Storm Automotive - (2016)

January 23, 1950. The final payment on the new factory went through that very night, the first teams were hired, and plans were drawn for what would become their car. After five long years of planning, gearing up, and a lot of dedication from three shifts of workers, the first cars were finished.

March 9, 1955. The first day Storm Automotive became known as a car company. Taking a chance in a busy market, the first car released was the Storm Prince Deluxe, a small car with a bit of attitude. Despite having a 1000cc inline-four powerplant, this small, somewhat-sporty two-door coupe managed to sell well enough to pay for not just itself, but the years of hard work and dedication that went into constructing it.

(Undoubtedly, some of you from the Challenges part of the forum may… recognize this car. It was my entry into the PCTC1, just renamed to fit it in the lineup.)

With the 55.7 horsepower engine it had, the car would eventually reach a touch over 94 miles per hour, more than fast enough to get you arrested and your car impounded on any highway in the United States. Inside, the two seats were leather, the steering wheel was leather wrapped, as was the shift ball for the four speed gearbox. A premium AM radio settled comfortably in the otherwise rather plain dashboard, located just below the heat and fan controls.

Now, you’d think the Americans, lovers of huge cars that looked like airplanes, and of engines that could shake the Earth, would never have fallen in love with the tiny, low-powered Prince. But some people did, and they loved it for differing reasons. Sure, the 19 seconds from 0 to 60 could be a little agonizing, but it was so easy to park. It may only seat two, but it had a very usable trunk. It was a car that was fun to drive quickly, though no one could ever call it fast. And in a time where gas was cheap and plentiful, it still kept people happy, just carefully sipping fuel through dual eco carburettors.

Sure, there were always the maniacs who yanked the engines out of 'em and put something else in their place, but even those people learned to appreciate what happens when you put a big V8 in a little car.

The only major problem that came from the Prince was knowledge. It was apparent that the factory would need to expand if we were to become a serious car company. We barely kept up with demand, in some cases having to resort to placing people on the waiting list to get their car. In the end, we learned that our factory, big though it seemed, was just a little too small.

But we had money in the bank now, and fixing our ‘little’ problem would be just a matter of figuring out how to spend it.

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1958 was a revolutionary year for the company. It was also a very bad year for the company.

We released the Storm Trooper a year ahead of schedule, feeling rather proud of ourselves and the new wing we’d added to the factory, dedicated to making engines.

Designed as a high-end van (we had 9 seats made of leather, the rear bench could fold into a bed, and there was a 45 RPM record player in the dash), we thought it was going to sell well.

It didn’t.

While our first car, the Prince, had been at least somewhat fun to drive, the Trooper was about as much fun as walking across broken glass and then swimming in a pool full of lemon juice. With all that weight from the premium-grade interior, the phonograph, and all that steel bodywork, our revolutionary new 2 liter inline four couldn’t keep up. Topping out at 91 miles per hour, but taking 15 seconds to reach 60, the engine proved to be underpowered.

So if the engine was underpowered, what was so good about it? What made it revolutionary?

It was our first DOHC design. In a lighter car, the 102 horsepower I4 may have been a great engine. However, with our hopes and dreams riding on the Trooper, emergency action would have to be taken to save us from going under, and we’d have to do something fast with what we already had…

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Emergency actions had been taken, and with it, we managed to scrape by. The horsepower wars were taking a toll on us, and despite making a much faster car out of the Prince, it was still slow. Still, it was able to beat 10 seconds to 60, and it’d blister its way to 120 miles per hour in the top end of fourth, and that seemed to impress just enough people to keep the doors open.

To make the most of the 2 liter I4, we put on brand new 4 barrel carburettors, dropped in some higher compression pistons, advanced the timing a little, and put in hotter cams. Raising the rev limit up also freed up a bit of power, but it was still a bit of a joke. However, the Prince, even with the big engine in it, weighed quite a bit less than the Trooper, and made more power with the same engine. It still wasn’t what everyone wanted, but it was getting better at it.

