Home » This Crazy Custom Cross-Eyed Car Thing Is Supposed To Look Like A Bugatti On Top Of A Motorcycle

This Crazy Custom Cross-Eyed Car Thing Is Supposed To Look Like A Bugatti On Top Of A Motorcycle

Art Deco Trike Ts
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Many cars from the 1930s were stunning pieces of mechanical art. This was an era when numerous automakers from Packard to Pierce-Arrow, Cadillac, and Auburn built lavish rides, and those were just the ones from America. Perhaps even more beautiful were the cars that came out of France from houses like Figoni et Falaschi and Bugatti. Unfortunately, unless you’re flush with cash, you’re not going to be able to afford one of those cars. But you might be able to afford this 2008 Can-Am Spyder. That’s right, this sort of cross-eyed trike looks like a 1930s Bugatti, but it’s a humble Canadian trike underneath. And, once your dizziness subsides, you can have it for $34,995 or best offer.

This wonderfully bizarre creation comes to us from Team Radar Love on X. The more I look at it, the more things I discover. The 2008 Can-Am “Atlantis Stargazer” trike is currently being hosted for sale by WeBe Autos Consignment. The seller of this vehicle doesn’t give us much information about it and some of the photos being used appear to be old press pictures. The rest of the photos are low-res and grainy, like they were taken on a flip phone.

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Despite that, I was able to determine the history of this oddball creation. This wasn’t built in someone’s shed, but it was the work of a designer who loved vintage French uber-luxury cars.

Designed From A Dream

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WeBe Autos Consignment

This trike is the work of Ron Santarsiero, who ran his own replica shop called Top Gun, which was later named Santarsiero Concepts.

According to the Rare Car Network, Santarsiero was once a real estate investor by trade. Like many car enthusiasts, his heart was in the classics. Unfortunately for Santarsiero, his tastes were expensive. He loved French ultra-luxury cars from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s from names like Bugatti and Figoni et Falaschi. Santarsiero also loved Duesenbergs and classic Mercedes-Benz roadsters. He quickly discovered that classics with those fabled names were worth hundreds of thousands and millions of dollars. Suddenly, Santarsiero found himself priced out of all of his beloved dream cars.

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1988 Heritage Mercedes 500k Repl
Bring a Trailer Seller

Reportedly, Santarsiero was sitting on a degree in industrial art. So, faced with not being able to afford his dream cars, Santarsiero decided to make his own dream cars for a fraction of the price. Top Gun was created to showcase Santarsiero’s work turning cheaper cars into vehicles inspired by much more expensive ones.

According to Top Gun’s archived page on Kitcar.com, Santarsiero started building his own cars in the early 1990s. He started with a Heritage Motor Cars Mercedes-Benz 500K replica (above).

4542381s 1988 Santarsiero Atlanti
Motoexotica Classic Cars

Heritage Motor Cars Inc. was a Florida-based replica car company. For $49,000 in 1990 money, the company was willing to build you a roadster modeled after the extravagant Mercedes-Benz 500K grand tourer of the 1930s. Like many replicas, the Heritage Motor Cars Mercedes-Benz 500K looked the part but was completely different underneath. In this case, Heritage Motor Cars took a 1988 Dodge Dakota chassis with a 3.9-liter V6 and formed a custom body on top.

Santarsiero took his Heritage Motor Cars replica and added Chevy Camaro front and rear end parts before deciding to model the vehicle’s teardrop fenders and quarters after a 1936 Delahaye concept car that he saw in a book. The fenders and quarters were first made in foam before Santarsiero turned them into fiberglass molds.

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Motoexotica Classic Cars

Santarsiero didn’t stop there, as his car had to have custom brightwork, trim, grille, and a fin. To do this, Santarsiero modeled the pieces in fiberglass and then had a foundry create the pieces in aluminum. A fabricator in Mexico created the car’s metal “Atlantis” badge while the hood ornament is a reproduction piece from an original Bugatti Royale ornament.

