As a child, the family car is the most fantastical device you'll see mom or dad piloting. Therefore, as children we all formed certain legends to explain how they worked. Here are ten hilarious childhood automotive myths our commenters remembered.
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10. All Cars Are Rear Wheel Drive
Suggested my: Unevolved
The myth in their words: "That all cars were rear wheel drive. Much like believing in Santa, I thought that front wheels were for steering and stopping, rear wheels were for propulsion.
I still remember the first time I saw my mom's Toyota Avalon spin the front tires driving into the garage up a small lip on wet concrete. I asked my dad if that meant the car was AWD, and he had to break the sad truth to me."
9. All Mustangs Have V8 Engines
Suggested my: JackTrade
The myth in their words: "That all Mustangs had V8 engines.
Growing up in the malaise era, and constantly hearing about the "5 point O", I had no idea that there could be anything *but* a small-block V8 in these cars.
Ignorance was certainly bliss; I wondered why everyone didn't buy them...those "starting at X MSRP" numbers in the ads made them seem like such a great deal!"
8. Cars Won't Start Until You Belt Up
Suggested my: KWRussell
The myth in their words: "Mom always told me that the car wouldn't start until everybody fastened their seat belts. The buckles were wired to the ignition, you see.
And when I asked her how the car knew that there was nobody in the front passenger seat one day, she thought for a moment, then said there was a scale in the seat. So she pretty much invented modern passenger seat airbag controls off the top of her head in 1976, as far as I'm concerned."
7. Horsepower And Speed Are Totally Proportional
Suggested my: WKiernan
The myth in their words: "When I was a little kid one day it dawned on me that if a particular car were to have twice the horsepower, everything else being equal, it could go twice as fast. So why not make every car go twice as fast by adding a second copy of the motor that's already in it? A VW Beetle, for example, could go 140 MPH, and an XKE could go 300 MPH. I couldn't imagine why the dumb car manufacturers hadn't figured this out already."
6. Volkswagen Beetles Are Unsinkable
Suggested my: Blister
The myth in their words: "Growing up riding my Grandpa's 1969 VW Beetle, and living in flood prone Manila, Philippines, my Grandpa always boasted that Beetles were the ultimate flood machine because the engine wouldn't die underwater since the engine is in the rear (wtf?). One horrible stormnight back in the 80's however, most of the city were submerged, and here we were, my grandpa & I, driving around. We came to a street that was flooded about 3-4 feet high, my gramps, being the eternal beetle fanboy, gunned the throttle... seeing down the road that cars & even trucks were already stranded, i told my grandpa that we should turn around. In Filipino, he said something that translates: "nothing is impossible".... so there we were, flood water already in the windshield, revving high, going thru all the stranded cars, people looking in disbelief.... then the inevitable happens...
...the car floats (a true VW trademark), engine dies, and we hit a lampost and a few other cars... we ended up pushing the car home in waist-high water (chest high for me)...
totally unforgettable experience. RIP Grandpa."
5. Every Car Is Herbie The Love Bug
Suggested my: PlasticDingus
The myth in their words: "My parents had an old red 4 Door Chevy Hatchback. I can't remember what kind of car it was, but at the time me and my brothers were in love with the Herbie the Love Bug movies, and we nicknamed the car "Herbie."
My dad would be driving us someplace, and he had us convinced that the car was alive and driving itself. "Come on Herbie, lets go to Old Country Buffet!" BEEP BEEP!
One day, I took my Dad's keys and went out to the car. When they found me a few minutes later I was in the front seat. "Come on Herbie, I wanna go to Old Country Buffet."
Learning that Herbie wasn't alive was as crushing to my childhood as finding out the Rugrats weren't real."
4. Turning With Any Speed Will Flip Your Car
Suggested my: SLPR
The myth in their words: "I've played car and racing video games since I was a small kid so my parents knew that I would grow to be a spirited driver. To deter my me from driving enthusiastically or cornering quickly my mom would always tell me that if I cornered even just enough to shift the weight of the car it would flip over and I would be killed, or worse yet ruin the family car.
Even to this day she still tells me that no matter what I drive, if I turn too fast it's going to flip"
3. Airbags Will Get You
Suggested my: Ppiddy
The myth in their words: "I remember going out with my parents to test drive cars back in ~1990. We went to the VW dealership and drove a Jetta. The salesman convinced my parents that VW didn't put airbags in any of their cars because in an accident your eyeglasses would first come off your face, then get shot back at you by the airbag and the earpieces would poke through your eyes and into your brain.
I was terrified of airbags for YEARS."
2. Cruise Control Drives The Car
Suggested my: Shamoononon
The myth in their words: "A family friend tried to convince me that cruise control could drive a car. I was sitting in the back seat and couldn't see that he was actually steering with his knees. It really scared me and I started questioning how it knew when to turn."
1. Trolls Control The Traffic Lights
Suggested my: Grubbalicious
The myth in their words: "There was a little man in the metal box on the street corner, and he was the one who made the traffic signals change.
Actually, I wouldn't call that a fave; I was terrified of the metal box until I was 8, when I saw one open and realized there was no room for a little man. Before then, I imagined a pale, hunched little troglodyte, totally naked and covered in gray hair (because they were locked in for their lives), peering out of the little vent and slavering over the thought of molesting the children on the corners waiting to cross (as the only street light box I had to be near was on the way to school, so there was always children waiting near it).
I remember asking my kindergarten teacher what they fed the man in the box, and she told me there wasn't any man in the box.
That's when I knew she was in on the conspiracy.
I was a weird kid."