What better way to celebrate National Corvette Day than with a crazy modification?
The Chevrolet Corvette has long held the fascination of the automotive community and boasts fans worldwide.
While some owners look to keep them as original as possible, others make modifications and add their own personal touches to the car. But one Dutch owner, Bjorn Harms, turned his 2006 Corvette C6 into a remote-control car.
“There are multiple reasons why I did it,” the 15-year military veteran told the ClassicCars.com Journal. “I always had this idea since I was a kid, especially being a big fan of Knight Rider and building KITT replicas as a hobby, I wanted to push my builds to another level.”
Harms said his idea really began to come to fruition after he watched the first Back to the Future film.
“The scene where Doc remotely drove the DeLorean in the parking lot just stayed with me,” he said. “I knew that the scene was fake, but I just wanted to try it for myself. After doing some research on YouTube, it turned out that it was possible.”
Possible was one thing. Doing it was quite another. Harms, who had no formal education or background in computers, said he had no idea how to “hack” into a car. Instead, he made a controller than could be paired with the type of transmitter used in smaller R/C cars.
“The motorcontroller had to be universal enough that you could use almost any 12-volt motor or servo,” he said. “This will give you the freedom to hook up any motor to anything that you can control with any controller you want.”
The car can be driven as a typical car or using the controller Harms built — which means he can drive it from the passenger seat or standing outside the vehicle.
Harms said it was relatively simple to add a servo motor to both the throttle and the shifter. The steering wheel is controlled by a custom sprocket on the steering axel attached to a powerful motor by a chain.
However, attaching custom brackets for those motors was not so easy.
“I often had to work upside down with my legs sticking out of the roof,” he said. “It was a real pain in the ass.”
The control unit for the car is located in the glovebox.
Harms said it was hard to estimate exactly how many hours he had into the build, but said it took him about one year to design and build the controller, three months building an in-car prototype and an additional three months updating it and making it safe.
The car has multiple failsafes installed, just in case anything goes wrong. Harms said the brake has two servos that receive additional cooling and the throttle lets off completely should something go wrong. There is also one designed to brake the car should it get out of range.
But Harms still hadn’t answered the most important question: Why a Corvette?
“It had to be a cool and fast car, had to be a daily driver without motors and servos visible and, most importantly, look completely stock inside and out,” he said, adding that it was relatively simple to find the American sports car within a few hours of his home in Urmond.
Harms said his project has been met with all sorts of reactions.
“’Cool,’ ‘crazy,’ ‘fantastic,’ ‘dangerous,’ ‘amazing,’” he said, listing what he has heard from people.
Harms planned to add more to his fleet, so if you ever spot a cool car with him driving from the passenger seat, don’t be too surprised.