Speed Racer, Part 2

And now the baddest car this side of the Batmobile.......

The Mach Five (lit. the "Mach") is the racing car Speed Racer (Go Mifune in the Japanese version) drives in the anime series of the same name (known as "Mach Go! Go! Go!" in Japan). It was designed, built, and created by Pops Racer, Speed Racer's father. It features a set of special devices which Speed Racer uses throughout the series. In the original 1966 series, the Mach Five is a white racing car with an 'M' written on its hood. In the 1993 American remake, the design was completely changed.

Its name probably derives from the fact that speeds above Mach 5 are known as hypersonic. However, the Mach Five cannot reach Mach speeds. The name is also a pun in two languages: the word for "five" in Japanese is "go". However, the "go" used for the car's name is a suffix attached to the names of ships, etc. Thus, the car is known in the Japanese version as simply the "Mach".

An actual race car that most closely resembles the Mach Five would be the Chaparral, which has a similar cockpit and fender flares.

It should be noted that the design and features of the car are comical in any real context. Obviously the car is designed to compete in some type of "open formula" racing, where cars are usually built with the maximum power and minimum of weight. Almost all of this car's features are totally pointless in the context of a race. The car itself would also be vastly overweight and overpowered. (For example, the car's special traction mode which puts 20,000hp through the wheels is totally unrealistic - even modern tires far wider than those shown on the car are incapable of transmitting such power to the ground without spinning).

The car has seven mechanisms triggered by buttons labelled from A to G on the steering wheel hub. Their functions (and names, taken from the Japanese production) are:

Button A, Auto Jack: Releases four jacks to boost the car up so that it can be repaired. Although designed for this function, the auto jacks are more often used to leap the car short distances at high speeds, as a wedge to prevent the car from toppling over a waterfall, as alternative braking systems, and as a tool to crush cars in a car-wrestling match. The spring-like sound the jacks make is distinctive to the show.

Button B, Belt Tires: Sprouts special grip tires for traction over any kind of terrain (firm, icy, or unsteady ground; ocean floor; vertical mountainsides). At the same time, 5,000 horsepower (3.7 MW) is distributed equally to each wheel by auxiliary engines.

Button C, Cutter: Powerful rotary saws protrude from the front of the Mach Five to slash and cut any and all obstacles. Mostly used for racing in wooded areas (especially when Speed gets forced off the road), the rotary saws have also been used as a means of self-defense.

Button D, Defensor: Releases a powerful deflector which seals the cockpit into an air-conditioned, bullet- and crash-proof, and water-tight chamber. Inside it, the driver is completely isolated and shielded. The deflector also protects against sleeping gas, as it has its own air supply.

Button E, Evening Eye: The control for special illumination which can be traversed singly or in tandem, and which enables to see much farther and more clearly than with ordinary headlights. When used with the “night shades” attached to Speed’s helmet, his vision is enhanced with infrared light.

Button F, Frogger Mode: Used when the Mach Five is under water. First, the cockpit is supplied with oxygen. Then, a periscope is raised to scan the surface of the water. Everything that is seen is relayed down to the driver's seat by television. The 100 pound [45 kg] auxiliary supply of oxygen is enough to last for thirty minutes.

Button G, Gizmo Rocket: Releases a homing robot from the front of the car. The homing robot can fly and can carry pictures or tape recorded messages, handwritten messages, X-ray film, rope, and small Egyptian statues, and it has been used as a means of defense. The bird-like device is operated by a built-in remote control within the cockpit.

Button H, Homing: This button is, unlike the other buttons, part of the Gizmo Rocket's controls, and it simply sends the robot "home” to a pre-programmed location, usually Speed's house.

The Mach Five also has a small trunk, which is unusual in a race car but was featured in many episodes, often as a hiding place for supporting characters Spritle and Chim-Chim.

In the 1997 series (not to be confused with the 1993 Fred Wolf remake), the buttons had name changes, and sometimes function changes:

Button A, Aero Jack ( Aerojyakki): Similar to the Auto-Jacks, but uses compressed air and rocket thrusters to propell the car into the air, rather than actual metal jacks (making "Aero Jack" a bit of a misnomer). Unlike the original series, this can only be used to make the car jump.
Button B, Balloon Tire (Barun Taia): Inflates the tires like balloons, giving them better traction (similar to monster truck tires), as well as allowing the Mach 5 to float on water.
Button C, Cutter Blade (Katta Buredo): Instead of saws, this button activates laser "blades" to cut through obstacles.
Button D, Defense Shield (Difensu Shirudo): Closes the cockpit in a bulletproof protective dome, like the original series.
Button E, Emergency Wire (Emajyenshi Waia): Completely different from the original series, this shoots out a rope and grappling hook to snag objects, either to keep the Mach 5 from falling into dangerous situations, or to hoist itself out of them.
Button F, Fish Diver (Fisshu Daiba): Functionally identical to Frogger Mode, but causes a M.A.S.K.-like physical transformation in the car, the wheels folding in and maneuverability fins sprouting.
Button G, Gallant Go (Gyaranto Go): Again, identical to the Gizmo Rocket, but with a new name. (The kanji in its name is the same kanji used in the car's name, so the name literally means "The Gallant").

In The New Adventures Of Speed Racer, the steering wheel of the Mach 5 in this series had eight unmarked rectangular buttons, arranged in two columns of four on either side of the steering wheel's center. The car appeared to have the same functions as the Mach 5 in the original series, but the buttons Speed pressed to activate them seemed more or less random, with the same button activating different abilities (or different buttons activating the same ability) in different episodes.

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