The Stolen Convertible

Mar 05, 2016

RAY: This was sent in recently by a fellow named Daniel England, who writes:

I'm the proud owner of a magnificent 1956 Chevrolet convertible, which I restored to perfection over the last few years. Last week on a very warm summer afternoon I decided to take my car to town. It needed gas, as the gauge was practically on empty, but I needed an ice cream, so I headed first to my favorite ice cream shop. I had trouble finding a parking space and had to park it down a side street. I noticed a group of young guys standing around smoking cigarettes and eyeing my car rather covetously. I was a bit uneasy leaving it there. But people often take interest in such an old and well-preserved car, so I went off to enjoy my ice cream.

The line at the ice cream shop was long, and it took me quite a while to return to my car. When I did, my worst fears were realized: my car was gone.

I called the police and reported the theft and then went back and bought a quart of pistachio ice cream. About ten minutes later the police called me back to say they had found the car abandoned near a gas station a few miles out of town.

It was unharmed and I was relieved. It seems just before I called, they had received a call from a young woman who was an employee at a self-service gas station. She told them that three young men had driven in with this beautiful old convertible. One of them came to the window and prepaid for 20 dollars worth of gas.

Then all three of them walked around the car several times. They opened the hood and for a long time they all looked around inside. Then they closed the hood and walked around the car in the other direction. Then they all got in the car and drove off, without filling the tank. The police were at a loss to explain this unusual sequence of events.

The question is, why would anybody steal a car, pay for gas that they never pumped, and then abandon the car and walk away?

TOM: And the answer is... they couldn't find where to put the gas! You'd never in a million years figure out where it was on this car.

RAY: Right. It's behind the left taillight. There was a little lever you had to turn and the taillight plunked down and there was the cover to the gas tank. And that's why they walked around the car and threw up their hands, got in and drove away; when they ran out of gas, they left it there. So who's our winner?

TOM: Our winner this week is Linda Williams from Ann Arbor, Michigan. Congratulations!


Get the Car Talk Newsletter