Got ya! These are our favorite April Fool’s pranks from the car world

Got ya! These are our favorite April Fool’s pranks from the car world

From a vintage Bugatti to road-coloring tires, companies launched some worthy jokes

In case you were somehow caught unaware, the internet was loaded with stories and releases that seemed too good to be true or were jaw-droppingly improbable. In layman’s terms, it was April Fool’s Day and a lot of companies rushed to get in on the action.

While there were some ideas that flopped (don’t worry, we won’t name names) there were a lot that at least brought a smile to our face and a couple that had us clicking with concern until we remembered the calendar read April 1.

Without further ado, here are our favorite April Fool’s pranks the car world had to offer this year:


Gifted 1931 Bugatti

This would make for one heck of a gift. | Seal Cove Auto Museum photo

This would make for one heck of a gift. | Seal Cove Auto Museum photo

Can you imagine someone waltzing into a museum and handing the keys over to a 1931 Bugatti Royale (Type 41) Kellner Coupe while wanting to remain nameless? We can’t either, but this prank by the Seal Cove Auto Museum in Seal Cove, Maine caught our eye.

Per the museum’s “news” release, the car is one of just seven originally made. The story goes that Ettore Bugatti kept the car sealed behind a brick wall to hide it from the Nazis then sold it to American Le Mans racer Briggs Cunningham for the price of $571 and two refrigerators in 1950.

Ah, there’s one sign this is false: Ettore Bugatti passed away in 1947. Clicking on the email link leads to a link that admits the article is fake.

Another sign for those who still may not get it: At the end of its email, the museum says, “This is not true.”

But that wasn’t the only prank the museum had up its sleeve: It also claimed Disney would film a remake of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang at the museum, a curator discovered a Brass Era “Aeroaquaterramobile,” a Brass Era-themed Lollapalooza was to draw millions to the museum, and that it recently hired Jay Leno as a staffer.

Take a bow, Seal Cove Auto Museum. You won April Fool’s Day – if that’s possible.


Land Rover turns the lights on

Land Rover really went the distance for its prank. | Land Rover photo

Land Rover really went the distance for its prank. | Land Rover photo

This prank wasn’t as comprehensive as Seal Cove’s, but it made the list because of its punny jokes (that’s not a typo). In a release claiming it had installed a charging point on Scotland’s Isle of Skye, Land Rover had what may be the day’s best tongue-in-cheek quote.

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“We really have gone above and beyond, and ohm-mitted nothing in our quest to ensure that eco-minded Land Rover owners are able to adventure in zero emissions comfort,” read the bogus line from Max Watts, Land Rover Jaguar’s head of vehicle charging. “It may only be one single charging point that we’ve installed, but we’re not expecting there to be much of a queue…”

Get it? Max Watts? Ohm-mitted? Nicely done.

In case people were still confused, another fake quote from Ted Lightly, the CEO of Skye High Club, offered this:

“We’re extremely glad that some bright spark at Land Rover has decided to install a charging point in the wilds of Skye. It’s a business that understands the need to maintain the beauty of nature, and this new charging post is so discreet that it’s almost as if it’s not even there at all.”


Return of the Aztek

Is bringing back the Aztek really a laughing matter? | Hagerty photo

Is bringing back the Aztek really a laughing matter? | Hagerty photo

One of the most-maligned cars in recent memory is the Pontiac Aztek, an SUV designed to do it all that came off factory lines looking, well, ugly.

Hagerty started a petition calling for General Motors to produce a 20th Anniversary edition of the car for 2021 that would appeal to millennials who want “space for friends, versatility for work and styling their parents just don’t understand.”

Some of the included features are front-wheel drive, a turbocharged inline-four engine and an in-dash cellphone mount for on-the-go vlogging. While we’re set on those, what really caught our eye is the free juicer given with each new Aztek purchased.


Another new truck

It's a truck, but a really, really small one. | Toyota photo

It’s a truck, but a really, really small one. | Toyota photo

Much has been made this year of the return of the Ford Ranger to the American market, but Toyota is striking back with a model of its own: The Yaris Adventure.

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What the Japanese automaker branded a “sub-compact truck,” the Adventure would be built off the miniscule Yaris platform, have a two-seat cabin and come with plenty of jokes.

“The extra cab with rear seating was ditched because it was determined that no one really wants to sit back there anyway,” a Toyota official reputedly said in a news release.

“Meanwhile, in the back, a composite inner bed ensures cargo capacity for the most moderate jobs. The Yaris Adventure combines the comfort and fuel economy of a sedan with ideal cargo space, but not so much that friends will ask you to help them move.”

Toyota is so confident in the Yaris Adventure that it won’t offer a warranty but will have roadside assistance in case someone somehow manages to use up all 7.6 inches of ground clearance.


Who was that again?

What was my dog's name again? Oh yeah... | Skoda photo

What was my dog’s name again? Oh yeah… | Škoda photo

Forgetful drivers, Škoda is here to save the day: The Czech automaker’s new ProjectaPal system will show you information you need to remember projected on the ground.

Whether it be a birthday, anniversary or face and name you simply need to know, the ProjectaPal pairs with any smartphone and displays the image when the door is opened. It’s convenient, but that means the excuse “I forgot” goes out the window.


Actual rainbow road

Imagine rainbow burnouts... | MG photo

Imagine rainbow burnouts… | MG photo

Why stare at boring old black asphalt when the road can be painted like a rainbow? That was the thinking of MG Motor UK when it dreamt up its new tires coated in a water-soluble dye.

The tires work like this: They get wet, the dye releases and the road is painted for a brief time. The dye is designed to be short-lived and won’t permanently stain the road surface. MG even lets you choose the color your tires leave behind.

