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Ever Wanted Your Own Land Speeder? 235

An anonymous reader writes "Be the first on your block to drive on of these! a StarWars Land Speeder. This used to be a 1988 Ford Escort and only has 880 miles since built." This is a surprisingly impressive conversion.
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Ever Wanted Your Own Land Speeder?

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  • Better. (Score:3, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 31, 2002 @02:22PM (#4177051)
    It's better than the ones from the films .... you can't see the wheels.
    • Re:Better. (Score:2, Informative)

      by vsprintf ( 579676 )
      You saw wheels in the movie? You were smokin' the good stuff. The orginal speeder was mounted on a long horizontal boom wich was hidden by the camera view and is why it bounced a lot. No wheels.
      • Re:Better. (Score:2, Informative)

        by Nighttime ( 231023 )
        I can recall watching a documentary about the newer versions of the original trilogy and the special effects they cleaned up. In the original footage they smeared Vaseline on the lens to blur the undercarriage of the Landspeeder to hide the wheels. They made the hover look more convincing when they did the clean-up a few years ago.
  • by gmkeegan ( 160779 ) < minus caffeine> on Saturday August 31, 2002 @02:22PM (#4177052)
    This isn't the Escort you're looking for...

    Scoundrel? I can live with that...
    • Is there an obvious moderation on /. ; )
    • by Anonymous Coward
      stormtrooper magnet
    • Ya know, that is probably one of the worst moderations I've seen in a long time.

      Look at this pic I just took []

      The second parent post in the list (that matters) gets a redundant score. I HOPE someone gets to meta-moderate this one...

      I get mod points about every week-and-a-half to 2 weeks. I have been for 4 or 5 months now. I rarely even use them all (to be honest) becasue I use them the way they were intended: SPARINGLY. But this... this is just silly.

      Moderators, 3 things:

      I know I'll get modded to oblivion, that's fine (I've been capped for a few months now...).

      You folks really need to learn where your mose is clicking when (IF "redundant" wasn't meant.

      If reduntant WAS meant, I hope you get meta-moderated off the .

      • Redundant moderations arent eligible for meta-moderation.

        Besides, moderation is a dumb idea for a site like this anyway. ACs should stay at 0 (I read at +1), trouble users should stay at 1, and there should only be a few people who can mod down the people who continuously post random offtopic crap.

        And finally, "Funny" should not give you a +1 bonus. We all appreciate humor, but come on, moderation as it exists currently should be to promote intelligent posts, and demote random crap goatse posts.

  • Impresive?

    As compared to what?

    But anyways that is impresive wish they said more about how it was built though (ie. in progress stuff like the mechwarrior tree fort)
  • So, the escorts sucked, and if you put a fancy decoration on it, it's still a piece of shit...

    Or, as they say around here, if a cat had kittens in the oven, you wouldn't call em biscuts.
    • Re:Um... (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Or as Bevis once said...

      You can't polish a turd
  • by Animats ( 122034 ) on Saturday August 31, 2002 @02:27PM (#4177076) Homepage
    That should have gone on sale before Burning Man. Great art car for the playa.

    The interior is pure Ford Escort, though. The guy could have put some better seats in the thing, and reworked the dashboard.

  • One of those there X-wing fighters... I wonder if the US Navy would be kind enough to donate an F-16 so I could do a simmilar conversion. Maybe not... but I bet I could pick up a surplus Mig for a bargain.
  • Before bidding, know that the Ford Escort already had 102K miles on it before it was "upgraded."

    - Smiley =)
  • Can you get this kind of thing "registered" in the US or whatever you need to do to a vehicle before it gets the permission to hit public roads? I believe that atleast here in Finland it would be almost impossible to get it registered and to go anywhere else than your own backyard with this. Naturally, you can register custom creations, but I don't believe this one would pass the regulations in here.

    How does this work in the US? Or is this just a backyard car?

  • by MarcoAtWork ( 28889 ) on Saturday August 31, 2002 @02:34PM (#4177109)
    Well, in Europe (Italy to be more precise), where I'm originally from, there are *extremely* strict rules that define what is street legal and what is not (for example, most kit cars are not legal despite the fact that they've been tested, because you're building it yourself, so you can't, say, use the crash tests from a different one, because the manufacturer is different).

    Something like this would probably be laughed at before even starting the application process ;)

    Just curious, what are exactly the regulations that define street-worthiness in the USA? I'm thinking about things like

    - safety (if I want to install an impaling device on the front of the car, am I allowed to? or what about the always fun side-mounted scythe blades?)

    - safety (if I want to install a 10 foot tall flagpole that will make my car 99% flip over in a turn when there's wind, can I do it?)