For those who weren’t impressed with what the Prince offered, we had comment cards. I firmly believe these saved the company, as they told us exactly what people wanted.

“This car needs a bigger engine.”
“The I4 sucks.”
“Needs a V8.”

We still weren’t in the clear, not by a longshot, but we had enough to start designing something. The Prince, as a car, was solid. Our I4, well, part of it was good. The layout, though, needed to go.

After a long night in the workshop, talking with the engineers over cold drinks, someone came up with a brilliant idea.

“Stick two of them together at the crank. V8, shares almost all the same parts with the four, so it’s cheaper. It’ll be a little small, a four liter, but if they want a V8, give 'em one.”

And so a project began…


Nice story, good and realistic designs and a strong family appearance on the cars. I think this is going to be interesting!

To be fair, the Prince is the same car, different trims. The Trooper was designed mostly for exactly that role in the story, the very heavy brick that threatened to bomb the company early on. The GT trim of the Prince (spoiler alert) will save the company and allow a new car to be made, though I’m not sure yet what it’ll be.

As for release timing (years), right now, the company’s in panic mode and is rushing ideas into production to stay afloat by means of market-flooding. The Trooper failed, so we dragged the Prince into the spotlight with the Trooper’s engine. That Prince pulled us barely ahead. Now we’ve got enough to take the cylinder heads from the 2L I4 and make a V8 with them. That, and ordering some forged steel components because otherwise we’ll kill the engine trying to save the company.

As for once we get turbos… I’ll just say it this way, there’s going to be power wars, and I like to use leading-edge technologies.

A new day dawns over the Storm Automotive factory, and it’s a good day for once.

The ‘midnight special’ V8 turned out to be a good idea. Initial tuning got it making 230 horsepower, but it was decided that the “underpowered” engine stopped right here, right now. We were about to shake the world. Okay, so it trembled ever so lightly, but it was a start.

With careful application of some forged steel components purchased from the slowly growing aftermarket for our agonizingly underpowered 2 liter I4, we made the 4 liter V8 just a little better, and turned up the wick to the tune of 312 horsepower. Keeping the Sport Coupe’s auto-locker rear differential and the trusty 4-speed that’d survived this long, we combined the V8 with the Prince. I think all of us had flashbacks to the early days, when people used to pull the 1 liter I4 out and stuff in a massive V8, and yet, now we were those very same people, pulling an underpowered engine to put in our big V8. Well, not-so-big V8.

You see, most of our competitors were using, well, engines above 5.7 liters. So, our 4 liter engine (244 ci) may have been big for us, but it was still small in comparison to the 400+ ci monsters running around.

Still, we held our breath for a moment as the engine settled comfortably in between the frame rails. Would 312 be enough horsepower? Would the car appeal in its third generation? Could we make it wild enough to capture the hearts of the people?

Body design was kept mostly the same as the Sport Coupe with the added hood scoop, except for the differences. First, the rear exhausts disappeared in favor of heat-shielded side pipes, for a more aggressive, sporty look. Two ducts were added in front of the hood to allow a touch more ventilation, as well as making the car look faster. Side vents were cut into the body work, mostly to provide an air path out of the engine compartment that would cool the exhaust headers. The decision was made to add in dual fog lamps under the front bumper, to aid in bad weather driving.

The result?

A car that the people had asked for. A V8 in the Prince, with a small rear wing to help with traction at speed, and capable of 0 to 60 in 7.6 seconds, with a top speed of 145.5 miles an hour. It could freight-train the quarter mile in 15.48 seconds (tested with Tulsa Quarter Mile, not in game Quarter Mile) and yet still managed to get 11.7 MPG.

