LOS ANGELES — Increased incidents of road rage are transforming motorists into road warriors, so claims a local company with plans to fuel the trend by offering the first weaponized automobiles available for consumers.
Representatives from Rocket & Gamble, a corporation mostly known for its Radical augmented eyewear, announced at the recent L.A. Auto Show that it will soon enter the American market with Mayhem, a 500-horsepower ‘assault-style’ vehicle designed to dominate street battles with competing cars.
The military-grade version of a Chevy Impala will be armed with Gatling guns, Hellfire missiles and flame throwers to help drivers intimidate – and annihilate – annoying motorists they encounter on the freeway.
Ari Winkler, Rocket and Gamble’s chief auto engineer and a native Angeleno, said during an interview at his Encino home that there were two factors that inspired him to create Mayhem. Among these, Winkler cited his strong desire to ensure his son’s safety, and also their bonding over Grand Theft Auto, a popular video game.
“For years, people have been driving like maniacs through our neighborhood,” said Winkler, pointing at pickup truck speeding by his living room window. “I guess they’re in a rush to avoid the gridlock that meets them at every turn. Still, I often used to wonder, is getting to a destination on time really worth risking other people’s lives? The answer, I now know, is yes, of course it is. You just need the right guns to clear your path.”
To combat the speeding lifestyle rampant in his community, Winkler posted a sign in his front yard warning drivers to slow down, but it didn’t work. Traffic, over time, only became more congested and dangerous on his street as instances of road rage and fatal accidents surged across L.A. County.
“Eventually, we discouraged Tommy from playing outside,” said Winkler. “Imagine telling a boy he can’t toss around a baseball in the front yard out of fear that it might roll into the street and he’d be smashed by a distracted jerk hauling ass in a Tahoe who’s texting his girlfriend a heart-shaped emoji?”
At first, life in the great indoors was a difficult adjustment for the Winklers, but that changed after father and son discovered the joys of advanced entertainment technology.
“Naturally, after becoming hermits, Tommy and I turned to video games for consolation,” said Winkler. “After all, what else are a dad and his boy cramped inside all weekend supposed to do, except virtually destroy each other?”
After playing hours of Grand Theft Auto trapped together inside their home, Winkler started to fantasize about levelling up his ride.
“I began to imagine what it would be like to become that maniac driver in L.A. I so despised…I longed to rampage through town in a Mad Max-style vehicle, blasting my way through crowded city life,” said the auto engineer, who pitched his first idea for Mayhem at office meetings five years ago.
Unfortunately for Winkler, Rocket & Gamble’s board of directors was not convinced that his concept car, intended to wreak havoc on roadways, was a safe bet for a company hoping to enter the auto market.
That changed when Donald Trump was elected President.
“I remember how the idea of Mayhem started to take off in our brainstorming sessions,” said Tori Hashimoto, Rocket & Gamble chief executive. “Here we had this unhinged President slashing taxes and making billions for corporations, all while being embroiled in one affair, allegation, and scandal after another — and getting away with it! The President was even impeached and proven not-guilty by a party of his peers! He didn’t seem to mind breaking a few rules or acting a bit boorish. I’ve got to say, the board and I — we kind of loved it.”
Hashimoto, recalling those pivotal years, discussed the day that the board finally decided to put Winkler’s ideas into action.
“We came into the meeting and had a frank discussion about how the President was just the role model this company needed, providing us with a crash-course in a new reality that tested daily the bounds of believability,” said Hashimoto. “In an unprecedented age in which tribal loyalties superseded honesty, integrity, the rule of law, and even common sense, we knew the moment had come to pave a different path for our organization’s future.
“Our designs for assault-style vehicles was just the game changer Rocket & Gamble needed to help our fellow Americans navigate through a rough and divided country that no longer made sense.
“Once we decided to launch Mayhem, we never looked back.”
Maria Lopez, Feb. 11, 2020