The Insider The DiMora Motorcar Newsletter
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What Year is That Car?


For decades now, it has become difficult to tell at a glance the make and model of the car you just saw on the freeway. Major changes in the exterior look of a car tend to be several years apart. When the black and white signals you to pull over, it is unlikely you are going to chat with the officer about whether she likes the 2004 model better than the 2002 model she was driving the last time she stopped you. You probably can't tell the difference, and the ticket will cost the same either way.

It was not always this way. In the late 1950s, American car manufacturers tended to make major changes to the look of a car series every year or two. Today, half a century later, you don't have to be a car fanatic to tell a 1957 Chevy from a 1958 Chevy. The taillights alone give it away. So of course you will have no trouble identifying this Chevrolet:



OK, OK. Maybe that was a little unfair. We tricked you. The car isn't a '57, a '58, or a '59. It isn't even a Chevy. It is a brand new car being developed by Kanter Concepts and sold by their affiliate company, n2a Motors. (The name stands for "no two alike" and it certainly fits.) This model is called the 789, and it combines design elements of a '57 Chevy front, a '58 Chevy midsection, and a '59 Chevy rear, all built on a 21st-century-technology Corvette C6 chassis and drive train. One 789 will be used in a planned TV reality series that will feature celebrities, renowned race car drivers, and prominent car designers. You can read all about these and other retro-themed composite vehicles at

Kanter Concepts is owned by Fred Kanter, who is better known for Kanter Auto Products (, the company he formed in 1960 with his brother Dan. The New Jersey-based firm specializes in parts for American cars and trucks produced between 1930 and 1986. Fred chose to base Kanter Concepts in Southern California, perhaps the world's most important center for automotive design. This is where you find design studios for some 14 major manufacturers, including Toyota, Volkswagen, Mitsubishi, Mercedes, DaimlerChrysler, and Mazda. It is also the home of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. According to the Los Angeles Auto Show, "More than half of the world's leading automobile designers have graduated from Art Center."

Santa Ana-based Kanter Concepts is famous for designing and building innovative concept vehicles. These don't always come with four rubber tires. Kanter designs specialized aircraft and military vehicles as well as street machines for DaimlerChrysler, Honda, Hyundai, and Volvo.

Early in the planning of the Natalia SLS 2 sport luxury sedan, Alfred DiMora had discussions with Fred Kanter and Kanter Concepts President Gene Langmesser. Fred and Gene were already familiar with Alfred's work on the Clenet and Sceptre. Both featured a retro look supported by a modern chassis and drive train. This matched well with Gene's automotive design philosophy: "We like to bring yesteryear's styling into today's technology."


Kanter Concepts President Gene Langmesser.


Fred recently spoke about his company's work on the DiMora Motorcar Natalia project. "Kanter Concepts' mission is to rekindle the art of American design and coach building with reverence for the past and vision for the future. We approach each new project with open minds. Your imagination is our only limit. New is not necessarily better; we only settle for the best."


Alfred DiMora and Terrence Robinson discuss ways to improve
the Natalia design at the Kanter Concepts design studio.

It was clear from the start that DiMora was going to use classic elements of luxury automobile design and configure them around the latest technologies in aerospace structural technology. Gene, Alfred, and Kanter Industrial/Digital Designer Terrence Robinson spent many hours developing the first exterior conceptual hand renderings of the Natalia's body. Finally, Terrence produced two renderings of the Natalia which became the model for its evolving design. No doubt there will be additional changes to the design as it progresses toward the production stage, but this design serves as the baseline concept.


Two color drawings of the Natalia SLS 2 concept,
by Terrence Robinson of Kanter Concepts.

Gene was pleased with the result. "The designers and artisans at Kanter Concepts build specialty and concept vehicles, based on traditional craftsmanship and the art of coach building. As our slogan states at Kanter Concepts, We Build YOUR Future, and I can't say it any better than that."

Kanter Concepts provides a wide range of services from restoration to prototyping and production. They use various technologies, from 5-axis computer numerical control (CNC) milling machines and stereolithography to traditional clay modeling and sheet metal fabrication. Learn more about their capabilities at

Early progress on the HCD8 Concept Car.

The final HCD8 Concept Car, produced by Kanter Concepts for Hyundai.


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