Silver Lightning storyboard (Image: Mercedes-Benz Research & Development North America)
Hollywood is not only famous for movies, but for showing us motor cars as they should be. James Bond's gadget-laden Aston Martin DB5, the magical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Bullitt's indestructible Ford Mustang, Marty McFly's time-traveling Delorean and all of the incarnations of the Batmobile - these are the cars we walk into the dealer's showroom hoping to see, but never do. They exist nowhere except on the screen or as movie props. So what will become "Hollywood's hottest new movie car"? That's the question posed to automotive designers in the 2011 L.A. Auto Show Design Challenge. Drawing on the latest technology, decades of design experience and a healthy dose of imagination, here's how designers from major car companies have met this cinematic challenge.