Speed Racer’s Mach 5 had amazing capabilities. Here’s a look at the cool gadgets that Speed Racer’s car had that you too can now own.
If you were a kid growing up in the late 1960s or early 1970s your television options were pretty limited. One of the best options for budding car nuts was Speed Racer. Combine racing with fighting bad guys, throw in a pet monkey (Chim Chim), a long-lost brother (Driver X), and a love interest (Trixie) and you have magic. As anyone who watched the show knows, Speed was not the actual protagonist. The car, called the Mach 5, was the hero. Its amazing abilities seemed far-fetched, but hey, we had just been to the Moon and had driven around on it, so anything was possible.
If you’re not familiar with the show, we’ve attached the perfect primer video above on what the Mach 5 could do. The car had seven special control buttons labeled A through G on the steering wheel. Let’s break down all of its features and see which are becoming real-world tech that you might be able to check on an options box in the present or near future.
Built-in Jacks – Control A
Control A released built-in jacks under the Mach 5. These jacks were super powered and could make the car jump. You can’t get ones that cool on anything at a local dealership, but if your budget permits, Ferrari has been making air jacks for its road-racing cars for years. We first saw them in action at Lime Rock Park. There is nothing cooler than seeing a car raise itself for service in the pit area. The image above isn’t a future design sketch. Its a parts list you can buy for your Ferrari.
Special Grip Tires – Control B
On the Mach 5 Control B causes special grip tires to sprout over the everyday tires and give outstanding grip over any terrain. Although you won’t find tires that will grow new treads on the fly, the winter tires we can buy today would have been amazing to anyone on bias ply Roadhandlers in the early 1970s. We’ve driven sports cars in snowstorms that handled amazingly well. Even Corvettes.
Rotary Saws – Control C
The Mach 5 had rotary saws that would deploy from the front of the car. The Mach 5 could then blast through old-growth forests like Grant through Richmond. You can’t get this technology on any car today. Not because it is too hard to develop. But because it’s really not PC in today’s world to go cutting down trees willy-nilly.
Bullet Proof Glass – Control D
Bulletproof glass is no longer science fiction. If the Mach 5 was around today it’s security might include shape-charge negating grills to protect from RPGs and maybe some IED resistant floor panels. Sadly, the real world has surpassed even the dreamers when it comes to putting holes into things.
Adaptive Headlights – Control E
The Mach 5’s button E activated special headlights for added illumination. They allowed Speed to see father and better than any standard car’s headlights. In the cartoon, they would swivel from side to side. This technology is available now on cars like the affordable Mazda3 for less than $30K. Speed Racer may have cheated a bit on this one as any fan of the Tucker automobile company may know. What’s really interesting is that the actual headlights now available in markets outside the U.S. are even more incredible. They can see a vehicle ahead and cut the light to the area in which that vehicle resides so as to not blind that vehicle’s driver. Watch the video and then contact your Congressperson if you’d like that technology made legal here in the U.S. of Arcane.
Underwater Abilities – Control F
You can’t get a car today that will run underwater. The Mach 5 could pump oxygen into its cabin. However, you can get atomized aromatherapy gases pumped into the cockpit of your Mercedes Benz. We like the Freeside Mood. The Mercedes also has charcoal filters and ionization to clean up the outside air before it taints your alveoli.
Deployable Information Drone With Cameras and Communications Equipment – Control G
The ability to launch a homing robot that would launch from the Mach 5 was my favorite of all the car’s abilities. It could deliver messages to people and had a camera. Today, we of course use in-dash text messaging on even the most affordable cars to communicate while we drive. Still, a camera drone would be so cool. Which is why Mitsubishi Electric Automotive is now making one. The drone will launch from your vehicle and can scout ahead to check out the parking situation, see how far ahead a pop-up traffic jam ends, or to scout out an off-road route. Mitsubishi Electric Automotive’s Mark Rakoski, the company’s vice president of advanced mobility, says the company is ready to go if you are. “If it can fly legally and provide camera feedback to a connected vehicle, there’s nothing stopping us from putting this into production now. The integration would have to be done correctly. But there’s no technology barrier stopping it.”