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Santarsiero says the name of the vehicle is inspired by the mythical lost city of the same name. Santarsiero began marketing the Atlantis about a decade ago, pitching it as a car that looked like the multi-million-dollar cars from the 1930s, but could be yours for under $100,000 and with a modern powertrain.

The Atlantis wouldn’t be the only car to get the Santarsiero treatment.

In 2001, Santarsiero marketed the Callista Roadster kit, which turned a Pontiac Fiero into a convincing Lamborghini Diablo for $7,900 on top of your donor car.

Topgun 075 Doorsup Yelo 01
Top Gun

After that came the Pit Bull, which turned a Toyota MR2 into something that looked vaguely like a Ferrari. Perhaps the most striking thing about this car is the fact that Santarsiero slapped a set of Nissan Altima taillights on this kit car.

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Top Gun
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Top Gun

Other replica builds from Santarsiero include the second generation of the Callista Roadster, which moved to the Porsche Boxster and emulated a newer Lamborghini, the Predator Xtreme, which made a Pontiac Fiero look like a Lamborghini from Grand Theft Auto, and the Venenza, which turned an original Acura NSX into a Ferrari LaFerrari replica.

1988 Pontiac Fiero Transformed I
Predator Xtreme – Vicari Auction via Motorious

To Santarsiero, his magnum opus was the 2021 Atlantis SuperConcept. This car was a refinement of the original Atlantis that took four years to build. While the Atlantis had to cruise with a Dodge Dakota V6 from the 1980s, the Atlantis SuperConcept got a 5.3-liter LS V8 from a Chevy Camaro, a GM 4L60 automatic, and a GM 10-bolt rear end. It made 460 HP, far better than the 125 HP that the old Dakota-based Atlantis made.

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Mecum Auctions

As for styling, Santarsiero modeled the Atlantis SuperConcept after Ralph Lauren’s 1937 Bugatti 57SC Atlantic, 1936 Mercedes Benz 500k Special Roadster, Figoni et Falaschi’s 1937 Delahaye 135MS Roadster. The colors and interior design of the Atlantis SuperConcept were modeled after the 1935 Duesenberg SJ Gurney-Nutting Speedster built for the Maharaja of Indore.

That car sold for $209,000 in a Mecum auction last year.

The Atlantis Stargazer

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WeBe Autos Consignment

That brings us to Santarsiero’s trike. According to Rare Car Network and Gatsby Magazine, Santarsiero took a trip to Mexico and when he was in a store, he saw a scale model of a Can-Am Spyder. He took the model home and began reshaping it in clay. When he was finished, Santarsiero took the 15-inch clay model to his friend, a fabricator of movie props for Hollywood. Santarsiero purchased a 2008 Can-Am Spyder and the two men made a full-size clay model.

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Parts were made from the clay and Santarsiero attached them to the Spyder, essentially making a three-wheeled Atlantis without a roof. He gave it the name Atlantis Stargazer to reflect its total lack of a roof. The Atlantis Stargazer is said to have taken a year to build and Santarsiero was reportedly building another, regular Atlantis while he was doing it. Unlike the Atlantis, Santarsiero didn’t bother with making any molds, so this Atlantis Stargazer is and will be the only one out there.

Top Gun E4
WeBe Autos Consignment

The design is stunning and a bit weird. The pair of front wheels sit two or three feet behind the fenders. The lights on those fenders are almost certainly straight, but like the lights of a Morgan Aero they also look like they’d be shining at each other.

Like the front tires, the single rear wheel appears to be a couple of feet in from the pointy rear fin. Obviously, this isn’t a trike you’ll be using to get in and out of steep parking lots. Also, don’t look at this thing straight on:

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WeBe Autos Consignment

Aside from the red seat, the Spyder is otherwise stock. Located deep within that new body is a 998cc 60-degree V-twin Rotax that makes 106 horsepower and 77 lb-ft of torque, sending it to the rear wheel through a five-speed manual transmission. A 2008 Can-Am Spyder weighs 840 pounds wet, and I can’t imagine the new body is any lighter. Thankfully, there is a reverse gear.

