Nintendo and West Coast Customs bring Mario Karts to life

Normally, Mario's Kart is just a bit of virtual video game magic, confined to a world where turtle shells fly and banana peels litter racetracks. But Nintendo has joined forces with auto shop West Coast Customs to produce two real life Mario Karts, currently on display at the Los Angeles Auto Show. Both Mario's main ride, above, and Luigi's Bumble V kart were made, and both are equipped with front-wheel drive, 18-inch wheels in the back, and a propeller add-on for traveling through water.

Unfortunately, that propeller doesn't really work underwater (so says the press release), but the karts really do move. Their construction will be spotlighted in an upcoming episode of West Coast Customs' reality TV show. You can see more shots of the karts over on the company's site (including one of Reggie Fils-Aime himself driving).
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Nintendo Drives Home Fun at the LA Auto Show with Life-Size Mario Karts

West Coast Customs Builds Karts Based on Classic Video Game Franchise

LOS ANGELES--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Ever wanted to see a real-life kart from Nintendo's hit Mario Kart™ series outside of the Mushroom Kingdom? Nintendo has teamed up with West Coast Customs to create life-size models of two karts – one for Mario™ and one for Luigi™ – from the upcoming Mario Kart 7 video game for the portable Nintendo 3DS™ system. These unique electric vehicles were unveiled today at the LA Auto Show, where they will be on display Nov. 18-27 in the lobby of the West Hall of the Los Angeles Convention Center. Visitors attending the show will be able to take photos of the karts, sample the Mario Kart 7 game before its Dec. 4 launch and participate in multiplayer game play.

Additionally, members of the GameStop® PowerUp Rewards™ program will have the opportunity to claim the Mario Kart as his or her own as part of the monthly Epic Reward Giveaway™ program. To be eligible for an Epic Reward Giveaway entry, members must make a purchase or trade at their local GameStop or on during the month of December. PowerUp Rewards Pro™ Members automatically get two entries with purchase. The lucky winner will be announced in February; for more information, visit

West Coast Customs is known for TV shows such as the classic Pimp My Ride on MTV and the current show Inside West Coast Customs on the Velocity Network. The company has re-created two vehicles from Mario Kart 7: the classic Mario Standard kart, complete with glider attachment for soaring through the air, and the Luigi Bumble V kart, which resembles a bumblebee and features a rear propeller for underwater navigation.*

"Mario karts offer more fun per mile than any other vehicle," said Nintendo of America President Reggie Fils-Aime. "Mario Kart 7 is a perfect example of the many great games Nintendo has lined up for the holidays."

"We've played Mario Kart games for years, so it's a dream come true to bring these karts to life," said West Coast Customs CEO Ryan Friedlinghaus. "We think people will be blown away by seeing these cool video game vehicles in person."

In early 2012, an episode of Inside West Coast Customs will show how West Coast Customs and Nintendo worked together to make these video game vehicles a reality.

For more information about Mario Kart 7, visit For more information about West Coast Customs, visit

Remember that Nintendo 3DS features parental controls that let adults manage the content their children can access. For more information about this and other features, visit

*Note that while the gliders and propellers on the in-game go-karts let players soar through the air or drive underwater, these real-life karts do not. Trust us on this one.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.