It gave us the breathing room to slow down a bit, and ponder a few ideas, like getting our own forge works set up so we didn’t have to go through the aftermarket ever again. And while the guys were busy setting that up and testing it out, I set about seeing what people wanted from us now that we’d made a name for ourselves and one heck of a comeback.

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Another strong year for Storm Automotive.

Following what the people asked for led our company to building a family sedan. Four doors, five seats, big V8, and as a result, a bigger budget to work with.

So, as we’re sitting there in the design room, planning a car around our 4 liter V8 and it’s '63 refresh, one of the engineers mentions that he thinks the car would work better with some of those fancy British carburettors on it. An order was immediately placed for two sets of carburettors.

We got a wicked surprise when we opened the box and found that a set was two… What were we going to do with four carburettors? Well, leave it to our engineers to ignore the instructions that clearly stated “install sideways on engine” and plunked those suckers straight down on top of the engine, with one barrel per cylinder. Some chrome-covered air cleaners finished the install, and even I’ll admit, it looked mighty fine sitting there like that. Four very shiny, very big carburettors sitting on a V8, just ready to be put in our testing car.

After putting a ladder frame together and deciding to treat ourselves by going through the agony of installing four-wheel Double Wishbone suspension systems, we started work on a basic body for this sedan. Some inspiration for the front came from our failed Trooper, with its four lights and big shiny grill, while the back was our own new design, kept simple and neat, with each bulb being easily replaceable.

The end result was a comfortable, yet not exactly slow four door car.

We’d forgotten one thing through all of this, though, until it came time to make an ad for the car: the name. A vote was held, and the car became known as the Captain. With that out of the way, the car was pushed out into mass production, and we were pleased to see that it sold well. Apparently putting 327 horsepower in your family sedan does that to people. This gave us enough money to work on yet another idea…

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No one ever said it was exactly a bright idea. Someone got the idea stuck in their mind to do something like the Prince, but meaner.

We installed the Aluminum Panel presses three weeks after we sold the Captain, and since that time, it got stuck in someone’s mind to use Aluminum to skin the steel body and shed weight.

Several things happened at the same time:
The engine techs managed to wrangle an angry 324 horsepower out of the 4 liter V8 without the fancy British carburettors.
The body designers decided they wanted to do a small car.
The transmission team came up with a 5-speed manual.

No one talked to one another between the three major teams.

This led to some problems:
The body designers assumed the engine that would be going into the car was the 4 liter V8 with a reduced power tune.
The transmission team figured the car was going to be something sporty.
The engine team took a guess that the car was going to be big and heavy.

Naturally, the end result was… Unruly. Uncivilized. Untamed.

One of the test drivers came back after testing the car and exclaimed, “Who yanked this demon straight from the depths of hell?!” after a particularly rough drive.

Then the sales team figured, “People like insanity. Maybe this would sell well.”

It sold well. Better than we had expected, even. Despite the nearly-undrivable power surging through the rear wheels, and torque that would occasionally pop the covers out of the T-Top, and the fact that you could spin the tires through three of the five forward gears just by looking at the gas pedal funny, it sold well.

But what to do now? Surely we had to come up with something bold. We could certainly use a bigger engine… And the test driver could use some new pants…

End of an Era.

The last Prince rolled off the assembly line last night. The Demon soured relations with people who wanted the Prince, who wanted a small car with a wicked engine. We fired up the metal presses and made a last limited run, a thousand cars. Would have wanted to do more, but the mold we were using in the metal stamping press for the roof gave out after car 1005. Not surprising, given how popular the Prince has been over the years. Each of these cars is a collectible now, for there will be no more of them. While replacing the roofline mold would be easy, the next parts to go would certainly do it in.

With 347 horsepower from our 4 liter V8, this version got everything that made the previous versions good. A punchy big engine, but also the original’s high-quality interior. It’s even got a phonograph, just because we felt it was better than leaving the dash alone. The teams all came together on this one and put something special for each part of these thousand cars. All of them have the 5 speed, they still have the auto-lockers in the diff, and yet our interiors team stepped in and made these cars something special. They went above and beyond, fitting this car with a luxury-grade interior.

