to meet those goals, the off-roadster will feature the twin-turbo inline-six out of the BMW 335d, an engine that should get them the 265 horsepower and 425 pound-feet of torque without fiddling, though we can't imagine this is an inexpensive proposition.

This looks like a neat bit of kit, but we'll reserve a large dose of skepticism for the folks at Local Motors until we can learn more. In the meantime, check out the press release and a couple of videos of LM's crew making the initial order announcement and talking about the vehicle's construction, all of which is available after the jump. Hat tip to Mike!

[Source: Local Motors]

Local Motors Begins Taking Reservations for its First Community-Designed Car, the Rally Fighter

With a $99 refundable deposit, be one of the first to experience a unique Local Motors build process and own the Rally Fighter when it's released in Fall 2010.

(Vocus) July 9, 2009 -- On July 15, 2009, Local Motors, the revolutionary American car company, will begin taking reservations for its daring new desert racing vehicle, the Rally Fighter. Local Motors has the world's largest community of car designers and engineers embracing open collaboration to develop innovative cars for underserved, passionate enthusiast communities. Local Motors cars are built in regional Micro-Factories, which will be a groundbreaking fusion of advanced, small-volume manufacturing and amazing ownership experiences.

The Rally Fighter is an off-road racer, custom designed and built for the deserts of the American Southwest. The first of its kind, the Rally Fighter was designed by community member Sangho Kim of Pasadena, California, and developed in open collaboration with the Local Motors community. This community, at www.local-motors.com, includes car enthusiasts, designers and engineers from around the globe.

Sangho and Local Motors did not aim to design a car everyone wanted, they aimed to design a car for a specific niche within their community: desert racers. Local Motors CEO, Jay Rogers says, "If you aim to please everyone, you will please no one. With each car Local Motors develops and builds, we aim to satisfy the passions of car enthusiasts in specific regions. By including our community in the development process, we can deliver the car that customers want. The Company is certainly part of the decision making process, but more than anything we are here to listen to desires and make great cars." The 3,000 community members at Local Motors discussed and voted on body styling, engine choice and even interior design for the Rally Figher. The final result is an intensely capable and head-turning desert racer.

Key Stats:

• Original, welded steel tubular space frame with lightweight thermoplastic and carbon fiber body panels

• BMW M57 clean diesel engine

• Eye-popping 36mpg on the highway, or 30mpg in an off-road setting

• 425 lb-ft of torque, 265 horsepower, and only 3,100 lbs

• 18" of suspension travel, to take on any desert--jumps and all

• Manually adjustable dual ride-height options, to go from the desert to the city with ease

• Seats for 4 adults, or 2 adults & 3 children

The Rally Fighter will be built in limited production in unique, regional Micro-Factories. The first Micro-Factory will be built in Phoenix, Arizona and will create 50 new, high-paying jobs--great news for our American automotive industry. Local Motors will soon announce cars for several more regions around the United States, and aims to eventually build 25-50 Micro-Factories catering specifically to car enthusiasts in local regions. This local car company is aiming to create 2,500 new automotive jobs nationwide in the next few years.

"We are passionate about American automotive. We want to bring the fun and pride back and we will do it one region at a time," says Rogers.

Because they are local, Local Motors is able to offer a unique "Build Experience" with every vehicle purchase. Customers are invited to join experts in the regional Micro-Factory to build their own car. The program is customized for both the novice and the pro, and crafted specifically for car lovers. "Local Motors customers get the whole experience" says Mike Pisani, Vehicle Engineer and Car Builder, "They help design and develop the car they want, then they build it and in the process learn everything they need to know to maintain it. The Rally Fighter is not a disposable appliance, they are limited edition; only 3,000 will every be built. This is a car and an experience you can keep with you for a lifetime."

You do not have to be a part of the community to buy the Rally Fighter. And if you don't want to do your own maintenance, the Local Motors Micro-Factory doubles as a service station. Pisani says they plan to go so far as to pick vehicles up from customers' homes, take them to the Micro-Factory for service, and return them -- yet one more element of the innovative Local Motors ownership experience.

To reserve your Rally Fighter and an early build date, go to http://www.local-motors.com/RF after 12pm on Wednesday, July 15th, 2009. If you are fast you might just be one of the first 20. But you'd better be fast. John Domolky, Sales Director for Local Motors says, "People are already calling in, trying to buy their number." The first production Rally Fighter Build Experiences will begin in the Fall of 2010.

About Local Motors

Local Motors is a new American car company setting an exciting and sustainable course to design, manufacture, and sell cars. Revolutionary yet simple, Local Motors creates a direct connection with customers who guide design development based on personal desires. The outcome of this open, collaborative process is meaningful, exciting cars designed specifically for car enthusiasts in local areas. Local Motors will build micro-factories in regions where demand is highest. Cars are built and sold from the micro-factories on a just-in-time basis. Both the products and process are sustainable. Local Motors vehicles feature best-in-class fuel efficiency. The development and manufacturing process dramatically reduces waste while maintaining the flexibility to incorporate new, efficient technologies as they emerge.

The first Local Motors design concept to be designed by a community of enthusiasts and talented designers worldwide, is the Rally Fighter by Sangho Kim. View the Rally Fighter and contribute to the future design and development at www.local-motors.com.

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