Zombie car raised from dead
March 30, 2005 8:19 AM   Subscribe

The Aurora   (mostly pictures, slightly more info here). One car, two men, three decades of rust. Guy buys truly hideous 1957 prototype car from junkyard, restores it to gleaming unsightliness. Conne_ticut?
posted by planetkyoto (28 comments total)

 
Come on! You left out the punchline! It was designed by Father Alfred Juliano, a catholic priest. [Insert obligatory joke about effects of celibacy on automotive design.]
posted by 327.ca at 8:23 AM on March 30, 2005


[Insert obligatory joke about effects of celibacy on automotive design.]

I think you've got it backwards - driving something like this would eliminate any opportunities to break your celibacy.
posted by me & my monkey at 8:26 AM on March 30, 2005


fugly
posted by mischief at 8:28 AM on March 30, 2005


That car is awesome.
posted by drezdn at 8:31 AM on March 30, 2005


Seriously. That is one of the coolest cars I have ever seen.
posted by chrisroberts at 8:34 AM on March 30, 2005


I'd hit it.

I mean drive it. Drive it.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:39 AM on March 30, 2005


The fibreglass body is so heavy it takes four people to lift the bonnet

I've always wondered why fibreglass isn't used more for cars. Is it that much heavier than steel?
posted by 327.ca at 8:40 AM on March 30, 2005


Wouldn't the windshield shape ruin visibility? Distortion aside, once it got dirty there would be no way to clean it, short of climbing onto the hood of the car with a roll of paper towels and a bottle of glass cleaner. And forget rain...
posted by cmyk at 8:45 AM on March 30, 2005


Come on! You left out the punchline! It was designed by Father Alfred Juliano, a catholic priest. I was going to try for something about the ecclesiastical debate over removing the fuel line feeding the carburetor, but I didn't want to get slapped with a Schiavo tag.
posted by planetkyoto at 8:53 AM on March 30, 2005


I've always wondered why fibreglass isn't used more for cars. Is it that much heavier than steel?

I'm pretty sure Corvettes are mostly fibreglass shelled. It's probably more an issue of it being super-thick fibreglass from the '50s. Fibreglass is typically lighter than steel.

Very strange look to that thing. And exactly how did the reverend think people would be able to turn their seats around in time to protect themselves from a head-on crash?
posted by me3dia at 8:54 AM on March 30, 2005


Hmm. There's something familiar about that car. I can't help thinking I've seen something very similar, almost evocative of it. But where?
posted by Verdant at 9:10 AM on March 30, 2005


To add to me3dia's statement: Structurally, fiberglass is much more weight efficient than steel. Fiberglass as used today is typically an "advanced composite material" consisting of continuous fibers encased in a matrix of plastic resin. Such fiberglass is a close cousin of graphite, another composite material that is renown for its light weight and strength & stiffness. Fiberglass can also be used as chopped fibers that are only grossly oriented, but this is still relatively light.

If it really took four people to lift the hood on this car, it was either (1) a very inefficient use of fiberglass (where there was maybe more plastic resin than glass fibers), or (2) it was attached poorly and was very awkward to open and close. Based on what I see, I would vote on a combination of both.
posted by Doohickie at 9:13 AM on March 30, 2005



327.ca: I've always wondered why fiberglass isn't used more for cars. Is it that much heavier than steel?


There's no quick answer to that. Steels come in many grades, and fiberglass in many densities and matrix types. On the balance though, steel and fiberglass have comparable strength/weight ratios or "specific strengths"

That isn't the whole story though. Above strength, automotive bodies require durability or "toughness". fiberglass is notoriously brittle, which makes it inappropriate in an application where you'd want:

- small dents not to crack the entire panel
- lots of energy to be absorbed during a collision

Composite parts are also labour intensive to fabricate, and have poor quality control compared to punching out steel panels.

This is the best writeup I've seen on the difficulties selecting structural materials.
(The article focuses on bicycles but it applies to any structural design)

Oh yeah, and DAMN that car's fugly.
posted by Popular Ethics at 9:23 AM on March 30, 2005


Thanks for that, Pop.
posted by 327.ca at 9:28 AM on March 30, 2005


Such fiberglass is a close cousin of graphite, another composite material that is renown for its light weight and strength & stiffness.

How, exactly, is graphite a composite?
posted by salad spork at 9:29 AM on March 30, 2005


Doohickie meant composite material, spork.
posted by Floydd at 9:54 AM on March 30, 2005


Just goes to show a good coat of silver paint can take out a lot of ugly when it comes to car design.

Another hundred gallons should do the job....

J.
posted by JB71 at 10:16 AM on March 30, 2005


I swear at first I couldn't quite tell which bit is the front. It's outrageous.
posted by jackiemcghee at 10:20 AM on March 30, 2005


I suppose if you're experienced with fiberglass you can work out how to make it light and strong. But I copied a boat rudder in the stuff once and it weighed twice what the original did. There was probably so much patching and jury-rigging going on that the weight kept going up.

The 180-degree seats are hilarious. I can see someone saying, "Oh, I'm about to crash. Time to swivel..."
posted by QuietDesperation at 10:21 AM on March 30, 2005


Composite parts are also labour intensive to fabricate, and have poor quality control compared to punching out steel panels.
I recall people in the 70's putting down the Corvette’s fiberglass body. Because its body had a higher cost fix when involved in an accident. As a minor crash may result in replacing the full body panel(s) than the steel body panel(s) that are easily bondo-ed and or hammered out. Then using steel it was cheaper fixing a car involved in an accident. Today the costs may have switched between the two.
posted by thomcatspike at 10:49 AM on March 30, 2005


The Homer
posted by patrickje at 11:03 AM on March 30, 2005


I think it's smiling at me, laughing even . . .
posted by tr33hggr at 11:03 AM on March 30, 2005


Damn... I don't even think that whiny ass Luke Skywalker would drive this to Mos Eisley... Moisture farmer my ass...
/inane comment
posted by Debaser626 at 11:21 AM on March 30, 2005


Aaaw, I think it's cute. :)
posted by dabitch at 11:37 AM on March 30, 2005


I had a picture of one of these in a car book when I was a kid (I still have the book BTW). It was referred to as the Aurora Safety Car. Looked a lot bigger in the picture. Fascinating find planetkyoto.
posted by bdave at 4:16 PM on March 30, 2005


Thank you, Floydd....
posted by Doohickie at 9:55 PM on March 30, 2005


I still say the Pontiac Aztek is uglier.
posted by arto at 10:30 PM on March 30, 2005


tr33hggr reminds me,
before
after
posted by NinjaPirate at 1:03 AM on March 31, 2005


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