Valyrian Steel

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Built by Henry Chang and crew


Valyrian Steel is a custom chassis art car built specifically for use at Black Rock City every year in the week preceding Labor Day. She first appeared on playa in 2015 with fabrication commencing in May of that year. As with her predecessor, Mister Fusion, the first fabricated section of the car was the front suspension and the remainder of the vehicle grew from there, section by section.

The artist was not entirely satisfied with the suspension in Mister Fusion. His art cars are meant to be entirely sculptural but the first one had utilitarian aspects to the design which were later hidden by the more sculptural grille work/nose. The design intent of these cars was to, within reason, build sculptural mechanical elements and display them rather than hide them (as is common in manufactured cars in the default world as well as most art cars). After been the the trials of designing, fabricating and driving the first car, the artist had a better understanding (anything is more than none) of how automobile suspensions worked and along with that had an idea of how to make them sculptural.

It began with a series of arcs and crescents which, when connected to each other through welds or mechanical linkages formed a semblance of a double wishbone suspension. A "spider web" of other truss support members was added on to the initial 4 arcs to give them the strength necessary to withstand steering and braking forces. The convergence end of the passenger arc distantly resembles the front end of an F1 car with the narrow nose and open wheel double wishbone suspension.

the rear differential cradle

The frame became a nested double truss. The redundancy of truss members added aesthetic interest as well as ensuring frame would be adequately stiff given its unusually long 22 foot wheelbase.

Nearly the entire frame and chassis was constructed utilizing 316 stainless steel. 316 is a marine grade alloy and is well suited to resisting the ravages of alkaline playa dust.