Home » A Daydreaming Designer Realizes The Dream Of The SuperFrunk

A Daydreaming Designer Realizes The Dream Of The SuperFrunk

Topshot 22
ADVERTISEMENT

The term ‘don’t put the cart before the horse’ never really had a place in automotive design, yet cars seemed to adapt the front engine layout as pretty much standard very early on. We’ve talked before about the advantages of other drivetrain layouts in the kinds of cars that Jason admires, and honestly with EVs now there is absolutely nothing that is impossible. The whole three- or two-box car form doesn’t need to exist anymore, and we would hope that manufacturers will start to have some fun with these limitless parameters.

A few Sunday evenings ago when our offices at The Autopian Tower were empty and the staff was minding their own business at home, our own Matt Hardigee took to our Slack channel with the concept of an ultra-long-hood touring coupe with a massive frunk and essentially nothing behind the two seats. He offered up the below scribble, including his ideas for putting the motor in back and filling the rest of the car with batteries wherever possible.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Screenshot (88)

Another drawing shows what he wanted to do with the drivertrain:

Screenshot (89)

ADVERTISEMENT

Of course, you can see that he asked for the opinions from either the staff car designer or the staff…whatever the hell kind of designer I am. Since our painfully honest Adrian Clarke was conveniently asleep in 3AM Britain, I was stuck with the task of politely telling him that it might be difficult to operate something from that far back and the batteries might need a bit of rearranging. Then Jason, ever the voice of reason, pushed the crazy level up by suggesting a split-down-the-middle hood before the conversation blessedly changed gears from this wacky ass idea.

Still, the more that I looked at the scribbles later on, the initial insanity I saw in the concept started to dissipate. Don’t get me wrong; it’s still crazy, odd looking and unadvisable, but not totally unfeasible. The sketches actually reminded me of two cars.

One of those cars was the bonkers Bill Thomas Cheetah. This sixties sports car looked a bit like a Hot Wheels car come to life and was about the most ‘cab backwards’ car ever built. You couldn’t push the seats back any further and still have them in the car. This thing was built as a track-based Shelby Cobra competitor, and supposedly made Shelby’s car seem like a Camry by comparison; a total handful to drive.

0707kc 01 Z Cheetah Sports Car

source: Wikipedia

ADVERTISEMENT

The other car that struck me as being similar in shape was the Fiskar Karma, an electric hybrid that became known for its rather unreliability mechanicals under a body with a rather curious design. The exaggerated wheels and fenders, combined with the long hood and giant headlights, seem to dwarf the tiny passenger compartment; it purports to be a sedan yet really has no business sporting four doors.

Fisker Karma 2

source: Wikipedia

Still, there is something striking about both cars, and one wonders if, in an alternate reality, both could be redeemed.

The Alternate Reality

The Cheetah concept is honestly too weird to die. It had been revived by some, but it would have been great to have seen some kind of more modern revival, maybe even in the late 2000s as an EV. At the same time, the Karma really needed a rethink, and if the shape had existed as an all-electric car with some of the odd proportions fixed I think it could have been a better proposition.

ADVERTISEMENT

So here’s the alternate reality to make Matt’s dreams come true. When Fisker went nowhere, a group got together to do a major transformation of the car it into a high performance EV grand touring Cheetah revival.

Cheetah 2

The first step would be to alter the passenger compartment by essentially having the car driven from what was the Karma’s back seat, right over the electric motor. Up front, the enormous hood would cover a giant luggage area, accessible by side opening hoods as on pre-war cars; there really would be no other way to do it since you’d never get a single piece bonnet open. Batteries would be balanced in the center of the car under the luggage space and in the center console area of the passenger compartment to allow for a low floor where the passengers are.

Untitled 1

Of course, no trunk lid would be needed; just small cargo space for a briefcase or small bag accessible by folding the seats forwards. You could back this thing into a space in a parking garage and it wouldn’t matter since you would still have access to all of the cargo on board. Of course, getting on the receiving end of a rear end collision would be interesting.

ADVERTISEMENT

A few more details would be modified from the Karma original.  The front light clusters would be lower profile for a larger luggage opening and visually lower the front of the car. Vents on the flanks of the car to visually break up the vast space.

The Cheetah would be battery only, unlike the hybrid original Karma, which in early 2010s technology would have meant rather limited range, but this is a sports machine like original Tesla roadster so that might not have been as much of an issue. Also, the layout of the batteries primarily under the hood means that changing out the packs in the future to exponentially better units would be relatively easy.

So was Matt crazy? His idea is certainly unconventional, but not without precedent. Ultimately, if nothing else it proves that nearly anything could be done in terms of layouts with EVs, and it’s time to start exploring more of these possibilities with real cars.

Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
39 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dave Horchak
Dave Horchak
1 year ago

Okay children, I use the term children because everyone here is apparently too young to recognize the first post WWII Jaguar with a foot cut off the back and two feet added to the front. This is death waiting to happen. No view in the front to steer in city situations. No weight in the front to allow steering at speeds. I would suggest an MGTD type hood, opening on both sides for better loading and unloading.
However I have a Bishop challenge. How about a car design where you have the option of interiors for different sized people? Take any vehicle you want, don’t worry about fabric etcetera just different interiors that could fit anyone from a petite woman too a large male comfortably. Not everybody but 75% of both sexes.? And did you actually disparage large weird tires? Okay no large weird tires on this design.

Phuzz
Phuzz
1 year ago
Reply to  Dave Horchak

Possibly the batteries under the frunk would add some weight to the front. You might even be able to fit a small front motor up there, which would also give you AWD.
I’m not sure how to get around the visibility problem though, side facing cameras on the front maybe?