“With these fantastic tyres, we’re taking personalisation options to a whole new level and allowing customers to show their true colours,” MG’s professor of pigment, Dr. Gull Abel, said in the fake release. “Customers will even be able to change their stripes through our mobile tyre fitter fleet, deployed from each of our many dealerships across the country.”

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We kind of wish these were real. How awesome would it look to do doughnuts with these?


What racing?

The Cyclops cruises the Amelia Island Conc...OK this isn't real. | Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance photo

The Cyclops cruises the Amelia Island Conc…OK this is too weird. | Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance photo

The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance is a premier event and it will celebrate the 60th anniversary of Cyclops racing next year. There is quite the party planned around the 1-2-3 1960 Le Mans-winning Cyclops II Super Sport Coupes, and it’s a super special chance for people to see them in person.

These same cars also won the 1964 East African Safari, the 1964 Targa Florio, the 1968 Indy 500, the 1969 Nurburgring, the 1971 Japanese Grand Prix and the 1972 Great Wall of China Grand Prix. They’re really some of the most special racers around.

Or they would be, if multiples of them actually existed. A Google search showed a handful of the cars may have been made at one point, but there was no clear definition as to how many are left. Regardless, their “illustrious” racing history isn’t being celebrated at Amelia Island.


Monterey Car Week is canceled

Problematic unhealthy fumes led California Department of Purified Air officials to call for Monterey Car Week to be canceled in 2019 and the events spread out over a year in a more inland state in the future. | ClassicCars.com photo

Problematic unhealthy fumes led California Department of Purified Air officials to call for Monterey Car Week to be canceled in 2019 and the events spread out over a year in a more inland state in the future. But not really. Because it wasn’t true. | ClassicCars.com photo

Monterey Car Week is one of the biggest automotive events of the year. We at ClassicCars.com Journal decided to pull a prank of our own and announced that some odd California agencies forced its cancellation.

If you didn’t catch on, the California Department of Purified Air, the California Department of Air Particulates and the California Air Purity Board are all fake. The event will go on as planned and we can’t wait to attend.


Honorable mentions

This trailer is un-bear-ably cool. We'll see ourselves out. | Airstream photo

This trailer is un-bear-ably cool. We’ll see ourselves out. | Airstream photo

  • • The one prank we actually wish was real was the Airstream BearStream, which is a full Airstream trailer wrapped in faux bear fur that comes with tree-bark cabinetry and a navigation system to get your “bear”-ings.
  • • Honda was touting a new trim for the Pilot called the Pastport that featured ‘90s interior touches, such as a cassette desk and beeper docking station. Clever.
  • • Here’s something else we all may wish was real: Schwaben teased a new oil change robot that will have your oil and filter swapped in under 60 minutes, leaving you to get other chores done. Or sit on the couch. Let’s be honest: We’re going to sit on the couch.
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  • Paul bundy
    April 2, 2019, 8:09 AM

    The Cyclops actually does exist. My Uncle, John Bond owner and publisher of Road & Track had one built. It lived in the lobby of the R & T offices in Newport Beach for many years. It was still there in 2011 when Hearst bought the magazine. I tried to contact them about acquiring the Cyclops and other R & T items that were in the building but never got a call back. I’m probably the only person left that knows some early history of R & T.

    REPLY
    • Carter Nacke@Paul bundy
      April 2, 2019, 8:39 AM

      Thanks for commenting, Paul! I updated our story.

      REPLY
    • Somer Hooker@Paul bundy
      April 2, 2019, 5:02 PM

      I was looking forward to the Cyclops . Trevor to the rescue !!!

      REPLY
    • Peter DeGraff@Paul bundy
      April 2, 2019, 7:33 PM

      I can hardly explain my thrill at seeing your picture of Cyclops! I have been a fan of Road & Track magazine practically from the first issue (and maybe actually – that memory fails me – it was along time ago and I am 86 now). Cyclops was a stroke of genius then and it still is now. It deserves *at least* an article all its own! Now that you have turned up a nephew of John Bond perhaps enough of Cyclops’ history can be found to do the little "car" justice.
      Thank you, Paul Bundy! Please get back on Hearst’s back!

      REPLY
  • Greg Shields
    April 2, 2019, 2:15 PM

    Interesting how the fake cancellation of the Monterey Car Week article brought out some real ugliness from many of those who commented on it.

    REPLY
    • Ryan Corman@Greg Shields
      April 2, 2019, 6:21 PM

      But sir, certainly your experience in the hobby, as well as life, would inform you that ugliness, petulance, and willingness to "jump on the negativity bandwagon" is as human as red blood and salty sweat.
      I found the outraged comments far more entertaining than those applauding the jape. Especially that from the gentleman from New Orleans offering the Big Easy as an alternative site. I served, based in Biloxi, Mississippi, and he was absodamnlutely correct- NOLA would be a brilliant location for a big bucks, no-holds-barred elite, all manufacturers show.
      And unlike Cali, many olde money, real genteel families still reside in N’Awlins, and I’d bet there’s some unseen iron back in the bayou; Jeez-us, have you ever seen the old big money homes in Southern Louisiana?
      Cheers!
      -R

      REPLY
  • Dave Asp
    April 3, 2019, 3:15 AM

    Not funny; CA government is divisive enough without this kind of ‘humor’. Don’t you have positive car things you could write about? People will cancel their trips to this event as many will not see your retraction.

    REPLY
  • James McIntire
    April 3, 2019, 5:39 AM

    Ok you got me with the Monterey car week prank; but only because I totally would not put that past the state of California to actually have those agencies!
    Oh and I’m looking forward to the Honda Pastport! When can I get one?

    REPLY