Saddest eBay item ever — or greatest?

On occasion I go on a Mach 5 buying binge, and today I stumbled across this gem. At first I thought it was the saddest thing I’d ever seen posted to eBay … but then I read the description:“This Johnny Lightening Speed Racer is in fair condition. There are huge areas of paint chipping. It also looks like some of the still painted area are ready to start chipping. There are 2 hubcaps missing and it really worn around the window.
No marks that I can see.”

No marks that I can see.

I should send the seller 75¢ just for the best laugh I’ve had all week.

The cars of Speed Racer: Type P

The Type P is another blink-and-you’ll-miss-it vehicle from Speed Racer, even though it is possibly the most repeated design of car used in the Casa Cristo race. The two-seated roadster is very similar to both the Type O and Type L street cars, but has a broad grill behind the cockpit instead of a jet-engine airbox.While the best example is the Juicy Drop Pop car, over a half dozen versions of this design can be seen in the opening moments of the race, weaving among the archways of the Muqranna*— including one that tries to take out Speed and explodes** against a pillar. *This is what the race announcers call the vast hall of pillars, according to closed caption subtitles. Not sure if this is correct or not — does anyone have the official movie script paperback? It could just be muqranna is a word they coined for the movie, one that’s based on a real word. Considering “muqrana” is Maltese slang for “a woman who cheats on her man,” and muqarna is a “decorative device in Islamic architecture” used to create ceiling patterns in archways, I’m going to go with the later, in spite of the difference in spelling.**Amusingly enough, even though the above car is soon destroyed, it shows up in a later portion of the race when it is seen cruising in front of the “Aqueducts of Sassicaia” for a split second. Whoops, somebody in Continuity is gonna get fired!As for the Type P, after a few sightings as the race heads out into the desert, the car unfortunately disappears from the movie.

The cars of Speed Racer: Pitter Pat

Poor Pitter Pat. Even though it gets named dropped in the opening sequence of Speed Racer, this unique — and visually interesting vehicle — has about a 1/2 second of screen time before it’s destroyed and never seen again.Snake Oiler sling-shots around the porcine T-180 in the Thunderhead race before both are wiped out by Speed, but it happens so fast (and while the audience is figuring out the rules to this new cinema world), it almost isn’t in the movie. It is difficult to find even a decent screen capture of the car.No, if you want to gaze upon the Pitter Pat, you need to watch the DVD extra “Supercharged,” or play the video game tie-in. There you can see the arresting amount of detail the designers put into it, from the snout nose and tusks, to the half dozen original logos, including primary sponsor “Razorback Depilatory” — an “unsightly hair removal” product. My favorite though is the spiky mohawk above the airbox on top. Yeah, you know SOMEone was going to get an eye poked out when that sucker rolls.While Pitter Pat is a beefed up jet fighter version of the Formula 1 design in the Speed Racer movie world, the wild boar motif fits in better with the professional wrestling feel of the cars in the outlaw Casa Cristo run.Seriously, they gave their car eyes.While a die-cast version of Pitter Pat was probably never going to happen (did I mention the spikes?), I attempted to kitbash my own version of the vehicle a few years back. While the sculpture turned out great, the project stalled at the end with the final paint job and the lack of appropriate tampos. Still, my Pitter Pat is getting more screen time here than the original did in the movie.

The cars of Speed Racer: Type O

Every hero needs a great villain to overcome and defeat, and the nastier the better. For Speed Racer, it was Snake Oiler and the Car Acrobatic Team, who would stop at nothing — NOTHING, DO YOU HEAR!? — to win. Other than the Mammoth Car, Snake Oiler was the best known villain of the series, and he was reimagined for the big screen in spectacular scenery-chomping fashion as the slimy leader of Team Hydra-Cell.Whereas Speed was brave, humble and concerned with the integrity of the sport, Snake was a venal, arrogant, whiny cheat — a Goofus to Speed’s Gallant. While he is dispatched early in the first race, Snake returns with a vengeance in the Casa Cristo, leading a squad of scaly roadsters (love the fang bumpers) to a duel on a high alpine mountain road.The Hydra-Cell street car is so over-the-top and tacky it’s actually pretty impressive. Every single square inch is covered in snake skin, and even the steering wheel, gear shift and weapon joy stick are designed to look like snakes. In addition to an oil slick in the back, the car is armed with a snake-a-pult that, yes, catapults live poisonous reptiles into opponent’s laps.Snake is played — overplayed, actually — by German actor Christian Oliver as a sniveling, self-absorbed, gun-toting cowboy. In other words, what the Wachowskis (and the rest of the world) see as the average American.He is based on this guy, the original Snake Oiler who, you have to admit, has even worse taste in eyewear. As a member of the cult-like Car Acrobatic Team, Snake is dedicated to winning at all costs, but his main sin seems to be arrogance. Sure, he bumps a few drivers off cliffs to their doom but hey — this is Speed Racer, everybody does that. Nope, Snake spends most of the three episodes he appears in — “The Most Dangerous Race” — by bragging about how he always wins and psyching out Speed so that patented Racer self-doubt kicks in. Ooo, evil.He and the rest of the Car Acrobatic Team also have an advantage in that their vehicles have secret wings, allowing them to fly short distances. This comes in real handy during the Big Alpine Race (the aforementioned “Most Dangerous Race”), when the drivers have to run a course that forces them to jump from precipice to crumbling precipice like Frogger. As for the outcome, I’ll just point you in the direction of the always entertaining Thiel-a-Vision for his recap.Snake Oiler’s car has been one of the more popular die-casts over the years. Here you can see the original on the left, with the street car and T-180 from the movie on the right. As you can see, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tacky tree.

Type O Race Car Numbers: 12, 20, 21


Light Bikes updated

Something I’ve been meaning to do for a while — I just added 4 pages to the Light Bikes booklet, including new optional rules we’ve been playtesting, and the step-by-step instruction (with photos!) on the best way to build light walls. Also included is the Spinnaker graphic, for those looking to generate movement without dice. And it’s still only 99¢ — just click here