1-of-50: 2014 Local Motors Rally Fighter

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It is easy for some classics to fall into a specific category, but others pose a more significant challenge. Such is the case with this 2014 Local Motors Rally Fighter. It is part muscle car and part kit car. Its engine promises impressive open-road performance, while its suspension should allow it to cope with harsh terrain. Even the build process defies industry norms, but the fact is that only around fifty of these beauties rolled from the factory floor. This is a genuine survivor, although it has only clocked a few miles on the fresh V8 under the hood. Its next journey could be to a new home, with the seller listing the Rally Fighter here on Facebook Marketplace in Scranton, Pennsylvania. They set their price at $79,900, and I must say a big thank you to Barn Finder Tony P for spotting this quirky classic.

Local Motors was founded in 2007 in Phoenix, Arizona, by John B. Rogers Jr. The company’s approach to design and construction was revolutionary, focusing on low-volume models produced in multiple small facilities. Some companies allow buyers to observe their classic being built. Local Motors encouraged buyers to roll up their sleeves, walk out onto the factory floor, and bolt their new purchase together with assistance from company technicians. This approach reduced labor costs and allowed vehicles to gain kit car certification. Even the approach to design was revolutionary, with Local Motors using a “co-design” philosophy where website users submitted design ideas and concepts for possible production. The body of the Rally Fighter was penned by a private individual, not one of the more renowned styling houses. I’m unsure why the company chose the Rally Fighter name for this vehicle, but its lines and stance suggest it would look at home competing in the Baja 1000 or the Dakar Rally. The body is constructed of fiberglass, so there are no chances of rust. It is bolted to a tubular steel frame that looks remarkably robust. These are purposeful vehicles, with the impact enhanced by the Semi-Gloss Black paint and high stance. This Rally Fighter presents well, but it isn’t a trailer queen. It has 31,000 miles on the clock, with the seller using it as its designers intended. The paint looks consistent across the vehicle, with no significant imperfections. The fiberglass shows no evidence of cracks or damage, and the glass is crystal clear. There is no chrome or bright trim beyond the bolts on the wheel rims. Its sinister design makes it easy to see why a Rally Fighter featured in Transformers: Age of Extinction, and The Fate of The Furious.

Vehicles categorized as kit cars typically feature interiors that lack quality, but the Rally Fighter is slightly different. There is undeniable color inconsistency across some plastic components, but the overall impression is quite positive. It is also well-equipped, featuring air conditioning, power windows, power locks, body-hugging Recaro seats, a stereo, and a robust rollcage. The overall presentation is good, with no significant wear or signs of abuse. It isn’t perfect, but the appearance is consistent with any vehicle with a decade of active service under its belt.

Local Motors utilized a fiberglass body to reduce vehicle weight, but the robust tubular frame made the decision almost mandatory. The body might not weigh much by itself, but it contributes to a curb weight of 3,807 lbs. That figure is relatively high for a two-seater, but the mechanical specifications should ensure respectable performance. The engine bay houses a 6.2-liter Chevrolet LS3 V8 mounted well back for improved weight distribution. A 4L85-E four-speed automatic transmission handles shifting duties, but the suspension contributes significantly to the Rally Fighter’s distinctive appearance. The front end features double A-Arms, while the Ford 9″ rear end is located by a multi-link setup. With coil-overs on all corners, this configuration provides 16 inches of front suspension travel and a whopping 20 inches on the rear. That makes the Rally Fighter the right tool for the job on rough surfaces, while the 430hp and 434 ft/lbs of torque produced by the engine allows the Rally Fighter to accelerate from 0-60mph in six seconds. The seller confirms that while this classic has clocked 31,000 genuine miles, only the last 1,500 have been on the shiny new LS3 under the hood. They provide no information on how this classic runs or drives, but the indications are the news should be positive.

Vehicle manufacturers typically take around four years to develop a new model, but Local Motors transformed a design concept into a road car in eighteen months when it released the Rally Fighter. That timeframe is unprecedented, and the overall design quality and components should have guaranteed ongoing success. However, the company joined the growing list of dearly departed when operations ceased in 2022. It is doubtful it will ever reemerge, but the one thing I have learned about the classic world is that we should never say never. If it doesn’t, cars like this will be a reminder of a brief moment when one person transformed a bold dream into a groundbreaking reality. That makes this wild beast worth preserving.

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Comments

  1. HoA HoAMember

    Hmm, LS motor, you say? Puts that to rest. This post will certainly divide us, compared to the Model A beast. Younger folks will love it, I’d walk right past. It looks well built, except that spare tire going to go missing 1st big bump, and I suppose takes rock climbing to a cushy level. I know, asking prices are posted seemingly without a care in the world, but EIGHTY GRAND? That’s incredible!

    Like 13
    • Danno

      I’d still swap in an LS. Is there room for a second one?

      Like 7
    • Dean

      Having known John Rogers personally and hearing everything the car was meant and not meant to be, it’s an amazing addition to automotive history.
      Although it may not look it, these things can rip on the street as well as off-road.
      I got to know John after the program ended but would have loved to build one for myself. They were available with a LSX also. Those scream.

      Like 2
    • Nelson C

      Nah. It needs a stroker small block.

      Like 0
  2. Big C

    Blew that first LS up at around 29,000 miles? That seems about right.

    Like 6
  3. Danno

    I really like the business model of these cars, I think if EV chassis become mass-produced and readily available, we’ll see a lot more of this kinda thing, too. Custom bodywork on a rolling EV chassis (what safety standards?).
    I remember a discussion years ago, in an online forum, where I commented that guys were spending north of $100k for their ginormous 4x4s, and for the amount of new hardware they were plugging into the trucks, why not just build a completely custom vehicle? This company was mentioned in that context.

    Like 3
  4. Steve

    I will add to what HoA said about the spare tire – I’d remove it the day I acquired the vehicle. Probably put it on the roof like many rally cars did.

    Like 9
    • Jack M.

      That spare tire is probably the best anti-tailgating device you can ever have on your vehicle.

      Like 10
      • Steve

        You’re probably correct.

        Like 4
  5. Al Dee

    What – no 4WD? This thing has such a high center of gravity and with all that weight sitting way out there on the back end, you’re not going to be taking any tight corners in this thing. With this configuration and at this sky-high price, it should climb rocks up a mountain face too. Nothing but a ridiculous over-priced toy IMO.

    Like 7
  6. Steve

    Looks like something out of a “Mad Max” movie.

    Like 7
    • John B. Traylor

      Or Batman.

      Like 2
  7. jwaltb

    Best Continental kit ever! Ugly car inside and out.

    Like 5
  8. Nelson C

    How would you describe this to someone? It’s as if a study hall sketch has come to life. Nothing is missing or wasted. 2wd makes sense considering its Baja nature. There can’t be more than two opinions of this one. Either the coolest car ever or an abomination.

    Like 2
    • JMB#7

      Oh yes. Finally someone is making sense. Thank you for a rational comment.

      Like 1

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