Dodge La Femme

1955: Chrysler introduced the Dodge La Femme, a two-door, pink-and-white sedan "for the discriminating modern woman".


In an attempt to make the car irresistible to women, Dodge also threw in a pink leather handbag that contained "cigarette lighter and case, compact, lipstick and other feminine items covered in matching pink leather." Plus, "a vinyl raincoat and stylish sou'wester hat, printed in the same pink shade and pattern as the Jacquard upholstery." And a matching pink umbrella!

But even with all this, the car failed to appeal to consumers. However, because fewer than 2500 of them were ever made, the car is now sought after by collectors.

More info: wikipedia

St. Louis Post-Dispatch - Apr 10, 1955

Posted By: Alex - Sat Apr 03, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Gender, Women, 1950s, Cars


Getaway, by Ronald George Eriksen 2 (is the '2' an alternative form of Jr.?), offers instruction on evasive driving techniques. Or, as he says, how to handle a car in the event that someone tries to kill or kidnap you while you're in the car. It was published by Loompanics in 1983, but you can read it for free at

In it, you'll find tips such as how to make a smoke screen blow out of your exhaust:

A cheap but effective smoke screen can be made as follows: First drill a hole into the exhaust manifold of your car, and weld the nozzle of a small plant sprayer over it. A gas line is then run from the nozzle to a pump and container containing castor oil inside the vehicle. Clouds of smoke are produced by pumping the castor oil onto the hot exhaust manifold.

Also, how to do a bootlegger's turn:

(1) Speed at around 25-30 mph.

(2) Get off the gas and crank the steering wheel to the left ¼ to ½ of a full turn. At the exact same time, hit the emergency brake hard. Those of you with manual transmissions will have to depress the clutch, also.

(3) When your vehicle is at approximately 90 degrees, release the emergency brake, step on the gas, and straighten out the steering wheel. If you have a manual transmission, you will have to let the clutch back out as you are hitting the gas.

(4) Get out of the area fast.

Bootlegger's Turn

Posted By: Alex - Wed Feb 24, 2021 - Comments (5)
Category: Motor Vehicles, Cars, Books

Morse Code for Drivers

In 1960, the Automobile Legal Association proposed that all drivers should learn a code that would allow them to communicate with each other on the road via honks.

One short honk would mean, 'Left blinker going'. Three short honks would mean, 'A light burned out'. One long honk would mean, 'Get over in the right lane.' And so on.

The Terre Haute Star - Sep 17, 1960

Although the honking code never caught on, the idea of allowing drivers to communicate with each other has persisted. The 21st-century spin on it are the various phone apps (such as, Driver Talk, or PL8chat) that allow you to send messages to other cars by entering their license plate number. Of course, both drivers have to be signed up with the app for this to work. Which means these apps have, for now, very limited practical use.

Posted By: Alex - Mon Feb 15, 2021 - Comments (3)
Category: Languages, Cars

American Look

Your head will be spinning with Midcentury Modern designs by the end of this film. A Utopia that never was.

Posted By: Paul - Wed Feb 03, 2021 - Comments (1)
Category: Business, Design and Designers, Recreation, Interior Decorating, 1950s, Cars, Yesterday’s Tomorrows

Whistling Accelerators

Accelerators have inspired a number of weird inventions. For example, a few years ago we posted about the "Deaccelerator" which was a device that aimed to prevent speeding by making it harder to depress the pedal in your car once you reached a pre-set speed (usually 50 mph).

We've also posted about an effort to replace the accelerator with a pedal. The faster the driver pedaled, the faster the car would go. This was designed to give drivers some exercise as they commuted to work.

And yet another odd accelerator invention is the whistling accelerator. The idea is that if the accelerator is depressed too rapidly it will produce an annoying whistle. This will remind the driver not to accelerate too quickly, thereby saving gas.

The idea for a noise-making accelerator goes back to a 1958 patent granted to Philip Kershman of Los Angeles. He had rigged up an accelerator so that it would ring a bell if depressed too quickly.

Eighteen years later, in 1976, Henry Merriman of Michigan simplified this idea by replacing the bell with a whistle. He basically took a squeeze toy and attached it to the underside of the accelerator.

Merriman's squawking accelerator

St. Joseph News-Press/Gazette - Apr 30, 1975

Another whistling accelerator was patented in 2012. Its design was more sophisticated, but it was overall the same idea — accelerate too quickly and the thing starts whistling. The patentees described it as a "vehicle fuel efficiency monitor and signalling device".

Personally, I'm content to drive without any bells or whistles attached to the accelerator.

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jan 20, 2021 - Comments (0)
Category: Inventions, Cars, Cacophony, Dissonance, White Noise and Other Sonic Assaults

Radioactive Spark Plugs

Firestone came out with radioactive spark plugs in 1940. The idea was that radioactive material (polonium) would improve the electrical conductivity of the spark plugs, resulting in better fuel combustion. More details from the Health Physics Historical Instrumentation Museum:

Other than the slightly improved performance when the plugs were first installed, their benefits were questionable. The short half-life of polonium-210 (138 days) meant that the enhanced performance was only temporary. It also put dealers in the uncomfortable position of having to decide what to do after unsold plugs sat on the shelf for extended periods. Furthermore, the inevitable accumulation of deposits on the surface of the plugs’ electrodes as the vehicle burned fuel would attenuate the alpha particles and prevent them from ionizing the gas.

Monrovia News-Post - Mar 27, 1941

Posted By: Alex - Wed Jan 13, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Atomic Power and Other Nuclear Matters, 1940s, Cars

The Aeolus Wind Car Competition

The event got cancelled in 2020, but plans to resume this year.

Forty seconds of narration in French preface this second video.

Posted By: Paul - Sun Jan 10, 2021 - Comments (2)
Category: Contests, Races and Other Competitions, Technology, Environmentalism and Ecology, Cars

The Spare Tire Cover as Advertising Medium

The earliest surviving instances of this mode of advertising seem to be really rare. If any WU-vie can find more examples, that would be great!

Of course, nowadays you can have custom-designed spare tire covers at the drop of a hat!


Second Honeymoon (20th Century Fox, 1937). Spare Tire Cover. Throughout the thirties the studios would offer in their pressbooks what were spare tire covers that would advertise their upcoming feature. This silkscreen cover for the Tyrone Power and Loretta Young romance has elastic bands in back which allow it slip right over the tire that was always visible on the back of the automobiles of that time. Probably the theater owner, ushers, or cab companies would be paid to use these. Very interesting novelty that are often seen in pressbooks but few have survived.




Posted By: Paul - Thu Nov 05, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Advertising, 1930s, Cars

Carl Bohland’s Auto Wash Bowl

Carl Bohland patented the auto wash bowl in 1921. His idea was that cars would drive into a large, concrete bowl filled with water. After a couple of times around the bowl, the cars would be clean. Or, at least, cleaner.

Bohland managed to open a few auto wash bowls. The problem, however, was that his technique only really cleaned the underside of the cars. This was useful back in the days when many roads were still unpaved and their undersides constantly got filthy. But as road conditions improved, the auto wash bowl became less useful. By the 1930s, the last one had closed.

More info:

Posted By: Alex - Sun Oct 11, 2020 - Comments (5)
Category: Inventions, 1920s, Cars

The 1932 Helicron

Propellor-driven car.

Read about it here.

Posted By: Paul - Mon Oct 05, 2020 - Comments (3)
Category: Inventions, Air Travel and Airlines, 1930s, Cars

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Who We Are
Alex Boese
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.

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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