The glow-in-the-dark Harlequin Edition VW ID.3 and other April Fools' pranks

Published: 01 April 2024 Updated: 02 April 2024

► Car-making jesters let their hair down
► Round-up of automotive April Fools
► Including… the Harlequin VW ID.3!

Warning: fake news may be propagated by this article. Yes, it’s that time of year when car manufacturers insist on taking a break from the past 364 days of serious PR and news management to let their hair down with April Fools’ pranks.

Here’s a round-up of the more surreal jokes and japes pedalled by the automotive industry in recent years. Feeling gullible? 

VW ID.3 Electroluminescent Harlequin Edition

Who can forget the colourful Volkswagen Polo Harlequin of the mid 1990s, the third-generation minty supermini designed with a multi-colour raincoat to showcase the modularity and paint options available in Wolfsburg? Well, on 1 April 2024 Volkswagen announced a bright and breezy Electroluminescent ID.3 Harlequin Edition with its own pulsing technicolour dream coat of paint. ‘The ID.3 Harlequin’s panels will light up and pulse in response to beats from the car’s sound system,’ noted the press release. Another bright idea this All Fools’ Day?

Honda PAW-S system: letting your dog unlock your car

Honda PAW-S canine-unlocking device for the Honda e:Ny1

Honda spoofed us all in 2024 with its new PAW-S easy-access system for dogs. Launched on the new Honda e:Ny1 electric crossover on 1 April, it lets dogs open the boot and jump in on their own accord without a key or handy owner in sight. The Honda Pet Activated Wireless System (PAW-S) comes with a tag to match the vehicle’s paint colours that activates the electric tailgate automatically. Perfect for those times when Fido runs ahead on the daily walk and is desperate to get home for supper. 

Mountain-top charging points

An electric car charging point up a mountain? It must be 1 April...

Go-anywhere specialist Land Rover claimed to have installed ‘the most remote electric vehicle charging point in the UK’ with the plug atop a mountain on the Isle of Skye (above). The highly charged head of vehicle charging, the suspiciously named Max Watts, said: ‘We really have gone above and beyond, and ohm-mitted nothing in our quest to ensure that eco-minded Land Rover owners are able to adventure in zero emissions comfort.’ Quite.

Rainbow tyres for your MG

MG Motor UK had a bright idea in 2019, launching these multi-coloured tyres on its 3 hatchback. We’re not quite sure how a humdrum hatch is going to burn rubber to paint the tarmac in rainbow lines, but it’s amazing what you can do with tyre compounds on 1 April…

Personalised puddle lamps on your Skoda

Skoda Projectapal LED puddle lights

Puddle lamps are a new trend on modern cars and are slowly becoming more widespread, much to the detriment of Britain’s kerbs. Skoda had the bright idea of personalising them with its new ProjectaPal LED system – letting you sync your puddle lamps with your diary, so there’ll be a reminder to feed your dog or buy your partner a gift when you step out of your car at night… Come to think of it, this sounds like a rather good idea. How about it, Skoda?

The feathered McLaren 570GT

McLaren's Feather Wrap

Even the normally serious types at McLaren in Woking have got in on the act in recent years. Is this a sign that sensible Ron Dennis is no longer in charge of McLaren Automotive? Specialist division MSO released a new Feather Wrap option, applying 10,000 carbon-veined artificial feathers by hand in a process that takes more than 300 hours. They’re winging it, surely?

Hyundais delivered by drone to your door

Hyundai Click To Fly

You’ve heard of Click To Buy? Good. The Koreans have gone one further by imagining Click To Fly. Yes, Hyundai announced the world’s first dealer-to-door drone delivery service. Although we dread to think of how many drones would be required to lift an i10 city car, yet alone a lumbering Santa Fe…

Honda’s Tinder for Jazz owners

Honda H-Swipe

Engineering innovators Honda launched H-Swipe on 1 April 2017, the automotive equivalent of Tinder. The thinking being that you swipe left or right as potential ideal passengers are flashed up on the dashboard’s integrated screen. As if there aren’t enough distractions in modern life for Honda owners without having to play dating king while driving.

The Triumph motorcycle trials a steering wheel

The Triumph HandleWheel

Motorbikes with steering wheels? Whatever next! Triumph unveiled a new attachment to convert handlebars into steering wheels for a head-turning April Fools’ joke. Dubbed HandleWheel, it’s supposedly designed to tempt more car drivers onto two wheels.

The ash-framed Caterham

Caterham's new ash frame

Sounds like a swipe at fellow Brit car specialists Morgan – but firmly metallic Caterham announced on April Fools’ Day a new Ash Wood Chassis for the evergreen Seven. David Ridley, chief commercial officer, said: ‘This really adds another string to our bow and whilst our heritage is rooted in the past, we are constantly looking to evolve our products. We think the wood chassis will offer a degree of flexibility and comfort not yet experienced in a Seven before now.’ Touché…

Lotus helmets for your pets

Lotus Pet Lids. Seriously?

Hethel got in on the act by announcing Lotus Pet Lids – the perfect head protection for your cat or dog that obviously comes along on your next track day. Cue lots of purrfect gags about pets and dogs called Elise etc.

Spotted a cracking April Fools’ joke in the four-wheeled world? Share them in the comments below!

By CAR’s road test team

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