Rinspeed Tatooo.com

Car of the Day #32: 2000 Rinspeed Tatooo.com

Rinspeed Tatooo.com
Rinspeed Tatooo.com • via Rinspeed

Once you understand the point of Rinspeed, the Tatooo.com becomes easier to digest. This Switzerland-based firm began as Rinspeed Garage in 1977, importing and installing sunroof kits, and converting vehicles for disabled drivers.

That wasn't going to last, of course. Founder Frank M. Rinderknecht started showing modified cars at the Geneva International Motor Show in 1979—a turbocharged Volkswagen Golf GTI.

Keep in mind that the first production turbocharged cars were just starting to roll out. First, the Oldsmobile Jetfire and Chevrolet Monza Spyder in 1962; the expensive Porsche 911 Turbo from 1974; and the more mainstream Saab 99 Turbo in 1978.

Unlike these days where there’s a spinning snail hiding inside many new internal combustion vehicles, offering a turbocharger on a vehicle as inexpensive as the Golf GTI was virtually unheard of. 

How long did it take Volkswagen to get behind the idea? The GTI officially got a turbo 21 years later.

Rinspeed Tatooo.com • via Rinspeed

Being a part of the aftermarket from the beginning gave Rinspeed a unique perspective on cars: if manufacturers are slow to adopt future technologies, well, why don't we show the world that a small Swiss company can produce some of the most advanced vehicles on the planet?

In the year 2000, the company's Geneva concept was this, the Tatooo.com. As far as the Internet theme, well, in that year there were 361 million users worldwide. Now? More than 5,350,000,000 (5 billion). 

Boom!—Rinspeed starting strong by predicting an internet-focused future.

Based on a Chevrolet S-10 / GMC Sonoma truck, the Tatooo.com was an awkwardly-styled concept that was awkwardly forward-looking and predictably retro at the same time.

Outside, the styling is…well, nothing worse than you'd see in a custom truck magazine or Chevrolet showroom. *cough HHR* 

Rinspeed Tatooo.com • via Rinspeed

Its chopped roof and shaved door handles are standard kustom fare, but around back there's a transparent and "indestructible" Lexan plate in the tailgate to aid with looks and visibility.

These days, the clear tailgate would be a “feature” accomplished with cameras, software, and only eight easy taps from the home screen.

Is Rinspeed done? Never.

In the bed, Rinspeed's X-Tra-Lift system—the mechanism is disguised as a silver roll bar—is a loading platform that sits flush with the truck bed when not in use, but up, out, and down when heavy items need to be loaded into the back. 

It's now commercially available, and as the U.S. distributor says is perfect for loading motorcycles, appliances, and emergency equipment. Another positive tick for forward-thinking Rinspeed.

Kept low-res for that 2000s feel ;) • via Rinspeed

On the X-Tra-Lift is a Breathing Observation Bubble, “…not an American man named B.O.B.” as Rinspeed’s press release states. 

B.O.B. is a designed-in-Florida diving apparatus that's best described as an underwater scooter. Designed for beginner divers, it will descend to 30 feet, keeping the pilot inside a pocket of air that's less constricting when compared to a dive helmet. Personal submarines are definitely a thing now among the mega yacht crowd, risks be damned.

Tatooo.com is powered by, what else, a tuned V8—5.7-litres, 409 horsepower, 0-100 km/h (0-62 mph) in 5.9 seconds, and a top speed of 245 km/h. Performance you'd expect from a hot rod, of course. Underneath, an adjustable pneumatic suspension system is designed to keep it level at all speeds. 

Air ride, V8 swap…start in February and this project would keep most contemporary YouTubers busy until SEMA, at least…

Inside, imitation African mamba snake leather, woven Italian leather in beige, teracotta-coloured plastic flooring, and chrome foil-covered trim. A 7-inch LCD monitor and Sony PlayStation complete the technology onboard. All that four years before Pimp My Ride hit the airwaves.

Wait, no Internet connection? No. The Tatooo.com's name comes from the fact it's the first vehicle ever with its own Internet address. Here in 2024, where most vehicles are fitted with their own SIM card and dedicated network connections, this URL thing is kinda cute, right?

I’d recommend you try the URL, Tatooo.com, if only it wasn’t now abandoned* and for sale at the low, low price of approximately €5,250 from the domain resellers I’ve checked.

When you think about it, what’s more forward-thinking than becoming one of the tens of thousands of websites abandoned, not renewed, and taken offline? That’s another win for Rinspeed…

* You’re not missing much, upon inspection via the Wayback Machine its splash page redirects to the current Rinspeed website, which thankfully still hosts all of the project info on this and its other concept cars. Bravo again, Rinspeed. 👍