The Asphalt Jungle

Idle Threats

What’s more newsworthy than body snatching?

I woke up one morning in late March to the preposterous news that Italian authorities had foiled a plot to abscond with the body of the late Enzo Ferrari and demand a ransom from his namesake company for its return. The report I read said the scheme involved some 34 suspects, helicopters and paratroopers, and (one has to assume) a whole lotta lambrusco. At any rate, the bad guys lost, and in his above-ground tomb near Ferrari’s headquarters in Maranello, Il Commendatore’s remains remain. Besides, had the body snatchers been successful, I’m not at all sure Ferrari would’ve paid up anyway. You can empty the coffin, but Enzo’s bones, his life blood, his soul are still right there for anyone to admire and venerate in every road and racing car ever to wear the Prancing Horse.

The whole idea was as dumb as fat-free cheesesteaks. But the news got me thinking. Maybe those would-be tomb raiders simply cooked up the wrong angle. What sort of mayhem might miscreants wreak on the auto biz if they had, you know, an actual good idea? I can imagine the headlines …

1986 Cadillac Cimarron V 6 badge

Thieves Steal Blueprint of Cadillac Cimarron, Threaten “Dirty Bomb”

Police in Warren, Michigan, reported today the theft of the last remaining unburned rendering of the 1982 Cadillac Cimarron premium-mountebank sedan, along with the discovery of a ransom note threatening its release into the atmosphere.

“We thought we had that monster safely contained,” a GM spokesperson confided from her bunker beneath the Tech Center. “It was locked up somewhere down in the Ransom E. Olds catacombs, along with the endurance tests on the ’70 Chevy Vega and the archive of unflattering Nader photos. And now if we don’t cough up $10 million, that sketch might actually be dispersed! Do you even realize how long it took us to contain the original Cimarron spill?”

Homeland Security officials would not comment on the ongoing investigation, except to say, “We recommend tinfoil on the windows. You don’t want to risk seeing that thing.”


Tesla Autopilot Hacked by Former Six Flags Employee

FBI agents and Texas Rangers remain on the lookout for one Randall G. Fourse, a virtuoso computer programmer turned black hat suspected of infecting Tesla’s self-driving software with the same program he once used to create the fearsome theme-park coaster Batman: The Ride.

“My face looked like a damn Picasso,” says Eileen Alott, a Dallas yoga instructor whose Tesla Model S suddenly whisked her away on a three-minute thrill ride through the city’s bustling Reunion District. Although she was eventually returned to her ashram unharmed, Ms. Alott is still shaken by the incident. “I remember looking out the windshield after regaining consciousness and thinking, ‘I’ve never heard of W restaurant.’ Then I realized: That’s a McDonald’s, and I’m upside-down.”

Reached for comment, a Tesla representative said: “While Blackout Mode is a functionality we have long been considering ourselves, we unconditionally oppose this provocative upstaging of Mr. Musk. Oh, and here’s a release about how our SpaceX subsidiary humiliated NASA this morning with another successful Falcon 9 launch.”

No demands or threats have come thus far from suspect Fourse. Says a former Six Flags colleague: “Randall isn’t a criminal. He just likes to tinker.”

“Un-Fordly” 2017 Ford GT Sparks Lawsuit

The much-anticipated 2017 Ford GT supercar has finally arrived in dealerships, yet one early adopter is already suing the Dearborn, Michigan, automaker for “pain, suffering, and excessive quickness,” among other complaints. “C’mon, it’s a freakin’ Ford,” says the plaintiff, Nashville proctologist and new GT owner Rob R. Gluv Jr. “For 30 years I’ve been a Ford man, from my original Laser to my beloved Probe to the Explorer I’ve been diggin’ around with the past few years. So one day I go to see my guy at the dealership, and he says, ‘Rob, it’s time to get in deep. You owe it yourself to order a GT.’ Sure, at $450,000 it was way more than I’m used to spendin’. But I figured, hey, at that price it’s gotta be smooth as Super Lube, quieter than my waitin’ room when it’s full. And then the thing finally shows up, and hell, I could barely cram myself into the seat. When I finally get down in there and crank ’er up, that exhaust starts rippin’ and shriekin’ like you never heard—and I know shriekin’. I wasn’t out of the damn dealer driveway but hit about 120 mph. No, sir, that ain’t like any Ford I know. I turned that GT right around and told my guy, ‘Take her back. I already deal with enough torture every day.’”

“While Blackout Mode is a functionality we have been considering, we oppose this provocative upstaging of Mr. Musk.”

A company lawyer was quick to respond: “This frivolous lawsuit from Mr. Gluv is nothing but a thinly veiled extortion of the Ford Motor Company. The buyer was well aware of the GT’s extreme nature at the time of his order, so we find it highly suspicious that with his proctology practice facing recent financial troubles, Mr. Gluv has suddenly pulled the plug.”

2017 Rolls Royce Wraith Black Badge front three quarter 04

Barber Trademarks “Apparition,” “Specter,” “Poltergeist” to Ransom Rolls-Royce

“After 40 years I finally hit on the big one,” says Buzz B. Reft, a part-time barber and commodities trader in Brooklyn, New York, who claims his recent trademarking of the words Apparition, Specter, and Poltergeist stands to make him a fortune when British luxury maker Rolls-Royce one day decides to design a new model.

“They already used up all the other words!” says Reft with unconcealed glee. “Ghost, Wraith, Shadow, Phantom, Cloud, Spirit. What are they gonna call a new Rolls, the Zombie? Uh uh. They wanna name their new car, they’re gonna be calling me.” Then Reft laughs. “And Specter ain’t gonna come cheap!”

Reached for comment at the Turf Club in Piccadilly, a Rolls-Royce spokesman dismissed Mr. Reft’s claims outright: “We at Rolls-Royce Motor Cars merely chortle at this amateurish attempt to shanghai the nomenclature of future company products. Besides, lately we have become quite fond of the word Bugaboo.” Adding a further wrinkle to Mr. Reft’s plans, of course, is the fact that the most recent Rolls model is named Dawn. “I know, I know,” says Reft. “But once I eBay my old barber pole, I’m planning to use the cash to trademark Dusk.”