Recently, Hyundai unveiled a vehicle designed exclusively for ‘Soapbox Derby.’ The Soapbox Derby is a motorless car race widely held in North America and Europe, derived from a race in which children run down the hill in a wooden soapbox with wheels attached to it. These ‘race’ cars only use acceleration from gravity to pass around the corners or through obstacle courses, without using an engine or a motor.
Though these race cars might seem sloppy, winning the Soapbox Derby is one of every child’s dream in North America and Europe. And there is more; it is not just about winning the race. This is about children assembling a soapbox race car with their parents and families, then joining the race, and making fond memories.
This is why Hyundai introduced the Soapbox car assembly kit. Hyundai hoped that the car-loving child and their families would have more fun and quality time, as the recent COVID-19 pandemic has added time for families to spend together. The company thought that making a Soapbox car was an activity that both parents and children could enjoy.
Developed by Hyundai HMETC, the Soapbox car was intended to be made without any special dexterity. Because it is a car for kids, so any parent with a child should be able to assemble easily. The biggest feature is that it consists of materials that can be easily found at local hardware stores; its wheels are taken from a cart, for example. However, the Hyundai Soapbox car is so well designed that it can be completed even without using a hammer.
The most important part when Hyundai designed the chassis and body of the soapbox car was the availability. As mentioned earlier, they are not only composed of readily available materials around us but also focused on selecting materials and designing structures for reasonable prices. The reason why the body is not curvaceous was because of this design philosophy.
The Hyundai Soapbox was designed just like a regular car. First, a team of engineers built the chassis. Then, a team of designers sketched ideas, first on paper and then as 3D computer models. They came up with different designs, chose one, and started building. Lastly, another team worked on color and trim.
When looking at other Hyundai models for inspiration, the 45 Concept stood out for its straight lines and geometric shapes, as well as the Hyundai design identity ‘Sensuous Sportiness’. The Z-shaped character line, which starts with the front and runs to the rear wheels, is reminiscent of the new Avante and Tucson, and the unique body shade also came from Kona’s signature color.
The Hyundai Soapbox cars feature the brand identity when it comes to steering as well. While ordinary soapbox cars use round steering wheels, Hyundai’s soapbox cars house a joystick inspired by the concept Prophecy; if you pull the right joystick, the vehicle will turn right.
Meanwhile, the automaker states on the first page of the manual, that the user must wear helmets and other protective equipment. In addition, it is recommended to assembly the car with parents for safety, considering the process involves some tool using. In other words, ‘safety comes first’ is more than just a slogan if the whole family wants to have fun with the car.
Children make special memories that last a lifetime, and for their parents, it would bring up old memories of soapbox cars that they had once in their childhood. This is why Hyundai developed the soapbox car. The company wishes that soapbox cars bring joy to everyone: not just the families in North America and Europe but also in the rest of the world.