BigThingsComin
BigThingsComin
1 year ago

It would probably understeer like a bear.

Chris Hoffpauir
Chris Hoffpauir
1 year ago

It’s a Super Frunk! Super Frunk!
It’s Super Frunkin’ out!

Amberturnsignalsarebetter
Amberturnsignalsarebetter
1 year ago

It looks like the older brother of the Z3 clown shoe. I kinda like it.

Adam Rice
Adam Rice
1 year ago

Someone needs to start selling a bare electric skateboard that will serve as the platform for weird small-run fiberglass bodykits, the way the Beetle once did, so that ideas like this can be brought to life.

Jblues
Jblues
1 year ago

Should have started with the 1989 Batmobile!!!

David Fernandez
David Fernandez
1 year ago

Reminds me of those ’30s cars with long hoods, but except a trunk instead of an engine

Uninformed Fucknugget
Uninformed Fucknugget
1 year ago

How do frunks affect crash engineering? In a traditional front engine vehicle everything is in a fixed position as designed and tested, with a frunk that space is dependent upon what the user puts into it. Would having a week’s worth of luggage or a couple cases of PBR packed into a frunk change how the vehicle reacts in a head on collision?

Martin Ibert
Martin Ibert
1 year ago

Maybe the car could be built in back similar how the first-gen A-Class was in front: in case of a collision, the engine dives under the passenger compartment. So unless you are rear-ended by something massive like a bus, you may end up sitting on the hood of the other car, unharmed.
Wait. In the US everyone drives something massive like a bus — or a fat-faced pickup. Never mind.

Andreas Jüngling
Andreas Jüngling
1 year ago

This has the exact same proportions of these silly cargo bicycles with the huge load areas up front.

Martin Ibert
Martin Ibert
1 year ago

Why are they silly?

J Ludwik
J Ludwik
1 year ago

This is just a reverse ute

Lokki
Lokki
1 year ago

I….I just don’t know. I am not opposed to the proportions …exactly…as I do love the old Cheetah. But there’s something about it that’s giving me the willies. I think it’s how much that side-opening lid reminds me of a coffin lid. Talk about going out in style!

Seriously the whole coffin vibe sort of reminds me of the Munsters Dragula

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUECVZkNk0Y&t=578s

But the 21st Century looks and electric powertrain are definitely Jetsons!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uPnZpENoypo

I wonder what kind of sound that thing makes when you drive by?

Dodsworth
Dodsworth
1 year ago

The Autopian Tower? Did you guys get a good deal on an abandoned Carvana building?

blaiserbeam
blaiserbeam
1 year ago

Burying the lede here: The Bishop has just revealed his first name to us, in the top image. Let the LinkedIn-searching furor commence!

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
1 year ago
Reply to  The Bishop

Hello Hans!

I love this thing and would pay you all of my money* for one.

*about CAD $12.50

blaiserbeam
blaiserbeam
1 year ago
Reply to  The Bishop

I mean, a good pill has to be aerodynamic. A good car has to be aerodynamic. The skills transfer.

The Clutch Rider
The Clutch Rider
1 year ago
Reply to  blaiserbeam

That’s how you spell Jason Torchinsky in German, Ja? Either that or his twin :). Am i right? Am i right? please someone say that i am right!!!

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 year ago

I know it’s completely impractical, but I yearn for dual side-opening hoods like in ye olden days.
Would it be possible (well, practical) to make the frunk open from either side? Not split; the whole thing. Need to put this to the Phaeton’s trunk hinge team.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
1 year ago
Reply to  The Bishop

I didn’t think of the old tailgates: I was imagining a sliding-track hinge base like some cabinets. (but I had kinda handicapped my cognitive functioning earlier…)

Robert Kirchner
Robert Kirchner
1 year ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

I have a Thule cargo box that opens from either side. The latches on each side become hinges when they are locked.

Old Busted Hotness
Old Busted Hotness
1 year ago
Reply to  TOSSABL

Buick managed it in the late 40s-early 50s, so no reason why not. But there’s no reason you couldn’t have it open at the front as conventional hoods/frunks do. Hard-shell covers for pickup trucks are just as long.

raygundan
raygundan
1 year ago

Go just a tiny bit further, and invent the Reverse Pickup Truck. Make the trunk lid/cover removable, and add whatever you’d call the front-mounted equivalent of a tailgate (nosegate? frontgate?) and now you’ve got a wild GT coupe that can pick up a stack of eight-foot lumber in a pinch, too.

Chartreuse Bison
Chartreuse Bison
1 year ago
Reply to  raygundan

I think Torch did that back on Jalopnik

Andrew Wyman
Andrew Wyman
1 year ago

What about some sort of pass-thru as in most modern cars backseats, but instead this would be a pass-thru at the feet of the passenger? Probably too complicated and small.

OrigamiSensei
OrigamiSensei
1 year ago

I kind of like it. It’s an extreme of the long hood / short deck platonic ideal of the GT, but one could put a pretty good size frunk even in something that’s not ridiculously disproportionate.

SquareTaillight2002
SquareTaillight2002
1 year ago
Reply to  OrigamiSensei

Big Deck Energy?

Iain Tunmore
Iain Tunmore
1 year ago

If this isn’t what the RR Spectre had under that massive bonnet I want to know why, what else could possibly be taking up that huge space

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
1 year ago

How many golf bags would fit in that frunk? Or dead hookers?

39
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x