Mark Frauenfelder at 2:00 pm Mon, Jun 18, 2012
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Campsite has photos of a Toyota concept car called the Camette, "developed to attract the growing younger market of drivers."
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Mark Frauenfelder is the founder of Boing Boing and the editor-in-chief of MAKE and Cool Tools. Twitter: @frauenfelder. His latest book is Made by Hand: My Adventures in the World of DIY
MORE: cars • design
Buy this book about 60-foot tall Lava Lamps, among many other things
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If Toyota wants younger people to drive more, they should offer to reduce our student loans.
Reminds me of the car from Brazil: http://www.arosmotorveteraner.se/images/1954_Messerschmitt_KR175.jpg
As a young person, I’m not sure how I feel about that.
Apparently the 3 wheeled Messerschmitt cars of the 1950s were licensed to foreign country’s motorcycle makers.
there a big push to bring back these 3 wheelers with tandem seats.
Kinda like metermaid cars… Here’s mine:
And the one I had before that:
http://missannethropesblog.blogspot.com/2012/06/mini-car-museum.htmlJust saw a whole museum of these tiny cars this weekend. Bubble cars, macro cars, mini trucks and a few classic Vespas to boot. Great designs but as for functionality, well, they were a product of their time post WW2 with limited factories, supplies, etc. The car from Brazil, did the door open up?
We’ve had similar cars in Australia for a while.
Adorable, but could it possibly be safe enough to meet US crash test standards?
Why shouldn’t it be?
Americans need armored behemoths on wheels to feel safe?
When everyone else is driving an armored behemoth, yes. The biggest problem is that you can’t see anything when the top of your windshield is lower than the bottom of everyone else’s windshields. That and the fact that the worst drivers buy the largest vehicles since they know that they’re going to be getting into accidents all the time.
Oh, I thought it was because they had tiny pee-pees.
Supposedly those little Smart Cars are quite crash safe. That’s what happens when your entire vehicle is a low inertia roll cage on wheels. No reason these shouldn’t be just as safe.
Or you could just call it a “city car” and not worry about all that stuff… Not every car needs to go on the highway, after all.
these cars don’t have enough body to serve as a crush zone. the entire car would get crushed, or torn asunder. see photo.
I drive a Honda Fit, and have been in a five car pile up in one. The entire cab was a safe zone. It’s the only car that I could find with:
1. Cargo space enough to carry small furniture or road trip.
2. A back bed that folds fully flat so you really can sleep back there.
3. The ability to fit into a Long Beach one-car garage.
4. A roof line that’s actually as much as 4″ higher than a lot of sedans, so it can be clearly seen by any SUV’s you’re behind. When I first bought, I went with a friend who had a tall one to see if he could see the car in the rear view. (It has the added bonus of comfortably seating people who are over 6′.)
I wouldn’t recommend anything smaller on an L.A. freeway.
The front end of the Fit is short. So the car is a loss if you have a front-end collision at freeway speeds. That said, in the accident I was involved in, the front end was completely gone, and cab inside remained untouched. The car is simply designed very, very well for safety.
My Grandfather joined a “camping club”, but was the only one for awhile without a camper. He converted one half of his 1952 V.W. Beetle into a camper, he had more than enough room & storage. He got the idea I guess when he was in the war. In Germany, he saw many Beetles converted to suit almost any need. Your post reminded me of this.
People who drive big cars think everything else is big, like the breaks and the stopping power. Operators of large vehicles sometimes have a false sense of security, but they are the ones that roll over and die instead. I took a class B driving course, to drive an articulated bus. I ride a motorcycle now, and the training I received in being an “aggressive defensive driver”, has kept me safe as a rider since 1999. I’m constantly reading the road. Oh, and if you see an accident about to happen to you, when you’re driving and someone is pulling out in front of you, aim for WHERE THEY ARE, by the time you get to that spot, they won’t be there, works every time.
So SUVs are like nuclear bombs then. Bummer :-/
Some friends of my parents were in a head-on collision in town, going ~30 mph. They were driving a Prius, and the vehicle that crossed the center line into their lane was a Ford Explorer. The couple were both severely injured, multiple fractures and trauma. The husband is still in rehab from a reconstructed hip and femur, and will *probably* be able to walk again. This happened last fall. The driver of the Explorer walked away without injury.
