Would you like a mineproof car?
How about a non-stressing standoff detector for mines, including a range of parameters that would scare a champion? Or a mine that throws itself at the victim? How about lasercam signature-sensitive target acquisition, rocket-assisted projectiles, or a radar that can detect an incoming shell? The Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Program solicitation on my desk assures me that the Air Force has some of this now, and wants is carried into a more advanced stage.
This little treasure-chest of ideas is a booklet nearly 400 pages thick. You can get your own copy, just like defense contractors do, by writing
Small Business Administration
Office of Innovative Research & Technology
1441 L St. NW
Washington, DC 20416
or get in touch with the SBA in the nearest sizeable city, and tell them you want to receive phase one solicitations.
You may wish to discover antique radio gear can give you an edge. Get a Fair Radio Co. catalog, at Box 1105, Lima, OH 45802. This is a good source of actual existing equipment, as well as ideas for possible future improvement.
If you like the idea of military surplus as an idea source, you can also write the Defense Property Disposal Service (an agency of the Dept. of Defense) and ask to be put on their bidder's list. You'll have to fill out a lot of forms, but the pictures and descriptions in the catalogs will lead you to new car ideas with a broader reality base.
Any game feels better if you increase its sensation of reality. The Car Wars future is not that far away. Dig in the rubble of the present, and you'll discover ideas and skills that can make your games far more real and interesting than you'll ever believe without seeing it.
Another frequently-overlooked source is your public library. Look up old issues of Popular Science, Popular Mechanics. and Mechanix Illustrated. Many of the designs and ideas in these magazines can be adapted to autoduelling with relative ease.
All this stuff works best in a campaign that is not afraid to try new things, make up new rules, and not wait for the "official" work to go ahead and give something a shot. If you've got that kind of adventurous gaming group, use these source for great new ideas, and go to it!