    - safety (if I take my average car, install a couple thousand pounds worth of 'mods' and its braking distance shoots up fourfold, is it a problem?)

    - safety (what about being able to evade an accident? if my 'mods' make my car drive like a barge in a river, is that ok?)

    - safety (what about if sharp pieces of my 'mod' become unglued when going over a bump at speed, take off, and shatter the windshield of whomever is following me?)

    - safety (what about seatbelts? what if it rolls over?)

    I don't want to spoil the fun, but really, if a car doesn't pass *all* of the above (and more) IMHO it shouldn't be classified as 'road worthy' regardless of how cool it looks...

    just my 2c
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday August 31, 2002 @02:43PM (#4177163)
      it used to be a frigging Ford Escort. How much more could he fuck it up?
      • Horrible braking distance? Check.
      • Drives like a barge in a river? Check.
      • Pieces falling off? Check.
      • Rollover? Check.
      • Having my fiance owning an Escort, and having driven it, I commend you on your accurate description. I have never driven such a small car that felt like driving barge.

      • (* it used to be a frigging Ford Escort. How much more could he fuck it up? *)

        I had a Ford Escort once. It indeed was a P.O.S. I had to write "NOT TO CLOSE" on the back because it would stall if I stopped on a hill and roll backward. It had an aluminum head-block that cracked every six months.

        If Richard Petty sins too much, an Escort is what God and/or Satan will give him to drive around in the afterlife.

        I hear that the *only* reason Ford sold Escorts is that by law the average gas milage on *all* cars a vendor sold had to average a certain gas milage. Ford sold Escorts to simply keep the average down so that they could sell more fat trucks. (This is why they had wimpy engines). They practically gave the things away and people *still* did not take them often enough.

        People would rather pay the same for a used Toyata with 55K than a new Escort. The post 55K is better in a Toyota than the first 55K on an Escort.

        They should make something that is half mini and half go-cart, then the engine would have decent pull. Don't try to dress it up as a real car, because Escorts ain't real cars. I hated renting the damned things too. It is a lawnmower in car body.
      • Stop sniffing the emmissions from the tailpipe man.

        I realize that I am definitely getting trolled here, but... My previous car was an '86 Mercury Lynx. Basically a Ford Escort with Air-Conditioning and intermittent wipers.

        Having navigated it through Center City Philadelphia, parking garages, Lincoln Drive, and rush hour traffic, it did NOT handle like a barge. And unlike my Isuzu Impulse, er Chevy Spectrum, it's suspension did not snap like a twig in normal driving. Another fun car with shitty suspensions are VW's. Just about every friend of mine who owned a VW needed to get some part of the suspension replaced.

        I have yet to here of a compact car actually rolling over, beyond some idiot trying to turn 90 degrees at 50+ mph.

        The braking distance and parts fallign off are improper maintenance or simple trash talking.

        Alas I traded it in for my new war wagon, a 2000 Ford Focus. (Woo hoo, 6 more months of payments...)

        • Any yes, I do love the new car. It hauls ass.

          You just get attached to old cars no matter how many mornings the damn thing wouldn't start without popping the hood and shorting the starter motor to the battery...

          That said, I wouldn't trade the 5 speed overdrive attached to a 150hp engine they turns over every time, with working air conditioning and a sound system that can make your ears bleed before it will distort for the world.

    • by Salsaman ( 141471 ) on Saturday August 31, 2002 @02:59PM (#4177248) Homepage
      No need to worry about that...

      "Excuse me sir, is this your vehicle ?"

      "This is not the car you are looking for"

      "This is not the car we are looking for. Move along."

    • In the U.S., the government is more concerned about things like legal bumpers, lighting, seatbelts, smog control, etc. than they are about some of the personal safety issues you brought up.

      However, that does not mean that it would be easy to legally drive this thing on the street. I simply can not wait to see the look on the insurance salesman's face. "You, uhhh, want me to insure THAT?"

      I believe almost any sort of machine mounted weaponry is not legal. Some people have gun racks, but that is a totally different topic.
      • Most insurance agents NEVER look at a cehicle when they insure it. All they want is the Make, model, year, etc. If it has the frame of an Escort, it is an Escort, as that is the VIN number that is used to register it.

        • If all you want is liability coverage, that is true. I've never gotten full coverage without them coming out to snap a few photos.
          • No-one has ever taken a picture of my car to give me insurance. They took some pictures once when I filed a claim for hail damage, but there were no "before" pictures to compare them with.

            Actually, it wouldn't be unreasonable for them to want to take the pictures when you get insurance. But I've never had them ask to do that.

