Dacia’s had a good run lately with cheap EVs and simple but clever features in its cars. Today, it looks like the Romanian carmaker is still having a good time, because its April Fools’ prank is actually funny. Dacia sent a Duster into space.
Well, it’s a toy Duster, but that’s the punchline! The rest of the prank involved a balloon, a fake launch video and a really bad pun. At first, I swore this prank showed a car set against a green screen.
I had to roll my eyes and groan loudly at the low-rent prank and DUSTAR pun, but Dacia actually put in some effort, as it shows in this behind-the-scenes vid:
Unlike the grand and ultimately silly spoof that Volkswagen pulled — which, by the way, has now resulted in its own fiasco — Dacia was perfectly happy with a small-scale, science project prank. In other words, Dacia just had a good time.
The carmaker tied a balloon full of Hydrogen to a toy model of its Duster. It rigged this up on what looks like a 3D printed platform, which means we can now add vehicular space-travel to the long list of uses for additive manufacturing. It then set all this up on a rugged camera system with selfie-sticks and let it rip.
The DUSTAR rig had GPS onboard, which Dacia used to track the launch, trajectory and eventual re-entry of its toy car. The project was undertaken in Sheffield, a South Yorkshire city in England. It looks like that was the launch site. Dacia gave us a peek of the DUSTAR’s trajectory, which at one point hovered over Clay Cross, in Derbyshire, England.
The distance between these two locations is about 18 miles, and if that’s where the DUSTAR landed then it didn’t travel too far. Still, it managed to go into space, so I’m calling it a win either way.
Dacia’s whole prank is leaning into the company’s bang-for-your-buck ethos and it wanted to show that something like this can be done cheaply. Yes, technically, it did send a car to space. Except, rather than a roadster and a rocket this was a just a toy and a ballon.