Strictly-speaking, the Rinspeed X Trem is a pickup truck rather than a car. But an open twoseater with an on-board hovercraft would always be a vehicle that transcended boundaries.
Rinspeed X Trem 1999
- YEAR REVEALED 1999
- PLACE OF ORIGIN Zumikon, Switzerland
- HISTORICAL STATUS prototype
- ENGINE V8-cylinder, 332ci (5,439cc)
- MAXIMUM POWER 347bhp
- LAYOUT front-mounted engine driving all four wheels
- BODYWORK doorless, two-seater buggy / utility
- TOP SPEED 150mph (241kph) (claimed)
- NUMBER BUILT one
Since 1979, Switzerland’s Rinspeed Design has sought to enliven the motoring world with its way-out productions, but this one went further than most, and was, in Europe, fully road-legal. The company’s principal Frank Rinderknecht said he was impelled to create the Rinspeed X Trem after noticing how cumbersome the load bays of pickups could be with their high-up flatbeds.
To overcome this, he devised his patented multiplex “X-Tra-Lift” device, which could crane up and lower to the ground any item of equipment on board. Not so far removed from the lifting gear on a garbage truck, this was also designed to double as a rollover bar in the event of the X-Trem overturning in an accident.
So the X-Trem could frequent building sites during the week and beaches at the weekend. As “presentation cargo,” Rinspeed commissioned one of the smallest ever functional hovercraft from Japanese company Sorex-and the first ever “fitted” to any car.
Rinspeed called it a Multi-Utility Vehicle (MUV). The underpinnings were an extended Mercedes-Benz G-Class chassis, while the frontal styling paid tribute to both Mercedes and Chrysler models. Twin retractable screens shielded driver and passenger, and there was a computer, a cigar humidor, and waterproof upholstery.