The Good Oil: 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 the Japanese 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 one of the great Batman movies, but Belker's retro-futuristic Batmobile was pretty cool.
Anyway, the Lexus Off-System Sport Car - better known as the Lexus 2054 – changes colour with the driver’s mood, is 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.
Some of it doesn’t sound so far fetched now: automatic parking and self-return, biometric detection for unlocking and starting, “digital entertainment system with internet connection” (wow!) and laser-assisted driving with an infrared system to detect obstacles and avoid accidents (like a Toyota Corolla’s Autonomous Emergency Braking we’re guessing).
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 actually popped up again in the 2005 Michael Bay movie The Island, albeit in blue. In a different mood perhaps?
And then in 2016 customer builder Mike Vetter actually did make a replica. Possibly at home. 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.