Two Ways To Build A Carbon-Bodied Car
Carbon Quattro

If you think carbon fiber is cool, then you must think carbon fiber-bodied cars are even cooler. I found a couple of cars at the 2021 SEMA Show in Las Vegas, Nevada that used carbon fiber on their carbon fiber, so you can carbon while you fiber. Or something like that.

Carbon fiber really is quite cool, and its introduction to motorsport dates back to 1967 when directional strands of the material were introduced to the fiberglass bodywork of JWA’s Mirage M1 race car, which was based on a Ford GT. Skipping a few steps, carbon fiber found its way onto the Tyrrell F1 cars, and eventually by 1981 the carbon fiber monocoque of John Watson’s McLaren MP4/1 helped save his life when he crashed the car at the Monza Grand Prix.

Today, we’ve been able to buy carbon fiber wings and other parts off the shelf for some years, and at SEMA there were two fully carbon-bodied cars that really stood out to me.


It was hard to miss the the colorful Audi Quattro S1 recreation built by LCE Performance in collaboration with visual artist Rocketbyz.


It’s probably easy to determine which party did which parts of the work, but the short of it is that LCE Performance mated the underpinnings of two cars together to build a “true” Quattro before laying their amazing carbon fiber bodywork over that.

Of course, this one also has some extra aero bits as it was built as a tribute to Walter Rohrl’s Pikes Peak Hill Climb car from 1987.


LCE Performance utilized and tuned a 2.5-liter 20-valve inline five with a large KKK turbocharger to produce near 1,000 horsepower, which is delivered to BBS Motorsport wheels through a 6-speed sequential gearbox. Inside, carbon-shelled Recaro buckets keep you in place, and the colorful Rocketbyz theme is continued on these.


The Audi weighs in at 1,100kg (~2,425lb), and custom-spec KW coilovers keep it planted. It’s a wild rendition of an already wild concept by LCE, which was, well… based on a car that was pretty wild to begin with. Thanks for that, Audi.

Oh, and the car is for sale if you think it’d look nice in your garage.

Carbon Skyline

Outside of Central Hall, there was another carbon-bodied car that was impossible to ignore.


This monster of an R32 was built by Kazushige Sakamoto of Garage Active in — of course — Japan. This isn’t the first time a full-carbon GT-R from Garage Active has blessed our undeserving eyes here at Speedhunters, and you might remember Mark’s feature on their red carbon-weaved Skyline last year.


Like that car, I love how the consistency of the directional weave is maintained through the separate body panels. This example seems to take things several steps further though, with carbon fiber utilized just about everywhere.


Bodywork: carbon fiber of course. Door jams: carbon fiber. Floors: carbon fiber. Rear seat delete: carbon fiber. Rear shelf: carbon fiber. Recaro Pro Racer RMS seats: you guessed it – carbon fiber. And yet the factory dashboard remains and has been trimmed in black leather with white stitching, as had the console. Plus, the car retains an air-conditioning system, which has been converted to R134a for many more years’ worth of cool driving.


My only complaint was that the car showed 23 kilometers on the odometer instead of 32. A real missed opportunity…


And then you open the hood, where you are greeted by a huge HKS/Garrett turbocharger that feeds an RB26 fitted with the works from HKS to now displace 2.8 liters.


I wasn’t the only one completely floored by this car. As you’ll see, I caught this particular guy moments after he picked his jaw up off the floor and reinserted his eyeballs into their sockets. Hopefully they stay in place now, or he may need to visit a hospital.


I won’t get into the nitty-gritty here, as such a vehicle deserves much more than a few shots at the Toyo Treadpass. But I love how Sakamoto-san and Garage Active have created the ultimate street-spec GT-R with a perfect blend of performance and style.

Oh, and carbon fiber. Did I mention that?

Trevor Ryan
Instagram: trevornotryan



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Love the carbon GT-R.
A lot of "full carbon" builds are making molds of the original bodywork and laying carbon in the molds to make slightly lighter weight exterior panels. This one goes above and beyond, to even replacing the floor. Insane.


It's not the actual floor plan of the chassis, it's an insert in the driver's footwell - you can see the trim line around the steering column. Doing as you describe making moulds and replacing panels is not the 'easy' method BTW. The 'easy' method (still massively time consuming) is to add carbon over the top of the steel and then coat with resin, sand, repeat and then clear coat at the end, which from that same photo showing the floor insert is there methods used here (you can see the a-pillar has been prepared for the carbon to be skinned but then left bare).


I walked by this car at first and did a double take. Amazing!

Great catch on the potential for the 32 odometer.


Hey Trev that odometer wasn’t a missed opportunity haha


three carbon bodies in the title pic, nicest one isn't an automobile ;)


I’m not sure the “23” on the odometer is a missed opportunity because in Japan 2 is pronounced “NI” and 3 is “SAN” ;)


I'm disappointed in myself for not catching this!


*Jack Nicholson grinning and nodding as camera pans in*



It says 23 on the odometer because that's Nissan's race number.

2= Ni in Japanese
3= San in Japanese


That Audi is waaaay beyond hideous. Though I suppose that's the point.


So are the original panels laminated with carbon or are they entirely cut out and replaced with bonded carbon panels? Impressive either way, just wondering what the process is


It's a mix of both I think. Photo showing the driver's floor insert you can see bare a-pillar, so (understandably) the visible structural stuff is definitely skinned and then I think removable panels are carbon replacements (although they could be skinned too) as the wobbly surface finish on the arches etc is print through of the carbon weave, which you would imagine if it was only skinned for visual effect they would have got rid of this in the clear coat


Those panels correct me if I’m wrong made from kevlar instead of carbon
There are some companies here in europe who sell these panels


I am wondering the same.


That is the greatest R32 ever IMHO


Can't go wrong with both styles


"LCE Performance mated the underpinnings of two cars together to build a “true” Quattro"

So the car is a shortened Quattro rather than an actual SWB-car that got cut up/had the panels replaced?


Maybe what they were trying to say was that LCE used the front from an 80 with the back of a URQ or Coupe GT to replicate the process of how the SQ were made.


The LCE car is what happens when you give the SEMA treatment to a Sport Quattro replica.

No sidewall - check
BBS LMs - check
Crayola vomit graphics - check
"Visual Artist" - check


All cool and beautiful, but i just can't stand all black cars without thinking of some bad guys trying to chase the movie hero down xD