Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Slipcover autobody

No more waxing!
  [vote for,

While some of the exterior of an automobile's body is required for structural integrity, much of it is there simply to hide the inner workings. If it happens to look good, so much the better.

All that painted metal comes with a price, though. It has to be kept clean, it adds unnecessary weight to the car and it's subject to damage that can be costly to repair.

The obvious solution is to do away with the auto body altogether, but that's been done. The next obvious solution is to replace the steel with something rigid but lightweight, like fiberglass - but that's been done. Ah, but fabric...

So the gist: auto frames are slightly reconfigured to provide attachment points for our "automotive slipcovers". The interior (passenger compartment, trunk/boot) remains intact and watertight. The engine compartment would probably require some sort of mesh to keep people and things from falling into the fan and pulleys. Accommodations will have to be made for mounted electronics like speakers in doors, but there's no real obsticle there, either.

Automobile manufacturers provide one (kit) with the purchase of a car and what you do after that is up to you. The handy seamst/er/ress would probably be able to whip out the 5 to 10 panels required fairly quickly, and a whole new market could spring up over night. Custom designs/fabrics would be the rage, with leanings toward family tartans and tie-dyes. Your whole car can easily become a giant advertisement. And that doesn't even take into consideration the backlighting/fiber optic fabric possibilities.

No more paint chips 'cause there's no more paint. No more dent-pulling 'cause there's no more dents. Mechanical maintenance is vastly simplified because everything is easier to get to. Washing your car takes on a whole new meaning. And it discourages people from tossing cigarette butts out their window.

phoenix, Jun 05 2003

Fabric and resin and a well known brand name. http://home.clara.n...rfrost/trabant.html
But not the same. [egbert, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 21 2004]

DaimlerChrysler Smart Roadster http://www.smart.com
Uses snap-on plastic panels for colour customization. [waugsqueke, Oct 04 2004]


       Concerns: fire, water, theft.
4th para: obstacle.
Other than that, Kewell.
thumbwax, Jun 05 2003

       The answer, my friend, is flapping in the wind.
Cedar Park, Jun 06 2003

       I think the old Rover sedans had replaceable aluminum body panels; Pontiac Fieros had (sort of) removable/replaceable plastic body parts. A number of cars today also have plastic body panels, so that part of the idea isn't so odd. Perhaps you could find an old Rover or Fiero (or maybe a Lotus 7 kit?) and attempt to cover it with fabric. I think you'd encounter some interesting challenges...
whlanteigne, Jun 06 2003

       "Martha it's such a lovely day, we should wash the car."

“It’s already hanging on the line love."

       Ouch! I accidentally deleted an annotation where the annotator asked (perhaps facetiously) why an auto body had to be kept clean. Sorry, that was an accident.   

       The answer is that there are states here in the U.S. where one isn't allowed to drive cars with severe rust damage to the body.
phoenix, Jun 06 2003

       adobe car
calculust, Jun 08 2003

       I meant to thank [thumbwax] for the spelling correction, too. I'll leave the misspelling for posterity.
phoenix, Jun 08 2003

       I came across this idea searching on Google to see if a simmilar product existed.   

       Nice idea. I'm sure it could be done if enough people wanted it.... no car company is going to take the risk though.   

       The first aircraft used the same concept really, a wooden frame was used to created the structure and cloth stretched over the frame to create the skin. The material was then painted with dope to stiffen the material for aerodynamic resons, which wouldn't be such an issue on a car.   

       In the meantime, how about fabric panels which strech over existing metal panels? they could be elastices and be held on with velcro so you could have a respectable work car during the week, and a party car on the weekends.
trialex, Apr 22 2004

       a friend from a former eastern-bloc country swore that the trabants were made with cardboard panels
FlyingToaster, May 04 2008

       plenty of jeeps built that way.
pashute, Apr 11 2016


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