The Insider The DiMora Motorcar Newsletter
The Founderīs Viewpoint

Creating a 21st Century Car Company

By Alfred J. DiMora


Ever since I was 10 years old growing up in Rochester, New York, I have been crazy about cars. I needed to know how they worked, what features they had, how to fix them, and why they were designed the way they were. Was this fascination with cars predetermined by living on Le Manz Drive near streets named Nova and Avanti?

I would hang around the service station to help the older guys by fetching tools, cleaning carburetors, changing tires, and anything else they would let me do. In return, I gained the practical knowledge of what breaks and why, and what makes one car better than another.

This led to the opportunity to fix a worthless, burned-out wreck, really more of a carcass than a car. That old '39 Buick became both a playground and a school for me. You cannot imagine the sense of accomplishment and pride I felt when the project was completed. The Buick looked like it had just come off the showroom floor and it purred like a kitten. It was icing on the cake when I sold that car for a profit of $4,000 in 1970!

As a teen working full-time after school in a machine shop, I earned certifications in all aspects of welding and then entered a co-op program to become a machinist. This led to my learning to program and operate the latest numerical-control (NC) equipment.

Then the defining experience in my automotive career presented itself. I fell into an opportunity to work at the Clenet Coachworks in Santa Barbara, California as one of the first employees. When I arrived, a rough prototype was being driven, but it needed much work. This was a perfect setting for the skills I had gained, from fabricating to making the assembly of an automobile simpler. I wound up leading a team that took a diamond in the rough and polished it to a glimmering jewel.

In my spare time, I invented the unified fuel tank/seat/rear fender for motorcycles and called it the unibody. It was the first time these three separate parts of a bike were formed into one. I used fiberglass to lighten the load, lined the seat with foam beads to soften the ride and further decrease the weight, and put a bladder in the tank to increase safety. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, then I was very flattered by the number of people who made knockoffs of my creation.

Now, I was ready to step out on my own. So, some colleagues and I decided to create our own automobile production company. We designed and built the Sceptre-a high-end luxury sports car. It won "Best of Show" at the Los Angeles Auto Show in 1978, the year the automobile debuted.

Meanwhile, after several years of production, Alain Clenet closed Clenet Coachworks. As one of the few with the background to bring the Clenet back to life, I gathered the resources to acquire its residual assets, construct a new factory, and resume production. Restarting the operation involved substantial redesign of the existing series. However, my real motivation and joy was the chance to design and produce new models of the Clenet line, most importantly the Series IV Sportster. I guess I did all right; the Clenet and I were honored at the Automotive Hall of Fame in 1986.

After thirteen years, Clenet had had a wonderful run. During the next years, my attention gradually turned to computer technology. Just as I had always set the highest standards in my automotive ventures, I did the same in my next venture-I set a goal to make the fastest small supercomputer ever and the operating system needed to bring it to life (Viva).

This was the beginning of Star Bridge Systems. It was founded in 1997 shortly after I found a computer nerd tinkering in his basement. I became enamored with his work and the rest is history. Now, NASA, the US Air Force, and others are users of Star Bridge hypercomputers.

As I spent more and more time steeped in the world of computers, I realized my intuition had sent me just where I needed to be. For computers were a key to the next evolutionary step in automotive development. I was now ready to incorporate extreme technologies into automobiles. It was time to create something "out of this world."

DiMora Motorcar has now emerged and our first product will be the Natalia SLS 2-the $2 million sport luxury sedan featuring the DiMora Volcano V16 and a host of amazing, new technologies. And, you guessed it, an automobile packed with computers. We will explore all this as we meet the challenges of building the finest production automobile ever.

Why are we positioned to meet such challenges when the much of the auto industry appears to be struggling? Let me explain.

First, please understand that I have tremendous respect for the major automobile makers. They produce millions of fine vehicles at factories around the world. It is nothing short of amazing to see the improvements that they have made in terms of the performance, safety, and reliability of the cars they produce. When you consider the constraints of time, cost, competition, social changes, and government regulations, these remarkable accomplishments deserve praise. The car buyer today can choose from an incredible assortment of fine automobiles to fit almost any need and budget.

At the same time, these large manufacturers are the victims of their own success. They have an enormous investment in the infrastructure needed to produce millions of automobiles. That infrastructure involves more than factories, people, and equipment. It also includes the organizational policies as well as the design and industrial methods used to approach every task, from assembling a chassis to writing an owner's manual. Many of these remain long after better ideas come along. There is simply too much invested in the old way of doing things. Even when a great new product or technique is validated and approved, it simply takes a long time to integrate it into the company's operations.

As a new manufacturer, we have no baggage from decisions made years or decades ago. We add to this a wealth of experience, the direction that comes from approaching each project with a clear vision, the freedom to think outside the box, and the elimination of most budget constraints that comes from building a $2 million automobile. DiMora Motorcar is able to experiment with innovative ideas about how an automobile should be designed and produced, and integrate the best ideas into our operations.

We innovate by using technologies from inside and outside the automotive industry. We cultivate unconventional technologies and methods, many from garages and basements around the world. To support the latter, we have created our website inventor's box for you to submit potential innovations. We want it to be simple to get your ideas to us and, in return, to get them out to the rest of the world.

Along with innovating, we will educate. I know that not everybody has the wonderful experiences that taught me so much about how cars are built. Yet, for most of us, the automobile is an important part of our lives. So, I want to make it possible for you to look over our shoulders every step of the way. I want you to be able to learn about whatever aspects of the automobile and its use interest you.

This is contrary to the approach of most car manufacturers. They have security controls that would rival the Pentagon's. Cars are designed, developed, and tested in secret, so that rivals will know as little as possible about what is being planned for each new model year. Instead, we would prefer that you know as much as possible about what we are designing and what is groundbreaking.

Why? First, we believe that we all have some resistance to change. Therefore, the more you know, and the sooner you know it, the more likely you are to accept changes. Plus, we get to read your reactions through feedback you give us on the Web. Thus, we can adjust to meet what the majority of you like the best. We will not be designing in a vacuum.

Second, we believe the world desires a deeper understanding of the Natalia's technologies and components and the means for getting such a vehicle from dream to reality. This will include all sorts of educational opportunities for you: in-person simulators and holographic exhibits, 3-D renderings, and participation in the design, to name a few.

Third, we believe that today's consumers thirst for information about what they buy. Even though only a few people will own the Natalia, we will educate you about automobiles in general so you can make better buying decisions. This will include our many unique aftermarket products that you might consider purchasing for your current or future vehicles.

The key tool for informing you will be the DiMora Motorcar website, which gives us the capability to provide coverage of every detail as we design, build, and test our automobiles. The DiMora TV video production crews will bring you everything from design meetings and interviews with engineers to event coverage and DiMora Motorcar news. Finally, if there are aspects about our operations that you think we should cover in greater detail, you will be able to send us your suggestions.

I am striving for DiMora Motorcar to be the most forward-thinking and open company in the world. We think it will be fun for you to watch us build automobiles and products that are quite unconventional.

Thanks for taking the time to understand what we are all about. It's going to be a fun adventure. We're happy you're joining us. Let's all enjoy the ride of a lifetime.

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