      • Kit cars and classic cars are insured and registered differently than normal cars. This car would be considered a Kit-car, hence as long as the car it is based on is legal it is legal. Only basic requirements need to be met for registration, one mirror, seatbelts (actually only for post 1967 cars), most retain emissions controls for the era of the chassis, license plates, lights etc.

        As for insurance, as the owner of several classic cars, insurance for something like this is cheap and easy to get. Insurance for something like this, or almost any classic custom or kit car, is based on the logic that they are driven very little and owners are very careful with thier babys. Generally you are forbidden to drive more than 5000 miles a year. For instance this 1994 built Cobra [] has only racked up 4000 miles total. So the likelyhood of an insurance payout is very small. My insurance rates on my 1967 Austin Healy 3000, without seatbelts or bumpers, run about 150 dollars a year.

        I do drive it, though. Maybe 700 miles a year.
    • It's not as simple as that, even. This is a 'kit car' (regardless of what he says, regardless of it being a one off, this is a kit car). The rules and regulations vary by state. And the odds of finding the rules in your state are... varied.

      Some states require only the VIN (Vehicle Identification Number), working lights and turn signals, etc. Other states require emissions testing and other things. But if you can fill out the right papers, there's not much you can't drive. I believe the thinking is "if you're stupid enough to drive it, you're stupid enough to die in it".

    • I don't think any of those things make the car illegal exactly. But you would be responsible for the damage caused by your mods. To summarize point by point (using what I know of tennessee law - not much):

      if I want to install an impaling device on the front of the car, am I allowed to? or what about the always fun side-mounted scythe blades?

      This will at least require a red rag to be tied to the end of them so other motorists can easily obtain depth perception from all angles on them.

      if I want to install a 10 foot tall flagpole that will make my car 99% flip over in a turn when there's wind, can I do it? if I take my average car, install a couple thousand pounds worth of 'mods' and its braking distance shoots up fourfold, is it a problem? what about being able to evade an accident? if my 'mods' make my car drive like a barge in a river, is that ok?

      Well, I suppose I have seen some form of all of those at one time so I would say it's legal.

      what about if sharp pieces of my 'mod' become unglued when going over a bump at speed, take off, and shatter the windshield of whomever is following me?

      This would be the same as if anything you were hauling was not securly fastened down - you are responsible for damages (even up to involutary manslaughter)

      what about seatbelts? what if it rolls over?

      Seatbealts are required (unless it is an antique). Rollover is worried the same as a convertable (your own damn problem, did you really think the windshield will save your puny head if the car flips?(note: the last line was not aimed at you - it is the govt's response if you die))

      Mostly similar to what our other rights are supposed to be (but are increasingly not). We have the right to bear arms - not shoot people. Just because something CAN do an illegal thing, even is LIKELY to do an illegal thing doesn't make the knowlege/device illegal, only the action is illegal.

      I do know that most kit cars are road legal here, it's quite a popular pastime for hot-rodders to assemble them in the area where I live. And this is of course why things such as the DMCA make many of us so mad.
    • Actually, I haven't checked the US regs, but in the UK, this car may not count as a Kit Car.

      Basically, it becomes a kit car if you take components from multiple cars. I don't see anything to suggest that with this car, although the windshield looks a bit suspicious.

      If he's just added plastic and such like, it probably counts as a 'body kit'. The rules are very different for that. The handling should be pretty much the same for example.

      It's been on a road for a while, so presumably it has passed any yearly mechanical test, so there's nothing very untoward here.

    • In most states in the US if you have the right lights, a mirror on the drivers side, and one either on the passenger or windshield you can get it registered and inspected. If the mod looks like it might weigh to much it might not pass inspection, or if you had that flagpole or whatever.

      You probably could get insurance to cover damage to your car but you could get liability as long as it passed inspection. In NJ, the only state I've had an inspection done, you need seatbelts and to pass emission. Even that could be gotten around by having it inspected at your local garage for a fee. The funny thing is if it's a classic car (over 20 yrs old) the emission standards are very low, and you even get registration and insurance for less. It's a sort of "Sunday Driver" clause, since they don't expect you do drive the thing everyday.

