Ford Maverick Welcomes DIY Spirit

We’ve featured a lot of car hacks on these pages, most would void the warranty and none of it with explicit factory support. Against that background, Ford’s upcoming Maverick is unique: a major manufacturer has invited owners to unleash their do-it-yourself spirit. It is one of several aspects that led [Jason Torchinsky] of Jalopnik to proclaim The 2022 Ford Maverick Is An Honest, Cheap, Multitool Of A Vehicle And I’m All For It.

There are two primary parts to Ford’s DIY invitation. Inside the cabin are several locations for a dovetail mount called “Ford Integrated Tether System” (FITS). Naturally Ford will be selling their own FITS accessories, but they also expect people to create and 3D-print designs addressing needs unmet by factory kits. CAD files for FITS dimensions are promised, but any maker experienced with a caliper should have little trouble.

Another part of Ford’s DIY invitation is in the cargo area, whose sides were stamped with slots for lumber beams supporting projects like a ~$45 bike rack. There are also threaded bolt holes already in the bed, no drilling or tapping into sheet metal necessary. Behind a few small plastic doors are wires to supply 12 V DC power without the risk of splicing into factory harnesses.

There will always be wild car hacks like turning a sedan into a pickup truck. But it’s great to lower the barrier of entry for milder hacks with these small and very welcome features. QR codes on a sticker takes us to Ford’s collection of video instructions to get things started. Naturally if this idea takes off other people will post many more on their own YouTube channels. We like where Ford wants to go with this, and we would love to see such DIY-friendliness spread across the auto industry. A few Ford videos explaining design intent in this area after the break.

[Title image: Ford Motor Company]

Continue reading “Ford Maverick Welcomes DIY Spirit”

Cyberpunk Mazda MX-5 Packs Onboard Cyberdeck

Back in April of 2019, inspired by iconic films such as Blade Runner and Akira, [Chris Watson] embarked on a journey to create his very own cyberpunk roadster from a 1991 Mazda MX-5. After pouring an incredible amount of blood, sweat, and fiberglass into the project, he now has a vehicle that wouldn’t look out of place cruising the streets of Neo Tokyo. Even if you’re not usually into car mods, his impeccably photographed build log is an absolutely fascinating journey.

But as impressive as the car itself might be, what really caught our attention was the computer sitting on the dash. From early on, [Chris] wanted the vehicle to have a companion cyberdeck that would be used to control various onboard systems. At this point it’s just for show, but he says ultimately it will be integrated with the electric motor he plans to install in place of the MX-5’s original power plant. We can’t wait to see it.

Of course, the lack of a practical application has hardly stopped us from admiring any of the other cyberdecks we’ve covered thus far. This one started out life as a laptop with a broken screen, which [Chris] beheaded and connected it to 15″ external display mounted in the top of a heavy-duty case. With a new SSD and a fresh copy of Linux Mint to verify all the hardware was still functional, he put together an MDF bezel for the display that includes some faux antennae and covered aircraft style switches.

When this futuristic roadster is making an appearance at a car show or contest, [Chris] makes sure to load up some suitably high-tech looking imagery on the display. It even shows some flashing technobabble error messages pulled from The Fast & The Furious.

Traditionally we haven’t covered many custom car projects, though to be fair, we traditionally haven’t seen many that looked like this either. But between ever more technologically advanced vehicles and the insightful car modding column helmed by our very own [Lewin Day], we expect tricked out rides may become an increasingly common sight on these pages.

How To Get Into Cars: Basic Maintenance

So, you’ve decided you want to get into cars. After much research and deliberation, you’ve bought yourself a sweet project car, and can’t wait to get down to work. First things first – it’s time to learn about basic maintenance!

Get It Right For A Good Time

Doing necessary maintenance on time is key to enjoying your project car. Too many gearheads know the pain of a neglected beast that spends more time up on jackstands than out on the road. Buying the right car, and keeping a close eye on what needs to be done, will go a long way to improving your experience and relationship with your ride.

If you’ve just bought a car, no matter how good things look, it’s a good idea to go through things with a fine-tooth comb to make sure everything’s up to scratch. This can avoid expensive damage down the line, and is a great way to get your feet wet if you’re new to working on cars. Here’s a bunch of easy jobs you can tackle as a novice that will keep your ride in tip-top condition. Continue reading “How To Get Into Cars: Basic Maintenance”

Converting A Tesla To A Pickup Truck

The renowned inventor of useless robots [Simone Giertz] has outdone herself this time. She, along with a team of engineers featuring [Rich Rebuilds], [Laura Kampf], and [Marcos Ramirez], recently decided to convert a Tesla into a pickup truck, and make a video along the way, all while salvaging what remains they can of the back of the car and making the final product roadworthy. Yeah, this is a couple weeks old now, and yeah, it’s kind of a commercial, but really: [Simone Giertz] and Co. rock.

In her vlog of the experience, the team starts by gutting out the interior of the car in order to find out the weight distribution and form of the outer frame. Essentially, in order to create the pickup truck, a portion of the back of the car needs to be removed, with additional beams and support welded in depending on the consequent structural integrity. With a sawzall and angle grinder, the top portion of the frame is cut and taken out, but not before a worrying glance brings about the realization that the car needs exterior support during its modifications.

After the cushions, glass, wiring, and all other accessories are removed, they install a truck bed from another sacrificial pickup truck, as well as a roof rack to complete the look. Amidst the deconstruction and reconstruction, there are moments when the car encounters a “Safety restraint system fault” or when the team accidentally lines the inside of the car with fiberglass right before shooting their video. Between complaints of the different clip sizes used and the clear time pressure of the project, it’s a funny and informative look into a pretty unique car mod.

The final commercial they made of their Tesla-pickup hybrid, dubbed Truckla, is available on [Giertz]’s YouTube channel.

Continue reading “Converting A Tesla To A Pickup Truck”