Safe from that type of idiot, anyway

This news item made my day:

An attempted stickup was confounded by a car’s stick shift, when would-be carjackers failed to understand the mechanics behind a manual transmission.

It was two idiots with a gun, trying to carjack a man and make off with his 2002 Corvette — except that they couldn’t even get it started. Even after the owner tried to help! (Which I think really goes above and beyond the duty of a carjack victim.)

After laughing over this, it occurred to me what an American story this is. In Europe, automatic transmissions are still a luxury and most people don’t have them. The stick shift rules, even in car rentals. So I guess that’s one thing we’re safe from over here: American carjackers who can’t drive a stick.

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About Fletcher DeLancey

Socialist heathen and Mac-using author of the Chronicles of Alsea, who enjoys pondering science, politics, well-honed satire (though sarcastic humor can work, too) and all things geeky.
This entry was posted in culture, Europe, humor. Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Safe from that type of idiot, anyway

  1. Lilaine says:

    Ha! Excellent! 😀
    Both the news and your comment… 😉

  2. Lisa Shaw says:

    Now, now … I never learned to drive a stick, as I seem to lack the fundamental hand/eye/ear/foot coordination required. While that does disqualify me from a career as a carjacker (or valet), thankfully, I hope it does not qualify me as an idiot! >)

  3. M. says:

    LOL really funny story 😀
    But you made me thinking if an automatic transmission is uncommon in Europe because of ‘luxury’ or rather tradition. Because you see, I don’t want to have A/T car, even if it was for free :D. I tried it a few times, and no, thankyouverymuch! 😀 While here A/T cars are slightly more expensive than their manual counterparts, I think the difference is not big enough to determine your choice, especially when you can’t drive a stick ;). I remember that before 2009 crisis US used cars were about twice cheaper than the same European models, thus worth import. But after hearing that they all had A/T, many people resigned, seeing it as a serious flaw.

  4. Carla says:

    This story sure made me laugh, although it also got me thinking that if someone put me in a car with an automatic transmission, I’d probably be as confounded as those two carjackers, since I’ve never driven one. I’m sure that I would probably figure it out after a while, but I have a feeling that my left foot would keep trying to press the nonexistent clutch pedal.

    Like M., I really can’t see myself ever choosing an AT car over a MT one. I love driving, and shifting gears is certainly a big part of what makes it so enjoyable for me.

  5. oregon expat says:

    M., I had not heard that about people rejecting the used American cars due to the A/T, but I can sure understand why. My wife and I looked into buying a hybrid car a few years back, and one of the main things that made us decide against it (besides the horrific cost) was the lack of a real gear shift. Like Carla, I want to change my own gears, thanks! It really is part of what makes driving enjoyable. There’s nothing quite like a perfect downshift from fifth to third when coming off a freeway exit…

  6. Jason Cleaver says:

    I can only drive an automatic myself – like Liz I lack the necessary co-ordination. Maybe automatics are a luxury in Europe, but I don’t think they are in the UK…

  7. Lilaine says:

    The A/T is very useful when you’re recovering from a left knee (or ankle) injury (or severe sprain) or surgery. Speaking from experience… 🙂

    • oregon expat says:

      Now that’s true! Reminds me of the time I wiped out my left knee in a cycling accident and had to call in sick to work, not because I was sick, but because I couldn’t drive myself to the office (and in coastal Oregon, there’s no such thing as public transit).

  8. Kylie says:

    That’s hilarious.

  9. xenatuba says:

    I recall a couple funnies…once, when working as a catering delivery driver (automatic tranny F250 van) I had to go to San Francisco to pick up the rental truck for commencement (24 foot box truck) because I was the only one on staff who could both drive a standard transmission and had a valid driver’s license. Another one: while working and driving a Chevy Caprice squad car (and my POV at the time was a small, standard tranny Ford pick-up) and patrolling in the middle of the night, I chose to make a sweeping (yet legal) U-turn to avoid going into the city of Eugene, and stay in the unincorporated area. It was about 0300, and as I am making this slow, sweeping U-turn across 4 lanes of traffic, I hit my pick-up’s stall speed, and jam in the clutch, causing the patrol car to stand on its nose (well, I exaggerate a little here) since it was actually a sudden and dramatic jam on of the brake.

    While I do appreciate an automatic transmission in every car I now drive, I also could not fathom an automatic tranny on a motorcycle, although there are a couple out there. And attempted theft of manual transmission cars by those who can’t drive them is not uncommon. At least in Oregon.

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