Golden Mean

Golden Mean
Golden Mean
Golden Mean
Golden Mean

Golden MeanText by Emily Lang of Wired Magazine,
the entire article can be found here.

OAKLAND, California — In a project that would make Franz Kafka grin, a 40-year-old bug has metamorphosed into a snail. The resulting creation, an art car called The Golden Mean, is a golden gastropod that glows in the dark and shoots rings of fire from its feelers. It also seats six comfortably.

Kyrsten Mate, of Empire of Dirt, says she literally dreamed up the concept. “I woke up and said, ‘We have to build this giant snail.’ It totally wasn’t planned. This whole project has been weird coincidences and math.”

The visually stunning vehicle takes its name from the golden ratio, a mathematical proportion that’s said to produce aesthetically pleasing art and architecture. Other inspirations for the project include the Giant Pink Sea Snail from Doctor Dolittle, giant mechanical elephant puppets by Royal de Luxe and Jules Verne’s imaginative creations.


The Golden Mean Snail Car is a giant hot rod art car built by a group of artists in West Oakland’s Kraftworks building. Conceived of in a dream in 2008 by artist Kyrsten Mate, this extraordinary vehicle was fabricated by her husband Jon Sarriugarte, Kyrsten, and the artist members of Empire of Dirt.
This surprising vehicle takes its name from the golden ratio, a mathematical proportion that is said to produce aesthetically pleasing art and architecture. Built on a 1967 VW bug chassis, the Golden Mean Snail Car features seating for six, rein-triggered fire shooting eye stalks, and a signature antiqued patina finish.
Past Shows

    2017-04Burning Man Leadership Conference Party
    2016-10Autumn Lights Festival
    2016-04Burning Man Leadership Conference
    2015-06Warriors Parade
    2015-06US Mayors Conference
    2015-05Maker Faire San Mateo
    2015-01Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf Inauguration
    2014-05Maker Faire San Mateo
    2013-09Starlight Gala Chabot Space and Science Center
    2013-08Burning Man Honorarium
    2013-05Maker Faire San Mateo
    2013-05Google X
    2013-04Exploratorium Gala
    2013-04California Academy of Sciences
    2013-03Exploratorium Parade
    2012-08Burning Man Honorarium
    2012-05Maker Faire San Mateo
    2011-08Burning Man Honorarium
    2011-04Railroad Revival Tour
    2011-01IDEO Holiday Party
    2010-08Burning Man Honorarium
    2010-06Lacma at the Tar Pits
    2010-06Western Days, Marin
    2010-04Pathways Show
    2010-03Beyond Wonderland
    2010-03Nova Albion Steampunk
    2009-09Handcar Regatta
    2009-08Burning Man Honorarium
    2009-07Fire Arts Festival
    2009-01Eduardian Ball
    2008-08Burning Man Honorarium

  • Performance
    55 mph | 88.5 km/h

    100 miles | 161 km

    Load Capacity:
    1000 lbs | 453.6 kg (front)
    2000 lbs | 907.2 kg (back)
    3000 lbs | 1360.8.2 kg (total)

    4 (with seat belts)
    19 (maximum capacity)

  • Dimensions
    1200lbs | 545kg (white head)
    1300lbs | 590kg (black head)
    650lbs | 295kg (white body)
    825lbs | 374kg (black body)

    187in | 475.0cm

    80in | 203.2cm

    127in | 322.6cm

  • Chassis
    Frame Construction:
    1967 Volkswagon Beetle

  • Drive
    Rear: Mechanical Drum
    Front: Mechanical Drum
    Parking: Hand Brake

    Rear: Air Suspension
    Front: Torsion Beam


  • Fuel
    Car Engine:
    5gal Unleaded Gasoline Tank

    Fire Effects:
    7-10gal RV Propane Tank

  • Note
    Vehicle specifications subject to change without notice