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Editions

Docklands’ car breathes fire

02 Aug 2011

Docklands’ car breathes fire Image

Docklands’ car has roared into life but still needs funding for completion.

The FR-1 concept car being constructed by the AutoHorizon Foundation recently blasted around Avalon airport under the encouraging and watchful eye of TopGear magazine.

Unfortunately, its gearbox blew up but not before putting in an extremely exhilarating performance propelled by its 6.2 litre V8.

Foundation founder and former Docklands Chamber of Commerce president Brian Tanti was philosophical about the set back and suspects that the Ferrari gearbox sourced from the UK was faulty when purchased.

Mr Tanti said the session was all about proving the viability of the vehicle’s light-weight carbon fibre chassis which has been developed using an innovative process which could have productive flow-on effects for Australian industry.

He said the Docklands team had developed a break-through technique of low-temperature curing carbon fibre which significantly reduces the cost of production.

The car represents the first Australian designed and built automotive passenger vehicle structure to be made from carbon fibre.

“Manufacturing with conventional carbon fibre is regarded as too expensive to be considered commercially viable for the general mass production of passenger vehicles,” Mr Tanti said.

Weighing in at around only 500 kg, the FR-1 vehicle’s environmental efficiency stems from its power to weight ratio.  The very same equation makes it a rocket on wheels.

FR stands for fund-raiser, as the vehicle will eventually be auctioned for charity.  The AutoHorizon Foundation is a non-for-profit organisation based at Docklands’ Automotive Centre of Excellence in Batman’s Hill Drive.

It aims to promote and showcase Australia’s automotive design, engineering and manufacturing technology talent and to encourage local students to consider a career in these industries.

Mr Tanti speaks of the car in its current bare-chassis condition as a mobile research and development laboratory.  The foundation has partnered with several automotive, aerospace and other high-tech industries to build the car.

The vehicle’s body is currently being hand-built using traditional coach-building techniques.  

“We are also keeping alive some time-honoured trades in this digital age,” Mr Tanti said.

More funding is needed to complete the car before Docklanders can expect to see it on local roads.

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