So, what Antinous said…
I know this is anecdotal, but ever since, I’ve been looking at the front end of a Prius a little differently (There isn’t one). I’m all for small engines and efficiency, but give me a hood and some crumple zones. I’m a safe driver, but there are a lot of unsafe drivers with armored behemoths out there…
My mother was driving in a 4×4 in Texas on a highway where there was no light. Someone had abandoned their vehicle in the lane — didn’t even have it towed off the road. airbags did not deploy, and her sister’s father-in-law had to be airlifted while my mom and her sister were taken to hospital in an ambulance. so even the bigger vehicles on the road are in danger from freak accidents.
I am very sorry this happened. And I understand, driving is dangerous, and freak accidents are possible for anyone. My take on ultra-light or ultra-compact cars, including smart cars and the like, is that your chances of surviving a collision against an SUV or other large vehicle are extremely diminished. Just saying.
The Prius was a crash bag for the Explorer tank. The Explorer is built to not-deform. So the energy of the crash had to be absorbed by something else: the Prius. Drivers of SUVs are using all the cars around them, and the people in those cars, as convenient steel air bags to save themselves. The solution is to remove the Explorers and such like them from the road. They are slaughtering us. The only purpose of a tank among cars is to win and make everyone else lose. SUVs are useless in a crash against a wall or another SUV. They must hit another car for their “strength” to protect their drivers.
Two words: Suzuki Samurai
My folks had one of those as a replacement car after their truck got damaged. It was great, you didn’t need a jack to replace a tire, you just put the vehicle in your back pocket and jog to the next service station.
Amazingly fun to drive. It’s a shame they’re growing pretty rare these days.
The draw back was the short wheel base which led to constant jolting even on highways.
My car was hit in a freak accident last month. It stalled out on the highway and then a semi hit me. I’m very VERY lucky to have walked away. Had the semi hit one of these cars, there’s no way the driver or passengers would live.
Glad you came out OK :)
Why should they meet US crash test standards? It’s more or less a single-person vehicle, like a motorcycle.
Second one reminds me of the Citroën Mehari for some reason
Looks like the post-WW2 mini-cars designed to be light and easy to make.
The bolt-on fenders have a touch of Jeep Wrangler, and that may be intentional.
A Citroen out of a Kinder egg.
A futuristic two-door Lego Kublewagen.
Really cool concept car both in design and purpose.
I will take the brown one, please.
Well shit, they got me on board and I’m one of those in the “younger market”.
That is ugly as sin.
To each his or her own. That second one makes me drool.
For myself, I’d be just as happy to get something the size of a veloster or a matrix for ~15k or so.
How young do they propose their target market to be? Looks to me like they’re aiming for 7-11.
Actually, I think you’re right. According to other articles about this thing, it’s not even street legal. It was reveled at the Tokyo Toy Show.
It is for kids. The parent sits in the back with a remote that gives them control. Seems no one wants to read original articles anymore.
Thus the eerie resemblance to the Cozy Coupe.
I’m reminded somewhat of the VW “Thing”. I wonder if this is going to be similar…
A Toyota Kübelwagen.
I’d love one.
That’s what it reminded me of! I got a total WW2 vibe and pictured dudes in goggles and dusters careening through North Africa. Just couldn’t figure out why.
I should have scrolled down….I thought “Lego Kublewagen.”
+1 for George Best
Actually that second one looks.. well kinda pretty damn cool. The utilitarian look brings to mind scifi. I think they nailed their market.
those doors look like they can chop off many little hands.
Looks like a slightly less rubbish Mini Moke
Holy cow… I wonder if they’ll ever get around to shutting up and taking my money…
Why would you need to drive to the farmer’s market/coffee shop at all? This seems like a desperate attempt to convince urban hipsters that a car is necessary for life, when they’ve already realized it isn’t. People who have already bought into that myth already have cars without weird green exterior greebling.
As long as these aren’t dogs to drive like the Smart Fortwo is, I’m sold.
I thought first-time buyers mostly bought second-hand?
other than the “wash out your car while exiting in a rainstorm” feature, add an after-market cage and I’m in.
Pssh. Doors & a roof needlessly complicate things.
