Open Road

Swincar Spider: Radical off-roader unlike anything else on wheels

Might this vehicle usher in a new off-road suspension-engineering paradigm?

Unlike most off-road enthusiasts, I've long been a proponent of front and rear independent suspensions (IFS/IRS) for off-road vehicles. To those who say IFS/IRS can't take a beating, or carry heavy loads, I point you to the military. Both Oshkosh and International make military severe-duty trucks with IFS/IRS — and if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for me. To those who say you can't get enough articulation with IFS/IRS, I say that's because everything we've seen to date has been based on on-road designs where limited articulation is not a problem.

Now, if you look to nature, all quadrupeds (dogs, cats, goats, and on and on) are all independently suspended. Each leg works independently of one another. Also, with many quadrupeds, especially those that live in rugged terrain, the legs begin well up into the torso, not under the torso. That gives them maximum movement range (articulation) to negotiate difficult and varied surfaces.

That brings us to the Swincar Spider: this is the first motorized vehicle that I'm aware of in which the (independent) suspension is attached at the "top" of the vehicle, not "under" it; think of it as being at the "beltline" of a conventional automobile. That gives it absolutely unmatched articulation. What a concept!

I think this might well be the seed that could develop into a new generation radically engineered, and vastly superior, off-roaders; and I for one, can't wait.

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