Burning Man in Popular Mechanics: 10 Cool Art Cars

Popular Mechanics just published a story, “10 Wild Art Cars From Burning Man

Some highlights:

The Golden Mean

Metal artist Jon Sarriugarte built a 12-foot snail on top of a 1966 VW Beetle floor pan. The galvanized scrap metal is cut into “scales” and welded together. 

Because the vehicle is intended to carry up to 19 people, Sarriugarte replaced the stock VW suspension with airbags and a compressor that can vary the load-carrying capacity. The engine is hot-rodded and has a large snorkel system to keep sand out during Black Rock Desert sandstorms. The steering linkage and brake systems are a custom design, he says, but the rearview mirror and a split rear window are homages to the original Beetle. Small balls of flames shoot from the vehicle’s antennae, and the vehicle is licensed for street use. 

The Golden Mean won’t be at this year’s Burning Man, though, since Sarriugarte and his wife, Kyrsten Mate, are bringing two new 50-foot-tall wheeled serpent vehicles instead.

Official site here.

From the Golden Mean, you can derive the Nautilus. But not this one:

all photos by Scott London

The Nautilus

The 9000-pound Nautilus is inspired by Jules Verne’s submarine from Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea. Its base is a 2005 Eagle TT8 diesel airport tug with four-wheel drive. 

Californians Christopher and Amber Marie Bently conceived the idea; Five Ton Crane, creators of art sculptures in the San Francisco Bay area, built it. The Nautilus is 25 feet long and 12 feet tall and made of laser-welded steel with decorative rivets lining the hull. The engine and steering controls are on the “bridge” of the machine. The Nautilus features surround sound, a library, a map room, and a full bar.

Neverwas Haul

Shannon O’Hare of Vallejo, Calif., took the frame of a fifth-wheel camping trailer and built a three-story Victorian mansion on top.

The powertrain for the motorhome is from an 80-year-old forklift three-cylinder motor driving a hydraulic pump that in turn powers a wheel motor connected to an International pickup truck axle. The driver steers the front-drive machine from a command deck in the front of the vehicle via hydraulic cylinders.

The first floor of the mansion is the “engine room”; it’s made of a steel frame to support the upper levels. Upstairs is a lounge deck that will hold about 10 people, O’Hare says. Above that is an observation deck. 

A 70-gallon propane tank fuels the machine, which tours the Burning Man playa daily during the event, covering about 30 miles a day. For the 2012 festival, the Neverwas Haul is getting a new three-cylinder Kubota engine.

Berserker

For the 2006 Burning Man festival Scott Cocking of San Diego studied spoke-wheel construction and set out to create 4-foot-diameter wheels out of 15-inch car wheels and 4-foot-diameter plastic drainpipe to carry the machine. Each aluminum car wheel is used as a hub, drilled with 96 holes for spokes. The three wheels have 26-inch tires stretched over them, and the machine is powered by bicycle-style gears, chains, and pedals. Cocking reports that about 1200 screws are used to hold the tires to the plastic drainpipe, and his custom-made spokes are held to each wheel with more than 1700 eyebolts, nuts, and washers. The steering system is by cable, with 12 pulleys, and large tanks of propane behind the seats of the Berserker are used for the fire cannons Cocking designed.

…and here’s how to build your own one.

 

7 comments on “Burning Man in Popular Mechanics: 10 Cool Art Cars

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