x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Top 5: Pop culture's cars we would wish into our own garages

Bruce Meyers based his Manx on Mickey Mouse's car. Here are five other animated vehicles that have inspired Motoring.

Lightning McQueen.
Lightning McQueen.

Lightning McQueen

The cocky stock car racer from the film Cars has everything a real car should have: a chunky, swoopy body, big tyres and a racy paint job, made even better with a custom, kandy-red job in Radiator Springs. And if you were at Khalidiya Mall last year, you could have seen a full-sized mock-up of it standing outside, almost taunting you to get behind the wheel and take off. One change is needed, though: make the windscreen clear instead of having those big eyes so you can see the road. It might help.

Mach Five

The Japanese animé Mach GoGoGo, later renamed Speed Racer for an American audience, involved a young driver (Speed Racer) competing and finding danger and adventure along the way. And what better car to use than the Mach Five, a low, sleek pointy, open-cockpit racer laden with gadgets, designed by Speed's dad, Pops. A live-action film was made in 2008 and the Mach Five was built for the film based on a Chevrolet Corvette by the custom shop, Gotham Garage, which still builds them for people.


OK, the puppet-based Thunderbirds isn't exactly a cartoon and, yes, it is creepy. But the Fab1 was a pretty desirable car, save for the pink paint job. Owned by Lady Penelope on the show, the six-wheeled behemoth boasted a bulletproof bubble canopy, a breakaway, floating cockpit (for those emergencies at sea, of course) and a raft of gadgets that would make James Bond envious. A live-action film was made for which a real Fab1, based on a Ford Thunderbird, was built. It is housed at the Heritage Motor Centre in the UK.

The Jetsons' car

Traffic is such a problem in Abu Dhabi and Dubai; wouldn't it be great to just sail over the chaos and congestion? George Jetson had it right, flying around in his bubble car on his way to the office. And what better way to avoid Mawaqif parking fines than to just fold the car up in your briefcase? The closest we mere mortals could get (at least, in the present) to owning a Jetson jet car would be the Aptera, a bubble-type electric car but, alas, the company just recently went bankrupt.

Roary the Racing Car

Ah, the simple life of a racing car - spending time with your friends and enjoying all day careering around the Silver Hatch race track where you live. And all the while with a big smile on your face, er, bonnet, ah, whatever. This simple little car could be an entertaining runabout, especially considering his adventurous spirit on the children's television show. And maybe, just maybe, you might get to spend time with Sir Stirling Moss, who does a voice-over introduction on the programme.