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Old 01-07-2013, 01:48 PM   #1
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Default Ten Surprising Car Facts You’ve Probably Never Heard Before

Jalopnik readers might just be the most knowledgeable car nerds on the Internet. We asked them to tell us something we didn't know, and they inundated us with totally awesome automotive trivia. Here are our favorite factoids. Welcome back to Answers of the Day — our daily Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous day's Question of the Day and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
Honestly, we can't say enough about our readers. Try as we might to unearth interesting moments in history and tell you about the most adorable, obscure cars we can find, there's no way that us writers will equal the collective knowledge of you, the guys and girls who read this site.
We actually knew a few of the factoids you told us about. For instance, we already told you about the parrots that eats cars a few months ago, and the same with Lada's outstanding rally cars. Still, there were so many cool bits of trivia left in the comments that we just don't have room for them all on this list. For instance, did you know there was a car company called Troll?
If there are any other very rare pieces of knowledge that we left out, let us know in Kinja below. And if you already knew some of this stuff, let us know, too.
Photo Credit: McLaren

10.) The Honda CRV Came With A Picnic Table

The first and second generations of Honda's winsome compact SUV came with a standard flip-out picnic table. For first gens, there was also an optional shower kit for the back, too. Nobody does car features quite like Honda.
Suggested By: cab59, Photo Credit: Honda

9.) The Ford GT Is So Strong That During The "Roof Crush" Test, It Broke The Crushing Machine

Alternatively, Ford didn't have a roof-crushing machine strong enough to crumple even one measly little supercar. We kid, the Ford GT rocks our socks.
Suggested By: Matt Farah, Photo Credit: Metro Technologies Ltd

8.) The Last Car With Cassette Player Was Not A Lexus

Today, car companies are all switching from CD players to iPod-integrated infotainment systems, but Lexus was a surprising hold out for the tape deck. The Florida retirement home-spec SC430 came with one standard as late as 2010. The very last car to be able to play cassettes was the Ford Crown Vic, which still had an optional player in 2011. For new Lexus and Ford buyers, there's sadly no more thrashing out to their Dead Kennedys/Black Flag/T.S.O.L. mixtapes anymore.
Suggested By: SennaMP4, Photo Credit: Lexus, Ford

7.) The Pagani Zonda Shares Its Instrument Panel With A Lancia City Car

We all know that Lamborghini Diablos got their headlights from a Nissan 300ZX and the Lotus Esprit got its taillights from the Toyota AE86, but we'd never heard that Pagani got their instrument panel from the city car of choice for broke Italian students and/or grandpas. Pagani is known for their extravagant interiors, so we're not surprised the company keeps this info on the DL.
Suggested By: luca19807, Photo Credit: Lancia, Pagani

6.) The First Porsche Sedan Was A Studebaker

Porsche's first four-door wasn't the Panamera, or even their four-door prototype from the ‘90s. Porsche actually built a prototype sedan for Studebaker called the Type 542 back in 1952. It was too weird for production, but hey, it's still prettier than what Porsche sells today.
Suggested By: manifold engines, Photo Credit: Hemmings

5.) The Austin Maestro Was Different Genders In Different Countries

The Austin Maestro was one of the first cars with a talking digital dash. The company had actress Nicolette Mackenzie read out warnings, like low oil pressure or the brakes need servicing. For some markets (like Spain and Germany), Austin-Rover gave the car a male voice, presumably because it didn't think Germans or Spaniards wanted to take orders from a woman. Suggested By: AndyJF, Photo Credit: Austin-Rover

4.) You Can Play Pong With A Saab

With all of the computers in cars these days, you'd assume that engineers would sneak some fun hidden-away pieces of code in there. The Swedish nutsos at Saab left us with our new favorite, explains Highball.
When using the GM Tech II on a Saab 9-3 SS (I believe this works on 2003-2007 cars) if you go into the Airbag/SRS system submenu, there is a easter egg that allows the tech to play Pong on the Tech II.
Suggested By: Highball, Photo Credit: Highball

3.) The McLaren F1 Gearbox Prototype Used A Chevy V8

McLaren needed an engine to test the gearbox for the F1. The motor needed to have enough torque to replicate what they expected from their eventual production unit, so they picked a good ol' Chevy 454 big block. **** yeah!
Suggested By: sammyjay, Photo Credit: McLaren

2.) If A Car In Malaysia Is Too Successful, Competitors Can Have That Car's Price Raised

America has a fairly open car market, which we can't quite say about the growing car market in Malaysia, which is dominated by Toyota. BobbyAng points out the country's strangest automotive regulation.
When a certain car is selling too well within a segment in Malaysia, competitors can actually file a complaint to the authorities and the authorities will them hike up the price of that vehicle (forcefully) to 'level' competition-ship. Case in point, the Passat CC was given a hike of $10,000 from $80,000 USD to $90,000. And the VW Polo GTI also experienced this, going from $46,000 to $56,000 last year.
Suggested By: BobbyAng, Photo Credit: VW Malaysia

1.) An Egyptian President Helped Build An Arab Car Called The ‘Frisky'

There have been all kinds of thoroughly unhinged ideas to develop the Middle East, but one of the most unlikely was a proposed all-Arab automobile, built from a British microcar called the Frisky, as reader His Highness, the most Ramblin of Rovers explains.
President Nasser of Egypt once was involved in a plan to create an "All-Arab People's Car" out of a British microcar called the Frisky.
The deal to recreate it as the "Ramses" fell through, and the Ramses ended up as a disguised NSU. President Kouatly of Syria also had a Frisky.
The owner's organization estimates only 75 Friskys of all types remain worldwide.
You can find more information on the hard-to-believe project at MeadowsFrisky.co.uk.
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Old 01-07-2013, 02:38 PM   #2
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I clicked on this expecting a bunch of crap, but these were legitimately interesting. I have no idea whether they're actually true, of course.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:17 PM   #3
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The Austin Maestro fact is true. My uncle had one and I've seen and heard it first hand.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:21 PM   #4
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I don't know how I never heard about Chevy engines in the big-mac. I can't wait to tell this one guy I know, he'll never believe me. Come to think of it he won't believe the article, either.
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Old 01-07-2013, 03:41 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by shikataganai View Post
I clicked on this expecting a bunch of crap, but these were legitimately interesting. I have no idea whether they're actually true, of course.
The McLaren thing is true, about the gearbox being tested on a big block engine. I remember reading that a long time ago.
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Old 01-07-2013, 06:16 PM   #6
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Porsche Type 542 for Studebaker is true. Here's more about it: http://www.studebaker-info.org/stude...porsche08.html
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Old 01-07-2013, 08:27 PM   #7
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I expected crap. I was wrong, that was a cool read.
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Old 01-08-2013, 06:54 AM   #8
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Agreed. Fun article.
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Old 01-08-2013, 02:49 PM   #9
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I used to go SCUBA diving with the owner of one of the original CRV's. We used the table on every dive to lay out our gear.
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