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Design Fun: Nissan unveils 'Star Wars' cars at LA Auto show

Life can get pretty serious sometimes, so a dose or two of fantasy can be good for the creative soul. Enter the Nissan "Star Wars: The Last Jedi" concept car fleet, a seven-strong force that made its debut at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show last week.

Based on some of Nissan's most popular models -- Rogue, Rogue Sport, Altima, Maxima, and TITAN -- the show vehicles are part of an ongoing collaboration with Lucasfilm and the artists at Industrial Light & Magic to drum up even more Disney buzz for the characters and crafts in the upcoming film, which hits theaters Dec. 15. Hollywood vehicle fabricators Vehicle Effects in Burbank, CA, did the actual builds. The creations will be part of a cross-country tour at regional auto shows over the next several months.

You can't buy 'em, but you certainly can enjoy 'em.

1. 2018 Nissan Maxima: Kylo Ren

Drawing on the existing aggressive design language of the Maxima, this show vehicle is transformed into a truly sinister sedan. Designers merged Kylo Ren's black and silver facemask with the Maxima's V-motion design language using a single block of milled aluminum for the front of the 4-door sports car. A custom front lower spoiler, hood, and body are coated to match the character's color specs exactly. This dark, dark ride is completed with a set of red signature headlights and underbody lighting that pulse at random -- similar to Kylo Ren's crossguard lightsaber.

2. 2018 Nissan Maxima: Kylo Ren's TIE Silencer

Engineered for speed and handling (but not exactly for tight parking), the Nissan Maxima is a solid choice to replicate Kylo Ren's TIE Silencer -- one of the new crafts to appear in "Star Wars: The Last Jedi." This one-off TIE Silencer is customized to Kylo's specifications with laser cannons and missile launchers affixed to the vehicle's very dominant wings -- stretching the entire length of the car. This concept has a coming-to-life feel, like it is really alive (thanks to the crimson lighting in the grille and underneath) and breathing (thanks to sound effects pulled straight from the movie).

3. 2018 Nissan Altima: Special Forces TIE Fighter

The Special Forces TIE Fighter is a strike fighter used by the First Order's elite Special Forces pilots. This is recreated using Nissan's best-selling sedan, the Altima. The show vehicle features custom body enhancements, bringing it in line with a member of the First Order's fleet.

The vehicle's standout feature is the cockpit window that brings the multi-paned look of the Special Forces TIE fighter to the Altima's windshield. Custom wheels and full-body wrap bring the dual-winged spacecraft to life. Speakers at each corner recreate the iconic TIE Fighter and blaster sounds. Each wheel features the centerpiece of a TIE Fighter wing applied through a hydro-dipping process.

4. 2018 Nissan Maxima: Captain Phasma

Also joining the First Order ranks, the Captain Phasma Maxima is covered in high-gloss silver armor. Its fascia and hood are each hand-crafted from aluminum. A red accent line runs the length of the car, with ground effects to further its intimidating look. The Captain Phasma Maxima celebrates one of the toughest female warriors in the galaxy, and Nissan says this vehicle celebrates its female crew, too. The Maxima team is led by a female engineer, the designer for this vehicle is a female from ILM, and the vehicle's brand director is a female.

5. 2018 Nissan Rogue: Poe Dameron's X-wing with BB-8

With massive fixed wings spanning either side of its Nissan Rogue foundation, Poe Dameron's X-wing leads the New Republic starfleet (and could do some real damage driving down a single-lane country road). The T-70 X-wing starfighter features a pair of illuminated thrusters and quad laser cannons that are integrated into each wingtip. A rugged tire and wheel package says that this craft means business and is ready for battle. Go Resistance! Sitting atop the crossover is a full-size BB-8 droid with functioning lights, motion, and sound.

6. 2018 Nissan Rogue Sport: A-wing

The A-wing is a perfect fit for the Rogue Sport, because it is quick and nimble. Dual thrusters at the rear of the vehicle are illuminated, while top-mounted fins mimic the A-wing's design. Its wheels are painted blue to match the craft's accents, with new tires fitted to provide a wide stance. Laser cannons flank the vehicle, and a detailed wrap complete with battle damage prove that this vehicle has real street cred and is ready for almost anything.

7. 2018 Nissan TITAN: AT-M6

The Nissan TITAN, the biggest vehicle in Nissan's fleet, naturally was the first choice to build the AT-M6 concept, because the AT-M6 is the largest vehicle in the First Order's arsenal for "Star Wars: The Last Jedi."

The show truck features a massive mega-caliber cannon affixed to its back and a custom body wrap reminiscent of the film's giant First Order walker. The wheels on the concept have hydro-dip graphics to mimic a walker's leg joints, while a 1-ft lift kit is applied to give it an even more intimidating and destructive appearance.

An 18-in. bed-mounted subwoofer with a companion surround-sound system produces an earth-shaking 5,000 watts, intended to mimic the reverb of the walker's ground-stomping movements.

VIDEO: Behind the scenes: Creating the "Star Wars" Nissans.

Edited by Mike Foley, Editor, Designfax

Source: Nissan North America

Published December 2017

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