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Kapiti News - 2021-10-13

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WHEN SPIELBERG MET LEXUS

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What happens when one of the world’s biggest movie directors asks one of the world’s biggest car companies to design a car to be driven by one of the world’s biggest film stars? Something pretty weird, actually. Lexus owner Steven Spielberg decided his 2002 film Minority Report should give people a glimpse of what sports cars would be like in 50 years. So he got Toyota’s luxury brand involved in making a bespoke car for Cruise’s character to use as a getaway vehicle, in collaboration with Harald Belker — the man behind the Batmobile in Batman and Robin. Not a great Batman movie, but the Batmobile itself was pretty retro-futuristic cool. Anyway, the Lexus Off-System Sport Car — better known as the Lexus 2054 — changes colour with the driver’s mood, is supposedly made of self-cleaning, self-repairing memory metal/ composite and driven by a hydrogen powered fuel cell, although it also has solar panels on the roof to charge a battery. It also has automatic parking and self-return, biometric detection for unlocking and starting, “digital entertainment system with internet connection” (wow!) and laser-assisted driver aids with an infrared system to detect obstacles and avoid accidents (a bit like a Toyota Corolla’s Autonomous Emergency Braking, we’re guessing). Looks like we got there 30 years early with a lot of that tech. They were cool ideas around the turn of the century though, even if the Lexus 2054 looks a little home-made by modern standards. It kind of was, because the three cars built for the movie were actually powered by a wheezy Chevrolet V6 petrol engine and manual transmission. The car popped up again in the 2005 Michael Bay movie The Island, albeit in blue. In a different mood perhaps? And then in 2016 American custom-car builder Mike Vetter actually did make a replica that you could drive on the road (at home perhaps?). The Vetter Custom Dimensia looked . . . kind of like the Lexus 2054 and was powered by a Porsche flat-six engine of indeterminate origin. It failed to sell on eBay for US$95,000. Scan the QR code on this page with your smartphone to see the Minority Report chase through the Lexus factory — and the Vetter Custom Dimensia, so you can decide how close it really gets to the car Cruise cruises around in.

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