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The Ultimate Chicago Car: A Serious Design Proposal

Chicago drivers need a very special car. They need this car. You listening, Detroit?

This is how you should really get around.   Illustration: John Kenzie

We ran a story, around the time of the Chicago Auto Show, describing a few cars that could be the best vehicles on the market for a Chicago driver. All fine rides, sure. But there was always something missing.

So we started thinking—if you were truly building the Ultimate Chicago Car, what would you need? After a few hours at the sketchpad, this was the result. Two caveats: First, this car is not for sale (yet). And second, though the results may appear otherwise, we are not professional industrial designers.

In clockwise order, starting with the laser-studded headlights, here are the car’s 10 finest features: 

  • Laser Parking Guides: These bumper-mounted beams give you the courage to get close enough to parallel park properly, without leaving a half-car-length between you and the next car.
  • Custom Megaphone: A programmable horn-based P/A that records up to 10 customized obscenities for drivers and pedestrians in your goddam way.
  • Dashboard Mustard Dispenser: The LX edition features a wood-paneled sport pepper reservoir.
  • Moonroof Flag Mount: A robust steel flag mount that rises through the top to unfurl full-size Bears/Cubs/Hawks/City of Chicago flags.
  • Red Light Cam Smoke Screen: Obscures your license plate to thwart a red light camera as you blow through an intersection.
  • Auto-Dibs: Built-in cones, buckets, and lawn chairs that deploy to call dibs when leaving a parking space. Operates year-round.
  • Eisenhower Mode: Sets the car to weave in and out of traffic at 80 mph; activated by passing on the right in an on-ramp.
  • Kennedy Mode: Sets the car to continually ride the brake at under 5 mph; activated by texting your boss or spouse to say you’ll be late (again).
  • Pedestrian Detection System: Automatically accelerates when someone crosses the street in the distance. A really nice feature on Ashland and Western.
  • Pothole Protection Plan: During the month of March, the car won’t start.


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