QOTD: What's the Best Prank You Ever Pulled?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd what s the best prank you ever pulled

We were all young once. Hell, some of us never grew up.

Assuming that you visit this site out of a life-long interest in cars, you probably spent your adolescent years pining after anything with four wheels and a working engine. Ideally, there’d be a car body, transmission, axles and suspension connecting those key components, but you’d have accepted almost anything.

Eventually, we all got our hands on something. A loaner sedan from our parents or, if we were lucky, a tired castoff from the family fleet that we could call our own. Those of us with enough cash enjoyed the thrill of spending every last cent of the cheapest roadworthy vehicle that was able to could cough to life at the back of a shady used car lot (which even moderately shady people kept their distance from).

Young and stupid, but blessed with that pre-adulthood spirit of spontaneity (remember spontaneity?), more than a few of us pulled a prank on our friends or siblings, especially if the vehicle tampering targeted us first.

The key thing that keeps a prank from becoming vandalism is the good-natured — but still unwanted — way in which it occurs. There’s no lawsuits filed after a prank. Just plans hatched — to get even.

“Yeah, thanks, guys. That’s just great. That really funny…. God!” said this writer after finding his ’93 Plymouth Sundance coupe shrink-wrapped like a shipping pallet one morning after work. Another time, it was the unsettling feeling of sinking my hand into chocolate pudding molded under the door handle. That co-worker soon found their car covered in cheap Wonderbread slices, which local seagulls quickly consumed…and digested.

The key is that the vehicle remains unscathed — after a trip to the car wash, anyway — and everyone remains friends. No sugar in gas tanks, though that prank works well on people you never want to see again. Some might get a kick out of hoisting vehicles onto gymnasium roofs, but that kind of ambition usually only crops up on film.

The closest comparison in my humble life would be the guy at high school who, like many others, drove a featherweight third-generation Toyota Tercel. Man, those cars were weak. (And lasted forever, if I recall).

In a burst of youthful spontaneity, and with the aid of a friend, I recall lifting the rear of the 78-horsepower wonder and pivoting the Tercel 90 degrees, thus placing it sideways across two parking spots. The vehicle was then blocked from leaving by vehicles parked on either end. Those black protruding bumpers helped immensely — thank you, Toyota. We then laid in wait to observe the driver’s dumbfounded and increasingly irritated reaction. Oddly enough, this Tercel-lifting tactic came in handy when, years later, a similar vehicle boxed me in while parked at university.

Small potatoes, perhaps. Maybe the Best and Brightest have a much better story to tell. So, how about it — what’s the best automotive prank you ever pulled?

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2 of 87 comments
  • Floating doc Floating doc on Jan 26, 2017

    A story from my dad: he and some of the other kids in the neighborhood changed the cars around from garage to garage during the night. In the morning, chaos! Bad enough to find your car missing when you're ready to leave for work, but to find it switched with someone else's car! I guess during the 1930's, no one locked their garages. Certainly once they got the garages open, it was easy to move the cars. Back then cars were small, light weight, and manual transmission. BTW, the football team at my middle school put the coach's beetle sideways in the doorway of the gym. The doors were set about 8 feet into the outer wall, and there was about a foot of space on each end of the car. I wasn't involved, other than making a suggestion....

  • Cognoscenti Cognoscenti on Jan 26, 2017

    I was not the person to do this prank, but it was very memorable! There was an ongoing prank feud of sorts occurring between some of the pizza delivery guys in my town. Their pizza franchise made its own dough, so they had big bags of high-gluten flour around. One time, one of the guys put a bunch of flour down the vents of another guys car while it was parked unlocked, turned the fan switch on high, directed the vents at the driver position, cleared any residual flour from the vent exteriors and waited inside the store. The next time the owner got in his car and turned the key...POOF! It was hilarious, but the owner of the car was NOT a happy camper.

  • MaintenanceCosts I'm generally in the "I want them to have all the new safety stuff" camp, but new cars are both too fast and too isolating these days. They mask speed enough that a new driver can get way in over his head without really realizing he's even going that fast. This is especially a concern with my youngest, who wants to do everything he does faster. (He has zero fear tearing down hills at 25 mph on his little 20" wheel bike.) I'm hoping for something that is slow and communicates speed well, although I'm not quite sure there is any such thing in today's market.
  • KOKing I test-drove a used Equus Ultimate (the one with all the back seat doodads) that was a trade-in at a Ford dealer, and although it was VERY nice to be in as a Lexus LS with Ultra Luxury, it was supposedly in a minor fender-bender that probably wasn't repaired correctly (like a pinched bus cable or something?), and random features didn't work at all.I think this car suffered the same problem in the US that the VW Phaeton did, and probably would've done better if it was badged a Genesis from the get-go.
  • Analoggrotto Tesla owners are still smarter than anyone else, regardless.
  • Wolfwagen Didnt these have an iPad for the owners manual?
  • Ollicat Another crazy thing to consider is insurance. I found out a modest NEW car with all the new safety add-ons will cost $1000 a year less to insure than a 10 year old beater, when insuring teenagers.