The Weirdest Stuff to Happen to or With Cars In 2018

Look, let’s face it: we live in an era when every year feels like the weirdest damn year ever. And so it was with this year! The glorious World Automotive was jam-packed with all manner of weirdness, so let’s take a stroll back, shall we, through the weird car stuff that happened in weird year of 2018. It’ll be fun!

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Remember this guy? 2018 started off with us getting a press release (admittedly from December 2017) from an 88-year old man named Marvin Birnbom who wanted to announce to the world that he’d stuck a 1940s hood ornament on his 2016 Cadillac. I wish the rest of 2018 remained as charming as old Marv there.

Early this past year was also when I learned that the Thai military still uses 1970s-era Volkswagen Type 181s (we knew them as “The Thing”) for their military. They had a bunch in their big military parade!

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This isn’t an endorsement of the current Thai martial government, but I can’t help being delighted to see all those Things out there. That was very weird.

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You know what was really goddamn weird this year? The fact that Kanye freaking West went to the Oval Office to show President freaking Trump a picture on his phone of a fake freaking hydrogen-powered plane Kanye said would be built by Apple.

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None of that shit was remotely real, and yet this is a thing that happened.

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You know what else was deeply, richly, alarmingly weird this year? This disturbing female-form sculpted Citroën DS for sale on Craigslist.

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Jeezis, this thing still gives me nightmares months later.

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I think easily one of the weirdest car-buying-related events to happen this past year was when a woman, attempting to buy a Fiat 500X in person from a Florida dealership, had to physically, with a pen, check one of those CAPTCHA boxes stating she was not a robot before they’d sell her a car.

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That happened in 2018.

Does anyone remember those strange anti-German attack ads that were all over the place in the middle of the year? The story behind those things was very, very weird and very unexpected.

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This may be more of a weird, improbable coincidence than anything actually weird-weird, but I think it’s pretty damn odd: while in Chile for a Mini-sponsored trip to drive to the bottom of the continent, I happened to find, by total chance walking around a random neighborhood in Chile, a couple rare and deeply strange fiberglass Minis.

It’s worth remembering that not all weird things are bad.

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Of course, some weird things absolutely are bad, like Elon Musk calling one of the rescuers of those kids from the Thai soccer team trapped in those underground caves a pedophile for no good reason whatsoever.

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Seriously, if someone told me that the man behind likely the best-known maker of electric cars in the world would be, in 2018, making baseless accusations of pedophilia about a child-rescuing scuba diver because he felt bad that everyone called his stupid slapdash submarine stupid, I’m not even sure I’d have been able to follow what the hell you were talking about.

And yet, that’s exactly what happened.

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Of course, in this past, very Musky year, Elon did manage to do something amazing and weird that didn’t involve accusing anyone of having underage relations with anyone else: he shot a Tesla Roadster into space, which certainly qualifies as weird. But also very cool, in that sort of why-not-I-own-a-rocket-company kind of way.

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2018, you were one messed-up, weird-ass year. I’ll miss you, I guess.

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About the author

Jason Torchinsky

Senior Editor, Jalopnik • Running: 1973 VW Beetle, 2006 Scion xB, 1990 Nissan Pao, 1991 Yugo GV Plus • Not-so-running: 1973 Reliant Scimitar, 1977 Dodge Tioga RV (also, buy my book!)