Star Wars never had cars. Sure, there was the Landspeeder, and the Speeder Bike, but both point to a lack of wheels a long time ago. So those who want to drive around a Star Wars craft are left to their own imagination to come up with one. This is exactly what [Obi-Shawn], aka [Shawn Crosby], did to build his Z-Wing.
The Z-Wing is a modified Nissan 350Z which he picked up used on Craigslist. Owning the thing outright is important, since he’s about to chop it up and spit it out like a picky Rancor. But it also left him with some extra cash to use on the modifications.
This isn’t just a paint job; the sides of the car boast sets of blasters, R2D2 is riding in the trunk, and the inside looks and feels like a cockpit. We really like the external components, which are clever reuses of common goods. For instance, the hub caps are pizza pans and the blasters are baseball bats. The greebles (thanks to our own Brian Benchoff for bringing that word to our consciousness) on the trunk lid are made up of all kinds of items, like interesting-looking portable speakers, and even a Star Trek computer mouse.
The interior is decorated with a hologram projector prop (currently Boba Fett is on speed dial), and a spot over the glove box for a light saber and tablet computer. The shifter for the Z-Wing is a gaming joystick and just above it is a really juicy piece of custom work. It’s a 24V artificial horizon. This is a common flight instrument that makes the pilot aware of an airplane’s orientation to the earth. Obi-Shawn converted it to work with a weight. So taking fast turns, stopping, or accelerating all affect its orientation.
The steering wheel is another interesting customization. The top portion has been cut out and thumb buttons added to the ends. This looks and feels very much like a sci-fi control yoke. Right now the buttons are for show but his plan is to connect them to strobe lights on the side blasters.
The newest addition to the Z-Wing are a pair of motors on the back. These really came together well considering the source material. The cone is a flower pot, the partitioned cylinder which lights up red is a carousel from a slide projector, and the blast shields are iris control gears. This kind of assembly is indicative of early Sci-Fi movies and is a tribute to the thoughtfulness Obi-Shawn used in his build.
Camped out on the trunk lid is a faithful reproduction of R2D2’s dome. It spins freely, and has been stolen a few times. Usually getting it back just involves a walk around the neighborhood until the knucklehead that is carrying the thing around is spotted.
Obi-Shawn has been doing this for a long time. In fact, this is his second build, the first used a Honda Del Sol. That had to be retired when the mileage climbed too high. He spends a lot of time going to events for charities like Children’s Hospitals. This is in conjunction with the 501st, the Rebel Legion, and the R2 Builder’s club. A showpiece like this would be wasted sitting in his garage, and we’re glad that he spends time brightening people’s lives by showing it off, and letting them sit in the driver’s seat (like Hackaday’s Jasmine Brackett is doing above).
But even between events you can see it driving around the Los Angeles area. We ran into Obi-Shawn at a Hackaday Meetup in Pasadena. He uses the car as his daily driver and when we found that out, there was a huge contingent who cleared out of the pub and paraded to the parking garage for a tour of his work.