I’ve ridden a Can-Am Spyder and can tell you they are a ton of fun to ride. This one-off is a trike that would be so comfortable to eat up miles on and probably hilarious to send around canyon curves at speed. The private seller of the one and only 2008 Can-Am Atlantis Stargazer says it has just 1,700 miles on it, so the trike has probably spent most of its life on display somewhere.

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WeBe Autos Consignment

The price seems reasonable, too. The seller, located in Temecula, California, wants $34,995 or best offer for the one-off creation. That sounds like a lot of money, and it is. However, consider that a base model 2024 Can-Am Spyder F3 costs $22,099 and it doesn’t look like a 1930s Bugatti.

Sadly, it’s unclear what happened to Santarsiero after the Atlantis SuperConcept. I found a couple of his YouTube channels and a number of old websites. All of them have been dormant for years. If Santarsiero is still out there, it appears he’s not exactly advertising it. If you know any additional information about Santarsiero Concepts, send me an email at mercedes@theautopian.com.

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WeBe Autos Consignment

I love this build. Yes, it’s silly and totally impractical. I also can’t help but think the trike is looking at itself. Yet, you’re not going to see this anywhere else. You won’t even be able to buy another vehicle that looks like this without spending mega-money. So, kudos to Santarsiero for building something so far out there. It’s different, and in a good way.

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Tim Cougar
Tim Cougar
2 months ago

I’ve been wondering who built this for 15+ years: https://www.imcdb.org/vehicle.php?id=194527

G Reyes
G Reyes
2 months ago

I think this is the specific look they were going for (right down to the chrome vent swooshes/strakes):

https://www.petersen.org/vehicle-spotlights/1939-bugatti-type-57c-shah

James Carson
James Carson
2 months ago

Sorta, kinda inspired by Luigi Colani and Franco Sbarro?

ChefCJ
ChefCJ
2 months ago

Pretty sure I saw that on Batman the Animated Series

Jake Harsha
Jake Harsha
2 months ago

The Homer!

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
2 months ago

Anyone who does that to an original NSX deserves to be…

wait, lemme think of something…

something terrible…

Yes! Anyone who does that to an original NSX deserves to have something terrible done to them!

Electronika
Electronika
2 months ago

I like the concept of this but the execution is so out of proportion and exaggerated. The original French stuff was outrageous but just barely over the top. This goes too far and looks comical. And I don’t care what anyone says those lights are ridiculous and it doesn’t matter if they are straight or not, they look stupid.

Marlin May
Marlin May
2 months ago

They remind me a lot of Michael Leeds & Randy Grubb’s Blastolene creations like the B-702 – https://www.blastolene.com/B702/images/761.jpg – and the Decoliner – https://www.blastolene.com/images/deco/100_2207.jpg

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
2 months ago
Reply to  Marlin May

Love that Decoliner!

Morgan van Humbeck
Morgan van Humbeck
2 months ago

Every one of his creations is bite-your-hand beautiful and then there’s the Pit Bull. I’m convinced that was built by someone else. Wtf??

Ok_Im_here
Ok_Im_here
2 months ago

NGL, it had potential, until I saw the grill.

MATTinMKE
MATTinMKE
2 months ago
Reply to  Ok_Im_here

The headlights killed it for me.

Hugh Crawford
Hugh Crawford
2 months ago

Blue lobster

Especially from the front.

Cayde-6
Cayde-6
2 months ago
Reply to  Hugh Crawford

Hate the stock CanAm’s styling?

Why not Zoidberg?

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
2 months ago

Meh, I’ll take this Lincoln instead.

Electronika
Electronika
2 months ago

YES!!! That is fabulous See if I was rich, I would put THAT under a CanAm.

Balloondoggle
Balloondoggle
2 months ago

I think I saw a sedan version of this in Mos Eisley, down by the cantina.

Marlin May
Marlin May
2 months ago

It looks like something from Hello Tomorrow – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hello_Tomorrow! – which is to say, I totally dig it!

Ben
Ben
2 months ago

The first couple of shots of the Atlantis actually look pretty cool, but then I got to the front shots and it ruined the effect for me.

