April Fools: Ten best automotive practical jokes

Practical jokes have been around for thousands of years. Some have been cruel, but others are just good fun. And wherever people with a common interest come together, there is tremendous material on which to base new and creative jokes. We’ve gathered 10 of the best automotive practical jokes, most of which will have the recipient laughing just as hard as the perpetrator.

  1. A gentleman went to visit his rare Triumph Italia coupe at the restoration shop. There in a parts bin was a shattered and folded windscreen. Knowing that the part was irreplaceable, Dave was in despair until the restorer asked him what was the matter and then showed him the correct windshield safely on a parts rack.
  2. Shortly after he graduated from college, a restorer was sharing a house with three guys who were pretty bad about coughing up the rent. But he had a rule: be late with the rent and your car will not start. One scoff-artist thought he got away with murder when his MGB started easily when he was several days past due. Two blocks later he was stuck along the road and he wasn’t so smug. Carl had disconnected the electric fuel pump.
  3. Bruce and his partner ran a repair shop specializing in older cars. When the partner was just about done replacing a head gasket, he took a break before connecting the exhaust down-pipe. That’s when Bruce filled the pipe with a mixture of antifreeze and oil. When started up, the filthy green mixture turned to vapor and the partner thought he had to start all over again.
  4. A particularly unpleasant Porsche engine builder didn’t have any friends in the shop. Finally, his coworkers had had it with his downright nastiness and, as he completed assembling a fresh 911 engine, one of them decided to get even. The joker took a brand new wrist pin circlip off the shelf and wrapped it in the mechanic’s shop rag. When the man picked up the rag the new part dropped and he panicked that he’d left one out, which would have led to immediate engine failure. He was so unpopular that his shop mates let him tear down the engine without telling him about the joke.
  5. One of Carl’s neighbors was proud of his VW Beetle’s gas mileage. It got better and better as Carl added fuel for a few nights in a row. Suddenly, though, it got worse as he began siphoning fuel overnight.
  6. When young, a noted California restorer loved to hide when a newly rebuilt engine was fired up for the first time. As the engine came to life, he’d tap a wrench on a pipe in time to the engine speed. As the engine revved, he’d speed up the tapping. As soon as the builder would hear what he thought was a rod knock he’d shut the engine off in a panic. Randy had to be sure he didn’t keep tapping after the engine went quiet.
  7. When he was in high school, a young Pennsylvania man owned a rare, but very tired Fiat-Abarth 750 Zagato. Being of limited means he had no choice but to sell it. Imagine his surprise 30 years later when a close friend brought him back a letter from Italy from Gianni Zagato of the famed Italian coachbuilder: “Dear Mr. X, you should never have sold my beautiful car.”
  8. In a classic shop prank, one young man put a large puddle of oil under a freshly built Triumph engine that hadn’t even been run yet. The engine builder was very upset until he remembered that he hadn’t yet filled it with oil.
  9. A legendary American British car mechanic was leading a seminar on rebuilding an MGB engine. After completing assembly and installing the oil pan, he found an oil pump spindle under his shop rag. As he was about to drop the pan, one of his employees sidled up with a smirk on his face and John knew it had been a prank. The following day the same employee was demonstrating how to retime a distributor. But when he tried to start the engine it would just backfire. John then demonstrated the correct method by first finding “top dead center.” He had spun the engine while Greg’s back was turned in a classic example of “payback’s a witch,” or something like that.
  10. Then there was the case of a Midwestern auto transport company owner who loved Alfa Romeos. So he decorated his golf cart with an Alfa grille, badges and other graphics. A short while later he received a letter from an Italian lawyer telling him he was infringing upon the Alfa Romeo trademark and that he had 30 days to crush the cart and send proof to the attorney. Translated into English, the name of the lawyer was “joke” and the golf cart owner had certainly been had.
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