QFC36 - Autobahnkurier (RESULTS OUT, DONE)


November 2023
Onyx Palace, Basara, Sultanate of Dalluha

“May the recipient of honor approach!” pronounced a formal-sounding voice from the other end of the Ebony Throneroom, echoing in its vastness. Skaiðrun then stepped onto the silk carpet that ran the room’s entire length, and in unhurried, confident strides, approached the throne and its occupant: His Cromulent Excellency, the Sultan of Dalluha.

“Thank you, I’ll take it from here,” said the Sultan to the court announcer, rising from the exquisitely carved throne that had been in this room for centuries, and standing just in front of it in full regalia. As the Recipient approached, the Sultan’s stiff posture relaxed, and a smile formed and grew with every step nearer. Beaming at Skaiðrun, he chuckled heartily. As she stepped up to the throne level, he approached and they exchanged a warm hug.

“Skye! Goodness, I had no idea it was you! Of course now I remember your full name, and in hindsight, I should’ve guessed it was you who masterminded the arrest of Sheikh Ghassan Suffliah al-Adye and with him the end of the Dalluhan Mafia. But my advisors were terse, confusing, and contradictory in their accounts of who had accomplished such a deed.”

“Hello, Your Majesty–”

“No no, please, I may be Sultan now, but you whom I’ve known since childhood are a personal friend, even though we lost touch for all those years. Please, call me as you did when we were in school together.”

“Snotrocket?” They both burst out laughing.

“Ok, maybe a few grades later…”

“Of course, Jafran. How are you?”

“We’ll catch up later. First and foremost, we must conclude this ceremony of Royal Reward.” He stepped back and announced to the entire room in an imperious tone. “For eradicating a longstanding enemy of the People and of the Sultanate, I hereby reward you with the following…”

He handed her a wax-sealed scroll of heavy paper tied up with an intricately knotted lace. “This goes into details, but the gist is: a lifelong pension, the Al Qihas Guest Palace with all upkeep covered, a personal bodyguard team handpicked directly from the ranks of the Onyx Palace Guards, a ceremonial chrome-plated saber, a commemorative medal in a display case… and as I recall, you were quite the gearhead even back at school?”

She paused fumbling with the scroll and grinned affirmatively at Jafran.

“Then I would like to add a personal touch to your reward. Name a car, any car ever made, and it will be yours. If I have it in my collection, it will be yours immediately.”

Throughout her illustrious and reasonably profitable career, Skye had amassed quite the collection of automotive superlatives, exotica, and just plain cool cars. But there was one she had idolized for decades and never had the fortune to encounter for sale.

“Any? How about a 1936-1940 Mercedes Benz 540K Autobahnkurier?”

The Sultan’s eyes went wide and he sat down. “Oh dear… I’m afraid I promised the impossible. Not even I - We, that is, the Royal We - have been able to come across one of those. Only two are known to exist - one in a private collection that has refused one after another blank check, and the other rumored to be locked up somewhere in Iran. Our ethics prevent acquisition by force or dishonesty, and looking too hard for the other one would cause an international incident. But suppose I offer you a worthy spiritual heir of the Autobahnkurier? A car from a later era, that best embodies the essence of the 540k, and nods to its styling without being a replica?”

“I would certainly accept such a car, done right, and from any era 1946-2020. But it has to perform - for its time, whatever that may be - like it’s the Autobahnkurier’s descendant, as much as looking the part. What are my options?”

The Sultan stood up. “Let’s go visit my Collection and see what we find…”

TLDR: pick any year 1940-2020. Make a period-correct equivalent that best captures the essence of the Mercedes Benz 540K Autobahnkurier in both form and function.



  • Exterior design. Should remind of the orginal, or have a visual effect comparable in flavor and intensity.
  • Straight-line performance for its era. Top speed, 80-120 time, 1km time. I repeat the emphasis on age relativism; what’s competitive in 1970 may be unrealistic in 1950, mediocre in 1990, and a joke in 2020.
  • Stylistic period-correctness, with a specific exemption (but not a requirement) for split windshields.


  • Handling performance. Balanced weight distribution, fade-free brakes, short stops, high and even skidpad ratings. Also relative to era.
  • Drivability
  • Reliability, also relative to era.
  • Product of Sportiness and Comfort, both adjusted as follows: Comfort will be recalculated to remove torque and gearbox modifiers. Sportiness will be recalculated to remove gearbox modifier.


  • Safety
  • Fuel economy
  • Environmental resistance
  • Mechanical period-correctness. The 540K was itself not very period-correct; with with fully independent suspension, optional 5-gear transmissions, and an order of magnitude more power than most contemporaries, it was well ahead of its time. Its descendant can be reasonably expected to be the same way.


  • Off road
  • Service costs
  • Cargo and passenger room and capacity
  • Interior design. While I generally like interiors, the original’s was nothing special, and for this QFC I will not consider them at all.

