Coupe Dreams

Actually, even four-door models are fair game as we fantasize about the future of cars

Can't find your way out of a paper bag? Try navigating with something called GPS (Global Positioning System), a military technology that uses satellites and computers to help you find your way anywhere -- perhaps to the nearest map store.

Think you're Tom Cruise in Top Gun? Try another military technology, the heads-up display, which projects an image of dashboard information onto the inside of the windshield near the edge of the hood. Down, boy! No shooting allowed.

Hate to drive in the dark? Cadillac's 2000 DeVille will have Night Vision, an infrared technology that allows drivers to see down the road three to five times farther than with headlights alone. Sorry, still no X-ray vision allowing you to see people naked.

Really lazy? Some manufacturers offer steering-wheel-mounted controls for audio and climate systems, cruise control, cellular telephones and even the transmission. Bound to turn you into a car potato.

Touchy about the temperature? The Rolls-Royce has a climate-control system that can produce one precise temperature at knee level and a totally separate precise temperature at face level. Cold nose, warm crotch?

So you've got to have your music just so? Some audiophile engineers have concocted a sound system that automatically adjusts the sound reproduction qualities depending on, for instance, whether the sunroof is open, or whether you've added an extra passenger or perhaps, even if someone is experiencing serial belching.

Want to stay out of a crash? First, stay away from aggressive and drunken drivers, but also think about availing yourself of technology that, for instance, automatically knows which wheel to brake more firmly during a skid. Watch out for those orange cones!

But you crashed anyway? Air bags, seat belts and even an inflatable curtain over the windows engulf you from all sides, but with a new sense of delicacy, no longer wanting to decapitate 4-foot-10 grannies.

Oh, there's probably a zillion other goodies on the market that most of us haven't even considered. But let's try to dream up some new ones.

Don't Forget the Orgasmatron
We asked around. If you had your own personal genie to put together titillating transportation, what would you wish for?

One of the more predictable responses was the car that drives itself. Tell it where you want to go, and it will get you there. This is known today as a chauffeur, but we appreciate the idea. Another popular response was a variety of voice-activated functions. Definitely on the way, if not already here.

One guy, who's been having trouble getting out of his driveway because of the recent descent of the Ice Age, suggested tires that automatically melt the ice underneath them. I suppose we'd call these hot wheels.

Still on the ice theme, another guy suggested tires that, by voice activation, equip themselves with studs. Mel Gibson in your treads? Oh, the other kind of stud.

Batmobile-like ideas surfaced. The Shah of Iran's car already seems to have covered a lot of that, but one youngster here at the office suggested spikes that come out of a middle axle and tear up other cars. Not a new theme: Check out the chariot-race scene in Ben-Hur.

My wife wants a beverage dispenser, including, perhaps, a nice chardonnay if she's not the driver. On the alcohol theme, I like the idea of a car equipped with its own Breathalyzer that won't let you drive if you're over the limit. I know -- boring.

But I'm not the fun police. I also like the idea of an Orgasmatron, reminiscent of Woody Allen's machine in Sleeper, in which one enters the Orgasmatron and automatically experiences sexual bliss. This could chill out a lot of guys at stoplights and in traffic jams.

Somewhat further down the creature-comfort list are the suggestions for devices that instantly heat or cool your beverage but would do this while you are still well away from your vehicle. Could come in handy when you hear that dreaded, "Step away from your vehicle, sir."

It's a new world of communication as well, and besides the expected built-in Internet-linked computers, satellite TVs, DVDs, nuclear missile-launching systems and whatever other Air-Force-One-sort-of electronic diversions that your normal narcissist can think of, one young woman here at work suggested the inclusion of signs that pop out of your car and tell other people what to do. This would be along the lines of: "Use your blinker, bub," or "Get off my ass, jerk." But, personally, I think the need for the verbal lashings could be eliminated by a pre-emptive use of the Orgasmatron.

May you all some day find the car that gets you off. Dream on.

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