LA design contest spurs imaginative designers to create the film car of the future.
Every year during the lead-up to the LA Auto Show, the organisers plan a design contest that puts the imaginations of some of the world's leading up-and-coming penman to the test.
This year was no different. The theme of the contest for 2011: "Hollywood's Hottest New Movie Car", where designers were asked to come up with a movie theme and a car integral to the plot.
It's fair to say these are some of the kookiest cars we've ever laid eyes upon, but we'll let you decide.
The Car: Mercedes Silver Arrow
The film: Silver Lightning
The aim of the Mercedes creation is to bring together the underappreciated crash test dummy and the iconic 1930s Silver Arrow race car.
The comic-like theme behind the creation sees two dummies - Hans05 and Franz02 - battling the evil Dr Crash Barrier in an attempt to save their stunning looking car.
The vehicle, described as "a long-slung sculpture on wheels - actually, on hoops" is the work of Hubert Lee, Jackson Luttig, Yasu Sato, and lan Barrington, with the team claiming the concept follows a well-trodden path of inventive creations from Mercedes over the past 125 years.
The car: Honda IH
The film: High Noon
In our opinion, the team from Honda gets the gong for the most imaginative interpretation of the brief with its "Intelligent Horse" concept.
The work of designers Wojtek Bachleda, Taryn Dyle and Raj Rihal finds itself "hundreds of years into the future" in a parched, ye-olde-Western-style environment that is the result of a gigantic comet which has caused widespread drought and devastated infrastructure and technology around the globe.
The vehicle is said to combine "both the character and simplicity of a horse" with "the latest structural and technological innovation". Giddyup.
The car: Subaru Horizon
The film: Divided
Perhaps we spoke to soon of the most creative creation.
The team from Subaru's design is made for a time when Earth has stopped rotating, leaving two hemispheres:
Daysphere and Nightsphere. A team of adventurers based in the Nightsphere have been tasked with an expedition to the pole of the Daysphere in the Horizon vehicle, where it will need to withstand storms and intense heat to collect a rare crystallised mineral - the future world's only known energy source. We'll let the team, lead by Takashi Hagino, explain the rest of the thought process:
"A team of 4, Alcyone- the driver, Maia- the navigator, Merope- the mechanic, and Pleiades- their magical cat, has been formed to venture to the other end of the world, tasked to bring back the crucial mineral. The Ultra Subaru Horizon has been specially developed to take them on their journey. It is to withstand the strong electromagnetic field, chemical imbalances, scorching heat, and raging storms of the Daysphere. The skilled team is off to save their world in this action packed adventure!"
Yep. The "magical cat" gets them across the line.
The car: Maybach Berline
The film: Cinderella and the Maybach Berline
The classy lads at Maybach have rethought the Cinderella fairytale with Berline carriage. She goes by Cindy now, apparently.
Cindy's carriage - powered either by electricity or by hydrogen - is said to be about the size of Benz's biggest SUV, the GL-Class, at 5.7 metres long and 2.0m tall. It's an autonomous vehicle that is "teleoperated via a satellite link to a Maybach Virtual Chauffeur Centre".
The design team - Christopher Ottersbach, Philipp Haban and Jan Kaul - say the buggy reinterprets the original Berline Carriage and uses sustainable materials such as wood in its construction.
One thing Cindy will appreciate over the original: there's no more messy, often smelly bi-products of being towed by a horse.
The car: Hyundai Stratus Sprinter
The film: Countess of Siberia
Hyundai North America designers Tony Chen and Woo Tak Kim must have seen the Twilight series.
Their concept follows the life of Countess Elena, the daughter of Russian vampire parents born in 1829, who's on a mission through time to stop communism (she apparently fought for the South in the Korean war in 1950 after serving as a Russian spy in the second world war).
She has been using her car, the Stratus Sprinter, for her entire life. It features a high-riding stance so it can travel anywhere, and its "magical stealth force" allows it to become invisible during daylight hours.
The car: Smart 341 Parkour
The film: Annie get the Grannies!
Annie Angle is a reporter in a town known for its lack of parking spaces. That's no problem for Annie, though, as her car, the Smart 341 Parkour, can climb the walls of buildings - much like someone who practices Parkour - thanks to its vacuum cups that allow Annie to sleuth out stories no matter where they happen.
The car also features a "typical drive mode" and a flying mode, which allows it to "hover far above the streets".
It can also tip itself onto its snout and park in a motorbike-sized space. That's cool.
The concept, dreamed up by Sylvain Wehnert, Emiel Burki and Phillipp Haban of Mercedes-Benz Advanced Design Germany, follows Annie as she tries to track down a bunch of missing Smart Granny Robots.
Of the six, this is the movie we probably want to see most ... those Grannybots are intriguing!