And whoever used an NSX as a donor car for this should be ashamed of themselves. I’m not outraged by someone taking a cheap car and putting an absurd body kit on it, but the NSX is a genuine classic in its own right and should never be used for something like this.

Alexk98
Alexk98
2 months ago

I wished I hadn’t clicked on the link for the Venenza. They took arguably one of the most beautiful cars of all time; an NA1 NSX, and turned it into a Temu LaFerrari with C7 headlights, and taillights that belong on a city bus. I sincerely hope zero of these kits were ever sold.

Arrest-me Red
Arrest-me Red
2 months ago

I would drive but not pay 34k for it

MAX FRESH OFF
MAX FRESH OFF
2 months ago

Oof, every single one one of these designs is fuglier than the last. This person took a Boxster and turned it into a unconvincing Lambo replica AND a NSX and turned it into a unconvincing Ferrari replica? The reason the photos of the trike are so low resolution is the ugliness is pitting the film/image sensor like hard radiation.

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
2 months ago
Reply to  MAX FRESH OFF

It also perplexes me that the more worthwhile builds, the ones of pre-war cars, use the most inadequate chassis/drivetrain combos with zero character (minus the Camaro-engine one, at least it’ll sound fun)

Ricardo Mercio
Ricardo Mercio
2 months ago

It’s interesting, if mildly offensive, to look at. The stock Can-Am dashboard, windscreen and mirrors stick out like a thumb so sore, it’s deeply in need of amputation as gangrene has firmly set in.

The “hood” is a straight line that blends into the rest of the curvy body about as seamlessly as the front of a Salsa Red Prius welds onto the back of a Camelia Red Subaru Baja.

The rest of it looks very aquatic and Chip-Foose-early-2000s-hot-rod-ish-concept, with incongruous cuts here and there that exist for their own sake and don’t connect with any other design elements. The wheel spats and headlight beaks are the worst offenders of that.

It’s a chimera of 3 completely unrelated designs, some a century apart, integrated with the tact of a pre-schooler attaching a yellow limb to a green clay doll and smudging it over with a thumb.

I hope it brings some hapless enthusiastic buyer just as much joy to ride as it brings me displeasure to see.

Last edited 2 months ago by Ricardo Mercio
Rapgomi
Rapgomi
2 months ago

I would love to see some build pictures of the body being created.

Steve P
Steve P
2 months ago

Who drives this stuff? Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward or Penelope Pitstop?

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
2 months ago
Reply to  Steve P

Ahem. Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward does not drive, Parker drives. And the Lady would not be caught dead in any land vehicle with less than six wheels.

Spikedlemon
Spikedlemon
2 months ago

Like a Corbin Merlin, but streeeeetched out to better proportions.

Cheats McCheats
Cheats McCheats
2 months ago

Ya know, I don’t hate it. And with all that work, a 15K premium over the cost of a can Am for all that isn’t unreasonable. But like NSX said, why did we leave the windshield alone. It could really have made this thing pop.

The NSX Was Only in Development for 4 Years
The NSX Was Only in Development for 4 Years
2 months ago

How are we going to spend thousands of dollars and hundreds of hours gluing things to a Can-Am Spyder and leave that gigantic old-guy Plexiglass windscreen completely unaltered.

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
2 months ago

I appreciate the dedication to the craft, but I legitimately shuddered and got a weird heebie-jeebies feeling looking at these. They’re in the uncanny valley’s uncanny valley, including the trike, which is clearly drawn from rejected character sketches of the production of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Bjorn A. Payne Diaz
Bjorn A. Payne Diaz
2 months ago
Reply to  Mechjaz

Yes, these give me the heebie jeebies.

James Kohler
James Kohler
2 months ago

It looks like a “ghost” vehicle from Halo. I have mixed feelings about it, but mostly amusement. Cool find!

Ecsta C3PO
Ecsta C3PO
2 months ago
Reply to  James Kohler

Yes, that’s it! I couldn’t quite place what my brain was connecting it to

Cayde-6
Cayde-6
2 months ago
Reply to  James Kohler

Hmmm…. I’m trying to decide between a Ghost or a Banshee

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