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First look: Rinspeed's zaZen goes transparent!

Two-tone: ZaZen's transparent roof turns black at the push of a button.

Rinspeed reveals a Geneva super-coupe concept with a switchable transparent roof

20 Dec 2005

NEXT month’s Detroit motor show has already generated a procession of new model previews from car-makers clamoring to pre-reveal their wares, but niche Swiss vehicle designer Rinspeed has moved one step ahead by revealing a Geneva motor show concept ahead of its world debut on February 28.

Named zaZen, the striking sports coupe is built in partnership with leading European plastics producer Bayer MaterialScience and features what appears to be a floating, transparent roof.

 center image Claimed to herald a new era in automotive lighting technology, the one-piece roof dome is constructed from Makrolon polycarbonate and incorporates a luminous holographic rear "window" section.

In it, a large third brake light "appears as if from nowhere", hence the zaZen name.

As the Rinspeed press release says: "After all, Zen – borrowed from Buddhist teaching – is a special form of insight that is only attainable if you are prepared to give up preconceived ideas." Described as "an automotive interplay of veiling and unveiling", zaZen’s entire polycarbonate roof dome can be made non-transparent at the push of a button.

Superfluous interior controls can also be faded out to display only necessary information like the speedo, further echoing the Zen philosophy of requiring only the bare essentials.

According to Rinspeed, "The interior is an invitation to meditative unity for man and machine" and houses bright orange plastic seat shells for its occupants.

ZaZen’s mineral-white appearance is achieved by the use of millions of tiny precious Swarovski crystals protected by a "self-healing" polyurethane clear coat.

Rinspeed’s latest creation will make its world premiere at Geneva and sufficient positive reaction could spawn production of the zeZen coupe, or at least elements of its unique roof technology.

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