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Old 06-11-2008, 02:36 PM   #1
Porter
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Lightbulb BMW Builds A Shape-Shifting Car Out Of Cloth

No, really. And they call it a 'Gina. You can't make this up, folks.

http://blog.wired.com/cars/2008/06/bmw-builds-a-ca.html


Quote:
BMW Builds a Shape-Shifting Car Out of Cloth
By Chuck Squatriglia | June 10, 2008 | 12:38:21 PMCategories: Autopia WTF? Dept., Concept Cars



Concept cars give automotive designers a chance to let their imaginations run wild, often with outlandish results. But even by that measure, BMW has come up with something as strange as it is innovative -- a shape-shifting car covered with fabric.

Instead of steel, aluminum or even carbon fiber, the GINA Light Visionary Model has a body of seamless fabric stretched over a movable metal frame that allows the driver to change its shape at will. The car -- which actually runs and drives -- is a styling design headed straight for the BMW Museum in Munich and so it will never see production, but building a practical car wasn't the point.

Chris Bangle, head of design for BMW, says GINA allowed his team to "challenge existing principles and conventional processes."

"It is in the nature of such visions that they do not necessarily claim to be suitable for series production," company officials said in unveiling the car Tuesday. "Rather, they are intended to steer creativity and research into new directions."

Giving Bangle and his team that latitude to design so radical a car "helps to tap into formerly inconceivable, innovative potential" to push the boundaries of appearance and materials as well as functions and the manufacturing process, BMW says.

Bangle and is team actually built GINA -- which stands for "Geometry and functions In 'N' Adaptions" -- six years ago, but BMW kept it under, er, wraps until Tuesday. It's built on the Z8 chassis and has a 4.4-liter V8 and six-speed automatic transmission. BMW says the fabric skin - polyurethane-coated Lycra - is resilient, durable and water resistant. It's stretched over an aluminum frame controlled by electric and hydraulic actuators that allow the owner to change the body shape. Want a big spoiler on the back? Wider fenders? No problem. "The drastic reinterpretation of familiar functionality and structure means that drivers have a completely new experience when they handle their car," BMW says.

GINA has just four panels - the front hood, two sides and the rear deck. The doors open in jack-knife fashion and are completely smooth when closed; access to the engine is through a slit in the hood. BMW says the shape of the body can be changed without slackening or damaging the fabric. The fabric is opaque so the taillights shine through, and small motors pull the fabric back to reveal the headlights.

The interior is equally innovative. The steering wheel and gauges swing into place and the headrest rises from the seat once the driver is seated, making it easier to get in and out of the car.

BMW says GINA is built on a space frame that provides all the safety of a conventional car, but we suspect people - not to mention BMW's lawyers and government regulators - wouldn't embrace fabric bodies. Still, the company says GINA could influence the design of future Beemers.

Photos and video by BMW.
More photos at the link above, and video.
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Old 06-11-2008, 02:52 PM   #2
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i wonder if it will shrink and crush the car when it rains


edit:.. just realized its water resistant
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Old 06-11-2008, 03:10 PM   #3
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Spandex car - show me the heini!
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Old 06-11-2008, 03:15 PM   #4
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another thing people can slash rather than just tires!
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Old 06-11-2008, 03:18 PM   #5
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Good lord, a zipper on the hood....
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Old 06-11-2008, 03:21 PM   #6
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It kind of freaked me out when the car "winked" at me towards the end of that video.
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Old 06-11-2008, 03:33 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E. Nick View Post
Spandex car - show me the heini!
They already show you the 'gina
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Old 06-11-2008, 03:40 PM   #8
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Makes me want to put on my zip up mask and start cleaning floors...
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Old 06-11-2008, 04:02 PM   #9
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That is seriously cool! Well, for a styling exercise
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Old 06-11-2008, 04:29 PM   #10
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I think this is an awesome idea. Throw the cloth in the washing machine instead of giving it a car wash! Easy!
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Old 06-11-2008, 04:30 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lantec View Post
another thing people can slash rather than just tires!
Bangle said that they could replace the entire skin in about 2 hours. Compare that to a body shop fixing a few panels that have been keyed.


Fabric roofs have been very popular not only from a design standpoint, but from a weight and cost standpoint as well. I don't see why that same line of thinking couldn't be applied to vehicles.

Last edited by Calamity Jesus; 06-11-2008 at 04:35 PM.
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Old 06-11-2008, 04:34 PM   #12
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This thing is getting tons of press but from what I understand is it's a 10 year old concept being put into the BMW museum.
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Old 06-11-2008, 04:38 PM   #13
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Here come the snakeskin cars...

That is seriously cool however. The hood & tailgate changed shape; better highspeed downforce, or lower drag; flick of a switch.
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Old 06-11-2008, 04:43 PM   #14
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wind noise much? :P
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Old 06-11-2008, 04:55 PM   #15
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wind noise much? :P
I fail to see what the flap is all about.
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Old 06-11-2008, 06:42 PM   #16
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So instead of waxing my car, I get to iron it?

It looks kind of cool imo. I liked the tail lights at the end of the vid.
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Old 06-11-2008, 07:07 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Beaverboy View Post
Bangle said that they could replace the entire skin in about 2 hours. Compare that to a body shop fixing a few panels that have been keyed.


Fabric roofs have been very popular not only from a design standpoint, but from a weight and cost standpoint as well. I don't see why that same line of thinking couldn't be applied to vehicles.
true. never thought about that... it's just.. too weird
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Old 06-11-2008, 07:22 PM   #18
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In my mind, it is Bangle's best work yet. I really like the styling and the fact that with cloth every line flows on the car.
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Old 06-11-2008, 09:31 PM   #19
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That is effing rad. I'd love to see this in person.
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Old 06-11-2008, 10:12 PM   #20
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Quote:
The fabric is opaque so the taillights shine through
Uh huh.
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Old 06-11-2008, 10:25 PM   #21
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Wonder where they got that name from
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Old 06-11-2008, 10:46 PM   #22
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that is the coolest thing i've seen in a very long time.
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:37 PM   #23
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^^^ +1, can't believe I'm saying it but good job Bangle.
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Old 06-11-2008, 11:45 PM   #24
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i think its quite awesome too.. motor would run a bit cooler as well.. and changing the color of the car in 2 hrs.. fresh.
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Old 06-12-2008, 01:08 AM   #25
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I think this is kind of a natural conclusion to Bangle's "surface entertainment" concept. After all, he's been trying to make sheet metal look like streched cloths for all these years. And I really like it. I always thought Bangle bimmers were very different without being much inspired, but this one is just awesome creativity.
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