By on April 8, 2014

Photo courtesy of NBC Bay Area.com

San Francisco’s NBC affiliate is reporting on a new wave of vandalism sweeping the City by the Bay, car tipping. At least four Smart cars were flipped over Sunday night, by what one hooded-sweatshirt wearing witness described as a group of six to eight people wearing hooded sweatshirts. The case has drawn national attention, sparking the creation of a Facebook parody site, comments by the website totalfratmove.com, who called the car tippers “heroes,” and at least one cheekily written article on the website regarded by many as the seedy underbelly of the car blogging world, The Truth About Cars.

Many people believe the attacks on the Smart cars, which sell new beginning at around $13K, are a new form of class warfare in which the poor people still residing in the newly gentrified San Francisco neighborhoods take out their frustrations on the property of their wealthier, status seeking neighbors. Proof of these assertions are borne out by the fact that heavier luxury vehicles parked on the street near the damaged Smart cars were not overturned, causing this author to speculate that the larger cars could not be targeted because of rampant malnourishment among the lower classes. Others, however, think the incidents are just a stupid prank by stupid people who simply resent people with Smarts. Whatever the case, police are investigating and any suspects apprehended are likely to be charged with felony vandalism.

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76 Comments on “Smart Cars Damaged In Stupid Prank...”


  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    “Whatever the case, police are investigating and any suspects apprehended are likely to be charged with felony vandalism.”

    Good. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got a vendetta against the Smart, the Prius, the Mustang, the full-sized truck from [insert brand here], or whatever…you simply don’t have the right to damage other people’s property.

  • avatar
    brenschluss

    It’s horrible that people’s stuff got messed with, and of course, I’d do everything that tough guys on the internet do if I ever caught someone tipping my Smart Car, but FMR that’s funny. Not sure what else you can expect, owning a car that a small group of children can flip on its roof.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      In the old days, VW Beetles were the subject of pranks for… well the same reason.

      I’ve never heard of gangs of hooded sweatshirt people running around, flipping Chrysler New Yorkers.

      Two reasons: 1. They’re too heavy. 2. New Yorkers now are in scrapyards because of transmission issues. Tipping scrapyard cars isn’t as fun as tipping cars in the wild.

    • 0 avatar
      ellomdian

      It’s secretly a team of ex-KSK ensuring that Warranty claims on the terribly-engineered Mercedes abortion of a car are minimized.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    This is the best thing to do with a “dumb” car, but not to someone else’s property without his or her consent!

  • avatar
    blau

    Damn! I’ve always wanted to do that. They just look so darn tippable.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Sucks to have your property destroyed whoever you are and yet I don’t like these cars, don’t think they should be legal, and probably wouldn’t care much for those who owned them so… LOLZ.

    “Many people believe the attacks on the Smart cars, which sell new beginning at around $13K, are a new form of class warfare in which the poor people still residing in the newly gentrified San Francisco neighborhoods take out their frustrations on the property of their wealthier, status seeking neighbors.”

    This is the real problem…

    • 0 avatar
      brenschluss

      Legitimate as class issues may be, anyone who hasn’t resisted the urge to try and tip a Smart Car over is frankly just a spoilsport. I think it’s mostly that.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      I thought this place was hugely libertarian. So, something that’s not a paragon of safety because it’s small should be illegal, but something that’s missing safety features is fine because the market allows for it? Just want to make sure I’m clear on what the accepted logic is.

      • 0 avatar
        Lorenzo

        San Francisco is progressive, not libertarian. The people who tip cars while wearing hoodies are neither. I have no doubt the proper measures will be taken – outlaw hoodies.

        • 0 avatar
          Maymar

          Oh no, I meant TTAC – it’s odd to hear instance suggesting something should be illegal since that’s gub’mint interference, and that’s just the worst.

    • 0 avatar
      niky

      If scooters and motorbikes can be legal, then there’s no reason a Smart car can’t be, considering it’s safer, weatherproof and actually comfortable for your passenger.

      Different strokes for different folks.

  • avatar
    bk_moto

    As wise man Vincent Vega once said, “What’s more chickenshit than fucking with a man’s automobile?”

  • avatar
    Pan

    Car tipping? What’s the matter?
    No more cows?

  • avatar
    eCurmudgeon

    So what is the recommended rate for car tipping in San Francisco these days? 20 percent? Or is it up to 25 now?

  • avatar
    Timothy

    Agree that it’s really a terrible thing to do to someones car.

    Thank being said… I’ve been finding it hard not to laugh at the absurdity of a oxymoronic Smart(Idiotic) car perched on it’s rump.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    The poor little scooter got it as well (top pic).. Listen, I know car tipping is vandalism/theft/property damage etc. but when you go after a defenseless two wheeler like the one pictured above, I say hang the bastards.

