The Local Motors Rally Fighter is still going strong two years after the first deliveries of this 2000-unit purpose-built off-road racer’s production run. With 50-state compliance on lighting and emissions, the road-legal Rally Fighter runs a 6.2-liter V-8 to the giant rear wheels before reaching a tire-limited top speed of 131 mph.
Available for special orders from anywhere on the globe, the Rally Fighter is one of the most unique and exciting launch models from a new manufacturer. Outside the muddy ruts of the English countryside and the mutant Land Rovers , like the Bowler EXR-S and RallyRaid DW3 , most new supercar ventures are focused on the 6-lane drag strips of central Dubai.
Local Motors takes a totally different path, with its unique engineering and prototype method leveraging the passion and skills of the internet to draw in R&D talent from across the world.
The result is a steel space frame and crash cage that looks Armageddon-proof, and suspension travel and off-road prowess to stop a 2014 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor Special Edition in its tracks. The final piece of the Rally Fighter puzzle is this: styling so otherworldly that it causes more of a stir in traffic than taking the Gravedigger monster truck to the grocery store.
Click past the jump for the full review of the 2013 Local Motors Rally Fighter, including a mega image gallery, links to the new online configurator, and info on how to order your own custom version of this off-road beast.
The coupe-like profile of the Rally Fighter is at once both very striking and also quite confusing if you are not clear about this model’s back story. The latest Rally Fighter has its own custom taillights, replacing the previous OEM spares borrowed from Honda Civic coupe .
Then the big dissonance set in: this is no Civic coupe of any kind. The extremely raked back glass and trunk decklid has spoilers and fender bulges never seen from any Honda , while even the sculpted lower bumper cannot hide what is clearly a racing prototype chassis and suspension. Not a body swap, then but what it is?
The brain keeps wondering about this incredible beast while noticing its extremely high ride height, gaping wheel wells and visible suspension components. Moving to the profile, the fenders and deeply styled door panels are clearly unique and not shared with any road or race car. A fuselage-like curve for the widest part of the body emphasizes the gigantic stats of this machine: at 80 inches wide and with a wheelbase of 115 inches, the brain is still trying to understand what it sees.
The glasshouse is marked by almost comically shallow window wells and twin silver lateral slashes over the A and B-pillars. Paired with the giant front fenders and the front door slash, finally a badge appears: Rally Fighter.
Up front, a long supercar nose ends with a chopped front aspect and open mesh grille areas for air induction. Single round lamps are mounted in the far edges of the front face, giving some of the menace from the 1973 Chevrolet Camaro Z-28. The gurgling Chevy V-8 exhaust nose aligns with this look, finally allowing the brain to relax with two facts that match up.
The Rally Fighter is gorgeous and interesting. Expect to lead a parade of confused car guys behind you, with at least 10 minutes spent taking questions from the crowd at every Shell station.
The new configurator finally lets Local Motors tease its model with all the wild carbon wraps, bullet hole graphics and wild colors that this low-volume model allows. Only Morgan’s Three-Wheeler looks as cool with custom graphics and colors.
Image Comparison Versus 1973 Chevrolet Camaro
Chevrolet Camaro Image Credit: Gateway Camaro Club
Rally Fighter On ’Low’ Suspension Setting
2013 Local Motors Rally Fighter - Exterior Dimensions:
|Height (in.) - High Suspension Setting||69.3|
|Height (in.) - Low Suspension Setting||61.25|
|Front Track Width (in.)||69.5|
|Rear Track Width (in.)||69.5|
|Curb Weight (Pounds)||3,800|
|Drag Coefficient||0.40, est|
2013 Local Motors Rally Fighter - Exterior Features:
- Manually-adjustable ride height
- All Legal Lighting and Smog compliance to be 50-State and globally road legal: high/low headlights, front and rear indicators, side reflectors, brake lights and CHMSL.
The Rally Fighter’s interior is really impressive considering the startup company’s lack of major manufacturer support. MasterCraft Baja RS seats up front keep you in place when doing donuts in the sand dunes, while the flat red dashboard of this example looks pretty nice versus some rally trucks.
Full air conditioning and heat, navigation and audio, and even an auto-dimming mirror with Homelink round out the luxuries, which also include two small chairs in the back seat. The giant push-button gear selector is firmly from a commercial (or military) application, which helps set the mood when driving this off-road supercar.
A limited view from all angles also reminds you of the 1973 Camaro from above, while the large plastic interior panels are quite scratchy and off the mark versus a production model. Zip-ties secure some final elements to the massive integrated roll cage, but at least power windows and locks offer some comforts - to keep your iPad safe inside from the crowds that will gather at every single stop.
2013 Local Motors Rally Fighter - Interior Dimensions:
|Seating Capacity - Front||2|
|Seating Capacity - Rear||2|
|Legroom (In.)||43, est|
|Headroom (In.)||37, est|
|Shoulder room (In.)||56.5, est|
|Trunk capacity (cubic-feet)||7, est|
2013 Local Motors Rally Fighter - Interior Features:
- Racing-design front seats with height-adjustable head restraints
- Power side mirrors
- Leather-wrapped 3-spoke steering wheel
- Manually adjustable tilt/telescoping steering column
- Center console with twin 12-volt power outlets
- Manually adjustable CFC-free HVAC air conditioning system
- .1-inch high-resolution GPS navigation system and 4-speaker single-CD audio system with HD Radio with iTunes tagging capability, and 3.5-mm auxiliary jack and USB charge port
Drivetrain, Suspension and Brakes
The 6.2-liter GM LS3 Gen IV crate motor and transmission setup is simply ideal for the Rally Fighter. Huge and powerful with a unique blat at full throttle, this engine also delivers amazing performance and road-legal smog abilities.
