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Wanna Buy Speed Racer's Car?
 
By Jack Nerad
Driving Today
 

If you've got a hankering to purchase the only fully functioning Mach 5 racecar known to man, the same racecar made famous in the cartoon series "Speed Racer," you better log onto eBay. The site, which bills itself as "the world's leading person-to-person online trading community," is in the midst of auctioning off the car on its recently launched automotive area. The bidding will conclude on Thursday, June 29, 2000.

Community Benefit Alliance recently built the renowned Mach 5 as a fund-raising tool for the Child Safety Network, an organization dedicated to promoting child safety and protection issues across the country. Based on the famous cartoon Mach 5, the full-scale racecar has a top speed of 185 mph. It's equipped with front saw-blade cutters, a special hydraulic system for jumping, as well as interactive voice responses to buttons on the steering wheel. Project cost for the vehicle was more than $350,000. While the racecar to be auctioned captures the essence of the cartoon Mach 5, it lacks that vehicle's 50,000 horsepower and its ability to fly through the air, drive under water and jump great distances.

"The real Mach 5 has a lot of creative automotive engineering," said Mark Towle, the project's chief engineer. "While the car looks and performs much like the animated Mach 5, we have also added little details, like the remote control homing device and the periscope the Mach 5 uses when running under water."

If you buy the car, you should know this: You will be required to lend the famous car to CSN for a period of eight months, while it wraps the final dates of a national child safety tour. CSN will receive 20 percent of the proceeds from the auction of the Mach 5.

Once the safety tour has wrapped, the real Mach 5 will be delivered to its new owner by cast members Peter Fernandez, original voice of Speed Racer and Racer X, as well as Corinne Orr, voice of Trixie, Mom Racer, Chim Chim and various female characters. This event will take place at a fully catered Speed Racer-themed party.

"Driving the Mach 5 is a childhood dream for millions of Speed Racer fans," Fernandez said. "Being a part of fulfilling such a dream is going to be a real kick."

In addition to voicing the famous lead, Fernandez also wrote and directed all 52 classic episodes, named all of the characters and wrote the famous theme song "Go, Speed Racer, Go."


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