Amid the VW dieselgate shitshow we wondered about the other automotive cheaters who nearly got away. Thankfully, you, our readers gave us the answers. Why take the long way around when you could cheat your way through?
10.) Ford’s Fuel Economy Ratings
Upon discovering “improper testing” found after internal audits at Ford after the EPA began to breathe down the automaker’s back, Ford was forced to make serious changes in the ways that they field-tested their fuel mileage ratings, specifically coast down tests.
Basically, because of an old EPA loophole, automakers were able to use the same MPG data from different cars that shared the same drivetrain. It made the less-fuel efficient cars look better, and it worked. Until they got caught.
9.) Subaru Chicken Tax Cheat
In an effort to get around the the United States government’s 25 percent tariff from the Chicken Tax, Subaru designed U.S.-bound Brats to be equipped with two plastic rear-facing, bed-mounted passenger seats so that the Brat could be classified as a “car.” However that works.
8.) 1983 Blue Thunder’s Nonexistent Reverse Gear
Cheating on a racing technical inspection, or during scrutineering, isn’t hard when the tech inspectors fail to check half of the vehicle requirements. But hey, if they don’t care, why should you? I’ll let reader Le Monstre explain this racing story.
1984 Blue Thunder racing IMSA March, which won the championship. Not only were they being shady about their money to pay for the racing, and beating top teams, the transmission they used was known for not being able to handle the torque of the V8’s, yet theirs were very reliable. Here, they removed the reverse gear (which was illegal, and was in the rules) which allowed them to run slightly beefier gears. Turns out tech inspection never checked the whole season!
7.) BAR-Honda F1 Fuel Scandal
After the 2005 San Marino Grand Prix, a post-race inspection by the FIA found that BAR-Honda’s race cars had been underweight after the race. How did they manage it? They had designed a two fuel tank setup which they claimed was for “fuel system pressurization”, but the FIA believed otherwise. The FIA believed that the second tank was actually used as extra ballast and as a fuel reservoir. So not only was the car underweight, but it also had to pit less often than the other teams.
Unfortunately for BAR-Honda, the FIA didn’t approve of this “little rule bending” and decided to ban the team from two upcoming races, including the Monaco Grand Prix.
6.) Acid-Dipped Penske/Donohue Camaro
In racing, any decent amount of weight dropped from a race car can lead to a great advantage on track. After the Penske/Donohue team decided to dip their 1967 Chevrolet Camaro SCCA Race Car in acid, they were able to shed 370 pounds. Unfortunately, this wasn’t an approved modification by the SCCA. And I’m sure you can guess how delighted they were when they found out.
5.) Chrysler PT Cruiser “Light Truck”
As if the PT Cruiser didn’t already have an awful identity crisis already, the folks at Chrysler made the situation even worse by officially categorizing the ugly little devil as a ‘light truck’ along NHTSA’s guidelines. They did this as part of a loophole to bring down the MPG average across their lineup in order to comply with Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards.
4.) Toyota Turbo Cheat
After the FIA implemented a restrictor plate rule that Toyota and the rest of its World Rally Championship class-competitors were forced to follow, Toyota was forced to find a way to keep the pace and have an extra competitive edge while on stage. What better way to stay competitive than to cheat?
So how did they do it? Toyota’s WRC team basically made a mock restrictor plate for the turbo. When the car was under load and on power, the plate would move back, thus making it virtually nonexistent. The little cheat gave Toyota about 25% in power output!
When the FIA found out, they took the liberty of banning Toyota from not only the rest of the 1994 rally season, but the two seasons after it as well.
3.) 1980’s Cadillac A/C Cheat
In 1995, Cadillac was ordered to pay $11 million in federal fines and recall 470,000 vehicles over an emissions-related device that prevented their cars from stalling when the A/C was turned up.
When the A/C was turned up, thw device would tell the car to pump more fuel into the motor, which was cause for the motor to then produce an excess amount of carbon monoxide, which the catalytic converters weren’t able to process. Essentially, their cars were spewing out deadly amounts of carbon monoxide.
There is no argument that they got what was coming to them.
2.) McLaren MP4/12 Rear Brake Pedal
McLaren’s MP4/12 race car was secretly equipped with an extra pedal for the 1997 F1 season, . This extra pedal allowed the driver to use “brake steer” and induce oversteer and reduce understeer coming in and out of corners, giving the car a massive advantage on track. When the MP4/12’s extra brake pedal was uncovered by an F1 Racing photographer, the FIA banned the use of the technology for the 1998 F1 season and on.
1.) Smokey Yunick’s Basketball In The Gas Tank
By installing a basketball — yes, a basketball — inside the fuel tank of his race car, Smokey Yunick’s car was able to pass tech inspection with an oversized and out-of-regulation fuel tank. After tech inspection, Yunick and his team would deflate the ball, allowing them a fuel capacity advantage throughout the race.
May God rest his brilliant, cheatin’ soul.
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