The world of cars is full of surprising twists and facts. But there are some little-known car facts you’ll have trouble believing. In fact, many of them prove the old adage that truth is stranger than fiction. Here are some of the strangest in the chronicles of vehicle history.
The Parrot in Paradise
New Zealand is the home of a magnificent alpine parrot call the kea. The 19-inch long olive-green bird with brilliantly colored orange underwings is the only alpine parrot in the world. People come from all over the globe to catch a glimpse of the unusual creature.
“Not satisfied with its highly unique status, the kea has at least one other claim to fame. It likes to eat cars.” — Alex Perdikis
Well, maybe not entire cars, but it’s infamous for landing on vehicles and pulling off antennas or anything else it can get its beak around and devouring the apparently tasty morsel.
A Gamers’ Delight
Anyone who plays video games knows the term “Easter egg.” An Easter egg in a game refers to hidden surprises that pop out if you happen to steer, click or otherwise act in a specific manner. Easter eggs have no purpose in a game other than to amuse the gamer. They’re fun to find but have no impact on the game whatsoever.
But, did you know that the Vauxhall/Opel has some Easter egg fun as well? For years the auto manufacturer has hidden small shark depictions in its models in various locations. A car might have as many as three sharks hidden within all waiting to be found.
Whatever Happened To…
The way people listen to music has changed radically. Music play went from LPs to 8-tracks to cassettes and on to CDs and MP3s. Who knows what the future holds? And, of course, music systems in new cars had to keep up.
Tape decks in cars were slow to retire. In fact the Ford Crown Vic still had an optional cassette tape player in 2011. And the Lexus SC430 included a tape deck as standard in 2010. Both models were designed with older drivers in mind who probably had huge collections of mixed tapes. Sadly for them, cassette players are no longer available as an option in any vehicle.
Welcome to the Table
Leave it to Honda to come up with ways to combine fun and economy. Honda’s compact SUV, the CRV, is a case in point. The first generation model not only included a picnic table that folded up neatly in the rear, but offered a shower kit option as well. Second generation models ditched the shower but kept the picnic table.
Porsche or Studebaker?
Silly question or what? Who would’ve guessed that Porsche and Studebaker had a clandestine meeting in the past? Porsche’s first sedan wasn’t the Panamera or its 1990s four-door sedan prototype. It was a Studebaker. Called Type 542, the 1952 design never went into production. No surprise there.
What’s That Smell?
The idea of using horse-drawn carriages seems like a charming bit of nostalgia now. But think about it. Horses leave a mess behind. And when the only way to get around has four-legs, eats and does what all living creatures do, you can imagine how smelly and dirty the roads were.
Early 20th-century car manufacturers had their work cut out for them if they wanted people to stop using horses to get around and buy cars instead. So they came up with a great selling point. They began advertising cars as a “green” alternative to horses. And, the rest is history.
Alex Perdikis, Koons of Silver Spring general manager and owner, lives in Chevy Chase with his wife and daughters.