Top 6 Crowdfunded Automotive Projects for 2013
Back in the old days of say, 2009, if you wanted somebody to fund your business enterprise, you had to go hat in hand to some venture capital fund that would most likely laugh you out of the office. Now, people are crowdfunding the production of everything from books to movies to automobiles. You put your commitment for cash on the barrelhead up front, and if the fundraising goal isn’t met, the worst that happens is you get your money back. Here are seven transportation-related crowdfunding efforts from 2013 that we liked a lot: Here’s Your Damned Flying Car
You’ve been whining about it for the better part of a decade, so here’s your opportunity to get one of those flying cars you always wanted.
Terrafugia, is a Massachusetts company building a “roadable aircraft.” The company took off in 2007 and has built a couple of flying prototypes. It’s raised $10 million in investor funds, and now it’s on the hunt for more cash.
PHOTOS: Click to see Full Galleries of the Terrafugia Transition
It’s using Wefunder as the crowdfunding mechanism, which isn’t exactly what you think of when you think “crowdfunding.” The “crowd,” in Wefunder’s case, is the community of accredited investors, who are regulated by the federal government– not your uncle Nate and the mailman who lives down the street. Company founder Carl Dietrich says, “we offer Wefunder investors a note which will convert to stock at a price that is determined by the next large investment round (greater than $1 million).”
DIY Open Wheel Ride
The unfortunate, not-so-publicized truth about racing is that if you want to compete, you have to have the deepest pockets imaginable. Luca Forgeois is 18 and has paid his experiential dues racing go-karts, in which he became a champion. Even in karting, though, the budgets for competing at the highest level are insane. Luca raised $25,000 – enough for his entry fee and the mechanical requirements to compete at the national level. One competitor’s budget was $250,000. Now he’s moving into open-wheel racing, hoping for a ride in Indy Cars. This week, he kicked off his efforts at Pole Position Raceway in New Jersey, a karting facility, where he competed against his fans and publicized his crowdfunding efforts.
We’re Registered At Dodge
The betrothed can register just about anywhere so their friends and family can buy essentials like 43 Margarita sets and one of those Vitamix blenders that’ll juice anything including a London Fog raincoat.
PHOTOS: Click to see Full Galleries of the 2013 Dodge Dart GT
Now the rest of us can get in on that sweet action with The Dart Registry, a website that allows Special Snowflakes to pick out the Dodge Dart of their liking, and then beg their chump friends and family to pay for it. Depending on the success of the Dart Registry, look for Gen Y to come up with other lucrative schemes like “Crowdfund my Rent” and “Crowdfund my Top Ramen.”
Castle Three, Funds from Thee
The Castle Three Motor Company makes a truly badass-looking three-wheeler that looks like a modernized Morgan three-wheeler. Based in Alnwick, Northumberland, Castle Three is currently in the process developing new three-wheeled vehicles to appeal to the recreational car enthusiast and motor sport enthusiast alike.
RELATED: Full Galleries of the Resurrected Morgan Three-Wheeler
It’s a pretty cool looking rig. You can see the video posted on YouTube in August, but the website looks a little buggy, leading us to believe that maybe the funding hasn’t come through the way they’d hoped.
You can haul stuff on a motorcycle, but it requires a whole network of tiedowns, straps, bungees and cords, and it’s all behind you, where you can’t keep an eye on it. Scooters are natural stuff-haulers, though. One BoldRide writer has been known to haul a case of Long Trail and a 25-pound bag of lump charcoal between his legs on his ’65 Vespa.
Only trouble is, the floor is kind of lumpy, and the brake pedal’s down there. Not an issue on the nifty Lit Motors Kubo electric scooter. It’s got a wide open, flat cargo area for loading all kinds of junk, and all the controls are up and out of the way, allowing your feet to just come along for the ride. They call it a pickup truck on two wheels. Sign us up.
Books for the Kiddie Set
We mentioned The Little Red Racing Car in our review from a few weeks back. It started life as a Kickstarter project early in 2013, and got backing from a whole lot of interested people, all of whom seem to be really enthused at the outcome. It’s a perfect example of the kind of work that can come out of a project like this.
RELATED: The Little Red Racing Car is The Greatest Kid's Car Book Ever Written
The artwork is amazing, the story is great, even the quality of the paper and the cover is fantastic. You’d be unlikely to see that level of detail in something produced by a traditional publishing house. Author and illustrator Dwight Knowlton is now working on a second book. There’s no Kickstarter up for it just yet, but the minute there is, we’ll let you know.