Robert Downey Jr. has assembled an incredible car collection, and, thanks to a high-stakes game of rock paper scissors, you have the chance to own one of those iconic vehicles – and the cars he’s giving away are unlike any classic cars in the world.
In the opening of the first “Iron Man” movie, Tony Stark finds himself cruising through the desert in a Humvee with star-struck members of our Armed Forces who can’t believe their luck that they’re escorting the legendary leader of Stark Industries.
Downey, who famously brought Tony Stark to life on the big screen, finds himself in a similar situation on the small screen in the first episode of his Max show, “Downey’s Dream Cars,” which is available to stream Thursday, June 22.
This time, Downey is riding through the Mojave desert in California, visiting Fort Irwin. The Army soldier driving him is equally as star-struck, explaining that his son is super stoked that his dad gets to escort “Tony Stark.”
The first episode of “Downey’s Dream Cars” premiered at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. The new show is about the legendary actor re-restoring a few of his (almost) perfectly restored vehicles — only this time, he’s restoring them with the environment in mind.
The Cool Down was at the premiere to witness just how Downey and his team went about electrifying a 1972 Chevy K10 and what that had to do with military vehicles at Fort Irwin.
After showing the premiere episode in a room full of vintage cars, Downey was joined by Dax Shepard, a major car enthusiast in his own right. The two “gearheads” chatted about the show and Downey’s impressive collection.
Shepard eventually steered the conversation toward how Downey owns too many vehicles. He wanted to see if Downey would “walk the walk” of being environmentally conscious and give his cars away in a sweepstake so other people could enjoy them.
After Downey initially refused, the Top Gear America host challenged him to a game of rock paper scissors, which he couldn’t resist.
If he won, Downey had to give away his cars. If Downey won, he asked for a 51% ownership of Armchair Expert, Shepard’s successful podcast. “Stakes couldn’t be higher,” Shepard announced.
The drama was so thick in the museum that you could cut the tension with scissors fingers. All of us in the audience were on the edge of our seats, leaning in to watch the hand-to-hand combat.
First round, Shepard led with a solid rock that crushed Downey’s untimely scissors play. Second round, with Downey’s car collection on the line, Shepard lured him into the classic double-rock trap. The “Iron Man” actor threw out a flimsy paper, thinking the “CHiPs” star would surly go back-to-back rocks — a rookie mistake.
Shepard tossed out his well-timed scissor fingers and excitedly cut Downey’s paper hand — while simultaneously cutting down Downey’s classic car collection.
It was a masterful performance by a roshambo assassin — or maybe it was just a well-orchestrated, fun way to announce a plan that had been in the works for a while. We may never know (we totally know).
After the duel, Downey announced a one-year sweepstake to give away the six eco-modified cars from the show.
We announced the upcoming premier of @RobertDowneyJr's Downey's Dream Cars on June 22nd. Now we're excited to announce you can register for a chance to win one of RDJ's hybrid #classiccars! Click for more details: https://t.co/H7TtPZ8wRC@HBOMax #downeysdreamcars pic.twitter.com/qYopSE2FQN— FootPrint Coalition (@fp_coalition) June 17, 2023
Among the vehicles that could be yours are the Chevy K10 from the premiere, which has a custom electric motor and two well-placed battery packs. Another is the ’69 Mercedes 280 SE that originally belonged to the actor’s mom and features an upcycled diesel engine that was converted to run on biodiesel.
The show makes perfect sense for Downey, who has recently turned his sights away from acting to focus more on saving our planet. Instead of building an Iron Man suit to protect humankind from extraterrestrial threats, Downey is building a coalition to protect humankind from dirty energy sources.
“We are what we drive, and having amassed a formidable collection of classic cars over the years, I was a petrol-spewing mess. And a hypocrite, as I’d founded the Footprint Coalition in 2019 to scale technologies that mitigate climate change,” Downey said in a statement promoting the show.
The FootPrint Coalition is a venture capital firm that invests in companies addressing the most significant environmental challenges we face today.
One way FootPrint is working toward a cleaner, cooler future for us all is by utilizing Downey’s natural storytelling ability. “We produce entertaining and informative content about technologies to restore our planet,” explains the FootPrint website.
Enter Downey’s Dream Cars. This show is the ideal vehicle to drive the climate conversation – particularly surrounding electric vehicles – forward.
Americans love cars, especially beautifully restored classic cars. Inviting a large audience like that to the conversation around environmentally sustainable solutions is one of the most effective ways to fight climate change.
All of the Dream Car Sweepstakes proceeds will go to the FootPrint Coalition and be donated to scaling technologies that will help cool down our planet.
As for the K10 eco-mod and the Army vehicles, you’ll have to check out the episode for yourself. But we will say it is an excellent bit of storytelling.
Or, as Downey explained, “It was a huge challenge and an enlightening journey. It’s also just fun to watch.”
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