#4. Full-Size Remote-Controlled Cars
Playing with remote-controlled cars is perhaps the worst way to get kids acquainted with the concept of driving, because all you do is rev your vehicle straight through obstacles (turning is for pussies) while that fragile meatbag you call a body is located a safe distance from the action. If actual cars could be controlled the same way, society would crumble within 10 years.
Hey, guess what this one guy invented:
And you thought charging a tiny car's battery for 12 hours was painful.
That's Dr. James Brighton, an engineer from Cranfield University who likes taking full-size vehicles and transforming them into very expensive remote-controlled toys. By tinkering with the steering and other controls, he can command a real Hummer H3 to "traverse a 40 percent side slope, climb a 16-inch wall, and run in two feet of water," all at the flick of a stick, just like the one you used to control your shitty little battery-powered model back in the day.
Of course, kids today are more likely to race each other on their phones than with joysticks -- and that's why Brighton also rigged up a pair of MG F roadsters to be remotely controlled by smartphones in a real-life re-creation of the mobile game Reckless Racing 2.
"I wanted to do Mario Kart but couldn't find big enough bananas."
The creator of the game then demonstrated the "reckless" part by sending the cars two-wheeling over mounds of dirt and plunking barrels aside all willy-nilly. Sadly, though, there was not a single pedestrian representing the G.I. Joe figures that our childhood R/C obstacle courses invariably included.
#3. The Great Paper Airplane Project
In 2012, the Pima Air & Space Museum faced a challenge: How could they get kids interested in a lame old museum, even one containing flying death-bringing machines? The solution was hosting a cute paper airplane contest for kids ... and then making a motherfucking giant version of the winning plane and flying it for real. Meet Arturo's Desert Eagle:
Pima Air and Space Museum
Poor Arturo thought he was getting a 45-foot gun.
Discounting the cameras they loaded in it to get some sweet first perspective shots, the 45-foot-long airplane was made entirely from dead trees, although they had to make the material considerably less flimsy than your discarded math notes or they wouldn't be able to hook this thing to the helicopter. What helicopter? Oh, you know, the one that hauled the paper plane up to an altitude of 2,703 feet over the Arizona desert before turning it loose.
The craft followed the exact same flight plan as every paper airplane you ever made as a kid: a prolonged nosedive. Only, instead of its final destination being your seventh grade math teacher's cleavage, this one "landed" straight into the arid desert floor. It's a familiar scene, but where this experiment in paper-based aerodynamics absolutely humiliated your childhood ones was in scope -- the plane reached a top speed of 98 miles per hour and flew for nearly a mile before finally making impact. Still, the end result was pretty much exactly what you'd expect to happen when the ground gives a vehicle made entirely out of paper a hundred-mile-per-hour kick in the balls:
Pima Air and Space Museum
We've blurred out the obligatory dick doodles.
#2. Colossal Claw Games With Real Prizes
For many of us, the claw game at our local arcade was our very first brush with addiction, even if that off-brand Ninja Turtle we so desired always managed to slip our mechanical fingers at the last second. Now, think about how much more addictive it'd be if, rather than cheap-ass tchotchkes, that claw machine was full of stuff like full-size skateboards, guitars, and scooters. A company called Real Art did more than think about it: They built it.
The human is the most elusive prize, since it keeps moving and crying for help.
They took "2,000 pounds of steel, 900 feet of wire, 1.5 wheelchairs, and 4 cameras," and turned them into a claw machine fit for Gulliver's travels. Then they loaded it up with amazing prizes ... along with stuff like leather chaps, Dokken albums, and "disgusting" cologne, because it just isn't a claw game without some duds. And because they also knew the children of yesterday are the office procrastinators of today, they made the whole shebang controllable over the Internet and mailed prizes directly to the winners' homes.
Losers got a certificate with the percentage of their lives they'd wasted here.
Not content to let a bunch of Internet-savvy whippersnappers hold the record for the world's largest claw game, Chevrolet later went the virtual route when they projected a five-story claw game onto the side of the Roosevelt Hotel in L.A., letting passersby play by manipulating a gargantuan gearshift (which surely provided the inconvenienced drivers with plenty of ammunition to scream out of their car windows). And the grand prize? An actual car.
OK, so it was a Chevy Sonic, but still ...
#1. Model Cars That Cost 10 Times More Than Real Ones
The whole point of collecting model cars as kids was having them as placeholders until the day we hit it big and could afford the real thing. Robert Gulpen from Germany apparently has it all backward: His 1:8 scale models routinely break the $5,000,000 price barrier because, as their description states, "It is not a model car. It is a piece of art."
Robert Gulpen Engineering
"And I do not watch cartoons. I watch anime. Now get out of my room, mom, GOD."
Oh, and also: These things are made out of gold and platinum, so we guess that drives up the prices some too. Gulpen has re-created various luxury cars, including English favorites such as Aston Martin, Rolls Royce, and the iconic Jaguar MK2, and in all cases the tiny version you can put your RoboCop action figure in costs considerably more than the big one you can drive to the hospital in an emergency.
The literal jewel in Gulpen's collection is his Lamborghini Aventador replica, which is studded with 2,000 precious gems, comes with a bulletproof display case, and went for $4.8 million. Because at some point Gulpen decided gold rims weren't enough, and just fucking dipped the entire thing in gold.
Be warned, though, that while a real Lamborghini's top speed is limited only by physics and a massive 600-plus horsepower engine, the maximum for the 15 times more expensive version is dependent on how fast you can swipe it across a surface and say "vroom."
Jason is a freelance editor for this fine website, Cracked.com. Like him on Facebook and he'll split his giant Charleston Chew with you.
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