For Sale: Purpose-Built Cop Car Prototype, Low Miles, and the Tooling to Build Another
Carbon Motors, the law-enforcement-focused automotive startup that threw together the surprisingly cool E7 cop car, went bust this year. This was both sad news for fans of weird, diesel-powered, purpose-built cop cars, and good news for scofflaws sweating over the prospect of facing down weird, diesel-powered, purpose-built cop cars capable of 150 mph. If you fall into the former category, though, the day is not yet lost: Carbon Motors’s sole E7 prototype is going to soon cross the auction block—along with several “Carbon Motors assets” (including intellectual property) and what sounds like most of the tooling for the car’s body panels.
The auction house handling the sale isn’t saying what it expects the car and Carbon Motors’s leftovers to go for, but does specify that proceeds will be used to pay down some of the bankrupt company’s lingering debt obligations. The listing does include a list of the E7’s features, which is headlined by utility-belt-friendly seats, perp-head-saving suicide rear doors, integrated lights and sirens, automated license-plate recognition system, front and rear radar sensors, 360-degree audio and video surveillance, a touch-screen “command system,” and a “weapons-of-mass-destruction-detection system.” No word on which of these gadgets work, or whether the WMD-detection setup involves the presidential cabinet circa 2003, but regardless it’s all quite nifty.
Of course, the E7’s BMW-sourced twin-turbocharged diesel inline-six is part of the deal, though we doubt that Carbon Motors’s order for 240,000 BMW engines and transmissions is included among the unspecified company assets also being sold in the auction. Critically, should the E7’s new owner catch a door ding or get clipped in traffic, the sale also includes the car’s body-panel molds, so he or she can pump out their own replacement pieces.
We think the E7 was an interesting and ambitious project, (more than 20,000 orders for the car were placed by law-enforcement agencies) but the Department of Energy thought otherwise, denying Carbon Motors a $300-million loan last year—effectively killing the brand’s prospects. It’s not much of a secret that Carbon Motors disagreed with the DOE’s motives for pulling its funding, since the move came on the heels of the very public implosion of the DOE-funded startup Solyndra. Carbon wasn’t alone, of course, losing its allowance around the same time Fisker Automotive was denied another round of DOE funds. Too bad Carbon never got around to building the ugly but effective-looking TX7, otherwise we’re fairly certain you’d be able to place bids on it, too. After all, who doesn’t need a one-off armored troop carrier that looks like a frowning Nissan NV3500? Apparently, police departments the nation over.