Car Napping – Bestellt, geklaut, geliefert

Which means ordered – stolen – delivered, apparently.

Whilst doing some research (the kind that involves having an unlimited budget for classic cars..) I came across a 1985 Porsche 911 targa for sale. No big deal you might say, but this one had a set of decals on it that looked both ridiculous and yet fantastic at the same time…

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It turns out that this is a recreation of a 1978 car developed by renowned German tuner/innovator bb (designed by Rainer Buchman) for the 1980 film ‘Car-Napping’.

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A film I’ve never seen, let alone heard of. Brought up on a diet of Knight-Rider, Gumball Rally, and Dukes of Hazard, Car-Napping was described as a cult crime caper…the trailer could do with some added tension, but the ingredients are there;

bb has some pretty impressive heritage…not only were they a tuner of German cars and bikes in the 70s and 80s, they also developed various innovations for future car-interiors, namely steering-wheel mounted controls (patented in 1984) described as; “channeling attractive design and innovative technology (6 control buttons for up to 32 functions)”

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Alongside various technologies such as remote-control central-locking and parking sensors (no interesting pictures exist of this technology..)

Their vision for the future of motorcycling is both surprisingly contemporary and predictably sexist. But we’re dealing with a different era, so context is all..

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What is interesting is the focus that these smaller design consultancies had, in an era where electronics were just starting to become a part of our everyday lives. The complete flip to fully digital instrumentation was something that was experimented with by a number of these tuners, being an indicator of high-technology, and some OEMs flirted with their introduction too. But they were roundly criticised for being illegible, confusing, and distracting. And even now we’re really only seemingly happy with having electronics obviously visible in our cars in a familiar format – which today just happens to be a centrally-mounted screen.

bb‘s vision in the early 80s showed a certain foresight in that it moved as much as possible up into the sight-line, got rid of the ancient technology of wiper and lighting stalks, and made some ground in ergonomic clarity. (This is all relative – by todays standards this looks incredibly complex)

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So thanks Rainer, for having some real vision. And great taste in graphics.

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