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Tesla Model X’s Spinal Tap tribute

Tesla dashboard
VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock.com

Tesla founder and Twitter hooligan Elon Musk is known to load his vehicles with meme-ready references, like a GPS that shows you driving down Mario Kart’s Rainbow Road.

But this Easter egg in the Model X takes it up exactly one notch. The volume control goes to 11 — an homage to the movie This is Spinal Tap.

When Musk met the film’s director, Rob Reiner, he sat him in the car to show off his tribute.

“The thing goes up to 11,” Reiner said in an interview with Entertainment Weekly. “That was like the coolest thing.”

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Ford GT’s 100 headlights

100 headlights
Martina Birnbaum / Shutterstock.com

Ford Motor Company was founded back in 1903 and ended up transforming America forever with the introduction of an affordable vehicle for the middle class, the Model T.

Jump ahead 100 years, and Ford is still a titan of the automobile industry.

In 2003, the company introduced its new Ford GT to celebrate its big anniversary. Like any centenarian deserves, Ford decided to shine a light on its longevity — designing the cluster of headlights to resemble the number 100.

BMW Z4’s Z

Art Konovalov / Shutterstock.com

Take a close look at the BMW Z4, specifically its stylish lines. Does anything jump out at you?

The effect is subtle, but the Z4 features the letter “Z” cut into its side. Consider the horizontal line of the hood, the diagonal line on the fender panel and the horizontal line of the lower side panel.

Once you see it, you can’t unsee it.

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Jeep Renegade’s military marks

X tail lights
John Joseph Calitz / Shutterstock.com

While you’ll commonly see Jeeps hauling surfboards or camping gear nowadays, this style of vehicle was considered essential to Allied operations during the Second World War.

The 2015 Renegade pays homage to the brand’s military history with X-shaped tail lights, mimicking the sturdy gas cans introduced during the war.

These jerrycans, so named because they were designed by the Germans, used an indentation in the shape of an X to stiffen and support the sides of the can.

Volvo’s 2016 XC90 seat belts

A 1959 seat belt
Volvo / Twitter

It’s hard to believe such a basic safety feature wasn’t in use from the beginning, but seat belts did not come standard on early cars.

Although “lap belts” were in action as early as the 1930s, the modern over-the-shoulder three-point design wasn’t introduced until 1959, when Swedish engineer Nils Bohlin added them to Volvo’s lineup.

By the time Bohlin died in 2002, Volvo estimated that his invention saved a million lives worldwide — and the company won’t let us forget it. The 2016 XC90 pays homage to Bohlin’s invention, with “Since 1959” engraved into the seat belt latch.

Chrysler 200's Detroit mats

The Detroit skyline
Dodge Garage

To celebrate its 90th anniversary, Chrysler paid homage to its birthplace of Detroit — with one glaring omission.

The Motor City skyline appears in a silhouette in the dashboard cubby of the Chrysler 200. However, the distinctive GM Renaissance Center is missing.

Considering that the Renaissance Center is the tallest building in the entire state of Michigan, it’s clear Chrysler went out of its way to snub the competing carmaker.

Jeep Gladiator’s homage to home

419 stamp
Jalopnik / YouTube

Jeep refuses to forget its roots, proudly stamping its hometown straight onto the Gladiator.

A wall of the truck bed features a heart and the digits 419. It’s the area code for Toledo, Ohio, where Jeep operations first began in the 1940s.

“We really consider Toledo, Ohio, to be the ancestral home of the Jeep,” said Brandon Girmus, a Jeep brand manager, in interview with Jalopnik.

Today, the Toledo Complex is still the production site for the most famous Jeep, the Wrangler.

Dodge Viper’s victory lap

Viper race track outlines
Dodge Forum

The racing variants of the Viper were known to leave competitors in the dust on tracks around the world.

Dodge has paid homage to the car’s racing history through images of famous tracks where the Viper showed its prowess, complete with record lap times.

Starting with the fifth-generation Viper, you can find the California raceway Laguna Seca etched into the cupholder and the Nurburgring track in Germany etched into a door pull. The rubber floor mats bear the same images.

Aston Martin DB11's hidden wings

Aston Martin lights
uto-data.net / Shutterstock.com

This one’s less about what’s on the car, and more about what isn’t.

A pair of wings has been synonymous with Aston Martin since 1927, though the current logo wasn’t adopted until the 1930s.

You won’t see much If you look directly at the thin, curved tail lights of the Aston Martin DB11 — but if you look at the negative space the tail lights leave behind, you’ll see the outline of the iconic winged badge.

Bugatti’s mystery grille

Bugatti's grille
VanderWolf Images / Shutterstock.com

One of the many head-turning features of Bugatti’s sports cars is the distinctive grille.

The shape is often presumed to be a horseshoe, referencing founder Ettore Bugatti’s love of horses. Bugatti even designed his factory gates so that horses could push them open, allowing him to ride through the halls without dismounting.

But it turns out the grille is no Easter egg at all. It’s a normal egg.

The automaker’s father, furniture designer Carlo Bugatti, loved to work rounded shapes into his work, including chairs, tables and goblets. The egg, Carlo figured, was the perfect geometric shape, and the idea rubbed off on Ettore.

Over time, engineering and aesthetic needs saw the oval-shaped grille morph into its current form.


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Daniel McIntosh Former Staff Writer

Daniel was formerly a staff writer for MoneyWise.


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