What's Your Favorite Automotive Urban Legend?

From skunkworks to corporate scheming, what's your favorite urban myth from the world of cars?

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Photo: artistmac, CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

The world of cars is one of stories. Stories about racing, about engineering, or simply about places you’ve gone on your own four wheels. But one kind of story stands apart, always spoken in hushed tones and spreading like classroom gossip: Urban legends.

Today, we’re talking about urban myths from the world of cars — the best stories that seem like they could be true, but will likely never be proven. With so many years to build up tall tales and legends, there are thousands that surround the automobile. What’s your favorite?

Image for article titled What's Your Favorite Automotive Urban Legend?
Photo: Michael Gil from Calgary, AB, Canada, CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons
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For me, first place has to go to the Pontiac Fiero. Specifically, to the idea that the Fiero was just too good to survive — and that GM killed it off because it risked outperforming the Corvette. Looking in the abstract, comparing a lightweight mid-engined V6 sports coupe to a bigger, V8-powered heavyweight sitting in a low era of its career, you can understand how the story could line up. Sort of.

As someone whose existence never coincided with Fiero production, however, the story has a kind of implausibility that has always made it hilarious. Fieros in my lifetime have always had peeling clear coat, mismatched panels, and wheezing Iron Dukes placed behind the rattly passenger compartment. That was at risk of outdoing the ‘Vette? Really?

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The supposed death of the Fiero at the hands of the Corvette faithful within GM will always be my favorite automotive urban legend — unless, of course, one of your picks is even better. Give us your favorite automotive myths and tall tales in the comments, and we’ll pick a few of our favorites for a slideshow tomorrow afternoon.