5 strange car conspiracy theories

I love a good conspiracy theory – the more outlandish and in-depth, the better. So I decided to take a look at some of the strangest conspiracy theories involving cars. Is there any truth to these bizarre tales? We’re through the looking glass here, people, so don your tinfoil hat and come with me as I investigate…

1. The VW-Beetle-that-signposts-a-dead-Beatle-cover-up conspiracy

  The iconic cover to The Beatles’ 1969 album Abbey Road is one of the most enduring images in pop culture, but conspiracy theorists say it holds a subtle clue to a dark and strange secret. The theory goes like this: Paul McCartney, bassist for the fab four (and very much still living today) actually died in 1966. The Macca we’ve known ever since is simply a lookalike. Ridiculous, right? Not so, say the theorists. According to the legend, clues can be found in the Beatles music and slipcase art. At the end of Strawberry Fields Forever, for example, theorists claim John Lennon says the words “I buried Paul”. Take a listen for yourself here: McCartney himself says the words spoken are actually “cranberry sauce”, but the theorists aren’t deterred. They say the Abbey Road crossing photograph is proof of the cover-up. They liken the scene to a funeral procession, with Lennon in white representing the clergyman, Ringo Starr in black representing the mourner, George Harrison in jeans representing the gravedigger and a barefoot and out-of-step ‘McCartney’ representing, well, the deceased…. And the ‘smoking gun’? The licence plate of the VW Beetle parked on the left-hand kerb reads LMW 28IF LINDA MCCARTNEY WEEPS, 28 IF (Paul had lived to see the album’s release). Intriguing, until you remember that Paul is actually alive and clearly the same person he was pre-1966.

2. The drivers-are-greeted-to-Denver-International-Airport-With-An-Omen-Of-The-Apocalypse conspiracy

In hushed tones in the darkest corners of the internet, conspiracy sleuths have sussed out that Denver International Airport (DIA), built in 1995, is actually a secret bunker for the New World Order or lizard people – constructed to protect them against the forthcoming apocalypse. Viewed out of context, there are certainly some weird sights at the DIA. There’s the strange mural depicting a gas masked soldier wielding a machine gun and stabbing a dove with a sword, amid dead bodies. There’s the Masonic iconography. The inscriptions mentioning the New World Airport Commission. And the giant freakin’ blue horse statue greeting drivers with glowing red eyes. And that’s just the stuff hidden in plain sight, say the theorists. Tales of unnecessarily complicated architecture, secret underground tunnels and radar-fooling construction are also told. Some even claim the airport’s runways form a fascist symbol from the air. Of course, these things can all be reasonably explained. The bizarre mural is a diptych which depicts man’s journey from war to peace. The strange, undecipherable language on the airport’s floor and wall tiles turned out to be Navajo, and a quick look at the airport in Google Maps reveals no swastikas. Still, pretty strange, right?

3. The Big-Oil-tried-to-kill-the-electric-car conspiracy

  Electric cars have been possible for decades, but have been held back and even killed off by…. *lowers voice, glances left and right* Big oil companies! That’s the theory, anyway. In 1990, General Motors began development of the EV1 electric car. It was made available for lease, mainly in Southern California, and became pretty popular, after the California Air Resources Board (CARB) ruled that seven major car manufactures would have to offer electric vehicles if they wanted to keep producing gasoline-powered vehicles. GM, Toyota, Honda, Ford, Nissan, and Chrysler designed and created almost 5,000 electric vehicles – but they were all eventually either destroyed or disabled and donated to museums and educational institutions. So what happened? According to the 2006 documentary Who Killed The Electric Car? CARB reversed its electric vehicle mandate after mounting pressure from the manufacturers and the oil industry, amid ‘orchestrated’ hype over hydrogen-powered vehicles. In the film, Wally Rippel – a long-time developer and advocate of electric battery vehicles, suggests that the oil industry was concerned about losing its monopoly on transportation fuel, and moved to kill off the electric car. But, here we are in 2014, and electric cars appear to be gaining traction – so who knows what happened?

4.  The Le-Mans-driver-was-an-MI6-operative-and-was-killed-by-Nazis conspiracy

British racing driver Mike Hawthorn died in a road accident six months after retiring from the sport, following the death of his team-mate and friend Peter Collins. There’s a theory, tucked away in the folds of the internet’s underbelly, which says there was far more to his death than meets the eye. The circumstances surrounding the crash were mysterious. Something caused Hawthorn’s Jaguar 3.4litre saloon to crash on the A3 Guildford bypass – on a notoriously dangerous section of the road. But the precise cause of the crash is unknown. Conspiracy theorists frequenting YouTube (make of that what you will) say that Hawthorn was actually working for MI6, and was a kind of James Bond figure. He was given a mission to destroy the Mercedes team, which the government believed was still under Nazi control. This led to the crash in the 1955 Le Mans, which was engineered to take out Pierre Levegh and Juan Manuel Fangio’s cars. Levegh died, but Fangio survived. Hawthorn was later goaded into a race by a Nazi operative, presumably as an act of retaliation, on the A3 Guildford bypass, causing him to crash. Riiiiigggghht….

5. The LA-journalist’s-car-was-hacked-causing-it-to-crash conspiracy

Last year, an LA journalist called Michael Hastings died when his Mercedes crashed into a palm tree. The coroner’s report ruled accidental death, and an autopsy found injuries consistent with a high-speed crash. However, some suspect foul play. Hastings, 33, was a vocal critic of state surveillance. His last article, published a few weeks before his death, was titled ‘Why Democrats Love to Spy On Americans’. Conspiracy theorists say the American government took issue with Hastings’ work, and decided to silence him. No other vehicles were involved in the incident, and there were witness reports which said the car was ablaze while still moving. Internet users questioned inconsistencies in police and media reports, and conspiracy theorists voiced their suspicions. So far, so tinfoil hat. But Richard Clarke, former US National Coordinator for Security, Infrastructure Protection and Counter-terrorism, told The Huffington Post that what was known about the crash was "consistent with a car cyber attack." We know for a fact that cars can be hacked, but officially, Hastings’ death was a tragic accident.

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