Who created the Coconut cars?
Who created the Coconut cars? That has been a nagging question that I have been reminded of every few years. Stumbling upon the readme I once wrote for the Coronet Pulsar ("created by an unknown designer in a bygone era") made me realise I had never made a serious attempt at finding out the answer. Back in my newbie days, when I got to race with the Coronet at SDR, or even when I started the Coronet Wiki article a while later, it felt like those old school cheat cars had always been there. The distance of a handful of years now tells me I should have known better. Time for some digging, then!
The oldest source on the live Internet for the Coconut cars is probably the cheat cars package at ZakStunts' downloads page, which was added to the site somewhere around August 2001:
The package includes nine cars, helpfully displayed on this table (thanks Alan for adding it to the Wiki!):
We might divide those cars in three groups:
- The five cars attributed to Mr Eriksson, whose files in the zip have modification dates from March and April 2000;
- The two Coconut cars: Coconut Car Coronet Pulsar STi-R, and Coconut Car GTR 7.5 GT IMSA. Their files date from August 2000; and
- The two remaining cars. The Ditsch Car in-game description includes both authorship and a dedicatory ("for Magnus by brainSteen"). Though the Wooden wireFire has neither, the file dates (May 2000 in both cases) and the use of camelCase ("brainSteen", "wireFire") suggest they belong together.
The cars themselves provide no further clues on who Mr Eriksson, Magnus or brainSteen are, or whether they have anything to do with the Coconut cars. To remedy that, we can take a ride on the Wayback Machine and turn to the who's who of people in the community around the turn of the century: Kalpen's directory of Stunts links! It doesn't take long to discover that both brainSteen and Magnus not only had Stunts sites, but also offered a common set custom cars for download:
Unfortunately, brainSteen's site wasn't archived, and neither was the car downloads page on Magnus' site. Wandering along the other sites linked from Kalpen's, we can find a surprising number of custom car downloads; however, in all cases I have looked at there is enough information on the pages, even when the car files themselves weren't archived, to figure out the Coconut cars aren't among them. That includes the Supercar.zip from the TSST (The Swedish Stunts Team) site, which likely packaged some of the cars by RoyForever:
That's not the only relevant information in the TSST site, though:
So Magnus joined TSST in March 2000. But wait! Have a look at the site footer:
Now compare with the full name of the Coronet Pulsar :)
The contact info on that footer points to Red Baron,
team leader dictator of TSST:
And now, the finishing touch: the list of URLs from Magnus' site captured by the Wayback Machine includes several PDFs with paper models of cars and other vehicles. These models are credited to...
So, here is what I think the events were: Magnus, aka Mr Eriksson, is a Swedish pipsqueak and car designer. He joined TSST in March 2000, in between creating the Škoda Felicia and the Лада Нива. Several months later, someone in the team made a couple of СССР cars in tribute to their organisation.
Even after tying those threads, it's hard to identify a single author: it could have been Magnus, though the Coconut cars are very different in style to the Mr Eriksson ones; it could have been Red Baron, though the copyright footer on the site is clearly part of an in-joke rather than anything personal. In any case, it seems certain that the Coconut cars are a TSST project. I guess I finally have something meaningful to write in that readme!
(If you know anything further about the history of the Coconut cars, please drop me a note or reply to the corresponding topic at the Forum!)