By on October 21, 2016

6-speed manual transmission
Because we haven’t yet adopted a Utopian work calendar, it’s now the day before the weekend and time for some unusual automotive news.

While there hasn’t been any reports of people or cars being crushed by colorful fall foliage, Mother Nature has been a bad girl, as animals are conspiring to destroy our vehicles through theft or by making a very distracting corpse. Meanwhile, a shrinking number of vehicles are coming from the factory with the best anti-carjacking device ever made.


A St. Louis man walked away from a carjacking this week with both his life and his wheels after the young carjacker couldn’t figure out what the third pedal was for.

According to KMOV, the assailant sprung from a following car, gun drawn, when the victim pulled up to his house. “He said get up and walk away,” Dustin French told the news channel. “Face away and keep walking.”

The gunman, described as being in his late teens or early 20s, grabbed the keys to French’s late-2000s Nissan Altima and attempted to drive away. Unfortunately for the would-be thief, the Altima had a manual transmission, and that tested the criminal’s motoring knowledge. He left the scene in his own car, a silver Honda Accord, which you can bet has an automatic.

moose (Travis/Flickr)

North of the border, then east quite aways, and across a bit of ocean (though it’s technically a strait), moose are ganging up on local Newfoundlanders.

So plentiful are the gangly meatbags that the driver of a late-model Ford F-150 collided with one while he was distracted by another car-moose collision on the other side of the highway, the National Post reports. This was a tag team affair, it seems. Both drivers survived, though the moose did not. There’s no word on whether the drivers collected more than a few pounds of flesh for their troubles.

Weighing up to and over 1,000 pounds, the awkward and gamey-tasting creatures are growing in numbers on the sparsely inhabited island. At last check, the moose-human ratio is 1:4 and the local tourism bureau boasts of the 85 percent success rates seen during moose hunts. You’re going home with meat, that’s a near-guarantee.

What makes the animals so feared by drivers is their weight, their concentration of mass atop long, spindly legs, their general lack of intelligence, and their inability to be seen in low light. While on vacation there a decade ago, my friends were nearly run over by one, and they were on foot.

bears (Onion/Flickr)Keeping with the animal theme, our next story comes from the wilds of Colorado. It’s similar to the first story, only with more fur and a lack of firearms.

In Grand County, a 200-pound black bear entered Danny Archer’s aging SUV as it hunted for peanut butter or honey or whatever it is that bears like. According to WCNC, as it rummaged around, the bear knocked the vehicle’s transmission into neutral, sending it on a wild ride. “This is a marketable scenario! Get me Disney, or perhaps a newer outlet like Pixar!” thought the bear.

The ride didn’t last long. The bear’s Suzuki Vitara collided with a spruce tree further down the road. Door handles aren’t as easy to find on the inside of a vehicle, so the furry land shark spent some time trashing the interior before ultimately finding its way out.

[Images: Moose, Travis/Flickr (CC BY-NC 2.0); Bears, Onion/Flickr (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)]

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24 Comments on “Freaky Friday: Beating Carjackers off with a Stick (Shift), and Malevolent Animals Are Everywhere...”

  • avatar

    Manual transmissions have stymied a lot of carjackers and car thieves.

    • 0 avatar

      Late one night, I passed a car idling in the middle of the street with its doors open, a few blocks from my buddy’s house. I continued on, and shortly after I got home he called to tell me that some kids had been on a little theft rampage and stolen his truck. One entered his house and grabbed his laptop and tray of keys out of his kitchen. That kid missed a beating by about five minutes. My buddy was in another room and is hard of hearing, but background noises don’t get past me.

      Anyway, the local paper reported that they had initially stolen a car with a manual transmission but couldn’t drive it well enough to get very far so they abandoned it. That must have been the one I passed.

  • avatar

    I’ve always had at least one manual in my garage, and well in those pictures, I’d have to say that having the “R” top left would throw me a bit.

    • 0 avatar

      My first car, a Datsun, was like that except first was down from there with even gears on top. I would occasionally stall my second car by putting it in second when leaving a stop sign, took me a couple months to unlearn that pattern.

    • 0 avatar

      My old Celica and current Genesis both have R top left. The Celica had an annoying backup beeper added to it, because the gates were very close together and there were issues in older models where people would launch from a stop in reverse thinking they were in first gear. Fortunately there were online guides which told me which wire to cut (I put in a dash switch). The worst was my ’81 Z28. I sat in the dealer lot for 15 minutes during my attempted test drive, and had to resort to the user manual. Pull stick HARD left past a stop, then LIFT UP, then push forward into R. They really didn’t want people going into reverse accidentally.

  • avatar

    Meanwhile, down at the gas station, Johnny was pumping Ethyl.

  • avatar

    The other thing about Moose(s?) is that they will charge, unlike deer and elk. And it is awesome and terrible to behold. I hate Moose(s?).

  • avatar

    “What makes the animals so feared by drivers is their weight, their concentration of mass atop long, spindly legs, their general lack of intelligence, and their inability to be seen in low light.”

    That sounds more like the three Presidential debates.

  • avatar

    Are you now allowed to keep road kills ? .

    I’ll never forget cleaning up the mess a bear made of a dead Human inside a VW Typ III Squareback ~ the _SMELL_ ! .


  • avatar

    My car is safe then. Nobody will take my Suzuki Crapenza because is a manual, and because is a POS. I hate myself for buying that wheeled piece of metal with resemblance with a car.

  • avatar

    Glad there was finally a reason to feature the Kraft peanut butter bears on TTAC.

    Also I’ve never agreed with the “manual transmission as theft deterrent” thing, since WRXes and RSXes/Integras have always been two of the most stolen vehicles, and the vast majority of them are manual.

  • avatar

    Moose lives matter.

  • avatar

    Mind you ~ Moose bites can be nasti .


  • avatar

    A moose once bit my sister.

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