While several full-scale prop vehicles were built for filming Speed Racer (notably the Mach 5), the Type H has the distinction of being the only actual functioning race car to come out of the movie. A fully operational prototype of the T-180 was created for real-world sponsor Petrobras, the biggest company in Brazil, and the 8th largest oil company in the world.
Here are a series of shots from Brazilian website Omelete, along with a video detailing the step by step creation of the vehicle:
While the Petrobras car was created solely for promotional purposes (targeting the race-happy Brazilians and their passion for all things Formula 1 … or so the film producers hoped), it was barely seen in the final cut of Speed Racer. What did put in an appearance was the version driven by main character Taejo Togokahn (the images here, once again, from the web site of Phiyen Nguyen).This T-180 shows up once, in the Fuji Helexicon race, destroying a number of cars in spectacular fashion — before spectacularly crashing itself, exploding in mid-air. Several other Type H makes can be seen during the final Grand Prix at The Colosseum, and the Togokahn Motors car is also one of the cars showcased in the DVD extra “Supercharged.”Unfortunately for die-cast collectors, no Hot Wheels version of the vehicle was ever created — especially curious, considering plastic toys of the T-180 were made for McDonald’s Happy Meals, General Mills breakfast cereal promos, and, oddest of all, a tiny set of ear tanglers. (That’s right, you can get an earring of Taejo’s race car, but not a Hot Wheels. Go figure.)
Type H Race Car Numbers: 3, 77