Mark Towle

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Numerous studies have shown that the first ten years or so of life can fundamentally shape the person we grow up to be. These formative years are where we build habits, learn how to socialize and integrate. For Mark Towle, there was one outsized influence on his early childhood that would later shape him into the car customizer he is today.

We are talking about perhaps the greatest car-centric cartoon of all time, Speed Racer. Speed Racer was the end all, be all of animated television shows during his formative years (especially considering the limited number of TV programs back then). As Mark grew up, working his way through the custom car world, he moved towards a dream he held onto from his childhood; getting a chance to build a real life version of Speeds race car, the Mach 5.

This is the car I wanted to build as a child Mark Towle

And true to his word, he now has a business that centers on creating replicas of Speed Racers car. See, back in the 1990s, Mark got the exclusive rights to build Mach 5 replicas for car collectors and die-hard Speed Racer fans. It is now a big part of his business, and he currently has two cars in his shop under construction. But for his donor vehicle, Mark naturally uses one of the best American sports cars ever built, the Chevrolet Corvette.

Every Mach 5 replica I build uses a Corvette C4 chassis, Mark explains. But he isnt rushing out to buy every hard-hit C4 possible, to reduce costs. I try to find the nicest cars I can, the kind that have been well taken care of for a long time, says Mark.  I dont tell the sellers what I plan on doing to their cars after I buy them anymore. I did that once, and the guy wouldnt sell me his Corvette.  So now I just dont tell them what I have in mind.

Mark strips these pristine Corvettes down to the bare chassis, leaving nothing but the doors and drivetrain intact. Some guys want something special, like a Corvette GS or ZR-1, but a lot of them are fine with the stock LT1. From there, Mark uses special molds to custom build each and every body panel out of fiberglass, slowly but surely filling out the iconic shape of Speed Racers Mach 5. Its all hand done, and the difference between Marks body panels and the stock C4 Corvette shaves a claimed 1,000 pounds off of the car. That really helps the 20+ year old V8 engines motivate these Mach 5 machines.

Its the perfect business for an avowed Speed Racer fanatic. Ive seen all 53 episodes, Mark explains. Including one that was never aired; it was supposed to be the first episode of the next season, but the show got canceled. Mark was also close friends with Peter Fernandez, the director who AmericanizedMach GoGoGo, the original Japanese-language anime. This included speeding up the mouth movements in order to sort-of make the English dialogue work over the mouthing of Japanese words and phrases. Fernandez also made a cameo in the 2006 Speed Racer movie as one of the announcers.

This is relevant because Mark isnt just building an authentic-looking Mach 5 body and dropping it on a Corvette chassis. Oh no. Even the base model Mach 5, which starts at $72,500, comes with a number of show-inspired features that include a remote control pigeon that actually flies, buzzsaw arms, and a periscope that also acts as a rear-view camera.

Mark has also figured out how to get exactly the same exhaust note as the original Mach 5 from the Corvettes V8.

Of course, anyone who has seen the show knows that Speed Racer and the Mach 5 have far more tools at their disposal than that. And for the right price, Mark will build you whatever you want. I have one car in the shop right now, and the owner wants it to be the ultimate Mach 5, says Mark. This entails the famous bubble top, the jacker arms that lifted the Mach 5 above the competition in the show, retractable wings (!!), and a few other awesome features inspired by the Japanese cartoon.

Every car is a little bit different, Mark explains. Some guys want a radio, some dont. Some want white face gauges, others want black. Some people are more interested in performance, others just want a cool cruiser. Regardless, they are all Speed Racer fans, and that is what is important here.

For Mark though, this is a labor of love. He does all of the work himself, and we mean all of the work. From molding to fitting to tuning the exhaust, the only thing Mark doesnt do is paint the car, a task he leaves to Murrieta Auto Collision. And even then, he only trusts himself to lay the lines for the Mach 5 graphics. If youre not a fan of the show, it is almost impossible to get the M right, Mark says.

Doing all the work himself also ensures a flawless fit, and use of only the highest quality materials. You wont find any cheap plastic here, Mark explains. Rather, it is all leather, loop carpet, and machined aluminum on the inside. The wheels are Centerline 20-inch models, and as we mentioned before, taking an estimated half-ton off the curb weight gives even a stock LT1 Mach 5 a power to weight ratio that the donor C4 could only dream of.

The little details really bring this cartoon car alive.

That means drastically improved performance, making it a great all-around fair-weather cruiser. Furthermore, these Mach 5 replicas arent exactly commonplace. Outside of my shop, I have never seen two of them together. But some guys drive these cars every day, Mark says. If you absolutely have to have one, drop Mark a line .

