Category:
Cars

AutoVision

Back in the 80s and 90s, Jay Schiffman had big hopes for his AutoVision system, which allowed a person to watch TV while driving a car. His device projected the image onto a small mirror positioned on the windshield, so that the driver could look at the road and a TV show simultaneously.

Schiffman always insisted that AutoVision actually made driving safer, not more dangerous. From the Chicago Tribune (Sep 6, 1998):

Schiffman says he was surprised to discover that television improved the drivers' concentration. He believed the moving and talking images enticed the drivers to keep their eyes on the road as they peeked at the projections in front of them.

In addition, the images kept the drivers alert, he said, stimulating their sympathetic nervous system, or fight-or-flight response.

I don't think many people were convinced by his argument. But maybe self-driving cars will create a new market for his invention.

More info: Patent No. US5061996A; "TV for Cars" Popular Science (Dec 1990)



Newport News Daily Press - May 15, 1998

Posted By: Alex - Fri Sep 10, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Television, Cars

Bosco’s Collapsible Rubber Driver

Never worry again about your car being stolen. Bosco's inflatable rubber driver will make it appear as if your car is occupied, thereby deterring thieves.



I haven't been able to find an original source for this ad, but it appears in a number of books about automobile oddities (such as Motor touring in old California). However, the dates given for it vary from 1905 to the 1920s.

A Dec 1985 article in Popular Mechanics offers the most details about it, but I have no idea where they got their info from:

Lemuel Bosco of Akron, Ohio, spent $5 for an antitheft device that was supposed to lock the Splitdorf ignition switch of his car, but it didn't stop a thief. He broke it off and took Bosco's Mercer for a joyride. The cops found the car undamaged, but Bosco was mad and vowed it wouldn't happen again. Thus was born the Bosco Collapsible Driver. When inflated and propped behind a steering wheel, it looked like Charlie Chaplin, right down to moustache and derby. When the mannequin wasn't needed, it was deflated and stored under the seat. Standing a foot away from a car, no theif could tell that the rubber dummy wasn't a real man — or so ads in auto accessory manuals of 1910 would have you believe.

The Bosco Collapsible Driver Co. collapsed in two years, because it didn't take even the dumbest thief long to realize that the guy who was sitting behind the wheel never even twitched, which meant he was either dead, in a coma or not for real.

Posted By: Alex - Thu Aug 19, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Crime, Cars

Car sold for 1395 bananas

1965: Bernice Wyszynski saw a brand-new Pontiac sedan advertised for "1,395 bananas". So she tried to take the dealer up on that offer. However, the dealer insisted that the car actually cost $1,395. 'Bananas', he said, was a vernacular term for dollars. Wyszynski threatened to sue him for false advertising, and eventually he relented, selling her the car in exchange for 1,395 bananas.

I can buy five bananas at the supermarket for $1. Which means that, in present-day money, Wyszynski got the car for around $280. That's a pretty good deal.

Bernice Wyszynski died in 2003, and the banana incident made it into her obituary:

Mrs. Wyszynski became known as the "Banana Lady" after she bought a new 1965 Pontiac Tempest from Stephen Pontiac Cadillac, Bristol for 1395 bananas.


Long Beach Press-Telegram - May 5, 1965



Arizona Daily Star - May 1, 1965

Posted By: Alex - Tue Aug 10, 2021 - Comments (8)
Category: Food, 1960s, Cars, Bananas

Servant carried in trunk

"Goodness knows the trunk is big enough. It's big enough for two."

Red Deer Advocate - Mar 31, 1969

Posted By: Alex - Mon Aug 02, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: 1960s, Africa, Cars

The Mystery Girl from the World of Autodynamics

In late 1956, a celebrity in disguise as the "Mystery Girl from the World of Autodynamics" toured car shows and dealerships. The public was challenged to guess her identity to have a chance to win a new 1957 Dodge.

Can you guess who she was? The answer is below in extended.

Here's a hint. She's not an A-list celebrity, but we've posted about her before on WU.



North Hollywood Valley Times - Nov 24, 1956



More in extended >>

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jul 28, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Publicity Stunts, 1950s, Cars

He’d Have To Get Out And Get Under (To Fix Up His Automobile)



"I have a daughter who's hungry for love. She likes to ride every day."

Posted By: Paul - Fri Jul 23, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Innuendo, Double Entendres, Symbolism, Nudge-Nudge-Wink-Wink and Subliminal Messages, Music, 1910s, Cars, Love & Romance

The Scent of Gasoline

Ford has collaborated with fragrance firm Olfiction to create a scent called "Mach-Eau" that smells like gasoline. Or, as they put it, the fragrance has "smoky and rubbery accents reminiscent of the petrol smell so many love." They've done this, they say, for the sake of owners of electric cars who miss the smell of gasoline.

However, it seems that Ford isn't actually selling this fragrance. So we have to take their word for it that they really did create it.

More info: Ford Europe, CarScoops

Posted By: Alex - Sat Jul 17, 2021 - Comments (4)
Category: Cars, Perfume and Cologne and Other Scents

The Boeing Sky Commuter

Another car-plane hybrid that never made it into production.

Article here.



Posted By: Paul - Fri Jul 02, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Technology, Air Travel and Airlines, 1990s, Cars

Staying awake at the wheel

Over the years, inventors have dreamed up a variety of ways to keep drivers awake while driving.

In 1936, Carl Brown got a patent on a chin-operated alarm device. If a driver started to nod off, and his head fell forward, this would depress a trigger, setting off an electric bell that would wake him up. (Patent No. 2,066,092)



In 1940, Raymond Young had the idea that whenever a driver was feeling drowsy he could press a button on the steering wheel and this would squirt an aromatic spray in his face, waking him up. (Patent No. 2,199,060)



And just last month, Hyundai was granted a patent for a system that shoots ultrasonic beams at a driver's eyes when it senses he's falling asleep. (Patent No. 11007932)

Posted By: Alex - Mon Jun 14, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Inventions, Sleep and Dreams, Cars

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Alex is the creator and curator of the Museum of Hoaxes. He's also the author of various weird, non-fiction, science-themed books such as Elephants on Acid and Psychedelic Apes.

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