Alternate History Showcase

Somewhere in Los Angeles, November 2020

“Smog warning for downtown today, with authorities urging people to keep indoors and wear their masks. Meanwhile, in markets, oil is holding steady at 17 per barrel, which should see fuel prices low for the rest-”

A lot of things have changed since the 1960s, cars most of all. Words like tailpipe emmissions, fuel economy and safety are as important as performance and luxury… but what if none of those changes ever happened? What if consumer tastes never evolved the way they did, and remained stuck there? That is what I invite you to explore, in the Alternate History Challenge.

This is intended as a one-off challenge, although I am open to continue it if things go well. The round will be open for rules discussion until the 23rd of January; the timeline for submissions will be published once rules are finalised, but you will have at least two full weeks once rules are set. I am also looking for some suggestions for fun and iconic images to use as references, as I am not particularly strong there tbh. A preliminary album of inspirations can be found here and may be updated in future.

The actual challenge itself:
  • This is intended more as a showcase than a contest, with reviews likely in the mold of SCCR or my second assessment of ACDC. I may choose a “best in class” here and there, but do not expect a ranking.
  • There will be four different “customer profiles” here - working car, family car, premium car, performance car. More about each profile can be read below. You may submit up to four cars, and will receive up to one review per profile. If it looks like two of your cars are targetting the same profile, I will only review one. If you do not submit a car for each profile, I may review one car for multiple profiles - for instance, an 8-seater SUV with good utility can be a family and working car, or a prestigious but sporty coupe can be a premium and performance car. You do not have to submit four cars, or target all four demographics. If you want to just submit one supercar, feel free. If you want to just submit one family wagon or one brawny working truck, feel free to do that too.
  • For aesthetics, the primary desire is something decidedly retro, or an evolution of it. All those spiked bumpers that were made illegal for pedestrian safety, for instance, are completely legal right now. Feel free to go with classic designs but modern tech, or something newer based on that. Anacronisms and such are fine here. A nice big minivan full of touch screens? Sure. A giant SUV putting even the boatiest of boats in mind? Go ahead. Anything goes here.
The Rules:
  • This challenge will be run on 4.2 (the “unstable” branch) to take advantage of the ability to use earlier technologies.
  • Please name your family and model as “AHS - YourForumName”.
  • All cars must have their trim and variant years set to 2020. Model and family years can vary, but try and keep it within reason.
  • There are no safety or catalytic converter requirements. For safety, that includes both type and decade - standard 50s and basic 10s are both valid picks. Similarly, any choice of entertainment is valid, although a phonograph might not be a great choice.
  • There are no hard PU/ET limits, but be reasonable. Make the car make sense. I reserve the right to bin any cars which feel incoherent or implausible.
  • 3D fixtured interiors are optional, and I won’t take a particularly dim view of cars without one here. If you do make an interior, make it match your options - touch screens mean satnav or better, a luxurious 3D interior means luxurious options and so on. Feel free to request that I hide the chassis and similar, as needed.
  • While fuel economy may be unimportant, range certainly is. Range is determined by fuel economy and fuel tank size. Fuel tank size is determined by footprint (3 liters of fuel tank per square meter) and weight (0.02 liters per kilogram). Consider the use of the car in evaluating range, but a good target is at least a couple of hundred kilometers to get from one major city to another with a relatively small number of stops. Whether this comes by getting a little bit more economy out of your engine or by squeezing in a larger tank is up to you.
  • Given the unstable nature of 4.2, feel free to include screenshots of your statistics with your submission. This will function on the honour system, although I do reserve the right to ignore any screenshots which I feel do not fit the submitted cars.
  • 17TH OF JAN EDIT: All the fuel types which are available in at least one market are legal - this means that AvGas and leaded are allowed, but ethanol and DevMeth are out. 91 RON (unleaded) and 92 RON (leaded) are available roughly everywhere and for equal cost. 95 RON (unleaded) and 98 RON (leaded) are available in most places and for equal costs. 98 RON (unleaded) is less available and more expensive, and so on for 100 RON while AvGas is specialty fuel which needs to be actively sought out. To combat the benefits of leaded fuel, however, an engine reliability penalty will be incurred due to spark plug fouling. Choose wisely.

The Customer Profiles
The four major profiles are family car, working car, cruising car and performance car. As noted elsewhere, you can submit up to four cars - one for each profile. You can also choose to submit one car for multiple profiles, such as a big SUV equally at home taking the kids to school as taking a tonne of wood to a construction site. I will allow you to *indicate* which segments you intend for a car to be targeted at, but I reserve the right to add or subtract segments.

