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A car design odyssey: Part two

3 years ago

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David Twohig | Engineer


3 August 2021

I was in deep trouble. The launch date for ‘my’ car had already been announced by the CEO (some bloke called Carlos Ghosn). The car world’s assembled hacks – sorry, esteemed Members of the Press Corps – had probably already booked their plane tickets and packed the sunscreen for the event.

But various things had taken longer than I’d planned – several months longer. An enormous and critical production tool for one of the major structural components was in China. The car was to be built in Europe. To get it there would require shipping it – and the sea route would take yet another four months, give-or-take.

I needed a time machine – or to look for a new job. That was when I first heard of the Antonov An-225. As it turns out, the time machine I needed actually existed. There is one – and only one – of these giant Ukrainian cargo planes in operation. It is the only plane whose floor is strong enough to support a 100-tonne press tool – and have the lift capability to get the thing off the ground. Better again, there is a company that will rent you the Antonov to fly your completed tool to wherever you are building your cars – in just a few days rather than four months. We dialled the +380 number required to get through to Ukraine…and I lived to see another day and other projects.

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