The cars of Speed Racer: GRX

In the world of Speed Racer, there are few cars more famous than the GRX. In the big screen adaption, the GRX is the latest, greatest design from villainous corporation Royalton Industries. Driven by Jack “Cannonball” Taylor, the GRX is supposed to win the Grand Prix in a fixed race, until Speed upsets the status quo, wrecking the Royalton T-180 and exposing the duplicity.

In the original series, GRX actually referred to an engine model in “The Fastest Car on Earth.” In the two-part episode (which you can watch here), the motor proved too powerful and fast for any driver to handle. Having killed several racers, the engine was buried in a graveyard, only to be dug up by an evil racing syndicate who had the good taste to put it into a bitchin’ bullet-shaped concept car. The lure of a shot at driving the Fastest Car on the Planet proves too much for any driver, and everyone — including Speed — chases after the vehicle. Unfortunately, the downside to the GRX is a driver can’t handle the extreme speeds without first being exposed to an aerosol amphetamine. Of course, our hero attempts to drive the hyped-up GRX without snorting the speed (just say no to drugs, kids!), and finds his life in danger as the hypervelocity of the motor cause him to hallucinate and go bat-shit crazy. Fortunately, Speed’s family eventually comes through, saving Speed from himself and the GRX, and an important lesson is learned by all (except, umm, for the drivers that died.)The sleek Japanese design of the GRX (as in Britain, the steering wheel is on the right-hand side of the car in Japan) proved popular with model makers, and many die-cast and plastic versions have been made, both of the anime and live-action vehicle. Here you can see the original and the update side-by-side in 1/64 scale.The concept for the movie GRX was created by comic book artist Geof Darrow, and further developed by CGI Modeling Supervisor Michael Meyers. In an online interview, Meyers said, “The GRX illustration was really nuts. Geof is amazing, but if you have ever seen any of his drawings, his stuff is really challenging to bring to life to say the least. Sort of like trying to build an M.C. Escher piece.”As the GRX is Speed’s last big rival, it gets plenty of screen time in the epic showdown before it crashes and burns. One thing which isn’t apparent in the final cut (though it can be seen below in this CGI conceptual still from Meyers) is one of the many little inside jokes the script writers and designers worked into the film: in this case, the Royalton logo is trademarked with another Royalton logo for its registered ®. (One wonders if the designers continued to add ever-smaller ®’s ad infinitum to the renderings, even knowing they would never be seen.) 

GRX Race Car Number: 66

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