I like the “steampunk” look-exposed rivet heads and polished brass and copper. What are the chances that some daring designed will break with the melted ice-cube styles that everybody is pushing these days? I could see a nice sedan made like Capt. Nemo’s “Nautilus”-i think it would be a nice break with the present dull designs…much as Ford’s Taurus model ushered in the whole present styling meme.
IMHO (where this maybe should be moved)… no chance in hell.
Steam Punk isn’t “mainstream” which is what they normally design for since they want to actually sell as many cars as possible. There is also that aerodynamic part of the equation, which leads to higher gas mileage numbers which a car brand has to meet.
You could probably find a custom designer to build you one though… hope you have a big wallet.
Get a Spyder and customize it yourself. You should start with concept art to get an idea where you want to go before you start doing anything to any actual vehicle. You may come up with a design that will best of show or you may decide it wasn’t such a smashing idea after all.
At some point, shouldn’t all car bodies/external designs be custom?
That time was in the 20’s and 30’s… not all cars, but the high end ones.
get a Miata and go to town, you can grab an NA (early model one from the 90’s) for a couple k, not only can you add your own rivets you could modify the top ( they are convertables) into something steampunk and you could mod the pop up headlights as well.
A lot of the cars were finished with customized bodies, including arrays of side pipes and the like. Later in the 50s when it was supposed to be space aged design there was still a steam punky feel to it, although in a different direction, I guess the steam punk space age version of cars, they look flat out ridiculous now sometimes, but they had bulky fins, odd recessed holes, and bulging lights.
They made the PT cruiser in a retro hot rod type of style, decades after such things lost their appeal, wait long enough and there may be a Steam model. If you wanted to convert a car now it may be easiest to do the exterior with paint where it would affect performance and redo the interior with a lot of steam punkish stuff.
So, what about low-end cars? I don’t see why basic cars can’t be offered with a customizable “shells.”
Unitized body construction makes that more complicated than back when you could bolt kit cars onto vw or corvair frames.
Check out the http://arielatom.com/ - is that steampunky enough?
In addition to what Scumpup noted… if you start offering many different “shells” for niche markets you lose economy of scale and your low-end car suddenly becomes very expensive.
Many mid to low-end cars do offer different body styles, like sport, standard, luxury, etc. Steam Punk just hasn’t hit the demand level yet to justify.
I think there would be a small, but affluent market for such a car style. As I say, I find exposed rivet and bolt heads sexy looking, reminds me of the “Nautilus”.
And those small… small being the key word, but affluent buyers will commission a custom builder to make them an one off steam punk version of whatever.
Just don’t expect any major car maker to list this as a standard option in their brands.
ETA: A very small percentage of the general population is into steam punk. I don’t want to drive the Nautilus to work each day.
Between automated Google cars and 3D printing, we will see huge changes in how to answer this question.
- Automated cars will change the nature of car ownership - very few people will own their own cars.
- 3D printing will lead to post-mass-production consumer products where everything will be customize-able - you print it in your house or the local printing center which can handle more media, sizes and complexity.
So - in a generation or two, will a group of people who agree to go in on a shared car be able to dial it up as a Steampunk-mobile with a bunch of cool additions and style points? I can see it.
Customization is getting easier and easier with web applications and modern manufacturing. Nike allows you to make custom shoes, Scion allows you to significantly customize your cars and as noted above, 3D printing promises even greater flexibility.
Also, steampunk is becoming more and more mainstream. There are millions of people who would pay extra for steampunk elements in a car.
I think the safety/fuel economy/manufacturing considerations are the biggest barriers, but I don’t see them as something that couldn’t be overcome with some ingenuity and higher costs.