Need for Speed Racer: 5 ways to make the Mach 5 your own

The Wachowski brothers' mind-blowingly colorful remake of the 1967 anime classic, Speed Racer, is rolling through theaters, bringing Speed's Mach 5 to the silver screen. So what would it take to make the Mach 5 a reality? Is it even possible? A group of design students at the University of Cincinnati say it is.

The Mach 5 has a list of special features that would make even Bond swoon, including morphing treads for different terrain (from grass to climbing cliffs), a bulletproof escape capsule, rotary saw, periscope (for when it's underwater, of course) and even a robotic assistant that'll summon help when Speed is in trouble. The Cincinnati design students say with the level of technology we have today — UAVs, ejection seat technologies, amphibious sports cars — all of this could be reproduced.

But unless you're sitting on an enormous trust fund you don't mind blowing, chances are you won't be able to develop a Mach 5 of your own. We've got you covered, though — click Continue to see five ways to enjoy some personal Speed Racin' action.

1. Hot Wheels leading the way!
You can expect a whole slew of new Speed Racer cars from Mattel in June. Up above is one of the Speed Racer Deluxe Battle Vehicles, featuring a 3-inch-tall Speed and his trusty Mach 5 racer. It's all plastic, built to around 1:24 scale and features some of the Mach 5's tricks, such as the "jumpjacks" and saw-blade launcher. Mattel will also offer Speed's transport van, his nemesis Racer X and a whole lot of other Speed Racer vehicles at the usual 1:64 Hot Wheels scale.

Collectors who prefer metal diecast cars can grab the Mach 5 from Jada for only $5, pictured below.


ThinkGeek-speed-racer-rc-cars.jpg2. Get your race on

Want to drive the Mach 5 yourself? You could bankroll the designs from Cincinnati U, or you could pick up these Speed Racer Mini R/C Cars.

Both Speed's Mach 5 and Racer X's Shooting Star are available for $10 a pop, and they're three inches long with dual-channel remote controls that'll let you race them side-to-side. And, just like old-school R/C racers, the remote has a little steering wheel on it.

No special tricks here, though, unless you include old fashioned bumping and nudging. Each car needs a minute of charge time at its remote for three minutes of driving.

Carrera-packaging-small.jpg3. Take the rivalry to the track

If you've got a little more cash to throw down, consider the $65 Speed Racer slots cars from Carrera, complete with 20 feet of curvy, loopy track.

The set includes both the Mach 5 and Racer X's Shooting Star with LED headlights, and you'll be able to see once and for all who's the real winner here.

You could even remove a piece or two of track, and relive those times when girlfriend Trixie warns Speed from her pink helicopter that, once again, there's no bridge up ahead.


4. The mother of all Mach 5 R/C racers
The Mini-Z Speed Racer Mach 5 by Kyosho is probably the best of the bunch, with a crash resistant, pre-painted polystyrene chassis, real rubber tires, and a souped up electric engine that'll get it moving fast enough to break someone's toe. Hobbyists will also appreciate what they can do with the kit's interior, such as adding headlights like the car pictured above.

The set also includes orange street cones and street markers so you can start setting up an obstacle course for Speed to navigate. It knows how cool it is, though, carrying a $135 price tag.


5. The unattainable, drool-worthy Mach 5
The Mach 5 made an appearance at the New York International Auto Show in all of its glory. The car in the Wachowskis' version of Speed Racer is also a physical car, but all of the effects are computer generated. Still, if you wanted to take the students of the University of Cincinnati up on their offer, this would be a great place to start. It's a bit of a fixer-upper though, as the display model doesn't even have an engine. More room for you to work, right?