Twitter’s tending topics over the last four days have been jammed with Michael Phelps’ death stare, spectacular road racing crashes and rampant algae blooms in the diving pool.
Cars aren’t talked about much during the Olympic Games, but that’s all we think about here at BestRide, so we’ve found a place for them amid the usual pageantry. Here are the events with an automotive spin.
The opening ceremony of the Olympics used to be about 45 minutes long, with a bunch of athletes parading into the stadium dressed in summer whites from Ralph Lauren.
For the last quarter century or so, though, it’s become this weird pageant featuring burning doves, orphaned children in hospital beds and Brazil’s upturned middle finger to the Wright Brothers.
Nothing Hollywood has ever churned out comes close to the absurdity of an Olympic opening ceremony, with the exception of Mad Max: Fury Road.
Film School Rejects called the chase sequence “The Best Movie Scene of 2015” and within its defense of such actually lays out what a good opening ceremony should do: “You have to create a spectacle so grand, so illogical, and so sincere, that years of skepticism and cynicism are washed away in an instant.”
Fury Road provides all the spectacle that the nonsense in most opening ceremonies fails to, “[turning] us back into the gushing children that we spend hundreds of dollars every year trying to rediscover at the movie theater.”
In Mad Max: Fury Road, we all ride eternal, shiny and chrome.
Plus, the Doof Warrior could slot right into any Summer Olympics opening ceremony since Montreal.
In the movie Furious 7, director James Wan orchestrated a stunt dropping five cars out of a C-130 aircraft flying 10,000 feet over the Arizona-Nevada border.
“We threw cars out of the back of a plane, no joke,” Wan explained to the Los Angeles Times. “We had skydivers photographing these cars as they were falling down. It’s as insane as it sounds.”
In June of 2014, French stuntman and rally racer Guerlain Chicherit’s attempted to break Tanner Foust’s 332-foot jump with a 360-foot long jump in a MINI Countryman rally car.
Then it all went bad.
The jump went off well and the MINI soared the entire jump length, but on the landing ramp, it nosed down and rolled. And rolled. And rolled.
Chicherit emerged unscathed and aside from a few bumps and bruises and a precautionary MRI, he was fine.
For 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me, Q came up with a pretty smashing car for 007: A white Lotus Esprit.
The trick it had up its sleeve was that James could flip a switch and the car could dive safely under the waves, evading whatever nefarious evil-doers happened to be chasing him.
Like the Furious 7 stunt, there wasn’t any CGI going on here. The car was honestly a submersible, at least the one that appeared in the underwater sequence.
Known as “Wet Nellie,” it was constructed by Perry Oceanographic, Inc. in Riviera Beach, Florida. It’s based on a “wet sub” for SCUBA divers. Occupants had to wear scuba gear inside.
In 2013, Elon Musk bought Wet Nellie and planned to install a Tesla drivetrain and make it operable again.
Musk bought the car at RM Auctions’ London sale for $863,000 plus a 12-percent buyer’s premium.
“I prefer rugby to soccer,” said Elizabeth Taylor in 1972. “I enjoy the violence in rugby, except when they start biting each other’s ears off.”
Rugby is to Olympic Soccer as demo derby is to Formula 1.
This unfortunate soul was double teamed in some fine piece of eastern European machinery at a demo derby in the Netherlands.
American car demolition derbies are usually held in smaller, more confined areas to keep the speeds down, but that doesn’t always work.
Seeing two people leap off a diving platform and sychronize their movements perfectly is oddly mesmerizing.
So is watching five cars slide into a corner together.
What other automotive events do you think would make great Olympic competitions? Offer up your suggestions and we’ll put another post together.