Tell Us Your Favorite Automotive Conspiracy Theory

Illustration for article titled Tell Us Your Favorite Automotive Conspiracy Theory
Photo: Jerry S. Mendoza (AP)

Everyone loves a good conspiracy theory. Whether you actually believe them or not, there’s something kind of satisfying about listening to Giorgio Tsoukalos that the world’s history was dictated by aliens or scrolling through Twitter threads about how Avril Lavigne is dead and has been replaced by a doppelgänger.

I want to know what your favorite conspiracy theory in the car world is.

It can be anything: possibly real or definitely fake, vague or elaborately detailed, in motorsports or the everyday world alike. Give us your best stories, your photographic proof, whatever you’ve got. Suspend your belief for just a few minutes and indulge in the intrigue of speculation.


My personal favorite is the Curse of Pastor Maldonado, in which the former F1 and current WEC driver has been quite literally cursed with a bad luck bug that has followed him throughout his career. When he pulled off his win in Spain in 2012, the universe had to balance out that good luck and did so by lighting the Williams garage on fire.

A close second: Colin Chapman faked his own death so that he wouldn’t have to deal with the legal shenanigans surrounding the Delorean Motor Company fiasco.

Can I prove it? Not really. Is it fun to think about? Hell yeah.

Show us what you’ve got!

Weekends at Jalopnik. Managing editor at A Girl's Guide to Cars. Lead IndyCar writer and assistant editor at Frontstretch. Novelist. Motorsport fanatic.

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I mean this is easy, obvious and right out there but here it is:

My 1989 BMW 525i. It was an E34 made in WEST Germany in 8/88. It had an amber information display that would scroll text along containing various warnings and information. It was insanely useful. I have yet to see a modern car with as useful a source of information regarding the health of your vehicle. The OBDII standard has made things MORE obtuse rather than less. Sure you can plug a tool in, and they’re much cheaper and easier to come by now, but why couldn’t the modern car, with all it’s processing power, simply tell you what’s wrong on one of it’s two or five displays?

This is entirely to make people roll into dealership service departments.

People being ignorant of their own machines contributes, but I say it could also be a chicken and egg thing. If cars *told* you what was wrong rather then simply lighting an SES or Check Engine light, a young driver may be inspired to fix it himself and learn to wrench.

Edit: Fun fact. If I disconnected power on my old E34 it would “forget” it was an NA car for a while and display “Bitte Angurten!” on start-up as well as any other warnings in German. This amnesia seemed to grow worse over the years and as a result I have a surprisingly broad vocabulary of Deutsche car warnings.