Cars in New Zealand have a long and chequered history, with ups and downs, triumphs and defeats, good times and bad times. Who could forget the craze that kicked it all off – the Dodge Vipers and Porsches carefully and painstakingly shipped here, carefully balanced in wobbly, leaky Polynesian settler dugout canoes, so that the first wave of Maori settlers could be sure of looking funky?
Who could forget the billions of Minis imported from Tanzania to appease the leadership of the seventh Sheep Uprising in the early 1960s? After the first wave of feminists hit NZ’s shores, many sheeps’ ears pricked up, they thought “Freedom and empowerment sounds totally rad, I want me some of that”, and kicked off the first sheep-based rebellion in almost five years.
After bringing New Zealand’s theocratic dictatorship to its knees, frantic negotiations with the Government gave each sheep, in exchange for peace, its own Mini, fluoro sheepskin interior optional but surprisingly popular. For many years afterward, it was a common sight on farms up and down the country for sheepdogs to purchase and drive their own monster trucks with attached bazookas, to keep the insolent mini-based, horn-honking, wheelie-performing sheep in line.
Up until the 1860s, New Zealand enthusiastically imported large numbers of cars, mostly purchased by the local weta population, who used them as currency and bedding, but eventually enough of a domestic industrial base accumulated for local car production to become viable.
The first cars ever produced on these shores were very much a product of their time, with stiff-upper-lip, buttoned-up Victorian values imbued throughout. These cars were Quite Strictly for royalty and nobility only, and elaborate AI software systems were developed and written for them, to make sure no Riff-Raff drove them. If one or more occupants didn’t have a knighthood or above, turning the ignition would make the car explode violently, horribly killing all inside.
Even today, because of these over-enthusiastic class barriers, vintage and classic car shows, in other countries places of serene and immense historical significance, in New Zealand are places of extreme violence and death, and classic car shows kill an average of fifty peasants every year.
The car industry took off! Families gleefully had up to two hundred children each, in the hopes that enough would survive the vehicle security systems to get a knighthood, thus imbuing the family with their very own car. The first standard cars built in New Zealand, as with the rest of the world, ran on good ol’ petrol, but in 1925 during a night out on the piss, a group of auto mechanics with several hundred cars at their disposal started cracking into their booze cabinet, and, giggling madly, tried to get each and every car on the premises running with a different type of beverage.
Most cars violently exploded, not from the foulness of the liquor, but from the vehicle security systems detecting the presence of a beverage drunk by the Scum Of The Earth Working Classes, and protectively detonating themselves. To their astonishment, the sozzled and sloshed auto mechanics found that the cars present absolutely adored Baileys, of all things, and to boot, Baileys turned out to be over five times as energy-efficient as petrol.
The New Zealand government hurriedly snapped up the entire world’s Baileys supply from its home country of Mexico, and rushed it out to every filling station in the country. For the first day, things were just fine and dandy, with cars zipping around quickly and efficiently.
Then night fell, and drivers everywhere quickly discovered the cars had a rather drunken mind of their own. You’d see car drivers indignantly being made to weave across deserted streets late at night, being propelled back and forth by sloshed cars, drunk to the gills on industrial-strength Baileys and whooping it up. Within the week, drunk driving laws were applied to cars over fifty times more often than their drivers.
The 1930s arrived! By this time, road vehicles had become so popular that the old dusty cart lanes spanning the country, so reliable and robust for horse-drawn traffic, were packed to the rafters with huge rattly new cars, sozzled on Baileys and causing 100-km-long traffic jams snaking throughout the country. The solution came to the populace quickly: car pyramids!
Groups of car-owners hired cranes and carefully stacked immense pyramids of their cars, many hundreds of metres high, the actual driving work being done by only the bottom layer, and each commute, all participating cars rotated positions. It became a common sight for vast gleaming metallic pyramids to traverse up and down the country, trailing dense plumes of Baileys-combustion smoke, with hordes of holiday-makers on top, having picnics.
Throughout the 30s, car pyramids grew higher and higher, and it soon became a common sight to see several tens of millions of cars form a kilometre-high pyramid and drive across the country in formation. Some of the more entrepreneurial car owners would build three-kilometre-high car pyramids, drive to the top of the Central Plateau, set up skifields next to Mt. Ruapehu on their vast array of car bonnets, and make an absolute killing flogging tickets to foreigners. Holidays thus completed, they’d then drive the car pyramid back to one of the major cities, with a season’s worth of snow on top, and increase ticket prices tenfold.