Budget: $80k soft limit
Techpool: $80M total, distribution unrestricted
Quality: unrestricted
Advanced trim: unrestricted
Bodies: unrestricted, provided the result look like a 2/3-door coupe. For reference, the original has a 3.3m wheelbase, roughly equivalent to a 2.8m in 2023; anything shorter than 2.5 or so is unlikely to win. Legacy bodies ok.
Emissions: the car must pass Dalluhan emissions for its given year.
Engines: no race intake, but race headers ok. V16 ok. The original had a supercharged 5.4L straight-8, large but not huge for its day. Depending on the era, anything between a turbo six and a V16 could be appropriate.
Engine loudness: every quality point spent on Architecture, Fuel System, or Exhaust reduces baseline engine loudness by 0.75. No hard limit, but much above 45 will be annoying, and by 60, the rest of the car had better be extraordinary to still be considered.
Transmissions: no CVT
Seats: two full-size seats.
Safety: at least Standard safety at 0 or higher quality for the car’s decade.


Naming convention: car Model and engine Family shall be “QFC36 - (your forum name and anything else you want)”. Trim and variant unrestricted.
Submitting: DM me your .car and post an advert publically
Resubmitting: everyone gets at least one with no questions asked. Subsequent ones are case-by-case. I tend to be lenient with these.



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I could adapt my Wares Runner from FC1 for this one if I wanted to…

fuck this car and everything it stands for


Yeah…Moroza, I don’t think this is going to be an acceptable challenge. I’m afraid there’s too much not very good history with this car and basing a challenge around did is going to cause problems. There’s plenty of other rare, blue chip cars one could go with for this. I would highly recommend going with something else, otherwise there will be issues.

Eh, not that I really want to start some heated political discussion, but I still don’t really see the problem. Was it built in a country that had a, to say it least, horrible regime at the point? I think (and hope) we can all agree on that. The most sold car in the world, the Volkswagen Beetle, was a project initiated by that regime, I rarely see that car being questioned. The Kübelwagen from the same manufacturer was a vehicle built for the war that was a result of the same regime that we all know the results of, still a collectors car today. As far as I know, correct me if I am wrong, the known records of what happened to the few Autobahnkuriers being built was one that was built for the Shah of Persia, another one ordered by a Spanish professor, so it is not that it has being used in some way to commit crimes against mankind. There are also lots of non German vehicles that has been built in countries that had questionable regimes at the point, like the GAZ Pobeda, I didn’t see anyone object against it when I built a car highly inspired by that one a while ago.

With that said, the brief is maybe a bit unusual for a QFC, if we forget the car in itself for a while, some people might like it, some might not, personally I would maybe have used it for a standalone challenge where I could have given people a little bit more time, that could have improved the quality of the entries and maybe spawned some more inspiration, but that’s just my own view on it and I don’t say that my own opinions are always the correct or best ones.


even if we put the unfortunate history aside, is the goal just to make an exact replica of that merc, and not even a modern design with retro elements inspired by it?

if so (and if this round even begins), this might be the narrowest brief i have ever seen in a challenge :skull:


As I read the rules, you can make a modern car that is in the same spirit, my own interpretation is that it doesn’t even have to be a retro design, but…up to Moroza to give a clarification of that I guess.


A (more) modern equivalent would not even need to have any exterior design elements inspired by the original Autobahnkurier, but it should have the same presence and impact when seen in person.

Also, the techpool limit of $80M refers to the total costs (the sum of techpool and lab costs) as shown in the techpool menu.

And I just found out that as tempting as it was to convert my Wares Runner into a modern-day Autobahnkurier, I realized that a mid-engined all-carbon-fiber V12 supercar from the same era would be far more likely to meet the brief.

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I’m not there is much quick about building 30’s cars in automation.

Take this csr for example

My entry took a very long time to make and some others were even more detailed.

Wether the idea is build a modern retro like the Chrysler Atlantic or an actual classic car I can’t see much turn out in a challenge that should be done in a week


man this car had an Inline 8 it seems… are you going to prefer a V16 over a V12 for example?

For those without the key, a V12 will suffice. However, anyone with the key could try a V16 if they wanted to.

In 540K Autobahnkurier, I believe “540K” is the part people take offense to, especially given that unlike the Beetle it was pretty much exclusively for the people in power at the time… one guy in particular.

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To clarify a few things, starting with the bleeding obvious.

  1. This wasn’t political until the-chowi made it so.

  2. Among adults - though perhaps we aren’t all - one could hope for a more mature, respectful, and articulated remark than that kneejerking shitpost.

  3. Appreciating a car in no way, shape, or form implies endorsement of any of its owners. Stalin had a Packard. Any number of middle east and African warlords have Toyota trucks. A lot of BMW and Porsche drivers are stuck-up assholes - so what? The cars don’t make them that way and should be evaluated on their own merits. The association of this car with the Third Reich is no more valid than those, and a lot less so than, to name a few: Hugo Boss, Richard Wagner, and the VW Beetle.

  4. There appears to be confusion between this car (W29) and two others - a derivative (W24) and another model, the 770. The latter was Adolf’s personal car, ordered by the regime for offiicial use, and prominently appears with it. I would find it reasonable to add a disclaimer regarding the W24 or the 770. This bodystyle of the 540 was made in six examples. One went to Jack Warner (Warner Bros. film studios). One went to a Spanish eye doctor. One went to the then-Persian Shah. Hermann Göring had a sub-model on a shorter wheelbase. Show me any evidence that Adolf even so much as sat in an Autobahnkurier, and… I’ll add a disclaimer, because the above point still applies.

