A few weeks ago, we stumbled onto one of the cooler modifications we’ve seen in a while. The happy crew of wide-eyed dreamers over at 8bitmiata.com put a quarter slot from an old arcade machine—possibly Galaga? Space Invaders? Michael Jackson’s Moonwalker?—so that by feeding the car a quarter, the engine starts. It still requires the key turn, but they’re working on eliminating that.
This got us thinking about how many awesome ways could exist to start your car. Automakers have only just now changed things up by introducing push-button start/stop after decades of iron-fisted turn-key rule. We want to inspire them with new ways to make turning over engines an awesome part of starting the car, so we’ve prepared a list for their—and your—consideration:
1. Slot machine lever
Few motions are as familiar to us as the lever that starts casino machines rolling. Even those of us who don’t gamble have seen the machines on TV or in movies, and this way every pull is sure to win! Feel the elation of cranking a giant machine to life with the yank of a sturdy lever, and if the starter dies, maybe the sad music from The Price is Right will play.
2. Pinball lever
Whereas most people today only know the game physics of Angry Birds or Flappy Birds, the deft half-foot motion of launching the pinball used to be as familiar to every American as 55 mph speed limits and Andy Rooney segments at the end of 60 Minutes.
3. Mini keyboard, a la Willy Wonka
The musical lock that Willy Wonka uses to guard his room of pure imagination is a clever little keyboard. Though Mike Teavee’s mom smugly declares it “Rachmaninoff,” it’s actually Mozart. Yours could be whatever you like.
4. Thumbprint/Retina Scan
This one wouldn’t take too much of a stretch of imagination. Thumbprint scanners have already been implemented into Apple’s iPhone 5S, and retina scan has been a staple of spy films since Mission: Impossible. While not the most fun, it would certainly be secure.
Many automakers now have keyless starts so long as you have the fob with you. Why not put the fob on a dog collar and throw in a puppy with every sale? It gives you more of a bond with the vehicle, and also makes it impossible to leave your pup behind. Come to think of it, if you have a child you feel particularly attached to, you could put the collar on him or her.
Lots of people have memories of cars that only started if you got frustrated enough, stomped outside to the hood and gave the car a good kick in the grille. Or maybe pounding on the steering wheel in desperation was the only sure way to make it to work on time. Our sentimental favorite would require only a light bang on the dashboard, and you’re off! No fobs or keys required, and thieves would be utterly baffled.
Welcome to the future. Forget this nonsense about keys, fobs, thumbs or even eyes. Just let an authorized dealer slip a tiny microchip under your skin and you and your car will be one. Forever. Or at least until you sell and have the chip deactivated. This is as hands-free as you can imagine, the ultimate in convenience, and dummy proof.
8. Ask it nicely
In an age of Tweets, anonymous Internet comments and text messages utterly devoid of grammar, the polite package would have a copy of Emily Post in the glovebox—along with a pair of driving gloves, probably—and would require you to say something like, “Good morning, Car. Would you please turn on for me today?” Just like that, you receive a daily dose of humanity which you’ll need when road rage rears its ugly head later on.
9. Toggle switch
These early-America controls have been banned by the federal government, which is really a shame since spaceships, boats, hovercrafts and futuristic vessels of all kinds used to require at least five toggle switches flipped to ON, each of which had a cool light above it to signify power flowing. Whatever the problem was with them, couldn’t it be solved by now?
10. Cut the blue wire
This one is the gift that keeps on giving. To start, you twist two wire ends together. To turn it off, you use a pair of special wire cutters to snip the blue—not the red—wire. Each and every time you’ll feel like an authentic 80s action star. You’ll probably have to replace wires every so often, but it sure beats some namby-pamby “fob.”
So there you have it; are there any we missed? Tell us what your cool idea is.