UFOs In Houston!! Or Maybe Just A Solar-Powered Car

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Photo courtesy www.xof1.com
Hair Balls loves crazy people -- not the killin' kind, mind you, but folks who do some far-out things. And we think driving a three-wheeled freaky-looking solar-powered car to the Arctic Circle, and all around the country, fits the bill. So we jumped at the chance to speak with Toronto native Marcelo da Luz, who pulled his 1950s-sci-fi-esque car into Houston last night, on the latest leg of a journey he began in June 2008.

Da Luz, a flight attendant, mortgaged his home several times over, gave his credit cards a beating, and spent an estimated 50,000 hours building this thing. Naturally, Hair Balls's first question was: Why?

"I just didn't want to build a solar car for the sake of building a solar car," da Luz told Hair Balls. "I wanted to take on the challenge and hopefully inspire people. And for me, the greatest challenge on the planet for a solar car is to drive a solar car to the Arctic Circle."

According to da Luz, that involved driving up and down mountains and crossing the Continental Divide three times, which sounds like it'd be a real pain in the ass in a Hummer, let alone a fiberglass Frisbee on wheels. (It weighs about 660 pounds and maxes out at 70 mph).

But he also wanted to demonstrate his belief in valid alternative fuels -- something he says we generally lack the "political will" to pursue.

Traveling on a shoestring budget, da Luz has been relying on the kindness of strangers for lodging and auto maintenance. He's also freaked at least one person out; in Alaska, he said, a person called the cops and reported a UFO after seeing his car. He said he was briefly detained while police officers made sure this was not a close encounter of the third kind.

If anyone's interested in sponsoring this weird behavior, they can go to www.xof1.com for information on donating cash or in-kind services. C'mon -- how often do you get the chance to help out a dude in a solar car?

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