Dora Bryan was certainly somewhat homely for a famous actress, with a female assistant prettier than herself. And surely anyone who names their parakeet "Cecil Gibson" must've been a few caravans shy of a trailer park.
Created in the late 1960s by Hollywood auto customizer George Barris, who's best known as the designer of the original Batmobile.
The Love Machine featured velvet upholstery, a revolving circular bed, psychedelic lights, entertainment console, mirrored ceiling, and a crystal chandelier. It did the rounds at auto shows until the mid-1970s, where it was promoted as the "world's first x-rated car."
In the late '70s, the Love Machine was rebranded and it went on to have a career in Hollywood. From Hemmings Daily:
Barris, ever the opportunist, managed to get the Love Machine cast as the lead vehicle in the 1977 vansploitation flick SuperVan. To do so, he simply gave the Love Machine a repaint and redid the interior with even deeper plush carpeting. Though technically known as Vandora in the movie, the Super Van moniker stuck, thanks to Barris’s promotional efforts.
Nor would SuperVan be the van’s only screen appearance. It also showed up in the 1986 made-for-TV movie Condor, repainted gold and black; then in 1989’s Back to the Future II as a Hill Valley Transit bus, painted green; in the 1990 movie Solar Crisis, painted white; and then on an episode of the 1990s TV show SeaQuest DSV, still painted white. Then, in about 2003, the Guild of Automotive Restorers began a restoration on the van that brought it back to its Super Van configuration.
The Zippo Manufacturing Co. built the Zippo car in 1947 by adapting a Chrysler Saratoga. However, the weight of the lighters kept causing the tires to blow out. So in 1952 the car was sent to a Pittsburgh garage for repairs and re-adaptation. It was never seen again. To this day, no one knows what happened to the Zippo car.
Texas license plates currently display the slogan "The Lone Star State." But before that became the license plate motto, state residents had to fight off a number of attempts to display slogans that weren't quite as manly.
In 1985, Texas highway commissioners voted to display "The Wildflower State" on Texas tags. The phrase would have been printed over a faint outline of a bluebonnet. The idea prompted 57 state lawmakers to sign a letter of protest. Critics complained that the slogan "dealt a blow to the Texas mystique." So the commissioners backed down.
Then, in 1989, the commissioners wanted to display "The Friendship State" on plates. After all, the state motto is "Friendship." But again, popular protests complained that the phrase was "too wimpy."
It was only in 1992 that the commissioners finally gave in to popular demands and started printing "The Lone Star State" on plates.
It's a combo seat-buckle alarm stopper and bottler opener. So that you can crack open a cold one when you get in the car, and then drive seat-belt free. You can find tons of them for sale on eBay, where they go for as little as 74 cents each.
They should give these away as a freebie when you buy a cellphone to make it a trifecta of unsafe driving.
Dr. Alvan R. Lauer of Iowa State college sent here today a shiny red instrument of torture, designed apparently to give the ordinary, garden-variety motorist the everlasting willies. This device, which Dr. Lauer invented and christened the drivometer, insidiously reverses the usual laws of nature and turns them wrong side forward. The drivometer consists essentially of an automobile which doesn’t move, and a landscape which does, at 50 miles an hour. Imagine that, if you can! We couldn’t either, until the American Automobile association persuaded us to sit behind the wheel. The road twisted like a hula dancer – and we were supposed to steer down it, paying close attention to stop lights, warning signals, WPA men working, and hot dog stands. Never before have we had such a ride. We knocked a truck off the road. We ran down a farmer’s daughter and we wrecked his house. We whanged into a freight train, jumped across a mountain range, drove through a lake and smashed an ice cream shoppe into tutti-frutti. We tried to stop the thing, but everything we pressed made it go faster. We shifted into reverse and raced to the rear, bumping barns, beats and bicycles. Sadly shaking his head, Earl Allgaier, the AAA safety expert, turned off the current. He said we didn’t seem to be very well coordinated, somehow, but that he’d test us on his other machinery. This, together with the drivometer, will be taken on a nationwide tour beginning next week to prove to the average motorist that he’s got a lot to learn.
Update: I think the top picture shows the 2nd version of the Driveometer, developed in the 1950s. The original version, from the 1930s, is below.
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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 books such as Elephants on Acid.
Paul Di Filippo
Paul has been paid to put weird ideas into fictional form for over thirty years, in his career as a noted science fiction writer. He has recently begun blogging on many curious topics with three fellow writers at The Inferior 4+1.
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