Italdesign Machimoto

Where do I start?

Hm. It's a convertible sports car with up to nine seats, and the seats are identical to those you'd find on a motorcycle. Or jet ski.

Does it have anything going for it? Well, I suppose this would be a useful camera car, considering its flexible interior layout and up to nine options for where to sit. And it'd be fun to sit in while learning a new race track—racing schools would probably have a few for instruction. 

Design exists to push cars forward. It's a discipline that allows someone to translate thoughts and observations into reality. Why not this? Why not that

Whether the work of a committee or individual, a vehicle is the physical result of a number of decisions. That's it. So, then, what gets me about the Italdesign Machimoto (a blend of the Italian words for car and motorcycle): they actually set out to make a nine passenger convertible sports car.

When you frame it that way, it's a bit easier to digest. Just what would make the best nine passenger convertible sports car, anyway? First, you'd want a nimble, fun, and predictable chassis that gives brisk performance but isn't too fast. The Machimoto's chassis came from the Mk2 Volkswagen Golf GTI, a platform noteworthy for providing legendary hot hatch handling. With about 137 horsepower from its 1.8-litre 4-cylinder engine, I'm sadly unable to find out how much the Machimoto weighed. 

Even with its pipeline-thick roll bar, I can't imagine it was much porkier than the standard GTI hatchback—so I'd expect 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) times in the 6 to 8 second range. Italdesign kept the front engine, front-wheel-drive layout, so I'd also expect the Machimoto to be quite safe and predictable at speed.

Inside, motorcycle-style seats and a steering wheel that featured flip-out bars (if the driver wanted a more authentic two-wheel experience) were just about all the design team saw fit to include. The dashboard was filled with an array of gauges and readouts, and from quick examination it looks like there was a compass, lap timer, graphic equalizer, and g-meter—exactly what you'd like to see while hauling ass with eight of your closest friends.