Hooniverse Asks: What Auto-Related Scam Do You Most Wish Had Been The Real Deal?

150 MPG
Geraldine Elizabeth Carmichael headed up the Twentieth Century Motor Car Corporation in the ’70s. She was also a he, a guy named Jerry Dean Michael, whose persona and company was one of the greatest automotive scams ever perpetuated on a gullible public. The Dale has gone down in history as textbook case of investor fraud, and the only thing surprising about the story is that no one has deemed it worthy of a film adaptation.
Of course the infamous Carmichael/Michael was only one of the scammers, con artists, and shady-tree mechanic inventors that have tried to pull the wool over the eyes of the easily dupable—people whose only dream in life is to drive a car with a 200-mpg carburetor.
Scams and scammers seem to always exist on the fringes of pretty much every aspect of society and in the automotive world they are legend. Thinking of all the scams that have been perpetuated, which is the one that you most wish really was real?
Image: Woman On Wheels

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  1. HycoSpeed Avatar

    When I was a kid, this car looked like the future! Plus I’ve always been a sucker for a three-wheeler. Too bad it didn’t work out.

    1. Wayne Moyer Avatar
      Wayne Moyer

      The person who promoted this is almost as interesting as the car itself.

  2. Fred Talmadge Avatar
    Fred Talmadge

    They had these 8track tapes of cars burning rubber to make your car sound cool. If only. Still they still make junk like that

    1. The Real Number_Six Avatar
      The Real Number_Six

      In Northern Ireland, to “blow off” is to fart.
      Could a person…Never mind…

  3. dukeisduke Avatar

    My dad bought one of those spark intensifiers. It was similar to the one above, but no label on it. It was black Bakelite, with one end of the cylinder being conical dark red Bakelite. He put it on our ’66 Rambler American. I don’t remember him claiming any gas mileage improvement. Putting something like this on was about as mechanical as he got – replacing light bulbs was an achievement for him.

    1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

      Now if people would just stop thinking that this works… I don’t care if you cal it Brown’s gas, HHO or oxyhydrogen, it “works” but it doesn’t work.
      It’s not some Big Oil conspiracy. Big Oil didn’t write the laws of thermodynamics. Even Newton didn’t create the laws, he just defined them.
      edit: I dare you to read the comments. http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-assemble-a-HHO-Generator-and-why-it-works/

  4. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    Fuel Magnets

    1. nanoop Avatar

      What is wrong with “directional informing”? The molecules will swoosh along much better.

  5. The Real Number_Six Avatar
    The Real Number_Six

    Static strips hanging off the chrome bumpers of 1981 Delta 88s going down the road at 31mph in a 55 zone. The world would be a gentler place if we all believed that static buildup in our cars was causing us health problems that could be dissipated with the application of two strips of fabric trailing on the ground. Canadian Tire still sells them but I haven’t seen them in the wild in ages.
    “Bell Automotive Anti-Static Strip protects your family and your car by removing hazardous static electricity build-up while you drive your car”

    1. crank_case Avatar

      I remember these, vital accessory for a shonky MK4 Ford Cortina in the 80s, along with big mud flaps, rubber spoiler and oversize sun strip on the front windscreen

      1. The Real Number_Six Avatar
        The Real Number_Six

        Dead on. Possibly towing a caravan as well. Tinned oiks.

    2. Sjalabais Avatar

      I saw a lot of cars with one strip hanging down onto the road in Russia. Maybe that was that? Never figured it out on my own, and the quasi-science is probably harder to disprove in Russia, were even the government line can be…eh…murky.

    3. Texlenin Avatar

      “Keep that pole up..
      This kinda weather, his rotor’ll be putting out enough static electricity
      to light up Chicago….”

  6. crank_case Avatar

    On the flipside, everyone used to laugh at Electric superchargers, but now they’re an actual thing, we just needed more juice (48v)

  7. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    Electronic rust prevention. Hooking an electrode to your car to prevent rust ignores the glaring reality that your car is already part of an electrical circuit.
    But it would definitely be cool if it were that simple to keep the rust monster at bay.

    1. nanoop Avatar

      You certainly need a grounding strip dangling from the rear.

    2. Maymar Avatar

      So long as the warranty associated with those devices aren’t a scam, I’m okay with that.

  8. Batshitbox Avatar

    Resistors in spark plugs are a real thing, but not for better combustion. They reduce RF noise, so the R is for ‘radio’, and you should use them if your car or motorcycle has a radio.
    This handy chart will explain what a 5K resistor will do to your spark voltage, and amperage.

  9. Batshitbox Avatar

    The Turbonique Rocket Rear Axle.
    What? Those were real?!? Get out!

    1. dead_elvis, inc. Avatar
      dead_elvis, inc.

      Is there a way to stealthily install these in all Harleys belonging to the idiot “loud pipes save lives” brigade? (The mufflers, not the Turbonique.)

    1. Batshitbox Avatar

      “Write: Dept BS, Box 18, Splott”

    2. The Real Number_Six Avatar
      The Real Number_Six

      “I’ll send it piece by piece to Ottumwa, Iowa, and then my aunt will forward it to you…”

    3. salguod Avatar

      My friend’s rat rod has an army surplus 727 transmission (was still in the crate when he bought it) plus a hemi out of an air raid siren.

  10. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    The Miracle Cars Scam
    The miracle cars scam was an advance fee fraud that ran from 1997 to 2002. It was one of the largest advance fee frauds in world history, as well as the largest automobile fraud in American history. In its run of just over four years, over 4,000 people were tricked into paying an “advance fee”; in order to receive the “chartable bequest” of a motor vehicle, as required by a “Decedent’s”, “Last Will and Testament”. Neither the deceased; his alleged will; or an estate of any kind, ever existed. While over 7,000 “cars”, were to be “gifted” and transferred to new owners; no cars existed either. In the process the victims were taken for over $21 million.

  11. Kiefmo Avatar

    Tornadoes blow really hard, right? So surely this thing must be like having a free supercharger!
    Any light swirl that might be created by sticking this thing in your intake hose will be cancelled out by the throttle body, intake manifold, etc. If it did anything at all, manufacturers would have been sticking them in years ago.

  12. Kiefmo Avatar

    I don’t have a good photo, but a large magnet stuck on the bottom of your motorcycle to help trigger the light sensor when you’re stuck at a traffic light.
    I was personally fooled by this one. Bought one to stick on the bottom of my plastic-bodied scooter because I was tired of waiting at lights for a car to come up being me.
    When I realized that the law allowed for motorcycles to treat a red light as a stop sign under such conditions, its failure was rendered moot.

  13. smokyburnout Avatar

    the 150MPG carburetor is totally real

    1. gerberbaby Avatar

      must be a 4 gallon tank huh?