NAILED IT !!!!
Very very similar to the 1965 King Midget as seen at the delightful Microcar Museum. Check out the hood, grill, fenders, lights. Also the squared off back end and little rear fender. Heck the one in the museum is even the same color as the show car.
I was just about to post the link to the Microcar Museum but PS beat me to it.
Many of the French cars in the MCM are built specifically to not require a driver’s license in France. These cars have most of the bells and whistles of the cars requiring a license but are their speeds are restricted by a limiter and I believe the age and insurance requirements are lower. If you get a license, or have a license when you buy the vehicle, you can have the limiter disabled.
These cars are meant as city cars, or rural, village type cars and are popular among the young and the elderly. I wish the United States had such a tradition. They are called quadricycles.
Here is the website of one manufacturer.
So basically a golf cart.
Well, more along the lines of a Smart-car….oh wait…
But kidding aside, they are kinda between golf-carts and Smart-cars in specs and from what I reckon, uses. As for price, price is kinda midway between a nice golf-cart and a Smart-car too.
I’m not an expert – I’ve never seen one of these French mini-cars in person, but I have read various websites and etcetera.
Holly crap! I didn’t realize how SMALL they were!
Because if there’s one thing the youth of today want, it’s ugly cars with no passenger room.
Apparently this car is a toy. No really, it’s being shown at the Tokyo Toy Show – it’s literally for children.
I’m kinda disappointed – I got excited by the replaceable panels to customize the look of it
Whether this one is a toy or not, with some refinement in the design (concept is great but lacking in some implementation details IMO) I would love something like this.
Kind of a cross between a Fiat 500 and a Smart, but with good looks, would be my ideal. I do like the looks of the Fiat 500 quite a lot but wouldn’t buy one myself without some revision. I prefer the whimsical design of small European cars from the 50′s and 60′s, including the original small Fiats.
I do think that with the success of the Fiat 500 we might finally be entering a new age of cars that actually look good. Almost nothing from the past two decades – including modern supercars etc. – looks as cool to me as cars from the 70′s and earlier. The Fiat 500 isn’t perfect, but it’s a great start.
They look like amphibious cars. Please tell me they’re that ugly because they float.
Isn’t it a design flaw to make a car that looks amphibious, but isn’t?
The look like they were built on the old VW Beetle platform which leads me to…they should be offered as kits and then we’d actually be able to drive these concepts. Otherwise, we can basically fergit it.
Reminds me of the Nash Metropolitan. My grandparents had one of those.
i love how they look, unlike the smart cars that are horrid looking. i’d get one of these in a second if it rocked on gas mileage.
I actually like the brown one. If they made it AWD or 4X4 it looks to be a fun car. However what are the green dials for? Tool free panel removal? That seems a bit much.
The only problem I have with these sorts of cars in Canada, is the trunk/boot. Car makers that wish to sell in Canada have to ask themselves one question: “Can I fit a bag of hockey gear in there?” If the answer is no, then go back to the drawing board til it does. If there is no place for hockey sticks and gear, it just isn’t going to work.
Though I see an impossible looking back seat in that thing. My suggestion would be to ditch the back seat which is really going to be useless anyway, and expand the trunk. I mean those back seats look to be about a foot or so wide, who is actually going to sit back there? If it is just styling, then get rid of them and provide more practical trunk room at least. Do that and make it AWD, keep the decent ground clearance and you have a car that would be great in the snow.
That’s the problem with any of those little commuter cars, ever try them in the snow, or during a winter storm? Why do you think Suberu is so successful? The only problem with them however for younger drivers, not everyone really wants to drive an large SUV or wagon.
Anyway if you look at the small inexpensive AWD market, there is really very little competition (basically 3 cars, only 1 if you insist on standard transmission which of course is the Subaru Impreza).
I used to have a VW Fox wagon made in Brazil and when I replaced the shocks I had huge ground clearance. I used to take it up icy jeep trails and hop over curbs to escape parking lots. Front wheel drive + high ground clearance + cargo area.
If the old Datsun mini pickup truck were redone in front wheel drive, that staggered 1+2 seating arrangement, and maybe a 4 ft bed, it would be huge.
Does Toyota want those whippersnappers to launch a North African campaign?
I love the styling. I’d buy one.
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