Home » Let’s Talk About The Laytonmobile: Cold Start

Let’s Talk About The Laytonmobile: Cold Start

Cs Laytonmobile Top
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I’m going to talk about a different kind of DS than I normally do today: instead of the Citroën kind, I’m thinking about the Nintendo kind. I remember one Hanukkah my (now) wife got us both matching white Nintendo DSes, which was a pretty fun gift. It was a very satisfying little micro-laptop with two screens and a stylus. One of the games I had for it was the first Professor Layton game, a strangely soothing little mystery/puzzle game with a color palette of mostly earthtones and a pleasingly anachronistic art style. I was very taken by Professor Layton’s car, which was almost a Citroën 2CV, but not quite. Let’s investigate this car mystery!

The car gets little descriptions in various games, most of which note that the Professor keeps it up very well and also that it has an unusually generous amount of headroom, which is fortunate, because it seems Professor Layton is loath to remove his top hat:

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

The Laytonmobile sports an unusually high ceiling that lets the professor take to the road without removing his top hat. Thanks to his careful maintenance, the car is always in tip-top shape.”

and

Layton’s pride and joy is an ode to classic design made of shiny red metal. He keeps the car in tip-top shape, so it looks great whenever he takes it out to solve a new mystery. Its tall roof affords Layton the headroom he needs to drive with his hat on.”

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It’s pretty clear that the car is based on a 2CV, but I have seen at least one preliminary sketch that looks a bit more Volkswagen Beetle-based:

Cs Layton2

The top car there is what a game shows you when you click the Laytonmobile, and the lower one is the concept art that has a very Beetle-like front end. The roof makes it look too golf-cart-like, though, I think.

Later concept art leans much more heavily into the 2CV-based look:

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There are some pretty key differences, though. The front track appears to be more narrow than the rear, giving it a sort of triangular overhead plan. The front end differs the most, with no air-intake grilles at all, and headlights mounted high on the hood as opposed to the fenders.

Cs Layton 2cv

The horizontally-divided driver’s side flip-open window is retained, as is the skirted rear wheel, and overall shape. The early 2CVs had a suicide door up front, where Layton’s car has one at the rear. Both seem to feature large canvas opening roofs, too.

The front end of the Laytonmobile resembles a Messerschmitt Kabinenroller microcar, kinda.

Here’s some animation of the Laytonmobile driving, so you can really appreciate it:

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It seems to have two simple vertical rectangular taillights, divided halfway between red and amber, and no sign of a reverse lamp. This video also seems to show that it can transform into a flying machine, which I don’t recall from the earlier games, but what the hell, you go nuts, Professor.

Cs Layton Big

I really like the Laytonmobile. I’d happily drive something like this, though how and where it’s pulling cooling air would never stop being a mystery to me.

 

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Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
26 days ago

I can see some 2CV but the pointed nose and vertical windshield say Rumpler Tropfenwagen to me or other 1920s aero cars.

LastNormalManual
LastNormalManual
26 days ago

This sort of content is why I have a subscription.

I love the style of the Layton series, and giving the Professor a 2CV-inspired ride was part of what gave the setting a Weird French Countryside vibe.

Thanks, Jason.

Toecutter
Toecutter
26 days ago

I love how much charm the drawing of this car has.

It evokes memories and a sense of familiarity for things I’ve never experienced. The 2CV is that iconic of a car, even if it is a rarity in the U.S. The art style sort of reminds me of the Redwall series.

Sensual Bugling Elk
Sensual Bugling Elk
26 days ago
Reply to  Toecutter

Anemoia! I get the same feeling. And thanks for putting a finger on the stylistic resemblance to Redwall. Good times.

Jonee Eisen
Jonee Eisen
26 days ago

The front reminds of a 2CV crossed with a Goliath F 400 three wheeler. In the drawing. The animated version less so.

https://www.wolfsburg-citytour.de/wolfsburg-tourist/Zeithaus_1/Goliath_F_400/Goliath_F_400_c.jpg

Drew
Drew
26 days ago

I’m glad someone’s finally solving the Mystery of Professor Layton’s Automobile. Seems suspicious that the games solve so many mysteries but leave that one untouched.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
26 days ago

2CV or not CV, that was the question.

Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
26 days ago

It’s whole new level of ballin’ when you have adventures in your own bespoke car.

