Hat’s off to Honda for the best April Fool’s Day gag by an automobile manufacturer, 2017 edition.
Each year of late, automakers have attempted, and in some cases have succeeded, to spring April Fool’s Day jokes on the news media. Last weekend, those jokes included:
- An announcement by Callaway Cars of the Callamino, a latest-generation C7 Chevrolet Corvette with a truck bed in the back and with additional heavy-duty chassis components so the El Camino-style trucklet could carry 6,600 pounds of cargo and pull a Class IV trailer.
- News from Banks Power and Gale Banks Engineering of a joint venture with Tesla on Banks-tweaked and turbocharged Tesla Model S that accelerates from 0-60 mph in a blink-of-the-eye 1.26 seconds en route to a top speed of 218 mph, and yet with a practical road range of 427 miles.
- Daimler announced the Smart Forsea, a Finding Nemo special edition of the Smart Fortwo that is unbounded by pavement since it can be driven on water via a water-jet propeller connected to the rear-mounted 90-horsepower engine. Top speed on water is 15 knots.
Porsche revealed the Panamera Woodie special edition, going so far as to point out that the real wood trim will come from Germany’s Black Forest and that only 542 such vehicles would be produced as homage to the Porsche Typ 542 design commissioned by Studebaker in the 1950s.
- Lotus didn’t offer an April Fool’s Day car or special edition. Instead it shared news of Pet Lids, specially designed crash helmets for cats, and presumably for small dogs as well. Clark, the factory cat at Lotus’ Hethel assembly facility, likes to ride along during track testing and “as we take safety seriously, it was only proper that our furry friends should be afforded the same pedigree of protection that our drivers have,” the company said.
- Czech Republic-based automaker Skoda’s twist for fool’s day was to announce the world’s first “Rent-A-Family” test drive service which enables a would-be customer to do a test drive accompanied by “crayon-wielding kids, insolent infants and talkless teens” as well as a travel-sick dog. What? No mother-in-law in the back seat?
- Even supercar producer McLaren by showing a 570GT wrapped in what appear to be turkey feathers, supposedly as a new aerodynamic option.
But the prize for creativity and execution this year goes to Honda for its announcement of Honda Horn Emojis that will be standard equipment on the 2018 Honda Odyssey minivan. Honda even produced a video of its spoof, which shows several horn buttons on the face of the steering wheel, each designed as a way to communicate with drivers of other cars through “expressive” horn sounds, from a Happy Honda Honk to one that scolds them for their lack of attention. Oh, and there’s even one that cannot be heard by humans but is designed to alert dogs not to cross in front of traffic.
This one’s no joke: Italian police get Huracan
Automobili Lamborghini has presented a special Huracan Polizia to Italian’s version of the highway patrol. The supercar will be assigned to the Bologna post and will be used in normal operations as well as the urgent transport of blood and donor organs.
The Huracan Polizia has room for only one person, its driver. The passenger side of the car is filled with police computer equipment including a video camera. Other onboard equipment includes a gun holster, portable fire extinguisher, police radio, and portable stop and other emergency signage.
Instead of the usual trunk, the Huracan Polizia has a refrigeration system for organ transport. It also carries a defibrillator for emergency fire aid.
This is the second Huracan Polizia donated to the police by Lamborghini. The other one went into service in 2015. Last year, it was used to carry kidneys for multiple transplant operations in the Lombardy and Tuscany regions of the country.
National police in Italy provided transportation last year for 111 organ transports and 74 emergency plasma or blood deliveries.
Italian police stop plot to kidnap Ferrari’s corpse
Here’s another not-a-joke recently reported by Automotive News: Italian police on the island of Sardinia discovered a plot to steal the remains of Enzo Ferrari, which they planned to hold for ransom.
Ferrari is buried in an above-ground family tomb in the San Cataldo cemetery in Modena, in northern Italy. Police offered few details of the kidnapping plot, other than to say the plan was discovered during an investigation into arms and drug trafficking and involved a number of arrests.