2017's best and worst April Fools' stories from the car world
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April Fool's is a gift and a curse to the world.
On one hand it can give genuinely creative people a platform with which they can let their hair down and effectively wreak creative havoc on society — in the best way possible. But on the other hand, the day can often expose just how stale and humourless car manufacturers and race teams can be ...
This year's crop of motoring and motorsport April Fool's stories and videos presented us with a delightful mix of wonderful stories mixed in with mundane marketing monstrosities. Here are the best and the worst of the crop, collated and rated.
Best: Cobb Accessport Vape
'Vaping' is still an emerging phenomena in little old New Zealand. A vape (vaporizer) is basically a flavoured form of e-cigarette that is either; a fun alternative to traditional devil sticks, or a public niusance, depending on your disposition.
But in America, where vaping is an enormous multi-layered industry, those who vape (vapeologists? vapees?) are lumped into the same socioeconomic pile as so-called millennials and hipsters. And naturally, America's vape society is heavily connected to their modified car scene in derogatory tones — particularly the Japanese segment.
With that in mind, Cobb Tuning issued this ad for a vape device merged with their ECU accessport technology in a perfect marriage of popular culture and self awareness.
Worst: McLaren feather wrap
McLaren are a smart company. But their 'feather' campaign was just a bit ... odd. Sure, I did have a chuckle when the weight of a feather was compared in the video to the weight of the mini-model McLaren and the piece of carbon fibre, but the end product just lacks the magic of some other manufacturer gaffs.
There's also a certain irony here that McLaren wanted to “look to the skies” at birds and flight for their next wave of engineering ingenuity, when their logo and long-held mascat — the humble Kiwi bird — is flightless. Maybe that's the real joke and it all flew over my head, maybe.
Regardless, the crux of the problem is this: it wasn't very good.
Best: Lotus' helmets for cats
Lotus, particularly their Formula 1 squad, have always had a slick sense of humour and an intimate understanding of what their audience finds funny. Follow them on Twitter and monitor them during a grand prix to see what I mean.
But the manufacturer's April Fool traded in sarcasm for something far, far more dangerous; cute animals wearing human accessories. In this case, helmets for cats.
“After extensive and hair-raising time trials, Lotus has developed its new lifestyle range of stylish helmets for cats to be both practical and desirable. Tipping the scales at a trim 25 grams, the wonderfully detailed lids can be personalised with your furry companion’s name and blood group.” says the release.
If anything, what makes the story are the images. The cat just look absolutely miserable in the above photograph, though I can confirm it wasn't injured in the making of this gag.
Dogs are still way better.
Worst: Ford and Ferrari trade places
This reeks of an “oh crap, it's April 1 tomorrow, we must do something” late-to-the-party cash in.
I get that Ferrari and Ford have a long-standing rivalry with each other, particularly in the realm of the World Endurance Championship and Le Mans, but that doesn't make this any less lazy.
If you want to commit to the task, do it right ladies and gentleman.
Best/Worst: Holden New Zealand's mullet crop Astra giveaway
On home soil, Holden New Zealand had a solid crack at some April 1 shenanigans, with four-time Bathurst 1000 winner Greg Murphy giving away a new Holden Astra to one mullet-wearing punter who got his locks hacked off — gambling that a campaign run by Holden in the weeks building up to April 1 wasn't just a cheap joke.
There's lots of nice things in this video (embedded at the head of this story); a nice and deserving family won themselves a car, Greg Murphy is once again dressed in bogan-drag, and a mullet was wiped off the face of the earth.
But, it's hard to ignore that it's basically a carbon copy of what BMW New Zealand did in 2015.