Family car
This is the simplest, and most straightforward car here. These are cars for taking the kids to school, to sports and so on. Two rows of seats are a must, with three being appealing to some. Practicality reigns supreme, with buyers looking for sensible cars. A wide variety of body shapes will be accepted - hatchbacks, sedans, minivans, SUVs and even wagons. A variety of price points will be considered here, from your basic sedans and econoboxes to your more high-end cars like the Ford Expedition, Cadilac XT6 and such.

Working car
These are cars being used for hard, physical work. Remote farms, offroad trails, construction sites and such. Cargo capacity, towing capacity, and just overall grunt are important here. For some, repairability matters too - the ability to fix your own car when the nearest mechanic is a couple of hours away. Repairability is impacted by both aesthetic and engineering choices; two lists are below, but note that different choices will have different impacts. A simple computer is less impactful than a complex one. People here don’t want to spend tons of money on their cars, though.
Features which increase repairability
  • Ladder or space frames - being able to separate the two parts of the car makes things easier. Ladder frames and space frames are both easier to repair.
  • CD player entertainment or earlier - standard head units mean that things can be replaced simply and easily.
  • Carburetors - no computer under the hood makes it easier to replace stuff.
  • Sealed beams, and simple lights - if there is only one or two fairly standard bulbs, you can easily replace them when it’s done. With sealed beams, you can just swap the whole assembly. Yes, sealed beams are still available. No, they aren’t mandatory.
Features which will decrease reliability
  • Anything involving computerised systems - if it uses a computer, it is hard to replace stuff. This includes advanced auto, sequential/dual clutch transmissions, active suspension and aero, electric power steering/LSDs/fuel injection, smart boost, variable valves/intakes, and just about all driver aids
  • Safety which includes airbags (Advanced 80s, Standard 90s, Basic 00s and later) - airbag modules are a pain to replace, damage to these is rough.
  • Highly-filled engine bays - less room to work makes it harder to work.
  • Exotic materials - if you have a ton of magnesium and carbon fiber on a car, it’ll be a pain to fix.
  • Turbochargers - more parts means more stuff can break.
  • The usual things that impact servicing cost - staggered tyres, race intakes, stuff like that. Even when you aren’t paying for repair, it’s a pain.

Cruising car
This is the kind of car you can enjoy taking on nice long road trips, with the windows (or even the top!) down. This will focus on the “cruising experience” - how close it is to engine and turbo stress at highway speeds, how good the sound insulation is (weight slider, quality sliders), and what sort of interior you use. There’s a preference for convertibles here too, being able to really enjoy your surrounds. Drivability is relatively important too, although these cars aren’t being driven too hard.

Performance cars
These are your sports and muscle cars, and are pretty self explanatory. There is still no replacement for displacement, however; a big hefty V8 will be picked over a smaller but higher-performing turbo i4. The preference for V8s is particularly strong, but V10s and V12s are also interesting. The SRT Demon, Redeye and Scat Pack would be some of the poster cars for this sector. Some people in this sector just want a cheap car with RWD and a crazy engine; others are willing to spring for a better, more expensive car.

So, basically the Fallout universe?

Anyway, this sounds pretty fun, and with LCV4.2 changing the way how car tech work it could be a fun challenge.

Yeah, a large part of the inspiration for this is the ability to use anachronistic tech. Oddball challenges like this (plus the various car modding challenges) should make great use of the ability to use old entertainment and safety.

For your repairability section, I will note that non-electric LSDs don’t actually require computers, and mechanical fuel injection is also a thing. How would a light truck monocoque affect repairability, btw?

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On that note, sealed beam headlights of the pop-up variety can be used - but their extra complication would reduce repairability and reliability.

This is true, but I want to give a special note around Mechanical Fuel Injection, and several other technologies. The list I gave is not exhaustive, and any complex, intricate parts - like MFI - will be dinged for this too.

Yep, no pesky pedestrian safety rules here - although an extra moving part isn’t great. The cool factor, however, is there for sure, so feel free to use them, or even pop-ups with a different design.

As an addendum on repairability: The entire working car demographic will appreciate it, and some people will want it at every price point. In other sectors, the value of repairability depends heavily on price point. If you’re making a family shitbox, or a grassroots track racer like a Miata, being easy to work on is a plus. A more prestigious family car or a high-performance hyper or muscle car, however, doesn’t care about reliability.

Edit (also edited into post): All the fuel types which are available in at least one market are legal - this means that AvGas and leaded are allowed, but ethanol and DevMeth are out. 91 RON (unleaded) and 92 RON (leaded) are available roughly everywhere and for equal cost. 95 RON (unleaded) and 98 RON (leaded) are available in most places and for equal costs. 98 RON (unleaded) is less available and more expensive, and so on for 100 RON while AvGas is specialty fuel which needs to be actively sought out. To combat the benefits of leaded fuel, however, an engine reliability penalty will be incurred due to spark plug fouling. Choose wisely.

