Ah, April 1st, the most obnoxious day of the year. A time when pranks and japes are all the rage, and you can hardly believe a single thing in your local news feed.
While Google and other tech companies usually take the cake for witty and inventive ways of being silly, auto manufacturers also cut loose, letting their PR teams put out some pretty zany ideas. This years April Fools were no exception.
Subaru was first to the party, declaring an upcoming diesel, hybrid, convertible, all-wheel-drive version of their BRZ lightweight coupe.
Given the BRZs charm mostly comes from a light, tossable nature, it was pretty easy to see through this one, but a bit hilarious nonetheless.
Honda, not normally known for cutting loose, was next with a quick, playful jab at themselves. Having debuted the next-gen Odyssey with an available on-board vacuum cleaner at this years New York Auto Show, Honda announced theyd be coming out with something called HondaHair. Remember the old sucks-and-cuts infomercials? Yep, one of those funny stuff, guys.
Volvo also took a page out of the self-deprecating playbook, poking fun at its safety-centric image with a full-body external airbag. The press release shows a great big marshmallow of a thing and is hilarious except that you just know we might end up with such technology a few decades down the road.
Others joined in too: VW hearkening back to its W12 Nardo concept cars, MINI with an on-board dating site. However, last tip of the hat goes to BMW with their Postnatal Royal Auto-Mobile.
The acronym spells out PRAM and its just what youd expect: a little X5-looking self-propelled stroller.
The spy who hyped me
Sitting through last summers Skyfall, I was both thoroughly entertained and slightly annoyed its hard to find a blockbuster movie these days that isnt chock full of product placement.
The James Bond franchise has been linked to BMW in the past and, of course, Aston-Martin. Seeking to soak up a little of that super-agent glitz, Land Rover hired Daniel Craig to show up at this years New York Auto Show in the all-new Range-Rover Sport.
A video of Craig driving the truck was shown, he piloted the car onto the stage, walked along a line of photographers and disappeared off-stage. All without saying a word.
For this no-liner, a reported $1-million fee was paid. Good heavens hell be able to afford any amount of blue speedos with that kind of cash.
According to consumer marketing information group JD Powers, buyers are getting tired (sorry, but the pun must be made) of low-rolling-resistance and run-flat tires.
Low-rolling-resistance tires are specially designed to help reduce drag and eke out better fuel-economy numbers; run-flats help manufactuers avoid packaging considerations with spare tires.
Theyre both handy when the car is new, but both cost much more to replace. Run-flats must be replaced in pairs as well.
Whats more, run-flats also have punishing ride characteristics with their stiff sidewalls, and low-rolling-resistance tires often offer sub-par grip. BMW owners have been complaining about the companys switch to run-flats for years, and this latest study shows how widespread the grumbling is. Manufacturers ignore consumer concerns at their peril.
Russian hour traffic
In many ways, Russia is a Wild West frontier town for capitalism. Witness the latest dodge by wealthy Russians frustrated by heavy Moscow traffic: they just call up the ambulance.
Looking like an emergency vehicle on the outside, these vans are actually leather-lined palaces inside, and with lights and sirens flashing, they cut through the snarled Moscow traffic with impunity. Is this sort of thing legal? Of course not!
However, this is taking place in Russia, so you know those with deep pockets have the wherewithal to buy their way out of any situation.
Also, who among us hasnt faced down a heavy traffic jam with the faint wish they could throw one of those 70s cop-show portable flashers on the roof and pass everyone?
The fast and the curious
In Canada, we measure speeds in kilometres-per-hour. However, to fully grasp the significance of the speed of the Hennessey Venom, you have to hear its terminal velocity in miles-per: 265.7mph (425 km/h).
Thats officially faster than a Bugatti Veyron and makes for the kid-pleasing statistic of "worlds fastest production car." Playground bragging rights won.
Whats a Hennessey Venom? Well, its basically a tiny Lotus Exige with a 1244hp (!) twin-turbo V8 engine crammed in the back.
If driving one is on your bucket list, better make sure its dead last as itll probably kill you.
© Copyright 2013