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By now, it's clear that the Chinese auto industry has shown us a demonstrated will (if not necessarily the complete ability) to copy something that another automaker has made. In this case, the subject appears to be the Local Motors Rally Fighter.

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If you hear the name Local Motors and automatically associate it with the Rally Fighter pictured above, we can hardly blame you. It is the project for which the manufacturing startup is best known, after all. But it's not the only one it has undertaken to date. Local Motors has also sourced from the crowd a drift trike, a motorcycle, a pizza delivery vehicle and even a Peterbilt truck. And it's not done yet. Not even close.

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Local Motors, those fellows that build the Rally Fighter, a ridiculous off-road vehicle that is the four-wheeled equivalent to the honey badger (it just don't care), have released an online configurator for the crowd-sourced off-roader. This builder is a bit different than what we normally see, though.

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The Local Motors Rally Fighter is a car that neither looks nor drives like anything else on the road today. Even Jay Leno, who seems to have one of just about every cool car in history, admits to not knowing much about it. Which makes for an interesting interview for Jay, and a cool video for us.

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Design-by-commitee. It is a term that we usually reserve for cars that are conceived by number-crunching product planners, rather than true designers, but this case might be different. What if that committee was every enthusiast on the planet? "Crowd-sourcing," or "open-sourcing" is a concept employed by upstart automaker Local Motors. The first spawn of this process was the insanely cool Rally Fighter, so you can't argue with the results, right?

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Attention Chicagoans and other Midwesterners: If you've been wondering when the Local Motors Rally Fighter might be coming to a show in your neck of the woods, the answer is Sept. 10-15. And no, the Chicago Auto Show has not been rescheduled, it will still be held next February. Rather, the Rally Fighter will be on display at something called the International Manufacturing Technology Show, which is where those few who get excited about metal cutting and forming, tooling, CAD/CAM, and other vari

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Local Motors and its team of online community members are hard at work refining the Rally Fighter for 2012, and the list of changes for the new model year have officially been announced here at SEMA.

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Local Motors Rally Fighters at the 2010 SEMA Show - Click above for high-res image gallery

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Local Motors Rally Fighter in action – Click above to watch video after the jump

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The Rally Fighter in action – Click above to view the video after the jump

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Local Motors Rally Fighter – Click above for high-res image gallery

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Local Motors Rally Fighter – Click above for high-res image gallery

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We criticize the idea of design by committee when it comes from a major automaker, but Local Motors touts its open, inclusive process of collaboration as a deep strength. LM has decided to put Sangho Kim's Rally Fighter concept into production. Just like a proper automaker, lots of words bloom on the webpage -- most of them the etymological equivalent of weeds. The Rally Fighter is intended to scream across a variety of surfaces in glorious four-wheel drifts. Watching the progression of Kim's st

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