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Crowd-sourced sports-cars
TOP DESIGNS: The major winners in the crowd-sourced car design. The winning design by Nouphone Bansasine is top left, with the second-placed Rodney Olmos design bottom left and the third-placed Xabier Albizu design bottom right. At top right is Romain Ferrand's design that won "Judges Pick".

It sounds like every car enthusiasts dream machine – a WRX-engined rear-wheel-drive coupe that weighs just 800kg and costs less than US$15,000 (NZ$18,600). And it's a dream that is going to come true.

An innovative competition to crowd-source a new ultra-light sports car by US niche kit-car manufacturer Factory Five has resulted in a number of stunning designs, with one sleek, lid-less two-door coupe destined to become a reality by 2013.

The brief of the Project 818 contest was for budding car designers to offer up their best compact roadster design to be sculpted around a bespoke light-weight chassis designed by Factory Five, with the sports car to be rear-wheel-driven with power coming from a turbocharged Subaru WRX engine.

The target weight for the designers wares was 818kg, hence the name of the competition.

The winning design was penned by Nouphone Bansasine, who walked away with US$5000 and the glory of being able to see his design become a reality.

Bansasine's design encompasses sleek lines, aggressive haunches and a swept-back stance.

The front-end is characterised by headlights that are almost squinty in appearance, while the wraparound tail-light assembly and eye-catching twin pods extending behind the driver and passenger round out the tidy look of the roadster.

Second place went to Rodney Olmos for his cute cartoon character-like concept. Olmos looks to have taken some inspiration from Herbie the Love Bug, with his animated concept fitted with a pair of eye-like headlights and plenty of fun racing stickers over the body.

Third was Xabier Albizu's more conventional coupe concept. Featuring less dramatic styling than some of its competitors, Albizu's concept could be confused for a Mazda MX-5 at a quick glance – but one that's been fitted with Suzuki Kizashi headlights.

While it didn't make the podium, the design of Romain Ferrand was possibly the most outstanding of the lot. Ferrand took out the computer design award and two ''Judge's Pick'' awards for his highly creative, aggressively styled work.

Wow-worthy elements include an enormous dorsal fin-inspired air intake behind the cockpit (as well as gaping holes in the bumper and rear guards), massive wheels surrounded by enthusiastically large arches, and a sharp, cut-off roof line.

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