Kempf: The Open Road Beckons
Almost 60 years ago, a French post-polio survivor who had lost the use of his legs revolutionized accessibility and automobility.
Jean-Pierre Kempf's brainchild was an accelerator ring attached to the steering wheel with a rod going through the steering column and pushing on the original accelerator pedal. This ingenious hands-only device put himself and others back behind the wheel, ready to heed the call of the open road!
Today, his daughter Martine is at the helm of Kempf USA and, while the hand controls have come a long way from mechanical to digital, she carries on her father's philosophy of creating a company whose primarily goal is to make a positive difference in the lives of its customers.
Some years ago, she told People Magazine, "Our father tells us all the time that he didn't begin his company just to make money, and this is our philosophy: We do something because it helps."
"Driving with hand controls is outstanding," said Don about his Volkswagen Phaeton equipped with the Kempf DARIOS (Digital Accelerator Ring Optimized for Speed), "[Kempf] made this car an outstanding vehicle for a handicapped individual that enjoys driving."
Autoweek heralded DARIOS as both technically and visually elegant. To accelerate, the driver pushes the accelerator ring and to brake, he or she applies a minimal amount of downward pressure to the hand brake. Then the DARIOS microprocessors talk to your car's acceleration and brake systems to make the magic happen. Watch it in effortless action…
"The bottom line for me was that DARIOS was intuitive, sensitive, unobtrusive and so seamlessly integrated into the [vehicle] aesthetically and functionally that it seemed like something that came from the factory," said Autoweek reviewer Steven Thompson.
So is your car able to be tricked out with hand controls? Probably. Most vehicles with automatic transmission are. You know what else looks good in DARIOS? Ferrari 458s, Porches and other top-shelf sports cars. Just ask drag racer Tim Renaldi, who was impressed not just with the overall handling of his DARIOS-fitted 458, but also with the fact that the installation didn't destroy the interior of such a beautiful car.
And judging by the donuts the Ferrari doing is doing in the parking lot, there seems to be no gap in performance!
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