About the JL421 Badonkadonk
Feeling like your SUV blends into the crowd? In need of something to transport your groceries by day and a mobile party or arsenal by night? Meet the Badonkadonk, a one-of-a-kind "armored land cruiser/recreational tank". To look at it, one might think it to be a hovercraft, but in fact it runs on four off-road wheels, concealed by a unique industrial-strength rubberized flexible skirt that shields and protects the wheels to within an inch of the ground, while still allowing for enough flex to give clearance over bumpy and uneven terrain. The roof of the Donk features a guard rail and durable rubber matting, making it the ideal place to carry up to 3 friends or several hundred pounds of cargo. Slide open the roof hatch and you'll find the interior fully carped and cozy, with accent lighting, glove box, controls and room to seat up to 4 people, or 2 comfortably.
The Donk was designed to be as versatile as possible, and that includes the ability of the craft to be piloted from either a seated position within the armored shell, or from an exposed, standing position out the hatch, thanks to a pivoting control stick and special one-way armored windows. The control stick is topped by the throttle handle, and steers the Donk left to right. But it also pivots up and down- up for when the driver is standing, down for when he's seated inside. The armored windows consist of stainless steel with a fine mesh of holes that allows occupants to see out without outsiders seeing in, and still protects the occupants from flying debris without risk of shattering. The exterior of the vehicle is light-armor steel with a rust patina- providing plenty of protection against paintballs, pneumatic cannons, and flamethrowers.
Drive power comes from an air-cooled, 6hp Tecumseh gasoline engine, with centrifugal clutch, giving the Donk a top speed of 40 mph unladen. Total weight is 900 pounds. Wheelbase is 72", total length is 108", height 54", and width 53". This width is slightly narrower than a standard golf cart, which allows the Donk to fit through many narrow spaces and pylons that would restrict a full size vehicle.
The sound system consists of a 1000 watt amplifier and 4 channels, each with a speaker mounted behind a window to project sound primarily outward from the Donk, but of course into the cabin as well. Exterior lighting consists of rope lighting, underbody lighting, custom sequenced 12-channel window strobes, head and tail lights, turn signals, and brake lights. Power for all these electronics comes from a high-capacity 12V deep-cycle battery array that is charged either from a wall outlet or by the engine and alternator, and has the capacity to supply power for a full day's worth of driving, music, and lights. Lights, power, stereo, battery monitoring/charging, and ignition are all controlled from a single switchboard to the left of the driver, accessible from both the seated and standing positions.
In 2005, the Donk received it's first major overhaul, including new interior, reinforced axels, additional lighting, new control stick, all new electrical system, new stereo, and most importantly a new pyrotechnic effects system with rocket pods. Part of the system is comprised of a "ring of fire", 6 individual nozzles around the rim of the Donk that can be turned on to run at a pleasant low flame, or triggered to release a large fireball or plume. Each of the 6 valves can be triggered independently, or all together with a single button. The rocket pods consist of a tank and nozzle on each side of the Donk, which use a high-powered electrical arc to instantly ignite a loud, hot blue jet out the back. The big secret is that effects like this are mostly aesthetic and don't provide much additional thrust, but to everyone you blow by with them on, it sure looks and sounds like they're boosting you to high speed. The pyro system is powered by propane and all functions, including ignitors, flames, bursts, and rockets, are controlled from a corded remote. There's even an auxiliary trigger jack that allows compatible devices, like NAO's Synchronox drum trigger system, to plug in and be used to trigger a large burst from the ring of fire.
A Donk's Life
The Donk was designed and built in 2002 by NAO Design of Palo Alto, CA. It was originally conceived as something which was at once both malevolent and benevolent, being battle-ready and armored, yet cozy on the inside and irresistible to people with its lights and sounds. Where that vision would lead was anyone's guess, and in the years since, the Donk has found itself at home in the desert of Nevada for the yearly Burning Man festival. The miles of wide-open alkali flats are ideal conditions for this vehicle, but the other 358 days of the year it can be spotted on the campus of Stanford University, operating in the service of the infamous Stanford Band. During the day, at band and sporting events, it is used as a transport for drums and other band equipment, and as the current flagship to be seen at the head of the Band’s ranks, as well as a method of intimidation and eradication of the occasional rival school student that wanders onto Stanford land. But come nightfall, the Donk transforms into party-mode. With a designated driver at the helm, the lights and music set the scene as it glides around the campus, looking for trouble or fun. Its mere presence has the ability to draw out a crowd, and the accessories and crew tend to keep that crowd interested. On more than one occasion, the Donk has rolled up to waning local parties and “stolen” the party away from the inside and reinvigorated and relocated it to the JL421. Recently, the Donk has also been featured in several television and film features, including MTV's Wildboyz and Discovery Channel's Monster Garage.
Beyond the JL421
The JL421 Badonkadonk is constantly evolving. Every year new systems and accessories are added, and existing systems are improved. No doubt the sturdy form of the Donk will continue to prowl about for years to come, but NAO is already looking to the next generation with plans for a vehicle an order of magnitude more advanced than the Donk, which will look and move nothing like it, certain to spread to shock and awe. But for those who can't wait that long, fully customizable Donks are available on a special order basis through NAO or on Amazon.com. See the Inquiries page for details.
Copyright 2006 NAO Design