Chronometric
Chronometric
26 days ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

I own an eponymous car. You can too.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clarkmobile

Drew
Drew
26 days ago
Reply to  Chronometric

Yours, of course, is the mass-market time machine, the Chronomobile. It will be invented in 2246, and became available starting in 1632, at least until someone leaves one unattended in an earlier time period.

Chronometric
Chronometric
26 days ago
Reply to  Drew

Wouldn’t a Delorean be a Chronomobile?

Drew
Drew
26 days ago
Reply to  Chronometric

The bespoke time machine invented by Doc Brown could be called a chronomobile, but the Chronomobile trademark, which will have been granted in 1832, once someone gets around to stopping off there, applies to a very specific mass-market model. No one’s sure how many were made, since the same one could have likely been sent to the same time repeatedly, and the company managed to get the VINs categorized as a trade secret (yeah, corporations manage to continue to make their own rules for at least several centuries).

Chronometric
Chronometric
26 days ago
Reply to  Drew

I’ll check that out, as time permits.

Myk El
Myk El
26 days ago
Reply to  Chronometric

This section of conversation deserves some COTD love.

Alec Weinstein
Alec Weinstein
25 days ago
Reply to  Chronometric

The Clarkmobile included a number of innovative features such as wheel steering, shaft drive, a front end with hood, and a new engine design.

huh

Trust Doesn't Rust
Trust Doesn't Rust
26 days ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

Now there’s an idea for a series of Autopian articles: “The Bespoke Vehicles of the Autopian Crew”

Ecsta C3PO
Ecsta C3PO
26 days ago

If only there was a vehicle out there for our dear Mrs. Streeter

Toecutter
Toecutter
26 days ago

YES

Toecutter
Toecutter
26 days ago
Reply to  Adrian Clarke

Indeed. I built a vehicle that is a cross between a car and an electric bicycle and have had many adventures with it. The police don’t seem to like it much though. It’s delightfully inexpensive to use as transportation and has paid for itself in savings versus using any clunker old car.

I want to tour the USA with it when I get the chance. It has enough range and a fast enough charge time that I could conceivably cover 400+ miles per day in it.

It’s currently taken apart because I’m trying to make new spindles and adapters to fit the front hub motors to the axles. This sub-100 lb thing is getting all wheel drive and 25 kW peak so that I can troll expensive cars at stop lights with it. I have the pieces of a roll cage made but not yet installed. It already has hydraulic disc brakes up front, DOT rims, solar car tires, a mechanical disc brake and parking brake for the rear wheel, full suspension via gas shocks, and will have regen braking on all three wheels.

I’m going to adorn it with a rust-colored paintjob, a silver-colored Baphomet statue for a hood ornament, a yellow fallout shelter sign for a rear derailleur access panel(it still has a bicycle drivetrain and is very pedalable with the EV system disabled), black pentagrams on the wheel discs, solar panels, blue/yellow/orange/red LEDs inside the wheels to make them look like they’re on fire at night(and to be seen by traffic so I reduce the risk of getting run over), a front paintjob to give it the face of an Eldritch abomination, and a big fat red anarchy sign sloppily spray-painted on the left side of the vehicle graffiti artist-style.

I’ll have this thing prepared for Wasteland Weekend so I can roll up in it dressed like a goth plague doctor, carrying a Geiger counter in one hand and a glass Caduceus staff in the other, looking like I crawled out of some neo-Dark age. Best of all, it would actually be a very functional and resource-saving vehicle appropriate for a post-apocalyptic hellscape. Post apocalyptic films, books, cartoons, and TV shows very rarely show bicycles after the apocalypse, when it reality, they’d probably be among the only vehicles still operational. The difference is that when the motors are usable, mine will be able to out-accelerate a Mad Max Interceptor to 60 mph and possibly still hit triple-digit top speeds.

Last edited 26 days ago by Toecutter
Geoff Buchholz
Geoff Buchholz
26 days ago

I dunno, Torch … I think the Changli gives very Laytonmobile-like vibes.

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
26 days ago
Reply to  Geoff Buchholz

Cannot unsee…

StillNotATony
StillNotATony
26 days ago

The Laytonmobile is clearly NOT a 2CV, but a BEV!

Last edited 26 days ago by StillNotATony
Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
26 days ago

The frog eye lights and the color makes me think of the Velorex, you know the one with that strange biologically looking hose..

Vetatur Fumare
Vetatur Fumare
26 days ago

I was just trying to remember the Velorex’ name, but my brain kept throwing up Biscuter instead due to faulty wiring.

Although there is something faintly Voisinesque about the body, too.

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