The Cloud City Pod Car, also known as the Bespin Motors Cloud Car, Prototype Cloud Car, or sometimes as a single-pod cloud car, was an atmospheric prototype vehicle known as a cloud car, popularized by its use in the habitable zone of the gas giant Bespin, home of Cloud City. The Pod Car, manufactured by Bespin Motors, saw use during the time of the Galactic Civil War as a patrol craft for the Cloud City Sky Patrol. In attack mode, the Pod Car featured a proton torpedo launcher. Combat equipped versions included mounted, dual blaster cannons on their underbellies.
The Cloud City Pod Car was an atmospheric prototype cloud car. The vehicle was also known as the Bespin Motors Cloud Car, Prototype Cloud Car, or sometimes as a single-pod cloud car. From a design perspective, the vehicle was considered to be a single pod from the Storm IV Twin-Pod cloud car. However, it had a number of notable design differences. For instance, the Pod Car employed a more rounded cockpit canopy design, and a much more angular chassis appearance. One major difference was the Pod Car's extendable assault wings and air foils, deployed during attack mode. These extendable air foils revealed a nose-mounted launcher, capable of firing an orange colored, wedge shaped proton torpedo. Combat equipped versions of the Cloud City Pod Car included mounted, dual blaster cannons on their underbellies. The Pod Car was orange in color, much like other cloud cars, and its interior was made with rich Corellian leather. As an atmospheric repulsorcraft, the Pod Car was capable of flying at high altitudes. However, it was also capable of traveling low across the terrain, much like an ordinary landspeeder. The Pod Car, a prototype in design, was propelled by a single ion engine, and piloted by a single person.
Manufactured by Bespin Motors, the Pod Car was popularized by its use in the habitable zone of the gas giant Bespin, home of Cloud City. During the time of the Galactic Civil War, the Pod Car served as an atmospheric patrol craft for the Cloud City Sky Patrol.
As a result of its growing popularity, the Cloud City Pod Car saw use on other worlds, used by spacers as personal transport vehicles. These civilian-use Pod Cars lacked the mounted dual blaster cannons and proton torpedo launcher, but the assault wings and air foils could still be extended.
Behind the scenes
The Cloud City Pod Car was originally conceived of as concept art. Its first inclusion in Star Wars Legends canon was with the release of the Expanded Universe Cloud Car toy in the first quarter of 1998, as part of The Power of the Force 2 toy line. The toy includes an Exclusive Cloud Car Pilot figure, and the box contains information on the cloud car's in-universe specifications. The toy is simply called a Cloud Car, however it is also identified as a Prototype Cloud Car, and Bespin Motors Cloud Car on the box's information card. The vehicle is described as having been affiliated with the Cloud City Sky Patrol. Some notable aspects of the toy are its extendable assault wings and air foils. The assault wings can be extended by the push of a button on the rear of the toy, while an orange proton torpedo can be launched from the toy's nose by pressing yet another button on the base of the toy (after extending the air foils manually). The description on the box claims that the single cockpit cloud car was designed and built based on production sketches found in The Art of Star Wars, and that its brainchild was renowned Star Wars artist Ralph McQuarrie. The box has a depiction of one such production sketch. This appears to contradict the toy's entry in The Action Figure Archive, released on February 1, 1999. The book claims that the single-pod cloud car was based on a different sketch made by Joe Johnston, while only the cloud car pilot was based on design work from McQuarrie.
It was not until around twelve years later that the toy made its first official appearance in a LucasArts production. In The Price of Victory expansion for the Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game released on December 14, 2010, the cloud car, this time identified as a Cloud City Pod Car, was one of many loot cards that could be claimed by players of the 2003 massively multiplayer online role-playing game Star Wars Galaxies: An Empire Divided. Once claimed by the player, the Pod Car could be used as a vehicle similar to that of any other ground vehicle in the game. Unlike the toy, the Pod Car in Star Wars Galaxies did not have the mounted dual blaster cannons, and while it did appear to have the orange, wedge shaped torpedo, it could not be fired by the player. Furthermore, despite its classification as an atmospheric repulsorcraft, the Pod Car in Galaxies could only travel low across the ground, due to limitations in game mechanics at the time. The card description for the Cloud City Pod Car claimed that the vehicle was a single pod from the twin-pod cloud car, despite looking very different from any pod on the Storm IV. The vehicle was rendered unobtainable after the game, developed by Sony Online Entertainment and published by LucasArts, was shut down on December 15, 2011, along with its accompanying Trading Card Game. Although the player could choose not to claim and drive the Cloud City Pod Car (assuming he or she were to obtain the Trading Card Game card), this article assumes 100% game completion.
- "Around the Galaxy"—Star Wars Galaxy Collector 1
- "Expansion Team"—Star Wars Galaxy Collector 3
- Star Wars: The Action Figure Archive
- Star Wars Galaxies Trading Card Game – The Price of Victory (Card: Cloud City Pod Car) (backup link)