I honestly don’t understand the significance of the 540K nomenclature.

  1. This particular bodystyle, its looks, the chassis technology underneath, and its performance for its time are what I meant by the spirit of the car, not the government in power at the time.

  2. As much as it bothers me to have to explain this, I understand Nazism and related far-right politics remain a threat to society, enough of one that it can’t be handwaved away by “agree to disagree” or “none of your business.” Fine. In addition to #2 and #4, I’ll add that my personal beliefs are as far from that as it gets. I’m a half-anarchist half-socialist who chews out family members for racist comments and deplores nationalism in any form, down to the use of demonyms. The notion of me endorsing or even tolerating this political camp is patently absurd. And for those who know my personal and family history, seriously insulting. For those who don’t, you get a one-time pass.

  3. Part of the appeal of this car is its projection of power and supremacy. Such projection is also used by military uniforms, and has obvious utility for any institution of authority. Part of the motivation behind this QFC is to take back this visual potency from those who’ve stolen and misused it, to put it towards something good or at least neutral, to deny its exclusive use to such abominable characters.

  4. The idea is primarily to build an equivalent for another era, not a replica. I added that as an option if someone really wanted to. I expect to see turbo sixes for an 80s JDM build, huge V8 for an American one, possibly something mid-engined for a 2000s version, and so on. V12 and V16 are closer to the original, but far from mandatory by any means. An 80s JDM with a V16 would be so unrealistic that the low priority of mechanical realism would come up at least as a mention.

Question: in light of all this, in particular #3, who still objects to this car used as inspiration? If you do, would you also object to the Beetle? Or anything German?


Let me start with the non-negative part of my comment:
I see no reason to blackball a challenge featuring, ahem, a late-30s German car. Those cars from the era that feature exceptional automotive design and engineering don’t suddenly become taboo or non grata because of the tainted money that made them possible. The exceptional nature of the cars stands regardless. I myself am a huge fan of the Mercedes and Auto Union race cars of the time, as I recognize the innovation that went into them.
The political part of this dispute is worthless, made even more so because moroza is expressly not asking anybody to build the actual car with its actual origin in history; rather, he is asking for a replica or spiritual successor. Your hands are clean either way, it is no blood diamond.

Moving from the good to the bad, I object to this car because QFC is not the replica challenge, it is not the detailed-design challenge, and hell, I would say it’s not even that good a place to apply a “give me any year you wish” formula. Knugcab only just about pulled it off last time, and he’s got years of challenge experience on either of us.
QFC was started as the challenge that takes a week to judge. That usually means it ought to be easy to judge. The full game year range, your intent to manually edit the weighting of stats, and the “you can also make a literal replica” clause all complicate judging as well as people’s building experience. My advice is, save a brief like this for an ARM or something should you win one; make this into a more generic luxury car challenge, and preferably limit the trim year range to a decade or less.


In lieu of this, to my understanding, the challenge is more about:

Who can send a luxury car tha would be found on an auction years later with a high bid, with the greater freedom on what the year the car could be in.

Now for the politics, I agree with the statements of Knugcab, Texaslav, and Moroza as there isn’t some greater evil that’s behind this challenge.

And I ask the community, do we seek to understand or to find ourselves being the right one? Maybe we all contributed to the inflation of the issue without realizing that we do this in a vicious cycle.

But that’s what I have to add onto this thread.


Ok, no replicas (unless you really want to), and I emphasize two things:

  1. No great detailing is asked. I expect quickie drafts of cars that were analogous to the Autobahnkurier in whatever time and place, to get their point across. Interiors are explicitly not considered.

  2. Stats are secondary, and performance evaluated for its time, not relative to other eras. Unlike QFC35, age-related differences between cars won’t matter. IC, this car won’t be driven much, mostly looked at and admired for its (automotive) historical significance.

Judging will be primarily visual, and in several colors in addition to whatever it comes with. I might not even make a spreadsheet, and if I do, it’ll be mostly my notes instead of stats.

A visual-based, “idea-over-execution” QFC? I guess that’s an interesting thing to try out. Just don’t mess up the timing and within your judgement, don’t weigh heavy on interiors.

Yup, you got it.

I read the original QFC post. I will likely ignore the word limit for reviews but they won’t be anywhere near JOC or FC in length or depth. Otherwise the intent is very much to follow the original idea. Still, should I give it two weeks?

No, I say keep it brief. People entering can either commit some time and do their best at creating a compelling design, brushing up on their Automation fixturing skills - or they can sit it out and make your job as judge easier. A low-attendance challenge isn’t necessarily a failure or a disservice, I mean, nobody’s still mad at people whose CSRs ended up too niche.


This challenge still feels strange to me as the point of QFC as I see it isn’t centered on speed but rather on being a gateway challenge for new or unexperienced players. This concept could definetly work, but it needs to be done right. Not that Moroza specifically isn’t up to the task or anything like that, but it should be considered.