The Rally Fighter can even wear California license plates - a testament to the heavy investment GM undertook to modernize one of its most popular engines.
The LS3 option also brings a bullet-proof automatic transmission capable of handling far more than stock torque outputs, but also offering a lazy overdrive for relaxed highway cruising. While just a four-speed box, the off-road mission of the Rally Fighter means that a simple and durable unit is the best option. It also allows gear locking and other creep functions helpful off road.
The final treat for this baja blaster? Rear-drive instead of the Raptor’s four-wheel-drive. Rear-drive on an off-road truck? Won’t it get stuck?
No. With monster power, low gearing and giant wheels/tires/suspension travel, the Rally Fighter is more than equipped to cross mountains, rivers and dunes. Rear-drive also offers some ’baja 2000 pre-punner’ style thrills and lots of opposite lock dynamics on loose terrain.
Fun is the name of the game, and the Rally Fighter wins every time. A 6-second sprint to 60 mph is possible on tarmac, sand or the Moon.
2013 Local Motors Rally Fighter - Performance Details:
|Engine||6.2-liter 16-valve V-8 With OHV And VVT|
|Drivetrain Supplier||GM LS3 6.2L Gen IV E-ROD Engine Package (Automatic Transmission)|
|Transmission Origin||GM 4L60E|
|0-60 mph||6.0 seconds|
|Top Speed||131 mph, limited|
|EPA Fuel Economy (City/Highway/Combined)||18/30/22, est|
The Rally Fighter is priced from $99,900, with cost options available for custom styling.
|2013 Local Motors||MSRP|
The concrete versions for buying a Rally Fighter versus the also-awesome Raptor are not easy to come up with. One the one hand, the Ford is half the price and easier to buy - today. On the other hand, it is a dime a dozen out on the off-road trails or dunes. No one will be asking questions at Shell, instead assuming your old Hummer H2’s yellow paint started to peel, so you got this.
The biggest single advantage of the Rally Fighter is how fun it is to drive. The second advantage over the Raptor ? It is not a Raptor or an F-150, which we all know is history’s best-selling automobile of all time. The one thing that does not come with history’s best-seller? Exclusivity.
Gallery Local Motors Rally Fighter
At $100,000 fully built and ready to race, the Rally Fighter costs a fraction of the price of a full race truck. In addition, the Rally Fighter’s proven powertrain will be reliable and trustworthy for years with normal maintenance - which in itself is a big achievement for a new company. Servicing the LS3 engine is a piece of cake, easily done by DIY guys or almost any skilled mechanic. Any true-blue grease monkey will certainly be excited to see the Rally Fighter pull up outside.
Shipping is available anywhere on Earth, as are various knock-down kits to allow DIY guys to build it themselves, which can be accomplished by experts in just 35 hours.
The configurator is a fun treat for Local Motors, and more than worth a few minutes tinkering with the unlimited wrap and color design tools. From simple and classy, to chrome-wrapped and sassy - the new Local Motors configurator is especially welcome considering the lack of any, ahem, local dealerships.
Aside from the nitty gritty details we’re addressing as a buyers guide of sorts, the Rally Fighter is a fun-loving and playful off-road toy. Snorting power and massive jumps will soon become part of your off-road routine.
As the Mercedes-Benz G63’s and the Range Rover’s tiptoe through Death Valley canyons at 2 mph, the Rally Fighter will blast past in a clowd of V-8 rumble flying sand.
A Big boy toy that’s more fun than anything else available, anywhere? Well done, Local Motors. How about a soft-top or targa version? I know someone who will be first in line to test it out.
- New configurator allows personalization and orders from anywhere on Earth
- Styling still breath-takingly original and exciting
- Love the two suspension ride height choices, either super tall or pretty low for smooth gravel
- A little pricey, but still a huge accomplishment for a new era of crowd-sourced engineering and design
- A supercharger might be more fun (and easier) than the current turbo-diesel in development
- Let’s chop that roof off
Gallery Local Motors Rally Fighter
Local Motors Company History
In 2007, John ‘Jay’ Rogers, Local Motors Co-Founder and CEO, set out to completely disrupt the way things work in the automotive industry. Using open-source principles, Jay and his team are changing the way cars are designed, developed and brought to market.
Local Motors is helping solve local transportation-related problems, locally; making transportation more sustainable, globally; and delivering, through distributed micro-manufacturing, innovative co-created vehicles and components. With a community of automotive designers, fabricators, engineers and enthusiasts, Local Motors developed and delivered the very first Rally Fighter in just 18 months; five-times faster than traditional processes. This success has led world-leading organizations like Peterbilt, BMW, Shell, Domino’s Pizza, and the United States government to come to Local Motors, engage the company’s global community, and redefine the future of automotive innovations through the development of game-changing vehicles, features and functions.
The first Local Motors Micro-Factory, where all Rally Fighters are built, is located in Chandler, Arizona.
When you visit, you won’t find big smoke stacks, long assembly lines, and painting robots. Purpose built for low-volume manufacturing, the Local Motors Micro-Factory represents a completely different approach to automotive manufacturing, featuring process innovations that earned it a spot as one of the ‘10 most impressive car factories in the world’, according to Gawker Media’s automotive weblog, Jalopnik. Additionally, outlets such as the NY Times, Popular Science, Wired, Popular Mechanics, Playboy Magazine and Discovery Channel have recognized Local Motors’ groundbreaking approach to automotive development.