2010 Michelin Challenge Bibendum: Kids Predict the Future of the Car

June 1, 2010

Art Linkletter isn't around anymore--and apparently he had the power to take a bunch of the 1980s' best sitcom talent with him--but his legacy still lives to give kids a chance to out-think adults on a regular basis.

So, what happens when you ask kids about the future of cars?

For this year's Challenge Bibendum, the organizers at Michelin asked the children of employees and those at three Brazilian schools to put down on paper their concept of the car of the future. The results, from these budding 8-to-10-year-old Bob Lutzes? Pretty charming and illustrative and brilliant. I mean, why didn't we think of a flying car that runs on highlighter pens?

While a Challenge panel chose 60 drawings to display at the 2010 Bibendum in Rio, and named three winners, we had almost a dozen favorites. They start above with a cool take on Airstream functionality that apparently runs on wind socks and requires at least three wheels to land. And have you ever seen an homage to the VW Microbus that also featured side-sliding doors like those on the USS Enterprise? This is obviously awesome.

2010 Michelin Challenge Bibendum Children's Drawing Contest

2010 Michelin Challenge Bibendum Children's Drawing Contest

2010 Michelin Challenge Bibendum Children's Drawing Contest

2010 Michelin Challenge Bibendum Children's Drawing Contest

Next up: a pair of flying cars. Just by putting pen to paper, these kids have already scored a patent coup or two on the Moller skycar. We are totally convinced these vehicles would be clean and green when they enter production, but we do have a safety concern or two. Flight paths on a 45-degree angle to the Earth never end well. Also, that's probably a red light in the drawing on the top; he'll never be able to brake in time.

2010 Michelin Challenge Bibendum Children's Drawing Contest

2010 Michelin Challenge Bibendum Children's Drawing Contest

2010 Michelin Challenge Bibendum Children's Drawing Contest

2010 Michelin Challenge Bibendum Children's Drawing Contest

2010 Michelin Challenge Bibendum Children's Drawing Contest

2010 Michelin Challenge Bibendum Children's Drawing Contest

Up top here is a tasty confection of futurism. It's solar. It's pink and grey, like Good 'N Plenty candy. And you can see three views all at once, all the time. This is almost too awesome for a mere .jpg to contain. In the middle, there's a three-row, nine-passenger, cabriolet version of a VW Thing made slightly more masculine than the original with alternative power and really pretty daisies for wheels. And flowers painted down the flanks? Words cannot convey. Lastly, it's no wonder this vaguely Renault Twingo-looking city bus is smiling: it's the only entry that fully realizes a green-energy future for fart-able highlighter ink.

2010 Michelin Challenge Bibendum Children's Drawing Contest

2010 Michelin Challenge Bibendum Children's Drawing Contest

2010 Michelin Challenge Bibendum Children's Drawing Contest

2010 Michelin Challenge Bibendum Children's Drawing Contest

Star power is the name of the game for these two entries. In the first awesome entry, the artist sees the future--and it means square, airborne vehicles that can double as a cruelty-free trap for Ben Stiller, if Ben Stiller's body was made of old broken Gorillapods. Which we think it is. In number two, which is slightly more awesome, everything happens in space and one rocket is injecting all sorts of clean energy into a barren planet so it will grow up to be lush and blue-green, like the earth on the left. It's a very peculiar galaxy, we think, possibly one lorded over by a despot somewhere between Arnold Schwarzenegger and Ayn Rand on the steroids-to-self-sufficiency spectrum.

2010 Michelin Challenge Bibendum Children's Drawing Contest

2010 Michelin Challenge Bibendum Children's Drawing Contest

2010 Michelin Challenge Bibendum Children's Drawing Contest

2010 Michelin Challenge Bibendum Children's Drawing Contest

2010 Michelin Challenge Bibendum Children's Drawing Contest

2010 Michelin Challenge Bibendum Children's Drawing Contest

Our last trio of totally awesome winners brings it from every motorized corner of the transpo-sphere. There's a big magnetic-levitating supertrain up top--maybe it runs on electric energy, but we prefer to believe it runs on love. In the middle there's a keen military theme, with even the helicopter blazing a path behind a car, blazing the same path in the air with no discernible means of producing lift. Last up: A rollercoaster that arcs over a futuristic Brasilia of Pez-styled apartment buildings, while Hilary Clinton parachutes in to try and save...um...whatever she's trying to save this week.

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More Coverage: 2010 Michelin Challenge Bibendum: The Greener Side of Rio

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