Inside, you’ll notice that where the previous engines tended to stop at 6000 RPM, this one will buzz up to 7000. The engine team wanted to make this car something special, and by increasing the revs, they pushed the 4 liter to its fullest potential in this car for the era.

We all agreed to put magnesium wheels on all 1005 of these cars. There’s no reason to hold back on this limited run.

A thousand of them will simply be sold, but we’ve reserved 5. One for each head of the design teams: Interior, Engine, Transmission, and Body, and one to go in the lobby of our main office on display.

Planning continues on our new project…

First of the new V8’s.

The Storm Commander is our latest sedan, and we’ve had our engineers working overtime on this engine.

We heard rumors, dark rumors, about a potential upcoming leaded fuel ban. We’re prepared. The Commander will happily run on the latest Regular Unleaded gasoline because of the new Mechanical Fuel Injection system. We’re also managing 11 MPG because of the efficient new fuel system.

So, with this thin-blooded gasoline, you’d be expecting there’d be no power, right? Wrong. 346 horsepower from Regular Unleaded. We’re sure we could make more with leaded fuels, but honestly, do you need more than 350 horsepower in a four door sedan? Maybe some other time.

On the interior, you’re treated to a premium leather interior and a top-of-the-line 8-track player. In between the front seats, the center console gives you a place to store some tapes, two drinks, and holds your 5 speed shifter.

So, is 5 liters enough? For some, no, for others, yes. We think it’s just right for now.

Bigger cars, bigger engines, and more power. That’s what the people wanted.

The answer to all three was the Storm Admiral.

A big four-door car with our biggest engine yet, a 6 liter V8, pushing 373 horsepower through a 5 speed stick, and an auto-locker in the diff, the Admiral holds 5 in relative comfort while having lots of room for groceries.

We thought this would do well, and it did, though not from the crowd we expected. We thought it’d be an awesome family car. Turns out, people liked dropping extra power into it with hot cams and high compression pistons, then using the leaded fuel we left behind.

But, while we had pushed to make a bigger car, our designers had a few ideas hiding in the back, and despite the catalytic converters trying to choke our power, we were about to get something to counter that. We also had a new concept design, something unusual, powered by an engine everyone hoped we’d leave behind. We had no plans to put it into production, but it was a nice distraction at the local auto show…

Concepts. A necessary evil, to prod the public by seeing reactions to the car, while also showing what we can do.

This is what the Storm Gunslinger was all about. Everyone said our I4 was underpowered, and in this harsh realm of horsepower wars, we agreed. However, when someone said to us that “No inline 4 will ever break 200 horsepower,” we took it as a challenge.

Shots fired.

To make maximum horsepower, the catalytic converters were removed (Concepts are great for this. Doesn’t have to be road legal if it’s a one-off car), and a massive turbo was bolted onto the engine.

At the auto show, we turned heads and made some jaws drop. Mid engined, low slung, and buzzing like someone had decided to play baseball with a hornet’s nest. When the dyno figures were shown, some people claimed it wasn’t possible. 4 cylinders making 300 horsepower, in a car that could be fun to drive.

1975 part 2:

We’d geared up heavily, pushing our production lines to the limit to bring two great cars to market.

First is the Storm Ascender, our first pickup truck. Using our trusty 5 liter V8, tuned for a modest 251 HP, and a three-speed automatic, we’re turning a transfer case for 4x4 capability, just because we know trucks sometimes go offroad. Kept simple, the Ascender was designed not for sport, but hauling.

The other car is the Envy Turbo Coupe. 6 liters of twin-turbocharged fury blisters through the rear tires to the tune of 525 HP. Acceleration is slower than expected, because the rear tires keep losing traction. This snarling turbocharged beast makes the most of the two journal bearing turbochargers and 6 liter displacement, while blowing through catalytic converters and running on Regular Unleaded fuel.

