Road Rage is the result of my own dissatisfaction with the other autocombat games available. While I've played and enjoyed Car Wars, Dark Future and Battlecars many times, none of them have quite hit the mark for me. Car Wars hyper-detailed approach doesn't necessarily give a good simulation, Dark Future limits you to two vehicle types (three if you count bikes) and while Battlecars is a great beer & pretzels game, again you're stuck with fixed vehicle designs.
But most of all, all these games are based on vehicles armed with guns, rockets and minelayers. There aren't any games out there that are designed to cover the whole spectrum of automotive mayhem, including races, chases, post-apocalyptic banditry and destruction derbies. Hence Road Rage.
Road Rage grew out of an earlier game, which combined the Car Wars vehicle design sequence with the Battlecars gridded movement. The resulting hybrid, known under the working title of BattleAutoDeathCarDuelWars, was quick for new players to pick up, but allowed the flexibility of the Car Wars vehicle design sequence.
Then more recently I came across the "Hot Rods & Gun Bunnies" supplement for the "Big Eyes Small Mouth" roleplaying game. It had a great vehicle design sequence based on buying Major & Minor options for vehicles to improve their performance, but very little in the way of actual game mechanics for how to use the resulting vehicles. This idea of Major & Minor options became the core of Road Rage.
Designer: Chris Johnston