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While DIY automotive projects are nothing new, the options for modifying your vehicle are becoming increasingly diverse and accessible. From Backyard Biodiesel production and vegetable-oil-powered motorcycles to solar panel augmented chassis and homemade RFID keyless entry, as the Owner’s Manifesto states, “If you can’t open it, you don’t own it,” and this should apply to your manufactured automobile as much as any commercial object. Continue reading for a few examples of vehicular hacking, from art cars to an Arduino-controlled Jeep!


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An art car gone mad, the Sashimi Tabernacle Choir has long been a staple of Maker Faires from Austin to Detroit to New York. And with each appearance it might be different than the last, as this project undergoes “continuous modification and reprogramming.” For example, the control system, once ran with BASIC Stamp, now uses a Linux netbook’s web browser, giving the makers a visual GUI for choosing songs and animation sequences.


Wanting a truck with more power options, Mechanical Mashup maker Dave re-wires and hacks a Black & Decker power inverter to reside in the panel between his truck’s driver and passenger seats. As they say in their video podcast, “cars aren’t keeping up with technology,” and it’s up to makers to hack their vehicles to suit their needs. And sometimes all you need is a lot more power!


Hamburg-based maker Alexander Weber detailed his Race Car POV at his tinkerlog blog. After experimenting for a year with a couple prototypes, the drive-by results are pretty fantastic!



Here is my Jeep wrangler that I outfitted with a couple Arduinos, a bunch of relays and some swtiches. Basically a computerized power box for the jeep. It runs all of my accessories along with lights and even starts the jeep with only a code! Has light sensors to automatically turn on the lights and can tell the time and temp.

Ed’s Arduino-powered Jeep Wrangler shows what is possible when a maker wants to extensively modify their vehicle’s interior and functions with an Arduino! His first experiment with that microcontroller platform, this 11-minute video walkthrough shows everything from temperature display to controlling his garage’s lights and door from inside his vehicle. He even modded his ignition to the push of a button!


Instead of a car with mods, this car is the mod. Vehicular hacking taken to its logical conclusion, this car is part of an emerging trend of homemade diesel and electric motor vehicles. Best of all, the Roopod is also completely street legal! This auto has managed to squeeze out an incredible 78 miles per gallon, and the maker suspects that number could be improved upon.


Nick Normal

I’m an artist & maker. A lifelong biblioholic, and advocate for all-things geekathon. Home is Long Island City, Queens, which I consider the greatest place on Earth. 5-year former Resident of Flux Factory, co-organizer for World Maker Faire (NYC), and blogger all over the net. Howdy!


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