The Envy was revolutionary in several ways. It was our first production car to have a turbocharger, the first unibody car we’d made, and the first car we had with pop-up headlights for better aerodynamics. The rear seats were nearly useless, but they were kept just to help the car sell.

Both were strong sellers.

Unfortunately, the power was starting to show a few weaknesses in our layout. We were lighting up the rear tires at all times with turbocharged power surges. We’d need to do something about this eventually…

Gas prices are through the roof, and seeking a solution to keep afloat, we acquired a small Italian car company, Pharte. With a small car tuned for economy, we’d ride this one out, surely.

Our acquisition of Pharte has allowed us to import their Bee under our name. This small hatchback gets 30 mpg from a 900 cc inline four, mounted sideways and driving the front wheels. Naturally, we tried to find out how this little car worked, as it seemed too simple to be true. The sideways-mounted I4 gave the car an interesting balance, all front heavy but with all the weight on the drive axle. An aluminum block and head proved lighter than our cast iron ones, keeping the car light.

Unfortunately, there’s just no power. 33 horsepower. But, it got us through the fuel crisis. And, now that we had a partner company who did small, cheap, eco-friendly cars, we could focus on some insanity.

I’m going to break continuity of the story here for a bit. As much as I like building the old cars, I need a break from it. Decided to build my favorite little sportscar, the one I’ve made in every version of Automation I’ve played.

Meet the Storm Mamba.

With an all carbon fiber construction, the Mamba tries to live up to the reputation of the snake it is named for.

As many of the great fast cars are named after snakes (note the Viper and the Cobra), it was only fitting for us to pick up another name. As the Mamba is the fastest snake, to pick up that name takes guts. Even more so when you’re not using a mid engine layout for maximum speed.

With a 1670 kg weight, and 1875 horsepower from a twin turbocharged V12 pumped through a 7 speed dual-clutch sequential gearbox, to all four wheels through electronic limited slip differentials, the Mamba catapults itself to 60 in 2.5 seconds. A 50 to 75 roll takes only 1.1 second. With a top speed of 276.5 miles per hour, it’s fast. Maybe not the fastest car in the world, but it’s fast. It’ll blow through Tulsa’s quarter mile in 8.87 seconds.

So, how do you get your hands on one? Call into Storm Automotive and ask for Luke. The cars are built to order. Be prepared to spend a very large amount of money, somewhere north of $2.8 million.

If you happen to be anywhere near Germany and want to run Green Hell, you can do it in 6:44.36.

I would like to present you with the Imaginary Automation Oscar for Best Taillights Design.

Back on track with 1978.

New revisions to the hated catalytic converter solved 90% of the problems. No longer robbing 30% of the horsepower, we applied these new three-way converters to our latest car, the Spirit. Our 6 liter engine was used again, with twin turbos and our trusty mechanical fuel injection, giving you 625 horsepower. We think it’s a perfectly good reason to ditch that leaded crap and go unleaded.

Now, our competition would have you believe the lead makes things better, but we’ve got a 6 liter engine throwing down only 30 horsepower less than their muscle car. Sure, our sedan isn’t likely as fast off the launch at 7 seconds flat to 60, but should a sedan be punching even close to a 7.8 liter big-blocked monster? Not just that, but we have 5 seats in our car. Fit 5 people in a muscle car. Try it sometime, you’ll end up finding someone’s got a gear stick where the sun don’t shine.

Do a burnout through first and second, and you’ll find third comfortably holds the power of the turbochargers. At that point, lay into the long-throw gas pedal and bury it in the firewall, because now you’re flying. 164 miles an hour top speed, and quarter mile in 14.73 seconds. Not bad for a family sedan.

