The Shelby Cobra recently unveiled by the US Department of Energy’s Oakridge National Laboratory is no ordinary sports car. It wasn’t so much built as printed.

The retro-looking runabout has been printed from layer upon layer of extruded plastic and then assembled. It’s difficult to tell the car is not made from steel panels until you get up close.

The Oakridge car isn’t for sale – it’s more of a mobile experiment – but it may herald a new direction for car makers, according to manufacturer Local Motors. They printed a version of their Strati vehicle, which they showed off at the Detroit Auto Show – and believe it’s just the beginning of a new age for the automotive industry.

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