    Now- shall we take bets that there will be a lawsuit from a tipper that gets crushed by one of these cars? “I didn’t know it would fall back on me! I am suing!!!!”

  • avatar
    Volt 230

    Boy, back in the day, they would snap off your aerial or key your paint, now this? We are descending as a society more and more each day.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    LOL@ “Heavier luxury cars nearby…”

    I see a Gen II Discovery, and an Accord and an S-10. We’re not exactly dealing with the upper-echelon new car customer in this neighborhood.

    Clearly, this is just about Smart Cars. Vandalism is vandalism – they had time to lift a car and tip it, which means they’d have time to key, slash, or otherwise mess with any other car parked around there. But they didn’t, because they were having fun with Smarts.

    But the media has more fun with “HOODLUMS IN TONY NEIGHBORHOOD PICK ON LEFTOVER POOR PEOPLE IN THEIR SMARTS OMGZ”

    Ugh.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    Smart cars are the property of “wealthy, status-seeking” people? I thought people bought Smarts because they were inexpensive to buy and own, and easy to park. Is a Smart a status symbol in San Francisco? I’m a flyover country dweller, and your sophisticated coastal ways are foreign to me.

    Yes, I know it’s technically “smart” with a lowercase S, but I refuse to break the rules of punctuation on the whim of a committee of gasbags with degrees in marketing.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      Oh God I thought you read it wrong – I read it wrong!

      Tiny, underpowered and outdated Smart = status? That’s a new one.

    • 0 avatar
      carlisimo

      It’s not. Owning a smart car means you don’t own or rent a parking spot and have to prowl the streets for one. It’s one of the few places where a smart makes sense – there are a lot of curb segments between driveways that are too short for most cars (even for my Miata). A Mini will fit in some of them, but not all.

      Outside of San Francisco, i.e. in the greater SF Bay Area, it might sort of be a status symbol, in the sense that it says you can afford a second car to avoid putting miles on your first (a concept I don’t understand, but it’s not uncommon). But not really. It almost became so – there was a lot of buzz after it was announced, and a lot of people put deposits down. Then they actually drove it and realized the transmission was terrible, and bought a Mini or Fiat 500 instead. I never see any outside of downtown SF.

      Anyway, I don’t think this is related to the silly anti-tech protests. It was just drunk high school or college kids damaging property. We’re hardly immune from that.

  • avatar
    Rod Panhard

    It will be interesting to see if the perceptions of this story play out like the “knock-out game” did. Media frenzy, copycats, people who deny it existed, copycats denying that denial, media getting in a frenzy over people denying it existed, YouTube videos of copycats denying knockout game players, etc.

  • avatar
    mnm4ever

    Tipping them is pretty bad. When I was in middle school, a teacher that no one liked had an old Mini or Honda 600 or some other micro-car, I can’t even remember what it was. And our recess area was a grove of trees right next to the teacher parking lot. So one day a group of us saw his car parked right next to a pair of trees that were just about the right distance apart, and someone came up with the bright idea to play a prank on him. About 10-12 kids picked the car up and turned it sideways between the two trees. No way he was driving out of that one!

    IIRC he had a cpl other teachers help him drag it out far enough to drive. Not too long after that they put up a fence between the parking lot and the grove.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Yep standard prank at my high school too for the unlucky (spoiled) kid that owned a Fiat X1/9 or drove daddy’s Porsche 914. As stated the car was just turned sideways in the parking lot in such a way that you couldn’t drive it. I assumed the O line from the football team did it.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    It would be cooler if this had been caused by a V8/RWD swap.

  • avatar

    Must have been a slow news day. Coverage of the Malaysian plane that disappeared over the Indian Ocean is winding down and no one pays attention to what is happening in the Ukraine. Hey! Smart car tipping!

    Next week it will be shark attacks, killer bees, Democrats, Republicans, or a kitty that sings like Katy Perry and became a Youtube sensation.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    More years back then I care to admit there was a guy we knew who drove a Fiat 128. In vastly better shape than I am today, ten of us wrangled his Fiat to the top of a giant snow mountain that forms in the New England states in the corners of parking lots. Front end loaders in particularly snowy winters will pile up the snow (and the spring thaw will typically reveal a small pile of mangled shopping carts).

    We didn’t “harm” his car – just got it up the mountain.

    A few years later eight of us moved a friend’s Ford Tempo by alternately lifting the front and then the rear to “walk” the car to a completely different parking spot while she was at work.

  • avatar
    Wscott97

    I don’t get the hatred towards smart cars. I personally don’t drive one but I do know people who do. They’re great for areas where finding a parking stop is like winning the lottery.

