“Based on that experience I decided that next time I’d spend more time designing and refining the chassis and suspension systems, which is why my latest vehicles look so complicated.
“But however complicated they are mechanically and structurally, my cars aren’t metaphors like some, they’re sculptures.”
Best we stick to their mechanicals, Henry, if you don’t mind…
Seven feet of Flux Capacitor’s length is actually a front-mounted swing arm; its job, explains Chang, is to counter lateral loads acting on the vehicle. Along the way, he had to engineer a complex suspension system to prevent it twisting and tearing apart the Flux’s main frame.
“Because it has so much leverage, it glides across the desert like a Mars rover,” he says.
It’s powered by a Chevy Big Block 454 fitted with a Roots-style supercharger producing 621bhp and 670lb ft torque.
“I love its big, serpentine belt,” says Chang. “My next car is inspired by an American hot rod but unlike those cars, you will see all of its mechanicals.”
Elsewhere, Chang’s inspiration comes from all sorts of places. The flow of air over and through Valyrian Steel influenced the shape of the wishbones, the chassis and the array of inlet pipes and exhausts. Its in-board brakes were inspired by the Jaguars of Chang’s youth (he loves the E-Type, especially Eagle Jaguars’ heavily restored cars). Meanwhile, his 3D printer is proving to be invaluable.
“It’s opened up a world of possibilities,” he says. “For example, I designed Valyrian Steel’s front fenders using CAD then transferred the data to my 3D printer to produce the individual ‘dragon scales’ in plastic. These formed the moulds in which I sand-casted the scales in steel. To support the finished items on the wheel hubs took a lot of ingenuity.”
The wonders of 3D printing have also allowed Chang to devote as much attention to the parts of his cars that you can’t see, such as the inner faces of the exhaust pipes that he fabricates.
“Someone asked Steve Jobs why he cared about details in the insides of his computers that no one could see,” says Chang. “He said that caring about these details affects the whole job and is what separates the simply okay from the exceptional.”
Only Valyrian Steel was commissioned; the other cars are a bit of fun Chang does between his paid work in the worlds of furniture and house design. Even so, he says, they connect with people in a way that is unique: “People interact with cars every day. They understand them and no matter how extreme they look, they understand mine.”