      Parts will come flying off on any car on some of the roads in the states. I lost a my muffler on a bridge that was being refurbished because my car couldn't clear the uneven road surface(NJ). It only cost a $1000 to have the undercarage repaired and the muffler reattached so I didn't bother filing for any kind of reimbursement. 10ft deep potholes are not uncommon in NYC, I just saw a brand new one on my way to work yesterday(4ft). It happens when there is a flood underneath the road surface. There congrete under the blacktop is 3ft thick in places but it isn't steel reinforced so if the earth beneath it is gone, the road eventually fails. A few months ago a delivery truck fell completely underground when the intersection collapsed. That one took 3 days to repair, a watermain had broken at least a week before underneath. My neighboorhood used to be a marsh 200 years ago, so it's not surprising when an buried river goes amuck.
      • My University's [] Solar Car Club [] built, well, a solar car, and it's street legal, insured, and they plan to drive it half way across the country some time next year. Of course, there will be a gas-powered car in front of it and one behind it the whole way, using more gas than they would if everyone just stayed at home.
      • The funny thing is if it's a classic car (over 20 yrs old) the emission standards are very low, and you even get registration and insurance for less.
        It's the same here in Minnesota. If your car is 20 yrs old, you can license it as a classic car, or an antique car if it's 40 yrs old. You pay less for licensing, lower insurance, and you could run the exhaust straight from the cylinder if you felt like it!
    • Actually it is fairly easy to get a kit car or a complete home built car certified in the UK. A friend has done two. It helps if the basic frame comes from a real car though. However, his conversion was quite radical (making a three wheeler out of a Mini subframe) and it was certified.

      Unfortunatelly, you see a couple of 'jets' at the rear of the car that stick out sideways. The inspection definitely doesn't like sticking out bits that may cause problems with other vehicles or pedestrians.

  • When I see a biker in full leather chaps and that fringey stuff I always think, man that's a real lifestyle choice.
    If I see you driving this thing I'll think the same thing.
    I'm not sure that I would respect you anymore or less than the biker though.
  • One owner. Sold in Mos Eisly. With ample room on the back for two droids.
  • Cop: Son, do you realize you were going 45 in a 25? License, and, um, registration please.

    Obi Wannabe: These are not the droids you are looking for.

    Cop: What?

    Obi Wannabe: Move Along.

    Cop: Get out of the car and place your hands where I can see them...
  • I think every european starwars fan will have a lot of trouble getting this car on the real road here in europe. All custom cars have to be individually tested by a traffic safety institute approved by the governement before you are allowed to drive in it anywhere outside your own (oversized) backyard. But then again, it would look pretty in my garden next to the R2D2 fountain and Ewok treehouse...
  • Only 880 miles on it? (Ignore the 102K behind the curtain.) Seller is suggesting that an escort will run for 182K miles? Yeah. Does look cool though.
  • How will we pay for insurance on this? With credits?

    But really, serious question: would the insurance rates be at all affected by driving this? The link mentions it's "street-safe" but there's more regulations on driving than just having this required component and that required component.
  • What would be nice is if one put hovers on it (like hovercraft), possibly damped the noise a bit, then it would be a real speeder.. I believe our current technology could make a working replica of the StarWars speeder if we wanted, we could even possibly exceed what the speeder did in Starwars... I've seen quite a few personal hovers but these tend to look more like golf cars and sound horrible.
  • Tie fighters show up all the time on ebay, but I haven't found an X-wing yet.

  • Anyone want to guess how much Lucas will demand in royalties from this sale?
  • My last car was a 1988 Ford Escort. I don't see where someone would equate "Escort" and "speeder" in their minds, but whatever. At least they made it look better. :)
  • This guy is going to get screwed.. I bet he wont even get 10k for it, and it sounds like he's expecting over 100k .. Since he didn't put a reserve on the auction, if the highest bid is 7k, he'll have to sell it for that much. Ouch!
    • Re:No reserve? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MarcoAtWork ( 28889 )
      I mean, come on, odds are he got the escort with 100k miles on it for next to nothing (say, a thousand bucks), he spent maybe another thousand bucks in supplies and spent a month (fulltime) tops working on it.

      If he gets 7K (I think he's gonna get at least 20K anyways, star wars, word of mouth and all that) by this quick seat-of-the-pants calculation, he could have made a good 5K with a month of work, which while not good enough to retire, is not exactly bad pay either, also considering the fun he had while making it (and driving the 880 miles to show it off).
  • Nevermind the 100k preexisting miles on this thing, I want to know where this guy drove this thing 880 miles to. "See America as a Jackass", Jack Kerouac is spinning in his grave.
  • Esthetic trash (Score:3, Interesting)

    by gmhowell ( 26755 ) <> on Saturday August 31, 2002 @03:20PM (#4177336) Homepage Journal
    This thing... Needs some work. The dimensions appear a bit off. Nose too long, pods not quite the right size. Others have mentioned the obviously Ford dash. A trip to Dakota Digital could have quickly solved that. And a Grant steering wheel would have been nice. After spending this much money, they could have at least grabbed the seats out of an Escort GT.

