Automotive history knows many colossal lemons: the Edsel, the DeLorean, etc. Automotive fiction got perhaps its first, and probably its funniest, in February 1991 with the airing of the Simpsons season two, episode 15.
“O Brother, Where Art Thou” introduces us to Homer’s half-brother Herbert Powell (voiced by Danny DeVito), the product of a one-night stand between Abe Simpson and a traveling carnival worker.
Abe confesses the affair and its result to Homer after suffering a heart attack and guides him to the orphanage where he took the boy.
After breaking down sobbing in a gas station parking lot and berating the sympathetic director of the orphanage, Homer is able to contact his brother – the namesake and CEO of a very large automaker.
But Powell Motors’ sales are slumping, and after connecting with his Everyman brother and bonding with the rest of the Simpsons, Herb turns his team of engineers over to Homer to design and produce a car for “all the Homer Simpsons out there.”
Homer The Savior?
Unsurprisingly, the engineers try to relegate Homer to coffee fetcher, but after a motivational speech from Herb, Homer returns to the factory full of vigor and a list of specifications for the model that will bear his name:
- “powerful like a gorilla but soft like a nerf ball”
- a cupholder large enough to hold a giant Quik-E-Mart cup
- an antenna topper
- tail fins
- two bubble domes: one for the kids, complete with “restraints and muzzles”
- shag carpet
- three horns that play “La Cucaracha”
- he wants people who hear the car run to think “the world is coming to an end”
Other features that can be seen on the actual car:
- a Rolls-Royce style grill with a bowling Homer hood ornament
- a tall but oddly shaped hood scoop
- side view mirrors that are five times as tall as they are wide
- three side steps on each side that protrude 45º from the door sills
- an incomprehensible taillight system
- a rear end, tires, and spoiler that look straight off a Top Fuel dragster
- a “BORT” license plate
- the aforementioned bubble domes, antenna ball, and horn
(we are left to assume the shag carpet has been included)