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Fix your stare to the wheels of this 3D printed, Bowie-inspired car

Car people listen up, this Bowie concept vehicle will ch-ch-ch-ch-change your life

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Takumi Yamamoto, a visionary automotive designer, has drawn inspiration from various things in his work, but his most recent car design might be his most personal yet. As a tribute to one of the most influential and iconic rock stars of our time, Yamamoto has created a 3D printed concept car inspired by the one and only David Bowie.

As a Bowie fan myself, I can understand the affinity for the British glam rock star. His music has a way of transcending time and place, something which connected him to millions of people around the world. Yamamoto, who has listening to Bowie’s music throughout his life and finds his voice to be calming when he was under pressure, would certainly agree.

David Bowie concept car
Early concept art for the car (Image: Takumi Yamamoto)

In fact, Yamamoto’s tribute to the starman was first conceived of 20 years ago as a very different project. He initially envisioned reaching out to the singer to collaborate on the project, called “The db Project.” Yamamoto partnered with industrial designer and 3D modeler Cyrille Ancely to get the project going but sadly, Bowie passed away before they could pitch the project to him.

Since Bowie’s death in January 2016—a challenging time made slightly easier with the timely release of Bowie’s last album, Blackstar”—Yamamoto and Ancely decided to rethink the project as a tribute, channelling their appreciation for Bowie and his music into a Bowie-esque vehicle. One notable influence on the car is Bowie’s iconic striped jumpsuit from the Aladdin Sane tour, designed by Japanese fashion designer Kansai Yamamoto.

David Bowie concept car
(Image: Takumi Yamamoto)

At this stage in the project, Yamamoto brought on Alexandre Larnac, a CGI expert who helped to create the renderings of the car, and reached out to Philippe Marie, a specialist in automotive and aeronautics prototyping, who suggested that 3D printing—and specifically Massivit’s large-format 3D printing—would be the best way to recreate the concept car.

In the end, the Bowie tribute car was 3D printed using the Massivit 1800 3D printer, which boasts a build volume of up to 145 x 111 x 180 cm. “This design would not be possible to fabricate with the standard solutions, but with this 3D printer, you can create pretty much whatever you want,” said Yamamoto about the process.

David Bowie concept car

The 3D printed concept vehicle, which has not yet been fully unveiled, will be presented for the first time at the upcoming International Automobile Festival in Paris, from January 31 to February 3. Excitingly, the car will not only be the first Bowie-inspired concept car to appear there, it will also be the first 3D printed car at the prestigious auto show.

“It is the first time in our 34-year history that we are exhibiting a scale one car that has been entirely produced with 3D printing,” said Rémi Depoix, the president of the event. “It paves the way for new opportunities in creativity and design for the automotive industry.”

From the glimpses we’ve had of the concept car, called “A Portrait of db,” it looks pretty rock and roll, and we can’t wait to see the finished product unveiled next week. As it is a concept vehicle, the chances of seeing the Bowie car on the roads is slim, but who knows. Yamamoto did design a car for Gran Turismo in 2008 which was picked up and manufactured by Citroen!

If you want to learn more about the project, which seems to have been a truly beautiful and sentimental work, you can watch the video below:

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Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

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