Here at Autoweb.co.uk, we’re firm fans of the unusual and off-piste. If you’re choosing your own path, swimming against the tide, even; we’re rooting for you.
And so it is that we bring you another clutch of car-related stories that puzzle, surprise and delight.
Holy car conversions, Robin
First, how about the father and son duo whose love of 1960s-era comic book heroes led them to convert a knackered old 1990s Skoda into the Batmobile.
If that sounds unlikely enough, the fact that they had a budget of just £150 will probably send your doubts soaring.
Set them aside, though. Because, as the pictures show, they’ve actually made a fairly decent fist of it, all considered.
Builder Findlay Erskine, 40, took on the conversion as a technical education project for 12yo son Lewis, who is home-schooled.
A friend gave them the donor car, a Skoda Octavia hatchback. They cut off the roof and fashioned new body panels using MDF board attached to a frame, before painting it Batmobile black and orange. They then fitted it with speakers so that it could blast out the Batman TV theme.
Lewis said: ‘I’m a gigantic Batman fan. I love the new movies like The Dark Knight Rises but I’ve also watched the older programmes with the Joker and Penguin on TV. Dad loves Batman too. I’ve been getting lessons at home for the past year, so this was my woodwork project.’
What you see here is the result of two weeks of work in evenings and all day Saturdays and Sundays. It’s earned them a measure of fame as it’s toured fairs and other charity events this home around their home in Linlithgow, west Lothian.
Armadillo: tough for the city
Next… is squeezing your car into tight parking spaces the thing you hate most about driving? This south Korean inventor may have the answer.
He’s developed a new breed of car. Called the Armadillo, this vehicle curls itself into a ball on demand – just like its South American namesake. It, too, has a shell that it can retract itself into.
The two seater’s parking cleverness is Smartphone-controlled and, yes, there is a safety mechanism that prevents it from crushing hapless passengers who might otherwise be trapped inside. Its inventors say it is small enough to park on a street corner.
Drive-thru with a difference
Now then. Check out the picture with this story. At first glance, this looks like a bay in which to jet-wash your car. But, drive into one of these places in Zurich, Switzerland, and the only things likely to get rinsed are your libido and your wallet.
Called sex boxes, they’re where Swiss prostitutes ply their trade. They’re X-certificate drive-thrus; no more and no less. Prostitution is legal in the country, and the boxes are an effort by local authorities to move clients cruising in their cars out of residential areas and to edge-of–town industrial areas where they’re less likely to upset local people.
It also protects the prostitutes because local police keep the booths under surveillance.