• Apr 2nd 2012 at 7:10PM
  • 17
It's that time of year again. April Fools' came and went over the weekend, and a handful of the world's automakers joined in on a little Spring time fun. From intelligent anti-theft devices and TSA-inspired driver aids to automated NASCAR racers and high-performance hybrids, this year's raft of pranks were as good as any we've seen in past years. With April 1 falling on a Sunday, we saw fewer wise-cracking creations than before, but that didn't spoil the fun, so we thought we'd recap them for your enjoyment.

Mini took the cake this year with the company's Cowley Caravan and Swindon Roof Top Tent. The automaker went through the trouble of working up a full press release, complete with 20 photos and translations into a wide range of languages. We'll admit to being a little disappointed when we discovered the add-ons were a clever rouse. We'll just have to scrap our plans for a Mini safari. For now.

Hit the jump to see more April foolishness. Mini Cooper Yachtsman

Mini Cooper Yachtsman

Mini teased the amphibious car world with the company's Cooper Yachtsman as well. A sea-going version of the three-door hatch, the tongue-in-cheek press release said the vehicle "will become an instant status symbol." Something like that.

Subaru XV self-washing car

Subaru jumped in with a self-cleaning version of the company's new XV. Push a button and watch the dirt fade away.

Darth Vader TomTom voice

Kids happier with Darth Vader as their co-pilot

TomTom announced the company's research arm had found Darth Vader's navigation voice to increase happiness in children by 68 percent. The fake release attributed the findings to data collected from more than 300 baby and toddler volunteers.

Google Nascar

Google Racing

Google rolled out more than a few April Fools pranks this year, including the announcement that the company intended to join the NASCAR fray with an autonomous vehicle. Insert obligatory "turn left" joke here.

BMW Running Coach

BMW Driverless Running Coach

BMW didn't let Mini have all the fun this year. The German automaker announced a new driverless running coach feature for its vehicles as part of the company's partnership with the London 2012 Olympic games. We can think of few things as terrifying as being chased down by an automated 3 Series.

Solar-powered Subaru Tribeca

Solar-powered Subaru Tribeca

Planet Subaru in Hanover, Massachusetts prides itself on the 374 solar panels on top of the dealership. To mark April Fools, the company worked up a mock solar-powered Tribeca, complete with a panel on the roof and pack of batteries in the rear.

Honda anti-theft negotiator

This year, Honda released a video for Terii, a new anti-theft system capable of psycho-analyzing would-be thieves, ruining their credit and discerning their home address. Sounds like a win to us.

Callaway Volt

Callaway HyperVolt

Callaway has long been a haven for high-performance General Motors products, but the company doesn't have much of a history with EVs. As a prank, the company unleashed this photo on the web, complete with a spec list for a faster Volt. The HyperVolt would supposedly be able to dump 10,000 volts to the driveline which would be capable of revving to 120,000 rpm. Maniacal.

Subaru TSA EyeSight

Subaru EyeSight with TSA option

Finally, Subaru played one last prank with a TSA option for the company's upcoming EyeSight driver assistance system. By combining pedestrian detection with TSA body scanners, drivers would be able to detect hidden objects on those in front of them.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      Johnny Trailerpark
      • 3 Years Ago
      You guys forgot the 4-door Mustang: http://www.roadandtrack.com/future-cars/first/2014-ford-mustang-sedan
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Johnny Trailerpark
          • 3 Years Ago
          Sadly? why? Lots of muscle sedans in Ford's history. Ford would sell a boatload of those if they made them. Anything is better than more SUVs.
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Johnny Trailerpark
        Oh man i just pre ordered that yesterday
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Johnny Trailerpark
        I agree that the 4-door Mustang should be mentioned; however, it's important to establish that Road&Track staff orchestrated the ruse, and created those renders, not Ford Motor Co.
      • 3 Years Ago
      nice Honda!
      • 3 Years Ago
      Clever ruse.
      • 3 Years Ago
      there's two in this link for Mini & BMW in Australia http://theinspirationroom.com/daily/2012/april-fool-ads-in-australia/ the BMW one was actually quite serious as they do take a stance against our stupid Luxury Car Tax
      Boris Murzin
      • 3 Years Ago
      There are some nice jokes, but my favourite automotive joke is still last year BMW M3 Pickup joke.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Type your comment hereThey would sell a million of these in Britain if they bothered.
      Radioactive Flea
      • 3 Years Ago
      Is this Autoblog, or the Mini marketing department?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Ford had one as well: a 4 door Mustang, based on a stretched version of the soon to be replaced S197, not even the new one. I mean, if it were true in the remotest sense, why release it the day before April Fools? Though I would like to be proven wrong, as the 4 door Boss 302 looked wicked. Call it a Falcon, and go chase after Charger sales!
      • 3 Years Ago
      They would sell a million of the mini campers in britain if they tried.
        T. C.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Google "tear-drop camper." Mini has invented NOTHING, those tiny campers have existed for decades.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Chrysler TD by Maserati, in C/D... http://www.caranddriver.com/features/2015-chrysler-td-by-maserati-future-cars
        • 3 Years Ago
        I'm looking at the picture, at my office, trying not to laugh too loudly at the picture. or the prose. Well done.
        Charles Milsaps
        • 3 Years Ago
        Car and Driver offered this photo, when it ran a story in March of this year, reporting the possibility of a Chrysler TD by Maserati. The article was not exactly flattering nor enthusiastic about bringing back a Chrysler/Maserati born motorchild, aiming most of its criticism at the Chrysler TC by Maserati from years ago. The premise was that the new DT would be based on the Dodge Dart’s platform, which is adapted from t he Alpha Romeo Giulietta’s. Starting from that false premise and building on the idea that Chrysler would make the same mistakes it did 25 years ago with the TC, C&D whipped up this bastardized Dart DT rendering and offered it as proof that the idea was ill-conceived and would surely be a flop. Here is what I see as the problem(s) with this line of thought. First, I think the concept of a Chrysler TD by Maserati is a great one. I, like many others are excited about seeing the hybrid fruits of the Chrysler/Fiat Group (Fiat, Alpha Romeo, Lancai, Abarth, Maserati, Ferrari) family tree. Car & Driver assumes Chrysler will slap a Trident on the grill and a pair of port-hole-windows in the hard top of a Dart and call it a day, as illustrated in their rendering. I suspect, hope, and am fairly confident that the New Chrysler Group LLC will dip a tad bit deeper into their tool box to reincarnate a Chrysler by Maserati product. Even if this concept is and will be based on the revised Giulietta’s platform (Dodge Dart), The styling and execution of the new DT would be wildly different from the Dart’s. Even the TC of Chrysler Corp years had It’s own Italian skin, though hampered by a shortened Dodge Daytona platform and turbocharged 2.2 L straight-4 Chrysler K engine. With the modern small car platform and engine technology of the Fiat Group and a sexy skin from Maserati, I predict an attractive and provocative design. I won’t begin to speculate on what a final production Chrysler TD by Maserati might look like, unlike C&D did, but I will be eager to see what this little bundle of joy will look like after the proper gestation period.
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