The top five secret automotive projects

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We hope this will inspire you to pursue your dreams. These people challenged the status quo, and they will be remembered for that. Horacio Pagani
A 17-year-old left his home in Argentina with a letter of recommendation from a mechanic. Without formal training, Ferrucio Lamborghini gave him a job of sweeping the floors. Two decades later, Horacio Pagani had risen through the ranks to the post of Chief Engineer of the House of Raging Bulls. Knowing full well that the future was in carbon fiber, he requested two autoclaves capable of forming the futuristic composite.

Lamborghini had recently been bought by Chrysler, and their bean counters insisted that carbon was a pipe dream. After mortgaging his house, he bought the tools needed to open Modena Designs. This allowed Pagani to patent several new materials, including carbotanium. The weaving of carbon fiber with titanium offers incredible strength, and it took the world by surprise with the first Pagani Zonda

Lexus Carbon Fiber Loom

Sakichi Toyoda invented Japan’s first motorized loom in 1905. Perfection in textiles is still sacred to the family, and it was remembered by the world when his great-grandson unveiled the Lexus LFA. Ordinary looms are great for 2-dimensional rugs, but something special is needed to form 3D pieces. The LFA took a decade to build because Akio Toyoda pushed its engineers beyond what the world said was possible.

Originally, the LFA was to consist of carbon fiber panels on an aluminum chassis, but that was not enough. Instead, he demanded that large parts of the car be formed from larger, stronger parts. Therefore, they invented the first loom capable of weaving carbon fiber in 3 dimensions. This machine itself is just as important as the car it made possible, and the boss is unlikely to share it with anyone else. Corvette Grand Sport

GM’s goal is to make money, not to build race cars. That’s what the bosses told Zora Duntov when they found out about his secret project. The man responsible for transforming the Vette from a hideous 6-cylinder into an injection supercar has been censored by headquarters.

Ordered to destroy the 5 prototypes, he loaned three to a Texan oil magnate and hid 2 in a former Chevrolet R&D garage. But he couldn’t stop. Continuous testing resulted in a reliable aluminum small block that offered 550 horsepower. Using fine fiberglass as bodywork paper, the cars weighed 1,500 pounds. Determined to show the world what Chevrolet is capable of, Zora prepared the No. 3, 4 and 5 cars for endurance racing. Beating the whole pack by 10 seconds again gave him trouble, so the schedule was officially canceled. He saved the cars from the crusher by giving them to friends, and they are some of the most valuable cars in the world Honda Jet

In 1986, four Honda engineers embarked on a top secret project. Private air travel was run by the same old manufacturers who rarely went out of their comfort zone. Honda doesn’t build jets, and they sure won’t build them in Greensboro, NC. That was the idea when the rumors started.

With efficiency as the top priority, they started with a blank sheet of paper. To minimize drag on the fenders, they were formed from a single solid aluminum stamping. It was also the first carbon fiber fuselage and the first business jet with an all-glass cockpit.

Given their new approach to aircraft engineering, they mounted the engines above the wing. Since the Wright brothers, this had been a recipe for drag and instability. Honda solved it by using the engine nacelles to cancel out the turbulent airflow between the wings and the fuselage. It took two decades to meet their own strict criteria, and the project was an incredible success.

Porsche

At the end of World War II, a former German car manufacturer was locked in a French prison. Ferdinand Porsche had sold his soul to the Third Reich by building the “Volkswagen” or “People’s Car”. Hitler had demanded a cheap car that could be sold to help build tanks, guns, battleships … whatever a madman likes.

France being bankrupt, they offered to release the old man for a million francs. To pay his ransom, Ferdinand Jr. worked under contract for racing teams while repairing cars, farm equipment, and other odd jobs. Using the frame of the Beetle, he rented an old sawmill in Austria and hired a few friends. After hammering some aluminum bodywork, he convinced dealers to support his project. This money allowed the old man to come home to see his last name on a sleek new sports car. The Porsche 356 was a gift from son to father, and it was the start of an empire.

This is the start of a new series that will unravel stories from the automotive world that you never could have imagined, so stay with us for all your automotive information.


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