Zephorus GTS Alternate

The Answer you were looking for.

- Zephorus Design -



It looks like a 70s/80s vision of the distant future in car form, but underneath those 3d fixtures (and also from within that rudimentary interior), I can still see that your build is based on the 308/328-esque body - and adapts it very well to suit this alternate timeline.


It’s actually still the Bolide body, but they do look very similar. I did make a moodboard as well to go with it which i forgot about lol.

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Oh my god this is so sick


With no major changes to rules, the challenge is now OPEN with no more rules changes, unless an emergency forces something.

Entries close at 23:59 UTC, on the 13th of February.

After a question on Discord, I’d like to add that I’ll be allowing V16s. I’ll also be extending the challenge deadline to 23:59 GMT on the 18th, for a completely unrelated reason.

Usually, I disallow V16s on principle. I have the DLC, but I don’t want people without the DLC to be unfairly disadvantaged. However, as this is not a matter of competition, I feel it’s worthwhile. While there were no actual V16s in the era, it’s cool and odd enough that I’m allowing it. If @Riley wants to resubmit, I’ll absolutely allow that too.

As for the deadline, well… I’ve managed to get a job, which has me somewhat tied up during the week. It’s somewhat unlikely that I’ll be able to actually look at the cars until the weekend. May as well extend it, especially given the rules change.


Don’t think i used turbos so it shouldn’t be that broken but yeah ill take a look and make sure paint slots and stuff are still good.

That note on resubmission was in case you wanted to swap to a V16, mainly (but feel free to check if updates have impacted stuff).

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introducing the new and improved


The Vapor first saw daylight in 1965 as Mons Automotive’s flagship road-legal track car. Over its 55 year run the body has remained virtually unchanged. The classic looks just do not go out of style. So for the 2020 model year we have retained the traditional shape and build of the car: a lightweight unibody construction with beam reinforced upper section.

The Vapor continues to be sold with a choice of eight trim levels and three engines. Shown here is the ultimate Vapor, the R. This barely road legal car is the ultimate track car. For 2020 it features:

The trused 7.5L V8 powerplant with quad DCOE carbs. The engine has been retuned to 590 HP, but remains as reliable as ever. However, if you feel like squeezing more out of the car, it is as easy to work on yourself as has been the tradition for 55 years!

Major upgrade for 2020 includes the all-around LED lighting, bringing a fresh look to the car without sacrificing the classic aesthetic.

The Vapor R is all about track performance and weight reduction. Therefore, the inside has been stripped of any weighty gadgets. You get a lightweight sports interior that features bucket seats and a full harness seatbelt system. Other features include a holographic dash, an LED information display, and the minimal necessary dials for car operation. The only luxury you’ll find here is a hand grip for the passenger - they will need it in fast corners! This is a track car foremost; if you want to be pampered, we suggest looking for the more luxurious Vapor L and Vapor LT models.

This car will not be weighed down by fancy thick paints either! The four colour options include brushed aluminum panels with impregnated pigments: Vapor Blue, Smoke Black, Fire Red, and Sun Yellow.

If you’re still not convinced, please see our promotional video for the Mons Vapor R. Then make your way down to your local Mons dealer and put in your order, because this limited edition car will sell out fast!


Just a reminder - entries will close in a little under 48 hours. I’ve received entries from @cake_ape and @Riley - both of you are free to open your cars in the new patch and resubmit if something happened in the new patch which has just dropped. For anyone else still working on an entry, please try to have it in on time.

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Thanks for the opportunity for resubmission. I checked and nothing seems too borked. The price went up a few 100 bucks maybe? All good from my end :slight_smile:

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Apologies for the slight delay, but entries are now closed. Both of these entries will be evaluated primarily as sports cars, largely due to their engine configurations. They’re both using DCOE with the maximum carburetors. The Zephorus has race intakes and headers, and the Mons has a single straight through muffler and is 100 RPM away from conrod stress. All of this is a lot of words to say: They aren’t cruisers. They’re loud, rough slabs of metal designed to put out a lot of power - at the cost of reliability, noise and smoothness. Great for sports, less for cruising.

Reviews are pending.


Clash Of The Titans

From Steer Magazine
(With minimal CSS because it’s late and I don’t wanna)

With the new GT Hypercar regulations, the days of Homologation Specials are upon us once more. Actual, honest race cars are about to be hitting the streets… And we got two of them.