    And what's with the nose? There is no reason to have those huge cutouts for the headlights. Either put them behind the grill, or let the grill roll up when needed ('69 Camaro among others). Please tell me it has this feature, and they were just rolled up for the pictures.

    Finding a competent glass shop isn't always easy. If you can find a Corvette specialty shop, you might be okay. Otherwise, you are stuck with boat shops. And most of them are more worried about the structural repair than the appearance.

    Still, a fun link for a Saturday afternoon.
    • Isn't it just cool that it's been built? Sure it's an Escort under the shell, and you could fix the interior but the guy is just a fiberglass man (remember that).

      But this bugged me:
      or let the grill roll up when needed ('69 Camaro among others).

      Yeah; that is all we need, a land speeder with the right headlight up during the day and the left one up at night.

      • I agree that it's pretty cool that it was built.

        But you're wrong about the Camaro. It didn't have popup headlights. The RS model (?? Can't keep the RS, SS, and RS/SS straight) had grills in front of the headlights. Same on the '67-'71 Cougars. The grills rotated 90 degrees, up over the top of the headlight, still concealed by the rest of the car's nose. Look here [] for the Camaro and here [] for the cougar.

        Sorry I couldn't find any pictures with the grills up.

        FWIW, it's usually trivial to fix problems with headlight doors. In vacuum systems, it's an old, rotting vacuum line. In mechanical systems, you've got a shot bushing or bent linkage. Sometimes the motors crap out, but it's more likely to be one of the causes I listed, or a bad relay, fuse, etc.

        In any event, I'm not buying a $5500 fixer upper like this. If it were based on a Ford Fox body, maybe. But an Escort? Nope. Not having it. (BTW, I assume that the seller is using an American Escort, not a European Escort. The two are quite different.)
  • by multiplexo ( 27356 ) on Saturday August 31, 2002 @03:29PM (#4177393) Journal
    Then and only then will I be able to complete my transmogrification into the Comic Book guy from The Simpsons.
  • I'll give props to anybody willing to drive this thing regularly and to places other than a convention. You know damn well it going to hide in the garage until the next Movie comes out so and then go right back in, so don't even bother placing a bid. And as for US driving regs, can the thing survive a 5-10 mph collision? Emissions standards?! Riiiight...
    • Hey, it gets better gas milage than my '95 Grand AM even after the conversion. So that's not too bad at all.

      As for emission standards, if the engine is in ok shape, no reason why it would not pass, no matter how it looks. I would be funny driving this into Ohio E-Check though and seeing their reactions :P
      • They destroyed my front two tires, brand new and when I left 0 tread was left.

        (interesting side note: the Ohio E-Check was lobbied to the state by the company whom owns the facilities. When the state wanted to pull out because of complaints the company pointed out that it would be better if the citizens paid their $20 fees instead of the state paying as the contract demanded millions)

        I personally think that something like e-check is a good idea but it's failed for two reasons. One, anyone paying 20 bucks to the attendant can pass; yes bribery. And two; if your car is a pollution machine like no other you eventually become exempt if you show receipts saying that you paid over $2000 (I believe) to try to fix it.

        I wish we could fix our pollution problems but those two examples show how politics and money just undercut honest efforts, even if they are only half way honest.

    • Are you kidding me?

      I'm such a nerd I would drive that damn thing everywhere. In fact there is an ex whose house I would drive by everyday until she noticed.

      Then again, I wouldn't drive it to a movie premier. That is almost as bad as wearing that Bobba Fett costume to the movie.
  • ...and you too could qualify for a Darwin Award.

    Alternatively, you could just drive it around East L.A. real slow blasting Eminem on the sound system (once you installed one :).

  • You can bet your ass the first time I get pulled over I'm gonna say, "These are not the droids you're looking for," and pray that the cop finds it funny instead of realizing I just insulted his intelligence. =)
  • So Ford pulls the plug [] on electric cars, but they're allowing this out?

    Forget hearing about how cool their trucks are; we need to a commercial with Ford's CEO William Clay Ford, with a public apology for building the Escort that transmogrified into this.
    • Actually we need Ford's CEO William Clay Ford explain why we should buy his products.

      The Ford family which rides that "Made In America" thing until it's old has never really explained why good ol' Henry was such an Anti-American during Dubya Dubya Two.

  • This wouldn't be allowed in Australia. No Jedi stuff there [].
  • Friend of mine has done something in the same vein, if not as dramatic (tho the "guns" do get second looks from passing highway patrolmen). See it at

    BTW Shawn's car won "Best Hall Costume" at LOSCON in 2001.

I came, I saw, I deleted all your files.