These days, soap boxes are flimsy affairs just barely larger than the actual bar of soap ��� not at all the kind of thing you'd send your kid screaming down a hill in Akron, Ohio in. Now, soap box derby cars are called "gravity racers" and the designers no longer labor in midwestern basements, with restless pre-teens fidgeting nearby. They're hotshots of the auto industry, laboring in Gehry-designed hothouses and crystal palaces outfitted with fine Corinthian leather (in our mind's eye). This year, the 2006 Pebble Beach RetroAuto event is hosting a dozen gravity racers, from Ferrari, Bentley, General Motors, Nissan, Chrysler, Volkswagen, Audi, Mazda and Porsche (whither Volvo?). The Ferrari racer was created by Maurizio Corbi a Ferrari designer who pens for Pininfarina, and whom we'd be willing to bet has never been anywhere near Akron. The racers will be auctioned for charity on eBay during Concours week in late August.
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