Engineering Cartoon Cars: Real-Life Automotive Ingenuity [VIDEO]

It’s Saturday morning. You’re a kid sitting on the sofa in your PJs with a bowl of your favorite cereal, ready for a few hours of Saturday morning cartoons. As you flip on the TV, maybe you saw Fred Flintstone zipping around in his foot-powered sedan, or Optimus Prime transforming from a semi-truck into a war machine.

Did you ever think: What if you could drive those cartoon cars in real life?

Cartoons have always been a source of inspiration and imagination, pushing the boundaries of what seems possible, and there are engineers who want to blur the line between fantasy and the real world.

We’re exploring engineers who are intertwining fantasy and reality on the road by bringing cartoon cars to life. Do all of them hit the mark? Let’s find out:

1. Flintmobile, “The Flintstones” (1960)

It’s not as fancy as some of the other cartoon cars on our list, but it certainly looks fun! Although if I could go back in time and drive it, I’d bring nice foot protection. I’d also tell Fred not to do those Winston Cigarettes commercials (seriously, look it up).


This was definitely a solid effort to make a car that moves by foot power. However, it doesn’t look like the Flintstones’ car. I would have chosen a golf cart. It would have looked more like the Flintmobile and would have been easier to build and drive. I give it a 5/10.

2. Flying Car, “The Jetsons” (1962)

Did you know: George Jetson was born in approximately 2022. That means we’re less than 40 years away from the time “The Jetsons” takes place! I wonder how similar our lives will be to the show…


This is probably the only cartoon “car” on our list that you can actually buy…or at least pre-order. Just make sure you have plenty of open land to “drive” around on. Also, plenty of money.

Me personally, if I won the lottery and had the money, I would wait to take a joyride in this thing until they test it out more with the public. I also hope future versions are quieter. 8/10.

3. Mach 5, “Speed Racer” (1967)

Here he comes, here comes Speed Racer, he’s a demon on wheels! With its honing drone, rotary saws, all (and we mean ALL) terrain tires, and even submarine mode, this cartoon car would certainly come in handy.


All of the speed and sleekness of the original, minus the gadgets that made it cool. This gets all the points for looks and speed, and none for tech. 6/10.

4. The Mystery Machine, “Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!” (1969)

Fun fact: Although there have been over a dozen interpretations of Scooby-Doo over the past 50+ years, one man has been a mainstay in almost all of them: Frank Welker has voiced Fred for over 50 years and Scooby-Doo for 20. He also voices Garfield the cat, Curious George, and Megatron.


Tons of people have painted their cars to look like the Mystery Machine, but how many of them have also decked out the inside? I give this a 9/10, only taking off a point because it doesn’t come with Scooby Snacks or unreasonably long sandwiches.

5. Transformer, “The Transformers” (1984)

Just like regular cars, each Transformer has its own unique personality and abilities, both while they’re in their “car form” and while they’re in their “battle mode.” Which one was your favorite?

Fun engineering fact: Hasbro uses 3D CAD software to design Transformers toys!


I would only buy this car if I could use it to intimidate tailgaters. Also, I would want random explosions to go off around me while I’m driving, all coordinated by Michael Bay. 9/10 because it doesn’t talk or fire weapons.

6. The Homer, “The Simpsons” (1991)

Tailfins, shag carpeting, two bubble domes, multiple horns, and a big cupholder (Homer was actually on to something with that one). Who wouldn’t want to pay $82,000 for this? Also, recognize his brother’s voice? It’s Danny DeVito!


This car is probably my favorite one on our list. They nailed the look and made it a working racecar complete with Homer sound effects! 10/10.

7. Pizza Delivery Boulder, “SpongeBob SquarePants” (1999)

It’s not just a boulder! It’s a rock! Ask any millennial, and they can probably recite the “Krusty Krab Pizza” song by heart.


My only problem with this is that I don’t think people will immediately be able to tell what it is. They should have worn hats more similar to the ones in the show and maybe played some music from the episode while they drove. 8/10.

8. The Patty Wagon, “The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie” (2004)

“You don’t need a license to drive a sandwich.”

Sesame seed finish, steel-belted pickels, grilled leather interior, and a fuel-injected french fryer with dual overhead grease traps. It’s a heartattack on wheels, and it’s amazing.


Correction: You’ll probably need a license to drive this sandwich, especially when you’re sharing the road with semi-trucks…Either way, a nearly flawless execution. It’s just missing the sesame seed finish. 9.5/10.

9. Lightning McQueen, “Cars” (2006)

Ka-Chow! A movie that’s a great tribute to cars in American culture. Sidenote: Does Lightning McQueen have car insurance, or life insurance?


Doesn’t talk, blink, or even compete in real races?! Even Disney World has that (albeit, that one doesn’t race). 4/10.

10. The Candy Kart, “Wreck-It Ralph” (2012)

This cartoon car is unique not just because it has cookie wheels and gumdrop headlights, but also because it was made from scraps. Vanellope von Schweetz is an underdog and uses her moxy to outbuild and outrace the more-respected racers. She’s the Bobby Allison of candy racing!


It looks exactly like the movie version AND it can drift?! 10/10.


These cars may just seem like goofy contraptions, but they showcase the potential of transforming imagination into tangible creations. They bring joy to fans, but also set a precedent of pushing the boundaries of engineering. Who knows what these novelties will lead to on the real road?


Portions of this blog were written with the assistance of ChatGPT.

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Kelly Obbie

Social Media Coordinator at CADENAS PARTsolutions | A 2018 graduate of The Media School at Indiana University, Kelly studied journalism, public relations, English and Spanish and has experience in news writing and editing as well as social media writing and management. She also has professional and personal experience in videography and photography. She currently lives in Ohio but has lived in four states, and in her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, learning languages, and watching Disney movies.