Headscratchers: Speed Racer

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The Movie

    Mach 6 in first race 

  • In The Movie, why the heck is Speed driving the Mach 6 in his first race? I thought it wasn't even built until after the M5 was totaled at Fuji. And then he's driving the M5 again at the Grand Prix... WTF?
    • The Mach 6 is a specific type of racing car called a T-180. The Mach 4 is an earlier model of the same design and the Mach 5 isn't a racer at all, it's a production model car (and probably the last one Racer Motors made before switching to working on racers) that was modified for the punishment it would recieve in the Casa Cristo (Casa Cristo is a rally race, and rally cars are almost always production models). A possible reason why there is no T-180 called the Mach 5 is that they were simply forced to skip that one in the years where Racer Motors had no driver for that particular model. In one of the flashbacks it shows that after Rex died Pops pretty much abandoned his garage and there is a car visible under a dropcloth but we don't really get to see it. This is probably the T-180 version of the Mach 5 that was being built but never used due to Pops short retirement. By the time Speed started racing professionally there was a new version of the T-180 called the Mach 6 (because it was the sixth one built) that Speed used as his car before Thunderhead all the way through the Fiji race where it was destroyed and later re-built. Actually a better question would by why isn't the car Speed drives in the Grand Prix called the Mach 7 because it would be the seventh racer Pops built.
    • The "Mach" numbers might not be a count of the cars themselves (Pops only built 6 racers in his career? Really?), but rather a version number. So Speed starts the film with a Mach 6, regresses to the Mach 5 for the Casa Cristo, and for the Grand Prix the family pulls an all-nighter to build another Mach 6. Presumably if Pops ever sits down and dreams up a new racer design, that'll be christened the Mach 7.
    • But the Mach 5 in the movie isn't a race car at all, it was Rex's personal car. Originally it didn't have the standard racing auto jacks or other features as they were all added for the Casa Cristo. Perhaps the "Mach" name is more of brand name used by Racer motors with the numbers representing the "generations" of the car. Therefore the Mach 5 (as see in the film) is the fifth production model car Pops designed, while the T-180 racing cars are the sixth generation of that design
    • The cars could also come in two styles a "street" style (for rallies like Casa Cristo) and "racer" style (for track racing like Thunderhead or the Grand Prix)

    Size of Grand Prix 

  • It doesn't bug me (I loved every second of this movie, and watch it every time it's on HBO), but how big was the track of the Grand Prix? I mean, length wise? I want to know how many laps it would take to cover 500 miles.
    • From what I saw, Speed hit "The Big Drop" twice, and the big drop seems to indicate that it's the only one, so I'd say Speed circled the track twice... so a highly-compressed 250 miles is my estimate.
    • Yes, but by the end of the race there were no cars left on the track to stop him, so running the race any longer than the two laps shown would have been entirely pointless. Speed won basically because he was the last man standing rather than having the best time or the fastest speeds.

    Rex's corpse 

  • So after Rex Racer 'dies' the Racer family buried a body that they thought was Rex's but wasn't. So whose body did they bury? Whose body did Rex steal to pose as his own? Did Rex go corpse stealing or did he opt for a...fresher body?
    • Speed mentions to Trixie that Rex's "body" was too badly burned to be easily recognized. Presumable Rex and fought and killed one of the people trying to frame him for the racing disasters and placed their body in his car shortly before he blew it up (this is almost exactly what happened in Racer X comic mini-series). Mom and Pops were too distraught to properly ID a corpse burned beyond recognition and instead decided it was him based on some personal effect the body had in its posesssion.
    • Not to mention that when you're doing it with the cooperation of the authorities, its a lot easier. Police Coroner: 'Yes, we've entirely matched the dental records to your son Rex. I'm sorry.'

