Homer Simpson's Car Design Was Actually Ingenious


(Image: Fox)

The Simpsons episode "Oh, Brother, Where Art Thou?" reunited Homer with his long-lost brother, Herb Powell. Herb, who was voiced by Danny DeVito, was a highly successful car manufacturing executive. He was so overcome with emotion upon meeting his brother that he asked Homer to design a new car.

Homer gladly did so, devising a radical car design that he named "The Homer," after himself. The Homer, priced at $82,000, was "powerful like a gorilla, yet soft and yielding like a Nerf ball." It was also a catastrophe that promptly drove Herb's company into bankruptcy and Herb himself into poverty.

Last year, custom car builders modified a pre-existing car to look like The Homer. It's an impressive machine. But Alexander George of Wired would like for us to look at Homer Simpson's original specifications. George argues that The Homer was actually a work of genius, far ahead of its time when the episode aired in 1991. Actual cars now have many of the features that Homer put into his prototype:

A ball on the antenna (remember those?) so you can find it in a parking lot
Antennas have been replaced with 4G LTE connectivity, so Homer’s simple solution doesn’t work anymore. But there are lots of apps and even hardware to help drivers find their parked cars, so the industry has got this one covered.

Multiples horns, all of which play “La Cucaracha”
Automakers have stuck with standard noises (good choice), but today’s steering wheels do have multiple spots to hit for the horn. As Homer says, “You can never find a horn when you’re mad.”

A separate soundproof bubble dome for kids, with optional restraints and muzzles
The auto industry has gotten more and more careful about putting kids as old as 12 in child and booster seats, but the focus there is safety, not keeping them quiet.

-via Glenn Reynolds


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