"The Golden Mean" a giant Jules Verne hot rod snail art car we built in 2008 in my shop "Form & Reform" in West Oakland. This is my wife Kyrsten's Dream car and together we made it a reality.

Following is the basic process by which we built this amazing art car. This is meant as a process guide for building any kind of art car and not a guide for building this one. There are far too many details in this project and each step could be broken into many different stand alone instructables. I hope by posting this you gather your own team (most of mine had no experience) and make your own dream car together. The sum of the parts make wonderful things!

For more info see: Golden Mean

There is now a fan club for the Golden Mean on facebook
Keep track of the Snail's events and news there

Step 1: Choosing the Base Vehicle

Picture of Choosing the Base Vehicle
I chose a 1966 VW bug. It's very easy to remove the body, the vehicle is very basic and has a frame to work off of. We picked it up for $400, and sold the body for $200! It came with: new shocks, tie rods, a drop front end, and a new floor pan.

After removing the body I temped in the gas tank and steering wheel and took it for a test drive. this entire process took about 4hrs!

After the test drive we made some notes on what needed to be fixed before we started building the Snail.

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andrea biffi10 months ago

I love it!

A wonderful car. Saw it first time in a tv documentary about the burning man festival.
Just breath taking!!! Greetings from Switzerland
its an Instructable! I can build this with my Dad! ( he used to restore classic cars AND replaced the transmission TWICE in one #$*!@& car that is now sitting in our pasture.) Truly amazing, my little brother loved snails. he still owns about 20. I'm sure my family would like to drive this car!
nathanielg3 years ago
i just saw this on tv about 2 days ago
Fantastic, I loved his work, much success in your life.
Awesome! This is inspiring!
okbye3 years ago
You cant do that ! lol do you have a whistle on top for high wind warning?
A splendiferous effort of snail transportation, well done !
neetz3 years ago
that is so cool!
9mvp94 years ago
This defiantly isn't street legal. LOL
All you need are plates, lights, and mirrors. Not that hard
doomsdayltd4 years ago
oh i've seen you guys before, your artwork is amazing. I never saw the snail car, but i did see the ferry restoration! :D
Win Guy4 years ago
So... Who here has actually used this Instructable to build one? lol. This is an incredible 'ible, 5/5 and faved.
why pull apart a vw beetle they're the best?
poofrabbit4 years ago
This is fantastic! I would love to see this in person!
truly the most beautiful and impressive creation I've seen on Instructables.

Bon voyages!
Fabulous, thanks for taking us along.

And the passenger/crew seating is totally boss...
Bay Area...I Saw This Car Earlier This Year at A Chain Mexican Restaurant.... Very fascinating, Bout time you made an instructable =]
great stuff!
3834174774 years ago
twighahn5 years ago
gives me great ideas
Poogle5 years ago
there is a special monorail to paradise for those who make the fantastic seem possible.
thepelton5 years ago
Oh wow! I love it! It would be fun to put in a parade. I suppose the fire is controllable, so you wouldn't set fire to the shrubbery beside the road, or the trees bent over it.
ubassmusic5 years ago
Please an i have yours?
mista.v5 years ago
Why not actually rivet it?
likely the same reason that welding is used over rivets in most applications. Effort and I imagine welds are stronger than rivets.
Amazing art car and fantastic instructable. How did you get the shine on the shell after the patina? I noticed in the pics that it's dull, then suddenly it's shiny. No pictures of the Mean at night (without the flame throwers at full blast)? How long did it take the team to put this together from conception to awesomeness? (I don't want to ask what it cost) What is the purpose of the palaquin? It's hard to tell if it holds much weight. Is that where hitchhikers go? Again, thanks for the instructable. This will prove usefull when (if?) I build my own art car.
I would guess that the dullness comes from being covered with dust... The photos where it's not shiny appear to have been taken out on the alkali flat called Black Rock Desert in northern Nevada. It's very, very dusty out there.
I was referring to the photos in step 21 versus step 19. In step 19 you've finished the patina and it looks great but shiny. In step 21 it looks that dull finish that really makes it looks like an amazing snail. It doesn't have that playafied look of having been to burning man though. With your comments, can I safely assume that the different look is due to the lighting, with step 19 photos taken indoors probably with a flash or an open door behind you? Step 21 must be the way it actually looks then.
looks like they used rattle cans of clear coat (clear spray paint, commonly used by graffiti artists with low self esteem). It also "seals" the finish.
Oh I think it is just wonderful. Bravi!!!!!!
harry885 years ago
thats amazing the cost would be high
Pader5 years ago
That exhaust system is definitely NOT 1966 stock. What engine do you have in that thing? If the exhaust system is anything to go by, it is not snail powered.
amenhotep45 years ago
It's straight out of "Chowder!!" I'm so jealous...
Totally beautiful!!! Truly art, and many thanks for showing us this in depth look at the detail and effort that went into the making of this amazing vehicle.
whoa. just. whoa.
zack2475 years ago
awesome. just awesome. it looks absolutely amazing. wasn't this on daily planet? good job!
knuffe5 years ago
Beautiful, It makes me belive in the Fantacy of humans again. If only more people wopuld do things like this... Teh world would be a prettier and more interesting place.
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