Behold The Lowest Car In The World...
As motoring claims to fame go the title of ‘lowest car in the world’ is surely one of the strangest.
It’s also fast becoming one of the most coveted. Don’t believe us? Just ask the YouTube generation…
A trio calling themselves the Carmagheddon Group have built quite the following on the platform. More than 600,000 subscribers tune in to watch them test, invent and destruct, as their slogan promises.
To give you a flavour of this wacky but compelling channel, a recent upload saw them create a cyclable bath. Yes, really.
In that context their attempt to produce a vehicle mere centimeters from the ground sounds somewhat dull. It has though made for quite a spectacle.
The ‘battle’ to boast the lowest car in the world began with Batman. No, not Michael Keaton but rather a chap aspiring to be him. Or was it Adam West? Insert your favourite interpretation of the Caped Crusader here…
American Perry Watkins proudly unveiled his self-titled Flatmobile in 2007. A flattened version of the Dark Night’s legendary assault vehicle, this tribute commanded great attention.
It became the most famous in a series of creations by Watkins, who started his own company specializing in such custom projects.
The Flatmobile was to Oklahoma what the Batmobile was to Gotham, minus the adventure and we presume crime. It was comprised of two cars supplied by Hillman Imp in the UK. One was undone and mounted atop the other.
A small conception commanded big headlines as press and public alike marveled at how something measuring just 19 inches tall could be deemed street legal. But street legal it was, holding the title of lowest car in the world up until 2013.
That was the year nine teachers and 12 students from Okayama Sanyo High School in Japan debuted the Mirai.
At 17.79 inches from the ground this made the Flatmobile look like a comparative giant.
The Mirai was/is powered by six main batteries, while its driving unit is taken from the 1-car produced by Japanese CW Motors. In other words, it’s not particularly powerful.
Other drawbacks? Well, those behind the project are scared to drive it which is hardly a ringing endorsement. A top speed of 40km/h was deemed frightening on busy roads so what were dubbed ‘guiding cars’ were encouraged to lead the way.
Even so it entered the Guinness World Book of Records following 18 months of development.
This was some achievement given the body, chassis, lights, seat and steering wheel all originated from the school itself.
An all-important switch-console stemmed from a motorbike but this was every bit the classroom project.
Cutting A Fiat Panda In Half
The Mirai overcame (or should that be stooped lower?) than the competition for ten long years. That was until this month, when those ambitious YouTubers had a brainwave.
Given their Italian roots it’s no surprise Cocchi Rudi, Matteo Marzetti, and Nicola Guadagnin earmarked the popular Fiat Panda for some serious customisation.
The Panda is much loved for its compact design, which was about to get a whole lot smaller.
Having stumbled upon one in a US junkyard, the content creators set about cutting it in half, or at least slicing it just below the windows.
Quite incredibly the bottom half of the Panda was swapped out. In its stead came a go-kart like assembly, propped up by four small wheels akin to those seen on a supermarket trolley.
Between them, these provided just enough elevation to stop the ‘car’ scraping the surface. The structure was sensibly reinforced by a box frame.
So we hear you cry, how does it move? Not with an engine, that’s for certain.
Indeed hopes of replicating the Panda’s top speed of 101.9mph are fanciful. In this configuration drivers maneuver the car by virtue of those tiny wheels and standard go-kart pedals.
If you’re anything like us you’re asking whether this is at all safe. Not without some help it’s not.
Sure enough, a GoPro camera is required to monitor surrounding traffic. This transmits an image to a smartphone inside the contraption.
And what of the interior?
Well, anyone brave (or stupid) enough to get behind the wheel can only reach it by climbing through the back window and lying on their back.
This is not for the feint-hearted nor claustrophobic given there is no option to wind your windows down.
Unsurprisingly the world’s newest Lowest Car has been ruled illegal on UK roads.
But what does that matter when YouTube hits are there to be won?