Remember when I compared spaceships and cars? Sure you do. We all had a good time, a lot of laughs, some "just pals" snuggling, and I think we all did a little bit of growing up.
Now I think we should do pretty much the same thing, but this time let's try with ten famous robots and their automotive counterparts.
I've used the Jalopnik Backup Mainframe to process this data, after the unfortunate sewage event that destroyed our primary one in its underground facility. This one is much safer, housed in an abandoned houseboat in a Marina Del Ray estuary. After entering the complex relationship algorithm and a list of robots and cars, here's the results:
Wall-E and a Honda Vamos (1st Gen): I think this one works quite well. There's something remarkably similar about both the look and character of the first-generation Vamos and Wall-E. Both are small, hardworking machines, and both have faces that fire the same parts of your brain that make you want to give handfulls of meatballs to a puppy. They're both tiny, cute, vulnerable-looking crap haulers, and I think it'd be pretty fun to have either in my garage.
C-3P0 and a 1905 Vauxhall: I knew for C-3P0's car doppelganger I'd have to find something from the Brass Era. Threepio introduced many novel characteristics not seen that often in robots: fussiness, mechanical mincing, fragility, fretting. All these qualities are ably demonstrated in early Edwardian automobiles, with all their little fiddly parts and ornate brasswork and gossamer support wires. They're beautiful, but not really the sort of thing you'd want to drive on Tattoine. I (I mean, the Jalopnik Mainframe) picked a British marque because C-3P0 had an effete British accent.
Bender Bending Rodríguez and the car from The Car: Futurama's Bender is probably the polar opposite of C-3P0— crass, confident, loud, booze-soaked. Finding Bender's equivalent car was easy, as the episode The Honking has him turning into a car. And it looks like the car he turns into was based very closely on the car from the pleasingly awful 1977 movie, The Car. That car was a Barris-customized Lincoln that terrorized a Utah town, and was demonically possessed. Fun fact: Anton LaVey was credited as a "Technical Advisor"! Pro tip: if you're being chased by a demonic car, go up some stairs.
Curiosity and a USGS Mobile Lab: This one was a bit tricky at first, until I instructed the computer to quit over-thinking it. Curiosity is, at its core, a mobile laboratory. So that's what it's automotive equivalent would be, and it just so happens that the Missouri US Geological Survey employs several of these, and some even have a remote manipulator arm for sample collection! That's pretty cool, and is pure science, like our Martian robo-pal.
Data and Ford Ghia Saguaro Concept Car: Data, the android on Star Trek: the Next Generation, is a one-of-a-kind (yes, yes, he had evil twins or whatever), highly advanced machine with, as Star Trek geeks like to remind us with pins and t-shirts, functioning genitals. From a distance, he seems like any normal, boring human. The Ghia Saguaro show car from 1989 was also a highly-advanced, one-of-a-kind experiment that, from a distance, looks like a boring old car.
Johnny 5 and an Ariel Atom: Johnny 5, the ex-military robot who became sentient from the movie Short Circuit and the Ariel Atom really both look like they were created by the same guy. Both are lightweight, no-nonsense machines, skeletal and with an absolute minimum of exterior cladding.
The Maschinenmensch from Metropolis and a Bugatti Atlantic: Metropolis has a fairly convoluted plot involving this female robot who's sort of a resurrection of one guy's wife, and then becomes a stand in for a revolutionary figure— it's weird. The fun fact is the costume for the robot was so uncomfortable, crew and actors on the set would slip coins into the suit, and the actress inside would use them to buy chocolate, which I suppose helped. Anyway, it's a striking-looking Art Deco robot, and aesthetically feels remarkably like the Bugatti Atlantic, with its flowing curves and sharp creases and gleaming surfaces. Plus, I bet that Bugatti's pretty complicated and confusing on the inside, as well. And you could drop coins in it, that someone inside could use to buy chocolate.
Maximilian from The Black Hole and a Lamborghini Aventador: Not many people really remember the not-so-successful Disney scifi movie, The Black Hole, but those that do I'm sure remember the sleek, red, evil robot who liked to julianne people with his retractable spinning blades. That robot did have a sleek, angular look about him that really reminds me of a Lamborghini Aventador. In fact, the design of his eye could work quite nicely as a full-width taillight treatment for the car. I'm not really sure what Maximilian went on to do after the Black Hole. I think there were some bit parts on Perfect Strangers, and then maybe he ended up in Italy, as a junior-level auto designer's model.
R2-D2 and a Volkswagen Type 2 Double-Cab Pickup: R2-D2 might just be my favorite movie robot, and that little droid is the only reason anything ever worked out for the rebellion at all. Part of why R2-D2 was so helpful had to do with the fact that he had pretty much any tool he needed in that barrel-shaped body. He was full of compartments and arms and saws and data schlongs and whatnot. The Type 2 Double-Cab pickups always reminded me (and, uh, the mainframe) of Artoo in this way. That truck has multiple folding sides, secret storage lockers, an engine hidden under the bed, panels and flaps and all kinds of good stuff. Like the astromech droid, it's a no-nonsense multi-purpose tool that does many jobs, and who's looks are a byproduct of its varied functions. Two loveable machines, these two.
Anyone else have some good matchups? Tell us, so we can be geeks together.