Written by independent automotive journalist Roger C. Johnson
If you ever wanted to get off the beaten path, or even the whole grid, here’s your chance. The Local Motors 2012 Rally Fighter Coupe (Lot #672) crossing the auction block with No Reserve at the Barrett-Jackson Las Vegas Auction is designed from the inside out to devour the most unreasonable roads or trails out there. Serious V8 horsepower from its LS Chevy small block and suspension-travel to burn make this car a brutal competitor on any surface. It has a top speed of 131 mph, despite the massive off-road tires it wears.
This front-engine, rear-wheel drive machine utilizes coilovers at all corners for a well-engineered driver on the street, or anywhere else you can think of. Yes, the Fighter is street legal – meaning it’s a fully emission-compliant creation, so you can maintain your respectability in the country club parking lot.
You can take on the worst conditions in style with air conditioning and heat, power windows and a modern stereo system. Don’t forget power locks to keep you and yours safe at all times. A healthy GM 4-speed automatic transmission lets you keep both hands mostly on the steering wheel for the utmost in control. Sport seats with a conventional three-point shoulder harness will keep you an attentive and connected driver. A military-grade shifter makes that final link to the driver with authority.
Like any good off-road machine, a roll cage is part of the original design. It’s actually a steel space-frame with a crash-cage built in. The interior is strikingly functional yet pleasantly engulfing of driver and passenger. The coupe rides on a 115-inch wheelbase, which has been a common passenger-car dimension for decades. This car weighs in at about 3,800 pounds, so it’s heavy-duty all the way. The design appears to have been influenced by any of the classic pony cars, but hard to say which one. Of course, that gives it all the more appeal.
As if a Rally Fighter needed more curb appeal, this one is wearing Pure Oil’s racing colors from the classic era. Even parked with the engine off, this car still looks like a noise and moving violation all at the same time. So if you have the urge to charge through the wilderness and you don’t want to get dirty because you’re wearing a tuxedo, make your escape with this very mechanism just by raising your hand to bid.