November 18, 2002

Ford designer unveils recyclable ‘Ma’ kit car



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Los Angeles, California – Ford Motor Company Vice President of Design J Mays debuted his latest concept offering at the Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) in Los Angeles as part of an exhibit dedicated to his work. The exhibit is entitled Retrofuturism: The Car Design of J Mays.

The vehicle is called MA, named for the Asian philosophy of “the space between.” The philosophy refers to a kind of threshold where two concepts can exist in a mutually beneficial relationship. As a car, the MA represents the same idea, occupying a space between emotional and rational, art and science.

“The MA, with its architectural, minimalist appearance, poses what an automotive aesthetic might look like in the future,” said Mays. “This car is hard to pin down – and that’s what the MA is all about. It’s about proposing solutions that are not obvious, that are between our traditional visions for a car.”

Designed totally on a computer, the MA uses a futuristic combination of materials: bamboo, aluminum and carbon fiber. The car has no welds. Instead, 364 titanium bolts hold the MA together.

Environmental responsibility plays a key role in the MA. Bamboo, a regenerative grass that grows back every five years, figures prominently in the open-air design. Only a few parts are painted. There are no hydraulic fluids and none of the industrial adhesives typically used in automobiles, making the MA more than 96 percent recyclable. The MA concept uses a zero-emission, low-speed electric engine that has virtually no environmental impact. However, the car could also be outfitted with a small conventional gasoline engine.

The MA is targeted at younger customers looking for new interpretations of an automobile. The MA’s low-slung, aerodynamic wedge shape and mid-engine balance conjure up images of a two-seat, neighborhood sports car. Instead of being produced in a plant, the vehicle comes in a more than 500-piece kit, ready for assembly. At the MOCA exhibit, the MA will be displayed both as a completed car and as a kit of individual pieces ready for assembly.

“This would be a great hobby vehicle,” said Mays. “You could put it together in your garage at home with your son or daughter.”

The MA is part of the MOCA exhibit that opens to the public Nov. 17 and runs through March 9, 2003. The display marks the first comprehensive museum exhibition devoted to the work of an American automobile designer. A broad array of Mays’ work will be featured, including concept cars, development models, video footage, new photography and original drawings.

Since joining Ford in October 1997, Mays has completed the development of several new models including the 2002 Ford Thunderbird, Ford Forty-Nine concept car and the Ford GT, which all take their inspiration from classic models of the past.

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