Fake OldsmobileEarlier this week, in an example of cross-magazine synergy, both Automobile and Car and Driver ran April Fool's gags trumpeting the return of a rejuvenated, Toyota-owned Oldsmobile. The pubs even shared the same images, which depicted Oldsmofied versions of the Toyota Sequoia (Oldsmobile Super 88) and 4Runner (Oldsmobile Intrigue). It was goofy fun, and we all had a laugh and moved on. It would appear that not everyone caught the joke, however, and this is where things get substantially more amusing.


April 1st came and went, and the associated April Foolery instantly became old news... almost. You see, the Oldsmobile joke wound up having legs thanks to ABC Radio's Paul Harvey news update. Guest host Ron Chapman, filling in for the legendary Mr. Harvey, reported the Oldsmobile story as fact during the Noon news update on April 2nd. It went like this:

Date April 02, 2008
Time 11:45 AM - 12:00 PM
Station Syndicated Radio
Location Network
Program Paul Harvey

RON CHAPMAN, anchor:

And remember about four years ago, General Motors
discontinued their car line known as Oldsmobile. I saw
this story yesterday and I kind of thought it was an April
Fools'. It turns out it's not.

General Motors stopped manufacturing Oldsmobiles, stopped
making them in 2004. David Gluckman of Automobile Magazine
says they apparently also stopped paying any attention to
the name Oldsmobile as well and the copyright on the
Oldsmobile name ran out and nobody at General Motors
noticed. But one person in the US Copyright Office did,
saw the name was freely available, called a relative who
worked for Toyota.

So, as of this day, the name Oldsmobile belongs not to GM
but to Toyota. And they're thinking of using it on a new
mid-level luxury model to be marketed where? Right here in
the United States.

You can listen to the clip at PaulHarvey.com. Choose the Wednesday noon update and fast-forward to 3:12 into the broadcast.

Poor Ron. They got him good. Oldsmobile is still dead and GM still controls the name, but now he knows... the rest of the story.