2016’s top 5 April Fools’ Day pranks by car manufacturers

Published: 01 April 2016

► It’s that time of year again
2016’s top April Fools’ pranks
Invisible cars, emoji licence plates

It’s the 92nd day of the year, which means a fresh round of jolly japery from the UK’s automotive press offices. Here are five of 2016’s most chuckle/groan-worthy prank press releases to enjoy.

The new Mini Hipster Hatch

Mini Hipster Hatch

Headed straight for the mean streets of Shoreditch, Mini’s new Hipster Hatch special edition features stonewashed denim upholstery, a twin-deck cassette player (harking back to when it was all about the music), upcycled alloys and fully adjustable Instagram filters on all exterior window glass. The Hipster is the slowest Mini model yet created, with a top speed of 25mph owing to its unique fixed-gear drivetrain. ‘Taking inspiration from the ‘Fixie’ pedal bike, four of the forward gears have been removed to give the driver a greater feeling of control when popping out for a superfood smoothie’, explains the Hipster Hatch’s accompanying press release.

Citroen’s stadium sunroof

Inspired by the rollback fabric roof panel on the C1 Airscape, Citroen has designed a retractable ‘sunroof’ for Arsenal FC’s home stadium, made from 9000 metres of canvas and planned to be officially opened on 1 April 2017. Plans to also fit the stadium with odd-looking headlights and a three-cylinder engine are as-yet unconfirmed.

Skoda’s canine umbrella

As every fun fact fan knows, the Skoda Superb has a pull-out umbrella hidden within its rear door. Now there’s a secondary umbrella for the driver’s four-legged friend, designed to attach directly to a dog’s lead. ‘British rain is officially the wettest in the world, so we knew this accessory would have big appeal with owners in the UK,’ says project leader Jacques Rustle. ‘During development, we captured large quantities of British rain and brought it back to our workshop in the Czech Republic before signing the design off.’

The invisible MG

Perhaps inspired by the MG6’s invisible sales curve, MG Motor UK has created a see-through car concept, developed by a team including, ahem, Professor C. Thrue and chief designer Avril F’ouil. At least you won’t be able to spot unsold cars piling up at airfields.

Honda introduces ‘emoji licence plates’

Apparently developed ‘in response to demand from younger car buyers across the UK’, Honda has developed the world’s first emoji numberplate. Initial talks are planned with the DVLA to offer the plates to the public from 2017, says Honda. Winking smiley.

Runs like clockwork: the Vauxhall Adam C

Vauxhall has apparently finally solved the well-to-wheel zero emissions conundrum with the world’s first full-size wind-up car. No engine, no fuel tank, no battery and a 125-mile range from one 15-minute winding session, which Vauxhall points out offers ‘an incredible cardio and strength workout.’ What a windup.

By James Taylor

CAR's deputy features editor, occasional racer