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Rally Fighter: Mud-Spewing, Street Legal Grit at SEMA

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On: Fri, Oct 29, 2010 at 9:12AM | By: Chris Weiss

Rally Fighter: Mud-Spewing, Street Legal Grit at SEMA

If you were to hear a phrase something to the effect of "an All-American car that can tear through dirt, mud and gravel like a Jeep Wrangler," you probably wouldn't expect that it came from any of the stodgy, bottom-line-obsessed headquarters located in Detroit. And you'd be right: only the warped minds of the greater American public could come up with something that awesomely niche.

And that's exactly how the Rally Fighter came to be. Using the "open sourced" mentality of the software industry, the Massuchesetts-based Local Motors worked with a forum full of designers and creative minds to come up with the inspiration behind this bad-ass mo' fo'. Who would have predicted that something like this could come from the land of Harvard and Martha's Vineyard?  Those warped public minds that didn't get to offer input on the design will be able to see the production-ready Rally Fighter at SEMA next week.

Not quite as powerful as the Hennessey Venom GT, though equally bat-shit crazy, the Rally Fighter uses a smaller GM V8: the 430-hp 6.2-liter LS3 engine. That engine drives the rear wheels with the help of a six-speed automatic gearbox. Other equipment includes 18-inch independent double A-arm suspension up front, 20-inch 3-link solid axle supsension with stabilizer bars in back and 17-inch aluminum alloy wheels.

Believe it or not, the Rally Fighter was designed to be driven on the streets as well as off-road. It's emissions compliant in all 50 states.

Originally debuted at last year's SEMA show, the Rally Fighter has undergone substantial alterations from its debut form. The original model sourced a 265-hp BMW 3.0-liter twin-turbo diesel engine for power, which changed to the LS3. That's a good move because a car like this should definitely be all American under the hood. The car also gets some toned down styling, opting for a charcoal and red vinyl-wrapped scheme with ghosted checkered front end rather than the more flamboyant light grey with black-and-white checkered front end seen last year--another good move. The company went with vinyl because it cuts about 12 pounds off the car's total curb weight (3,200 lbs.) and is less impactful on the environment. Customers will be able to customize their own skins. Underneath that skin sits a steel tubular space frame and carbon fiber body.

The Rally Fighter will be distributed through what Local Motors calls micro factories, the primary of which is located in Phoenix, Arizona. Customers will play a role in actually building their own Rally Fighter, participating in things like installing the axles and suspension and prepping and hoisting the engine in. Don't expect much of a discount for your labor; the car will cost around $50,000 +.

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