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Monday, June 19, 2006


The Ford SAR Car

This post is part of the AW Chain Round 2.

In the previous link of the Great Chain of Blogging, Peggy blogged about an interesting package of noodles she found at the dollar store. Dollar stores can be great places to find interesting and offbeat bargains. Well, about five years ago I heard an interesting story about an idea that the engineers at the Ford Motor Company came up with for car shoppers who want offbeat bargains. The idea itself was so offbeat, though, that it never saw the light of day.

The name of the project was the SAR Car. SAR stood for Some Assembly Required. The car would arrive at a dealership before they finished assembly, and it would be up to the car owner to finish putting it together or pay the dealer to do the job. I'm not too sure how much assembly would have been left up to the owner; my guess is that it would either have snapped together like a giant G.I. Joe toy or you could have finished the job with a couple screwdrivers and maybe a set of wrenches. I doubt that they would have left installing the engine or brakes up to the customer. The items left off would probably be things like bumper covers, mirrors, and interior items. Maybe lights.

Besides saving the owner a bit of money, this approach might have made it easier to pick and chose which parts go on the car. You might be able to do things like go for a top of the line stereo and all the luxury items but omit the leather interior, for example, or otherwise get around the annoying option packages that require you to buy items you don't want to get ones you do. Had they carried this over to items like the suspension, this might have also allowed for selling items like extreme performance suspensions that very few normal owners would want but would be just the ticket for autocrossing (although it's debatable if the SCCA would let you run any SAR Cars in the Stock class as the rules are written!). Sort of like a cross between Toyota's new Scion line and GM's COPO options from the '60s.

But the program had its obvious faults. One of the more obvious is that many people who want to save money and don't mind getting their hands dirty buy used cars. Also, an owner-assembled car might be a bit harder to warranty. But it was definitely an interesting concept, even if it never made it off the drawing board.

If a auto manufacturer offered their cars partially assembled so that you could save money and maybe personalize it a bit, would you go for it?

Next blog in the chain: Jennifer Sando.

I don't even know how to change my oil, so it's definitely not for me! I know some tinkerers who might like that kind of thing, though.
If I were in the market for a car, I definitely would! But then, I'm not a girlie girl and I own more tools than most men, have replace axles and cv boots, changed the oil & oil filters & fuel filters on my cars, did tune-ups...

Yeah, not a girlie girl. :)
Very interesting article Matt. Thanks for your question on my blog as well. I've answered it for you there.
Hi Matt, thanks again. The info on where to get the film is in the comment section.
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