2017 was a weird year. There was a marked increase in the number of flat-earthers spewing nonsense (Kyrie, please stick to basketball), people went out to hunt for Pokémon en masse, and a gigantic talking Cheeto became president. The automotive world was no exception from this strangeness, as we’ll see in the weirdest car news stories of 2017.
After reading this, we wouldn’t blame you if you want to change your name and move away somewhere very, very remote. Like this guy.
Not all these stories are bad, however. Some will make you laugh, others will make you cry. Get ready for a rollercoaster of emotions as you read through what we thought were some of the weirdest things to happen last year.
#1 Montreal Police Got Pranked by a Fake Car Sculpture
Montreal artist Simon Laprise sure made the best of some snowy weather. He sculpted a life-size rendition of the DeLorean DMC-12 on the side of a neighbourhood road.
The sculpture looked convincing enough to attract the attention of the police. They were driving by to check the snow removal zones where the “car” was illegally parked. The result was a pretty hilarious photo of a confused police officer, ticket book in hand, inspecting the sculpture.
33-year-old Laprise had even added a discarded windshield wiper he found across the street to the fake car’s windshield.
In good humour, the officer left a ticket behind under the sole windshield wiper that read, “You made our night!!! Hahahahaha :).” The snow-sculpted car was later cleared away by snow removal crews. After all, it was illegally parked.
#2 A Russian Man Rammed a Stolen Armored Personnel Carrier into a Wine Shop
A drunken man in a northern Russian town decided he would do anything he could to get his hands on a bottle of wine. This included stealing an armored personnel carrier and driving it through a local wine shop. It seems the old saying “in wine there is wisdom” doesn’t apply to this guy.
The drunken joyrider was later arrested in possession of a stolen bottle of wine. Nobody was hurt, and aside from the damage caused to the convenience store and a Daewoo car that was parked nearby, it seemed to be business as usual in this town just south of the Arctic circle.
Somewhere, the Wiserhood guys are vehemently booing this guy.
#3 Squirrels Made a Home in a British Vacationer’s Car
It looks like squatters’ rights don’t apply to squirrels. Early this year, a family of squirrels was evicted from the inside of a Volkswagen Golf. Upon returning from a long vacation to Southeast Asia, 25-year-old Andrew Wilkins found he had difficulty shifting gears. So he took his Golf to a repair shop where he discovered that squirrels had turned it into a winter supply store.
Nuts were everywhere; in the glove box, under the hood, and inside the gearbox (hence the shifting issues). Oh, and a dead rat was found under the hood, too.
Once the whole fiasco was over, Wilkins said he was happy to have his car back, but he expressed some dismay. “I had some squirrel squatters for a month,” he said. “I feel bad — I ruined their winter and all their hard work.”
#4 Ford Sued John Cena After He Flipped his Sports Car for Cash
Ford is suing WWE superstar and actor John Cena after they found out he sold his custom limited edition 2017 Ford GT. He breached his contract with Ford that stipulated he had to keep the car for a minimum of two years.
Cena paid about $460,000 for the 650 horsepower sport scar. A month after he took possession, he sold it “for cash to take care of expenses.”
It appears John Cena bought a little too much into his own hype and didn’t anticipate that Ford would see him breach his contract.
#5 The Increase in Traffic Deaths Due to Pokemon Go
One phenomenon I’m really hoping gets left behind in 2017 is the popular augmented reality game Pokémon Go. Not only is it a colossal waste of people’s time (and data), but apparently, according to a recent study conducted by Purdue University’s Krannert School of Management, this app caused a spike in distracted driving incidents and traffic fatalities.
The researchers discovered that traffic fatalities had made an inexplicable jump in 2016. This broke the steady trending decline that had been going on for years. When accident numbers jumped around the release of the game, the researchers decided to investigate. They found that there was an increase in the accident rate within 100 yards of nearly all “pokéstops” (a location to catch virtual Pokémon).
The study is still undergoing the peer review process. Nevertheless, it drives home the point that distracted driving is dangerous and that catching Pokémon should be left to the professionals – the fictional professionals, to be precise.
#6 A Wisconsin Woman Tied Her Nine-Year-Old Son to Her Van’s Roof to Hold Down a Plastic Pool
A mother in a town north of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, was charged with child endangerment after she was sighted by another driver with her young son atop her minivan, holding down a plastic pool. According to court documents, 28-year-old Amber Schmunk defended her actions by explaining that the pool was too large to fit inside the car.
Apparently, it was okay to do it because it was “only for a short time, maybe 20-30 seconds.”
Her father had “let her do things like that when she was that age.”
If found guilty, Schmunk could face up to ten years in prison and a $25,000 fine.
#7 A Woman Exchanged Szechuan Sauce for a VW Golf GTI
Popularized by Rick and Morty, McDonald’s’ discontinued Szechuan sauce has acquired some hefty market value. Following McDonald’s announcement (coming after some harassment and lawsuit threats from fans of the television show) that they’d offer a super-limited-edition Rick and Morty-inspired Szechuan sauce, a market for the sauce exploded, with high stakes bidding and trading taking place online.
One woman–23-year-old Rachel Marie of Michigan–actually traded her packets of Szechuan sauce for a fully-functional Volkswagen Golf GTI. Yup, you read that right. A packet of sauce traded for a car.
#8 A Baby Wildebeest Thought a Hyundai Tucson was its Mother
This story of a baby wildebeest will hit you right in the feels.
It may look like a commercial for Hyundai, but this is a real life video of a lost baby Wildebeest chasing a Tucson it mistook as its mother. At one point, the small animal even suckles up to the car’s side, which sort of makes you want to adopt all the lost baby wildebeests in the world as your own.
Thankfully, there’s a happy ending to this story. After the driving a few kilometres, the Tucson and the car following behind them filming the action came upon a herd of wildebeest. Within seconds, the baby wildebeest’s mother came running to retrieve her calf.
It looks like there’s still some good in the world after all.
Stay tuned for Part 2…