And, if you do buy one, we hope youre the sort that drives it every day. That way our chances of getting to actually see one of our favorite cartoon cars come to life is much, much better.

Christopher DeMorro is a freelance writer and journalist from Connecticut with two passions in life; writing and anything with an engine.

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Interactive 3D Car Tuner – Experiment and let your imagination run wild to create your dream ride. From stanced street sweepers to offroad beasts, the options are endless. Consider it Insurance for your build – Work out what you want before spending big.

Ever wondered what your car would look like with new wheels, or maybe just a little lower, or perhaps a complete make over from paint, to bodykit. 3D Tuning software helps you visualise these changes before committing your hard earned dollars. Born from a desire to simply want to try out different combinations, from a minor tweak to experimenting with wide body options. With the option to save high resolution Images of your creation in a number of different styles, from a simple replication of you build to preset portrait renders or blueprint style layout, always looking at new features to implement your feedback has helped craft the tool to the point it is today.

Constantly evolving and adding new features and parts to our 3D Tuning software our aim is to offer the ability to be truly creative.

Current options include Full bodykits, custom wheel and suspension controls, engine designer, paint pallete, custom backgrounds, whitewall tyres or tyre lettering and the list goes on.

To keep upto date with developments and content, be sure to checkout the Facebook Page or Forums.

Our Virtual 3D Tuning engine has been specifically designed for maximum amount of custom options, whilst maintaining the ability to quickly trial parts without indepth knowledge required.

Compare loads of options, and even craft your own custom designs by mixing and matching parts. All in a realtime 3d engine. Present your custom build on an imported background and position exactly how you want.

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MK2 Scirocco (1982 – 1992) wheels 14 Steelies

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MK4 New Beetle (1998 – Present) wheels 19 Murcielago Five Spokes

MK4 New Beetle (1998 – Present) wheels 18 GT3 RS Orange

MK4 New Beetle (1998 – Present) wheels 18 GT3 RS Black

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MK4 New Beetle (1998 – Present) wheels 20 Bentley Brooklander

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MK4 New Beetle (1998 – Present) wheels 17 Long Beach

MK4 New Beetle (1998 – Present) wheels 19 A8

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I know it has been forever since Ive updated this site. It still seems to be popular though, surprise. Ive been playing around with the idea of AutoModder for Smartphones. I made a small demo. If enough people like it, I will develop it further! Download it and let me know via the store and ratings. Otherwise, just use as normal below.

Welcome to , theFREEautomobile customizer.

Join our community and contribute to m.

Hey guys! Its been about a month since I updated the main page so I figured Id do so! Thanks to our great photoshoppers for contributing to the site so far.

First, I want to thank everyone from the MK2 community on helping with getting the MK2 VW Golf section up to par on the site, in such a short time! Everyone espically in thisthread, helped a great deal. Shoutout to Phil Albert as well for making endless lists of things and staying on my ass to fix up MK2 stuff that didnt look just right.

That being said, I now have the MK2 Golf / GTI on the site available for modding!

Not only that, but I havealso added the new Audi A3 (8P) for modding as well!

On top of all this excitement, Ive also implimented a new save feature, which allows the user to save their images and show them on the internet at their liesure, without doing any fancy print screen mumbo-jumbo. I want to thank Brad Eccles for helping me with some flash side programming, Tony Truong for server side help and also the guys over at

I know there have been tons and tons of requests (Dont worry I havent forgotten about you MK4 guys that want the front end swap done!) I have been really sick as of the last week or so and havent had time to get to all the requests. Currently, the best (and fastest) way to request something is on our forum here, or by emailing me directly.

Enjoy the MK2 VW and A3 Audi! I hope you like the update.

AutoModder.com has also added several new features since three weeks ago, such as Rim Colour Selection, OEM Base Color selection, Tinted Windows and even Intercoolers!

On top of which, I have been hard at work adding mods for cars and doing a lot of back end programming. I now have functionality for Photoshoppers to add their own images dynamically to our database! This means, if you are a photoshopper and are interested in helping our community, then sign up on theforumsto find out how! Its really easy, and if you know how to Photoshop, you can start right away!

Weve come along way, and most of it is attributed to the users, helping fix or identify problems really makes the site grow quickly!

I hope youve enjoyed it so far, and stay on for the long haul!

AutoModder.com officially opens and supplies its community with their first vehicles to modify; The 1999.5 to 2005 Volkswagen MK4 Golf / GTi and Jetta.

Check our forums for my welcome message, and find out what AutoModder.com is all about,here.

NOTE: This site was developed with the Mk4 Golf / GTi vehicle, and currently has the most modifications avalible. Please check back daily for updates and new vehicles!

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