With Baileys producing such a huge energy-producing kick to New Zealand’s car engines, there really wasn’t much of an incentive to design engines with any sort of efficiency. Eventually a car design was made that was so bad, horrible and inefficient, that it produced negative horsepower. Disaster! After a humiliating public trial, the car’s designer reversed the vehicle back out the showroom in defeat, shoulders slumped.
To his astonishment and surprise, though, he noticed the fuel gauge needle creeping back up. Two and two were hurriedly put together, and it was quickly discovered that a car with negative horsepower, when driven backwards, actually refilled its fuel tank! Tests were rapidly done on other car types, and soon, cars running on Baileys were being driven backwards in huge rings at extreme speed around the lab, heavenly geysers of Baileys exploding forth from the fuel intakes, amid the uproarious, triumphant laughter of the drivers and onlookers.
Quickly cars were converted to run on fuels of many other types – chocolate milk, vodka, blood, distilled water, freshly squeezed pomegranate juice, cappuccino – anything in demand that was expensive or difficult or a pain in the ass to make normally.
Vast motorway rings were hastily built all across the country, each dedicated to manufacturing liquids of different types, with rings of millions of negative-horsepower cars all running round and round in reverse, producing crap just as fast as they could.
Soon some bright spark had the idea of building negative-horsepower steam trains too, which could run on any burnable solid, and soon the nation was also thronged with reverse railway tracks, spitting out vast amounts of any solid you’d care to name – large Chesterfield sofas, butter chicken curries, lawyers, suits of old Roman armour, Pete Sampras, the Khmer Rouge, Rolls Royces, and so on.
Soon the country was self-sufficient in every material or product known to exist, and was gleefully bankrupting the world’s economies through ruthless undercutting. This pissed off other countries no end, and the rest of the world quickly became determined to learn New Zealand’s secrets.
Secret spy satellite images of New Zealand’s reverse motorway and train rings revealed to other foreign Powers vaguely how things were being manufactured, but the secret of negative-horsepower vehicles was a ferociously closely guarded secret. Concentric rings of security and secrecy were constructed around the nation that made the Freemason societies of centuries past look like a group of Jehovah’s Witnesses that had commandeered a bottling factory by the sea, and who were dropping a million message-filled bottles a week into strong global ocean currents to spread their Good News to all.
In the higher circles of NZ society and government, suspicion and secrecy became absolute watchwords. Who knows who might be a foreign spy, come to steal our secrets and undermine our prosperity? You couldn’t trust people on the street, you couldn’t trust neighbours, you couldn’t trust family. Cunning five-year-olds, unsatisfied with their pocket money, denounced their stingy parents to the authorities in attempts to blackmail them into getting their greasy mitts on more spending money.
Things came to a head when suspicion and paranoia got so bad that individual hemispheres of peoples’ brains became suspicious of the other hemisphere, and tried to attack it. Peoples’ logical, left-brains started denouncing their freewheeling, bohemian right-brains as secret Red Communists, and the right-brains began to denounce the left-brains as uptight robotic squares who, like, should totally take a chill pill. Hospitals became packed with people demanding brain surgery to purge the unclean hemispheres.
As the country’s suspicion and paranoia descended to the level of turning individual neurons against each other, society rapidly deteriorated into chaos. Eventually, as one, the brainstems of large sections of society basically said “Right, enough is enough, I’m off.” Using their low-level mechanical instinctual strength, each one commandeered its parent brain, and started leaping out peoples’ noses. The fact that human brains evidently preferred taking their chances in the outside world rather than cooped up inside protective skulls finally woke the movers and shakers of NZ society up to the fact that negative-horsepower cars clearly do more harm than good to the society they inhabit. Reluctantly but firmly they ordered the whole lot destroyed.
Even today, several decades after the last negative-horsepower car sprayed forth its last Baileys geyser, many individuals still yearn for the days of prosperity, riches and as much crack as they could eat, which the negative-horsepower paradigm lovingly festooned upon them. But then they rest their eyes on the Billion-Brain memorial tower, a thousand kilometres high and visible from all parts of the country, built out of the last stocks of negative-horsepower cocaine. This was moulded into the shape of the escaped brains of half the population (come back! We’re not angry, we just want to know you’re safe), and for many decades has been an omnipresent symbol of negative-horsepower Disaster, and these people think again.