You mess with Harpo Marx, you get the horns.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Electronic Nose Hair Trimmer? I thought that was the turn signal!

Photo by Xavigiva
Everyone loves to have a few nice features in their car. However, some people have clearly gone well past fifth gear on their journey to luxurydom.
For example, the 2011 BMW 750i has something called "The Gentleman Function." I know what you're thinking:

"It's a long journey, but I don't have to stop to go to the restroom. I've got the 'Gentleman Function!'" (cue rock-n-roll music, fade in toilet flush)

Actually though, it's just a device that allows you to adjust the front passenger seat from the drivers side. It only sounds like an in-vehicle, port-a-potty for guys.

My favorite of the features listed was the $1.7 million 2011 Bugatti Veyron's "Top Speed Key." Turning this little key allows the Veyron to adjust so that it can reach its top speed of 253 mph.

Yes, 253 miles per hour. Don't believe it? Ask James May of BBC's Top Gear. He actually did it on a Volkswagen test track. I'm not even a fan of Top Gear or an auto gearhead, and I was weeping into my tortilla chips and salsa verde at the end of the amazing clip. The Veyron is faster than Formula One cars. He could have blown past Japanese bullet trains like Superman after 50 cups of espresso.

(Incidentally, I believe this will spawn a new game, similar to the "VW Punch Dub" game. Only in this version, whenever someone sees a Bugatti Veyron, they will knock you through a wall with a sledgehammer.)

The way I see it though, even with all the exotic features out there, the auto companies are still coming up short. It takes real imagination to come up with the truly useful and/or bizarre* functions that will entice people into a really upscale model vehicle.

Fortunately, that's why we're here. So, take note auto manufacturers, and be sure to contact us about the royalties for these, once they revitalize the moribund luxury auto industry.

  • The Caboose Massusse - No doubt you've all seen the seat covers that cab drivers use to comfort their back, and many of you have spent time in an electronic massage chair. Why can't we combine those ideas into one auto feature that everyone will need: An electronic keister massager!

    If your butt is anything like mine (and it probably isn't, because hey, I work out), after a trip of several hundred miles it feels like someone has stapled warm slabs of pine to the back of your pelvic girdle. It makes travel a massive gluteal chore (and by "massive," I mean time, not the size of my posterior).  Why can't we make that journey a refreshing, invigorating asset (no pun intended) instead?

    There would be a variety of models, with various settings that would mold your overstressed buns into various states of relaxation, from "mildly taut" to "bags of warm jello."
  • Dashboard Secretary - You stick-in-the-mud, hung up, straight-laced, inflexible, cash-obsessed, workaholic (all right, I'll stop now) business types are always trying to get extra work done during your morning commutes. And who can blame you?!

    Unfortunately, the preferred methods these days are either weird looking (the earpiece phone - don't get me started) or dangerous (word processing on a laptop on the Autobahn, while steering with your feet). Wouldn't it be easier to have someone do that for you, while you take care of the important business of driving?

    The Dashboard Secretary would be a built-in computer that could recognize your voice, take dictation, manage phone calls - including rerouting threatening phone calls from recession-obsessed creditors who are wondering how you could afford a car with this kind of functionality. It would also make and serve coffee, donuts, frappuccino, omelets, Raisin Bran, toast with Marmite, and other sundry breakfast items. Finally, on long trips, it would be programmed to talk to you in a soothing voice and explain why you really are a dynamic and attractive person and not the simpering wimp your CEO claims you are during board meetings.
  • Avatar Windshield - No, this wouldn't be a cobalt blue windshield made out of "unobtanium," whatever the heck that crap is. Instead, it would be a windshield that digitally replaces you in the car with the celebrity of your choice.

    Imagine the look on your neighbors faces when Angelina Jolie or Orlando Bloom pull up into your driveway. Befuddle the kiddies in school buses, as they stare in wonder at SpongeBob Squarepants driving the sedan behind them. Does your commute take you through dangerous neighborhoods? Opt for the Clint Eastwood "Dirty Harry" setting, complete with digital 44 Magnum, ostentatiously holstered inside an open jacket.

    Lonely singles can use the "companion" feature, which puts the celebrity in the seat next to you, making affectionate gestures and in various states of undress.
  • Theater Seating - Let's put on a show! Even the most proletarian of vehicles comes with a built-in video player and monitor. This little feature would take that up a notch or three by placing a fully functional stage just in front of the rear passenger seating. Depending on the size of your vehicle, you could host everything from an off-Broadway one-man act (Prius) to Cats (Humvee).

    The stage would come with lights, curtains, wings, a small dressing room, and for special performances, an orchestra pit under the seats. A small bar would be available for between act drinks (drivers, please abstain).
  • The Bond Package - No, no, no, I'm NOT referring to Sean Connery's anatomy. This package would contain the various weapons, features, and devices featured on every Bond vehicle from Dr. No to Quantum of Solace (including the Jimmy Bond devices from the original Casino Royale)!

    What better way to slice through morning traffic than to playfully lob a few heat seeking missles into the gridlock in front of you. And don't fret about any nasty legal repercussions. This package also comes with a licence to kill.**
*Yes, yes, bizarre is the preferred route on this blog. Hush now, we're getting to the meaty stuff.
** May only be valid in United Kingdom, or couldn't you tell that from the spelling?

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