Speed Racer is an 18 year old boy who has a burning passion for one thing, racing. He has grown up around his family business of designing race cars and has made a name for himself in the racing community. Speed wears tight white pants and brown loafers with slicked-back black hair, a look which is (in an effort to make the cartoon series more relevant to Americans) based off of Rock and Roll legend Elvis Presley. Pictured below is a promotional poster which depicts Speed driving his race car, which was constructed by his father.
Speed’s father, creatively named Pops, is an ex-heavyweight wrestler who took an interest in designing race cars, and started a car business called Racer Motors. Pops has three sons, Rex Racer, his eldest son, who ran away, Speed Racer, and his youngest son Spritle whose rebellious attitude and pet chimpanzee seem always to land themselves into trouble. The mother is rarely in the series, but Speed’s girlfriend Trixie, is.
Pops was responsible for the building of Speed’s race car, the Mach 5. This marvel of an automobile was the primary tool that the protagonist used throughout the cartoon and live-action movie. It is sleek and sharp, much like all of the race cars in the cartoon, and is equipped with seven buttons in the interior that each serve their own function. Each button is labeled A to G.
Despite all the features that Speed Racer’s automobile had, it was not as technologically advanced as some other vehicles in the cartoon. There was even an episode in which they featured a car named the GRX, which was dubbed ‘the fastest car ever built.’ The glory in the Mach 5 was not just the car, but how the car and driver worked together in harmony to make a successful duo no one could beat in a race. Pictured below is the Mach 5, inside the cockpit is Speed driving accompanied by his girlfriend, Trixie, in the passenger seat.
Throughout Speed’s adventures, he encounters plenty of other drivers who are out to get him. A character named Snake Oiler and his gang of dangerous drivers named the Car Acrobatic Team try to defeat Speed as recklessly as they can. The team’s careless driving results in many incidents between themselves, while Speed’s extraordinary talent ensures he is relatively unscathed. Forty years later, in a motion picture, Speed deals with another hostile individual. This time, in the shape of a big bad business magnate named Mr. Royalton.
He offers the prodigy a seat in his prestigious racing team, but when rejected, vows to bring down Speed and his entire family. As Speed is faced with peril and opposition, his girlfriend’s unwavering loyalty is constantly shown as she protects him from villains, setting a trend of female empowerment back in the 1960s.