    Brandenburger Gate 

  • I seem to have missed it, but why is the Brandenburger Gate next to the finish line of the Rally? Does it take place in Germany?
    • The rally takes place in a fictional nation called Casa Cristo (or something like that). It may simply be a copy of the Brandenburg Gate since some nations or groups in Real Life have been known to make replicas of certain famous structures
    • The route for the race makes no sense. They go from a desert to the Swiss Alps and the Matterhorn of all places without any real gap between. They do spend the night in between, but there aren't any deserts anywhere near Switzerland. Speed Racer Earth makes absolutely no sense.
    • It's not Switzerland or the Alps. It's a fictional country called Casa Cristo that's a geographical hodgepodge, just like many of the places in the anime. Of course it doesn't make sense.

     43 Prix Fixed 

  • Did anyone catch the specifics of Royalton's Hannibal Lecture at the point where he described exactly how the 43 prix was fixed? I don't really understand economics, but I'd like to know the details in Laymen's Terms.
    • The racer for "Iodine Industries" was told to throw the race, resulting in a drop in stock price so the owner could buy a controlling interest in the company at a cheaper price. "Sirrus" stock price rose due to the win, meaning that "Pennensula Powercell" couldn't stage a hostile takeovernote , allowing them to merge with Iodine, rocketing up the price of the stock, and allowing the company to get a monopoly on powercells.


  • How are Sprittle and Chim-Chim still alive? It was believable in the cartoon, but the stunts Speed pulls off in the movie? Seriously, how?
    • Because it's a live-action cartoon. If it's believable in the cartoon, it ought to be believable here.


  • How come Speed Racer was never disqualified for using a car with trick gadgets? Come on...that's got to violate car racing regulations.
    • Considering the people who modified it are the same people who are in charge of disqualifying him. They probably looked away or abused every loophole possible... at once.

    Weight in the trunk 

  • Speed can detect the Mach 5 driving stiffly and pulling to the left a little with the defensive modifications made to it, but neither he nor Trixie sense the weight of Spritle and Chim-Chim hiding in the trunk.
    • Because Chim-Chim and Spritle are almost always hiding in the trunk, thus the car is adjusted with their weight.
    • For all the impossible (and totally awesome) craziness going on that bit actually does make sense, he did not notice the weight because it was a casual drive with his girlfriend. In a race he would be paying much closer attention to the performance of the car to detect any problems before they cause him to crash.
    • Except Spritle and Chim-Chim were in the back of the car during the cross-country race as well, and during the hairpin turns where their weight would likely have been a pretty big deal.
    • Spritle and Chim-Chim didn't get into the trunk until the second half of the race (since they were home for the first half), and only after Pops and Sparky had tuned the Mach 5 to compensate for the pull Speed reported.
    • Most likely Speed assumed that the extra weight was from what ever Pops did to counter the pull.
    • Well, it makes sense that Pops being the MASTER TUNER that he is the trunk is placed in a way that make the balance keep fine whatever is placed in it, on the other hand the defensive modification made to the car are NOT balanced in any way.

    Presence of trunk 

  • WHY does the Mach 5 need a trunk?!
    • To make room for Spritle and Chim-chim of course.
    • A more mundane explanation is that in the movie-verse the Mach 5 is a production model car and not a racer, as it significantly differs in design to the Mach 4 and Mach 6 which are very specific types of racing cars called T-180s.
    • Not to mention that they use it in a rally race. Rally cars are almost always production models, highly modified to deal with the abuse and to squeeze out every last bit of speed and handling, but otherwise of recognizable make and model that can be found on any highway.
    • Back in The Sixties when Speed Racer was made the Mach 5 needed a trunk to be considered a sports car (as opposed to a race car). Under the rules of the Automobile Club de l'Ouest (sanctioning body for the 24 hours of Le Mans) a sports car had to have two seats, a spare tire, and a trunk capable of carrying an officially sized suitcase. Given their prestige most other sanctioning bodies followed suit. Also—and this may be hard to imagine nowadays—in the 50s and 60's sports car racing was largely an amateur sport: most "race" cars were street legal and were actually driven to and from the track. For example James Dean was killed (and his mechanic injured) by an inattentive driver while he was driving his new race car to a race meet in order to break it in. No trunk meant you couldn't carry any parts, tools, or clothing. And yes, history is replete with examples or people arriving at tracks in sports cars loaded like the wagon queen family truckster.