Nintendo partners with West Coast Customs to build full-size Mario Karts

By: Michael Harley

Nintendo has taught millions of underage kids to drive, thanks to its immensely popular handheld Mario Kart video game. The driving routes are all virtual – thankfully – as they include not only unexpected sheer cliffs, but also driving under the water while evading baddies.

To bring part of Mario’s make-believe world to life, Nintendo has partnered with West Coast Customs to create life-size models of Mario’s Standard Kart and Luigi’s Bumble V Kart. While the characters are forced to enjoy their rides in the hazardous Mushroom Kingdom, we checked them out in the (relative) safety of the Los Angeles Convention Center during today’s LA Auto Show. Naturally, the West Coast Customs tie-in means that the karts’ construction will be chronicled in an upcoming episode of the shop’s reality television show.

The detail on the full-size working models is… well… interesting. Mario’s kart appears to be front-wheel drive, with 18-inch wheels on the rear. Noted for its Super Glider option for cliff jumping, the attachment is mounted prominently overhead. Luigi’s kart, decked-out with 16-inch wheels and disc brakes, is also front-wheel drive. It is available with a propeller to provide movement under water, but the accessory wasn’t attached when we visited.

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