What's History's Greatest Automotive Hoax?

Automotive history is rife with those who have taken advantage of society's collective gullibility. If Jim Sikes is in fact a four-wheeled balloon boy, he's pretty high on the list. What's history's greatest automotive hoax?

Journalist and satirist (why are those two professions so often tied?) H.L. Mencken once said that no one ever went broke underestimating the intelligence of the American public. Jim Sikes, the runaway Prius driver, apparently took that quote to heart, likely attempting to manipulate the paranoia of the moment for financial gain. After a week of unsurprising revelations and questionable evidence, we've found ourselves looking back for perspective. Names like DeLorean and Bricklin come to mind. We think of moments both good-natured and intrinsically evil. And we kind of want a deep-sea Alfa. The answers are endless.

The automobile, like the occasional natural wonder and the origin of man, is deeply tied to our sense of identity. Who has pulled the greatest quantity of wool over our collective gearhead eyes? What's history's greatest automotive hoax?

QOTD is your chance to address the day's most pressing automotive issues and to experience the opinions of the insightful insiders, practicing pundits, and gleeful gearheads that make up the Jalopnik commentariat. If you've got a question suggestion, send an email to tips at jalopnik dot com.