On one side, we get the Mons Vapor R. It’s a beautiful classical machine, the same shape used all those decades back when Mons broke onto the racing scene. If you look closer, you can spot all the nice modern features, like the holographic gauges, the more refined aerodynamics and such - but some hapless steward is bound to let this baby loose onto the historic racing circuit.

We don’t even need to pop the hood to get a look at the engine running this baby. The most prominent sight is the four double-throat horizontal carbs, with nice free-flowing filters. Under that, we get to see eight beautiful cylinders adding up to 458 cubic inches, pumping 590 horses through to the rear wheels… If you can manage them.

The car is completely stripped bare of most creature comforts. A 6-speed stick shift is your greatest and only companion, with an eLSD and ABS as your only aids. The only barrier between your body and the road is the electric power steering - although this isn’t the awful, static system of old, you still definitely notice it. The Mons is a race car, through and through. There’s no radio or screens - but the car provides enough pure, unadulterated fun, so long as you can keep it pointing the right way. It’s clean, pure and simple. Any garage in the country should be able to fix it - which includes the garages at your local track.

Images of the Mons

Now, we get the other side, and it’s anything but classical. The Zephorus GTS Alternate looks like it belongs on a launchpad, not your local track. With its sloped, aggressive lines and its carefully molded front fascia and smooth undertray providing the lowest drag possible, this is not a normal car.

Stepping around to the back only confirms this. The intakes of the car are completely exposed, a hole having been cut to let all five carburetors get all the air they need. That’s right, all five - rather than the traditional V8, they have added an extra two cylinders. It’s 30 cubic inches smaller than the Mons, though, and it has almost 50 fewer horsepower. Thanks to the lack of filters, you’ll be paying more at the garage. The added muffler doesn’t seem to do too much, as it actually sounded ever so slightly louder than the Mons - but both will certainly wake the neighbours. The two engines are remarkably similar, it must be said - tried and proven Overhead Valve designs with one DCOE carburetor for every two cylinders, and a fancy, modern Aluminium-Silicon construction.

The Zephorus makes a couple of different choices for your comfort. There’s a sequential shifter, which makes life easier - but the geared rather than electronic diff doesn’t help matters. The car comes with grippier tyres, but even the (regrettably steel) rims aren’t swappable between front and back - unlike the Mons (which at least uses alloy rims). All of these are minor, however, compared to how the cabin feels. You get far more plush seats, and the latest and greatest in entertainment and displays. The ride experience is a breeze too, thanks to factory-standard air suspension. It’s a car you can happily just drive to the track. You’d think this makes it heavier than the Mons, but the high-tech looks come with a high-tech carbon fiber chassis. And, of course, a high-tech price tag.

Images of the Zephorus

The Zephorus, however, hides a dark secret. We aren’t sure how, but the Car Guru had a look under the hood and experimented. He made the smallest of tweaks to the fuel system, swapped in 100 RON fuel, and it led to what we can only call an embarassing outcome for the boffins at Zephorus. What outcome? Well, it ended up with as much power as the Mons, for one.

So, the first remaining question is, as always, track times. Even with 50 hp being sapped away, the Zephorus is the faster car. It clocked at 1:59.72 on our longer track, and 1:11.89 on the shorter one. The Mons, meanwhile, clocked at 2:00.69 and 1:12.43. Once the Guru had his way? We pushed the Zephorus down to 1:58.90 and 1:11.41, an unbelievable gap.

So the obvious answer is to just go for the Zephorus, right? Well… I am not so convinced. We saw a whole lot of wear and tear on our unit just after one day of use, while the Mons seems more reliable for long drives - the lack of a filter doesn’t help. The Zephorus is more comfortable, sure, but how much will you be driving it? There’s also the matter of cost. The Mons costs just 72600, while the Zephorus is 113000 - and the Zephorus costs almost 2000 more to keep running. Would you rather drive a slow car fast, or a fast car to the garage?

So, firstly, I just want to congratulate both entrants here. These are some amazing, beautiful, otherworldly cars, and they deserve all the praise possible. It’s great to see some truly unconventional designs - although, like the last unconventional challenge, not too many of them. Just the way things go, I suppose. They both absolutely hit what I was aiming for, both in different ways. The heartbreaking thing about the Zephorus, however, was that it was dumping waaaaay too much fuel into the cylinders. That tweak the Guru made? Yeah, it was literally just bumping the car down to the 12.6 it’s supposed to run at, rather than the 12 it was running at. I have no idea how something like that happens, especially given that there’s a warning for that, and it’s heartbreaking.

Also, uh, funny story, I was gonna do this awesome Old London photo with both cars, but the first photo didn’t save and the second generated a bugsplat and it’s super late for me so… I may do more showcase cars in the morning, these cars definitely deserve it - and they made nice use of the new stuff we got in 4.2.