Urban legends and autos go together like red Ferraris and speeding tickets. Just in time for October, here’s a look at five strange and spooky pop culture automotive myths.
The 100 MPG Carburetor
Details vary, but this is the basic story. An unnamed mechanical genius has discovered an easy way to make every car get at least 100 mpg. Unfortunately, the oil companies heard about the guy before he could make the news public. His current whereabouts are unknown, but it’s assumed that he and Jimmy Hoffa are now close neighbors.
The $1.00 Corvette
One day a young man is flipping through the want ads, looking for a good deal on an old vehicle. His eyes grow wide as the sees a notice that reads, “USED CAR IN GOOD CONDITION. FIRST $1.00 GETS IT.”
Skeptical yet intrigued, he calls the number. A woman answers, verifies the ad, and gives the teen her address. Later that day she leads him to her garage. The guy nearly faints when he sees what she’s selling: a rare vintage Corvette in mint condition!
The lady explains that she won the ‘vette in her divorce settlement and is selling it for a buck purely out of spite. Amazed, the kid hands her a dollar bill and drives off in the deal of a lifetime.
The Perilous Picnic
This story is well-known in mountainous regions of the country, where emergency exit ramps for trucks with failing brakes are common sites. A vacationing family from out of town spots ones of the ramps. Not knowing its purpose, they decide it’s a lovely place for a quick picnic.
All goes well until an approaching trucker loses his brakes on a steep grade. Unable to stop his rig, he turns onto the ramp at 80 mph, not seeing the picnickers until right before they disappear under his front tires…
The Car with the Awful Odor
In this story, there’s an auto dealership in the area that’s desperate to unload a fancy car, likely a BMW or Mercedes. It has low miles and is in mint condition. There’s a problem, though. The previous owner died behind the wheel and his corpse laid there for days before being found. No matter what cleaning method is used, the odor of the dead body just won’t go away.
The Ghostly Hitchhiker
This legend is unusual in that it’s tied to a specific locale: the area of Chicago near Resurrection Cemetery. Drivers going past the graveyard sometimes see a lovely yet sad-looking young lady hitching a ride. After she gets in the vehicle she chats a little with the occupants, then disappears in thin air.
Locals say she’s the ghost of a girl named Mary who’s buried in the nearby cemetery. I’m not saying I believe this tale, but if you’re ever in Chi-town you might want to be careful what streets you drive on, especially after dark.
Image Source: Truedemocracy.net, The Hitchhiker
- Urban legends