    I went to Italy 10 years ago and thought the start cars were great. People like these just support the bad rep that we have with other countries.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      You should have left the tourist areas of Italy, if you see only the good side of Europe, then yes it may make you embarrassed. However the amount of graffiti, getting beat by the police, corruption out the wazoo, and yes vandalism; crime is no better there.
      Don’t judge your countrymen by a few criminals and compare us to a place with just as bad if not worse crime levels.
      High unemployment, low wages, expensive cost of living, and being tightly packed in cities is only enjoyable for a short time.

  • avatar
    doublechili

    TK, funny piece, thanks. LOL at “malnourishment”.

    As for why the vandals are doing this to Smart cars, I think it’s because they can.

  • avatar
    pragmatist

    This is one of those things you wouldn’t really do (it is very wrong), but how many here have played with the thought?

    Sort of like the perverse admiration for very clever robberies.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      In HS a guy had a VW pickup, 3 people could move, happened several times, all fun and games no damage.

      Speaking of smart cars, leaving DC a couple weeks back I passed a storage lot with at least (no kidding) minimum 50 smart cars, all one color. Thought that was pretty wierd, that one lot had more smart cars on it than I’ve ever even seen in the wild.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Seeing how most Smart car owners drive, I see this as an act of justice. Illegal yah.but here the vandalists are doing local bicyclers and joggers a favor.

    • 0 avatar
      SC5door

      I’d say in Chicago by how most cyclists act, I’d would be some pretty good justice to see their bikes under the tires of Big Foot. (No persons on the bikes of course).

  • avatar
    FJ60LandCruiser

    They’re doing the owners a favor by destroying these death traps. And keeping the slow drivers out of the left lanes of highways everywhere.

    I saw one of these things pull in front of a Suburban, it literally got punted into the air like a football. The Suburban kept moving, almost with no change in its trajectory.

    • 0 avatar
      matador

      I’m not sure I can believe that one would get “punted”. I would assume it would just shatter into pieces.

      I was behind one in my Audi A6 once. He had to make an emergency maneuver to avoid a small chunk of ice. I was able to straddle it without a problem.

      At the next stop light, I passed him for safety. It didn’t feel manly passing a Smart Car, though. It was too easy.

      • 0 avatar
        FJ60LandCruiser

        No, it literally got punted. It got lifted off of the ground, snowplowed out of the way, then did a 720 before coming to rest on its side.

        That spaceframe inside the car makes it act like a rubber ball when it’s hit by a big object.

        • 0 avatar
          matador

          I just checked a video on YouTube with a Smart car and an E-Class being crashed.

          Man, the Smart didn’t look very safe. It actually did look like it was punted.

          Time for Top Gear’s take on US Football. I’ve found the ball!

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This reminds me of the eco-terrorists who used to set fire to Hummers.

    • 0 avatar
      Hummer

      I thought that was funny
      A) it gets replaced at the cost of everyone’s insurance
      B) it put out more chemicals from the paint, rubber, plastic, oil, gas, etc etc on fire than it would have if it stayed on the road.
      C) It was on a dealers lot so its just going to mean an extra shift at the factory, so nothing changes at the end of the day except a few idiots go to jail for terrorism.
      D) it sold in nonexistant numbers compared to vehicles with the same fuel efficiency.

      At least the workers got a few more paid hours.

      Biggest difference is that these aren’t terrorists but more likely kids with nothing better to do.

  • avatar
    AKADriver

    The brand of the car is Smart, not Smart Car. There is no such thing as a Smart Car. No other auto brand seems to need the qualifier “Car” attached to its products. No one talks about “those kids and their Honda Cars.”

    I thought TTAC was better than this. It’s one thing if you’re just reprinting someone else’s lazy article, but your own editorial shouldn’t propagate the “Smart Car” nonsense. It’s a Smart, or a Smart Fortwo to be precise, but never a Smart Car. That’s just stupid.

    • 0 avatar
      doublechili

      Maybe the NY Times is better than TTAC?

      “The Swatchmobile became known as the Smart car, a name derived from the internal name for the project: Swatch Mercedes Art Car.”

      http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/30/swatch-founder-also-gave-birth-to-the-smart-car/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0

      The official project name was “SMArt car”. Maybe they’re trying to drop it now, but early on I always heard it referred to as Smart car. But what do I know? Try going to “America’s Largest Smart Car Community” at smartcarofamerica.com and maybe they can clear this up.

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    I can understand – the things are an eyesore. Although instead of tipping I would just fill them up with dirt and planted trees in them.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    At least those damned hoodie wearing punks didn’t go on anyone’s lawn….. =8-) .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    MRF 95 T-Bird

    Back in the 70′s when I was in high school one teacher drove a Honda 600Z, the sportier of the Honda 600 pre Civic microcars. Occasionally a couple of students would as a prank, lift it and move it sideways in it’s parking space.


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