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Designing your own car - sort of...

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  • Member since
    January 2021
Designing your own car - sort of...
Posted by PFJN2 on Friday, August 20, 2021 1:21 PM


I hope this is OK to post here.  Over the years, on and off, I occassionally have had the urge to try and build, modify, or kitbash a car model into kind of what I would do if I could "design my own car".

Recently while stumbling around on the internet I ran across a pre-release video game called "Automation" that kind of lets you doi that "virtually".  In general the game appears to be one of those "Tycoon" type games where you start at the end of WWII with a car company and try and run the company to the present day.  A couple neat features in it though lets you just use it as a "sandbox" to design your own cars, and engines for any time between 1946 and now.  It will estimate the performance of your car and engine and tell you if it has issues that you need to correct.

In addition though, the creators have also added an export feature that lets you export your car to another program called "", which is described as a "soft-body" physics driving game, so that you can drive your creation on a variety of tracks, courses and other typical driving areas.

Furthermor, in the files that get created to transfer between games is a more or less 3D model of your car (and engine) in a Collada DAE format, so that you can potentially pull it into other graphics programs as well.  One issue with the 3D model though is it puts all components at the Origin, so that you may have to do a little 3D editing to get all the parts into their correct places.  I am also currently looking to see if I can take that DAE file and do a 3D print of the parts on my 3D printer, so that in the end I may be able to actually have a "real" model of my design. Smile

Because the program are still "pre-release" it does have a couple areas still under development, so it may not be 100% perfect yet, but its still pretty cool.  Right now, you are limited to 4-stroke gasoline engines (I think), and car interiors are limited, and the configurations of the gearboxes may be a bit simplified, but you do have options on whether you want a dual clutch system, a sequential gearbox, an automative or a manual, and the total number of gears seems to be limited based on the year that you pick for the design.

In addition, basic body shapes can be a bit limited, but there is an active modding community and there is a way to add your own body designs too, if you know how to model stuff in a Freeware program called "Blender".

Anyway, if anyone else has ever had the urge to try and design their own car, you might want to give this game a look.  Its avaialble on STEAM.

Below are some images from both the base Automation game and the BEAMng.Drive game showing a small hatchback that I tried to put together.



My Design - In the Program you have the option of numerous bodies (many of which can be morphed a little) and the option to add a wide range of healights, tail liaghts, indicator lights, grills, vents, door handles, logos, trim fittings, license plates, ariels, rims, tires and various trim pieces.

No Body

Body Removed Showing Engine and Suspension

Eng Des

Initial Engine Design Screen

Eng Per

Estimated Engine Performance


Estimated Test Track Performance


Export to Race Game [I was running this on my Laptop so my Graphcs isn't real good here - as noted in the warning sign at the top of the screen - I suspect that it will look better with a dedicated graphics card]


My Design After Crashing into a Guard Rail (I didn't have a steering wheel attached on my laptop Surprise)  On the left of the screen you can see an outline of the car and driveline showing that I have radiator damage


3D Model of Design Body Pulled into a 3D CAD Program to see if I can Convert it to a STL file for Printing

3D Eng

3D Model of Eng

  • Member since
    May 2009
  • From: Poland
Posted by Pawel on Friday, August 20, 2021 6:52 PM


Sure is a cool piece of software (more than one, actually). Just goes to show how dramatically our hobby is changing before our very eyes. Stuff like this is making models that were unthinkable years ago available to everyone willing to learn a thing or two (funny enough - today that's still a small minority!).

Thanks for sharing and have a nice day


All comments and critique welcomed. Thanks for your honest opinions!

  • Member since
    January 2021
Posted by PFJN2 on Friday, August 20, 2021 6:56 PM


PS.  Here is one of my favorite attempts so far.  Its a 2012 car with a throwback late 1940's body style.



  • Member since
    June 2021
Posted by rocketman2000 on Saturday, August 21, 2021 8:57 AM

It is okay to post car stuff here, but if you are a car modeler, you are missing a lot of you do not use the AUTOS forum.  Also check out the Tools, Techniques and Reference Materials section.  There are some real gems in those forums.


Don Stauffer in Minnesota

  • Member since
    November 2008
  • From: Central Florida
Posted by plasticjunkie on Saturday, August 21, 2021 10:34 AM

I had a friend in Sr. High (1973) that loved designing cars on paper. I remember thinking those designs will never make it to an actual working machine and to my surprise I was wrong. Years later that kid's automotive design visions became a reality. 




Too many models to build, not enough time in a lifetime!!


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