I agree completely. It's impressive from a technical standpoint, but to me at first blush every other car in the list is superior from a design standpoint. That, of course, is the point of custom cars, though. They didn't build it for me! 🙂
I'm not sure that's clever engineering as much as placement to create a look. I would bet that the suspension actually performs poorly. I'm not a mechanical engineer, but my understanding of how suspensions work makes me question the effectiveness of this layout. And putting the turbos up-front and down low and exposed to rocks and road debris makes no sense from an engineering point of view. Of course, it's not a problem for a car like this that will never move faster than walking speed.
I am guessing that the suspension is using a bell-crank, like a Christie-style tank suspension or some types of downhill mountain bikes, to redirect the upward motion into the forward and down placement of the shocks. If so, it may have a surprisingly good performance as that is a time-tested system and allows for creative placement of suspension components and utilizing leverage to your advantage (for example translating a small vertical movement into a long movement, allowing a plush ride on limited travel, or the opposite and allowing longer travel on a short and stiff shock). That said, I am speculating based on photos and it may be absolutely horrid as you say and ride like it has no suspension at all. I am making an educated guess (educated in that I in fact did go to college for mechanical engineering, not from knowledge of this specific build).
Also, while the winner is a fascinating example of technical achievement and creative packaging, my vote goes to that blacked-out Rod. This thing is too busy for my taste, and that color makes me gag!
By far the worst looking car at the event. More is not better. Could they have thrown more junk on this car?? They should judge on tastefulness not the amount of modifications. Poor decision on the judges part.
Maybe it's just the road the hobby has taken that pushes the envelope with more money, more bling, more tricks, more...well, just everything. I'm certain there are many that will be wowed by this creation, but throw enough money at something and you're bound to get plenty of attention. I still love simplicity, utility and some degree of owner participation other than "Here's the checkbook, credit card and bank statement. Have at it." Do any of these recent award winners have owners who actually turn a wrench?
Oh my, where are the good taste police when you need them? The functional engineering in the car may be over the top, and the build quality exceptional, but the excess chrome and really wierd colour scheme are absolutely atrocious. The black roadster also pictured in the article is much, much more balanced as an offering.
The car is just over kill. How much junk can we fit onto, under, and inside this car. I'm at a loss for what the judges were thinking. The car doesn't flow at all its just a bunch of items force fitted. The wheels are way to large an the back fenders???. Lots of engineering went into making this work. It's just not my idea of a Great 8 contender. I'm questioning if the car runs. I can't image driving it, if those turbo hooked up it would probably turn this car inside out. I'm sure a ton of money was tossed at this build.
Anyone ever seen the movie Starship Troopers? Reminds me of some of the alien bugs in that movie. It's also as bad as that movie was.
Real talent is knowing how to marry design and engineering. Make something technically great that also looks great. It's a constant battle that requires the most imagination and ingenuity. Merely slapping on more parts and slathering on coats of paint and chrome does not cut it. This car can't even be driven as-is even if you wanted to. Those turbos would be destroyed before long.
I know there's a big argument about cars being art, but this is artful. Makes you wonder what some of those craftsmen would achieve if they turned their hand at goldsmithing or fine painting. But then, the art that sells for a lot make no sense often (banana duck taped to wall?).
I was there "live" at Autorama on Friday with one of my fellow dyed-in-wool auto enthusiast friends. This is a recovery year for Autorama - after last year's show was cancelled due to Covid. While there were some really well done vehicles in this year's Great Eight - I'd say the level of competition was less than in a recent / usual year - e.g. no Foose entry, etc. This car that won was clever, had a lot of detail, but was not the winner based on styling, to be sure! Lots of fussy details / overdone on styling, and although great engineering, all of those "guts" out front of the car - whoa! Was not our favorite - we were hoping for a really well done early 1951 Studebaker pickup...the retro 1950's sports racing 2021 Devin roadster was also very clever & really well done.