A few weeks later, we heard that our car was selling well, and we heard rumors of a lot of kids putting posters of muscle cars and a particular sedan on their bedroom walls. We were amazed: Was unleaded really this good? Sure, we’re a few octane down from the leaded fuels, but at the same time, we’re spinning an unusual engine. In a time where OHV was common, we were holding onto DOHC, derived from our second ever engine design. Could it be that our 4 cylinder engine did something good for us, by pushing us to DOHC?

We’d find out soon enough…

(By the way, I’d love to shout out TurboJ for inspiring me to finally start up my company thread. For reference, here’s his thread, starting at the page of the car this one’s trying to throw a gauntlet at. viewtopic.php?f=35&t=9873&start=15#p101668 I highly recommend it, and I’m looking forward to seeing how different our 1982 cars are. And no, I’m not looking at your stats while building my cars. I’m doing what I do, and that’s make too much power in old stuff.)

Honestly, I don’t think my tail light designs are really that good. Simple, yes, but that’s about all they have going for them right now.

Pharte sent us a request regarding their Caster compact car. They wanted us to “Americanize” the car so it would sell well, remembering the immediate drop of sales of the Bee the instant gas prices returned to something resembling normal.

Naturally, as a partner company, we agreed to make the Caster into something it was never supposed to be. First thing that was done to the poor car was to get rid of the friendly looking front end and make it look a little evil, a throwback to the Demon. We went around the car, simplifying everything so that it could look clean and sleek, at least as much as a compact soft top car could.

Then it got pushed into the engine shed, where the very underwhelming 900cc powerplant was yanked out, measurements were made of the remaining space, and a decision was made. The 6 liter just wouldn’t fit, the 4 liter would fit nicely, and the 5 liter fit, but if someone revved it too hard, it’d smack the wheel arches. We went with the 5 liter and bolted it straight to the subframe. Pharte requested that we do something rather unusual for us with the valve covers, and to paint them racing red. It was decided that it wouldn’t hurt performance, and maybe it’d fit the look of the car, and really, it was such a little request that we really couldn’t refuse.

A five-speed stick (kinda standard for us anymore) was bolted behind the engine, an auto-locking rear diff put the power through the rear wheels a little more evenly, and we put 13 inch magnesium wheels under this car. Inside, we’ve got premium leather seats and a top-of-the-line 8-track player.

Suspension was another surprise request from Pharte: they wanted us to use their Hydropneumatic suspension under the car, instead of our progressive-rate springs. On this request, we were most interested in trying it. While sporty and spirited handling suffered a bit (the car felt like it was floating on a cushion of air at all times), ride comfort was at an all time high, and the car was really easy and fun to drive. Plus, pulling up to someone at a street light never felt so fun before. With 0 to 60 taking a mere 6.2 seconds, and a 14.33 second quarter mile time in a little shoebox, no one ever expected it.

The car sold ridiculously well. Small, fun to drive, four seats, and a convertible with a ‘big’ V8 in it. It hit all the high points.

Too many cars in too little time, bud. We don’t get the time for the last design to sink in and you’re alraedy sharing 2 more.

Sorry, was trying to get up to an era where I could actually slow down and settle in. I needed turbochargers before anything could really happen idea-wise. Things will slow down from this point on. Now that I’m in the 80’s, with plenty of car designs to work around, and with the main things I needed available (turbos, fuel injection, regular unleaded fuel, and three-way catalytic converters), I now have to plan my designs from this point forward, whereas the previous cars followed a very similar formula. While the previous cars were mostly “Put bigger engine in the same car” or “build a bigger car,” the 80’s will be where some changes have to take place. After all, while it’s profitable to make insanely fast cars with too much power, you can’t run a company entirely on that without being on the bleeding edge of technology, and we’re not on that bleeding edge. There will have to be some less powerful numbers in our lineup, and as a result, there will be some rather bland and boring cars coming soon-ish.

I can say, though, that once I get AWD, things are going to get very crazy at first, but that’s a bit of a way off.