Lancaster, California - Haven’t we all wished we had a car like this, the very best kind of Transformer?As this one-of-a-kind Jeep Grand Cherokee comes up behind stationary traffic, the driver presses a button on the dashboard and the body rises rises on hydraulic extenders, the wheelbase widens enough to clear an average car and it simply goes over the top of the cars to the front of the queue.
And here’s the kicker: it’s not CGI, it’s for real - but it’s a lot more complicated than it looks. Designed and built by Scott Beverley of A2Zfx, the standard-looking Grand Cherokee has a petrol-powered Honda generator providing amperage for the electric pumps that hydraulically extend, drive, steer and brake all four wheels - using almost 100 metres of high-pressure (60 bar!) hydraulic hose.
To help you see what you’re straddling, there are four under-body cameras projecting onto a four-way split screen on the centre stack.
The downside is that the arched frames and complex hydraulics are very heavy; the Hum Rider weighs about 3800kg, almost double the weight of a standard Grand Cherokee. And nobody is saying how much it cost, which is a giveaway in itself.
The Hum Rider was created to publicise Verison Hum, a US online service with a dongle that plugs into the on-board diagnostic port of any car made after 1996 and feeds diagnostics, roadside assistance, location and speed tracking to your smartphone - very useful when you lend the car to your teenage kids.