Automotive News sites come in many forms. Some aim to provide up-to-date coverage of the most notable headlines. Others might be more specialized, sharing technical information or providing thorough comparisons in the hopes of assisting consumers in their car-buying decisions. While others provide a forum for enthusiasts to interact with one another, sharing ideas and debating the headlines of the day.
And then, there’s The Lemon.
Since 1846, the publishers of The Lemon have aspired to set themselves apart from other automotive news sources; a distinct challenge, considering that the automotive industry wouldn’t really exist until 1892. Then again, no-one ever claimed that German teenagers Heinrich Lehmon and Maximin das Poopenschitz weren’t visionaries, inarguably ahead of their time. So committed were they, in fact, that they spent the better part of half-a-century pulling strings, shaping history from behind the scenes.
Admittedly, their original attempts at transpirational humor were less-than-successful. This, of course, was mostly due to the fact that it consisted mostly of the two standing around, making fun of horses. But eventually, they would meet and befriend another duo, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach…both of whom were intent on revolutionizing transportation.
In 1889, Daimler and Maybach presented their motorized carriage concept to the Parisian public thanking their “dear friends, Heinrich and Maximin, for both the inspiration…and the laughs.”
To reciprocate the sentiment (and to celebrate the realization of their dream) Lehmon and das Poopenschitz would publish the groundbreaking satirical article, ‘US President Harrison Still Prefers Horses over German Automobiles (for Sex)’. And as the fledgling automakers continued to ply their trade, the fledgling humorists did the same. In fact, by all accounts, it was an oxygen bubble from riotous laughter that caused Daimler’s death in March of 1900. Maybach would live until 1929 but, by all accounts, he simply ‘wasn’t as much fun at a party’ as his late-partner.
Robbed of their muse, Heinrich and Max would turn their sights to American success. With advances in stateside technology, they envisioned a world where industry-based satire could be composed, and circulated, with incalculable speed. However, they just needed to wait until former-President Harrison died on March 13, 1907 because (according to Lehmon’s ledger) “the guy just couldn’t take a joke”.
At the time, American journalists made use of ‘the line’, telegraphing stories in order to spread the news. Emerging from a central source, the story would spread outward on-the-line, in what was referred to as ‘the web’. Thus, web-based journalism was born as was ‘The Lemon’.
Having been hailed as the Toast of Europe, the German-born satirists would cross the Atlantic prior to their respective deaths. In doing so, they were able to open The Lemon’s first (very humble) offices in Peterborough, NH. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for them to realize the two primary obstacles that stood in their way. First, that Peterborough NH was far from the hub of America’s automotive industry. Second, that penicillin wouldn’t be a proven treatment for Syphilis until 1947. They died penniless, their bodies kept warm by the unconscious bodies of twelve opium-intoxicated whores.
The only message left behind: the words ‘sunt pugnae aviditate’, the Latin translation of “Don’t Sue Us”.
Nearly a century would pass before The Lemon would be resurrected. Recovering the handwritten ledger of Heinrich Lehmon from a disused crawl-space within The Lemon’s original NH offices, an entrepreneur (who wishes to retain his anonymity) made The Lemon a literary lazarus, trademarking the name alongside the hopeful motto, ‘sunt pugnae aviditate’.
Under such aliases as ‘Mitch McDangles’ the ragtag cadre of anonymous journalists aimed to realize Lehmon and das Poopenschitz’s original vision…only now being fed headlines by a mature automotive industry, with lightning-fast circulation supported by the latest in web-based technology. Sustained by their shared love of all-things-automotive and in-house drinking, the (predominantly) syphilis-free office of The Lemon has grown to employ some of the finest journalists that clinical depression, crippling social anxiety and failed military service can provide.
Are the headlines true? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe just parts. Who knows for sure? We might actually have made up this entire ‘About Us’ section.
The simple truth is that, if you’re bookmarking The Lemon for the latest in automotive news, you might want to rethink your strategy. On the other hand, if you’re coming to us for a laugh…
Well, there’s no accounting for taste.
(Just don’t sue us…)