April 25, 2010

"I'm Jewish, and I don't even know how to drive a stick shift!"

Said Amanda Pogany, whose 1996 Honda Accord was stolen and, 3 years later, returned "with a brand-new V-8 engine, tinted windows, oversized tires with special hubcaps - and custom valve stem caps shaped like bullet casings... manual transmission... leather interior... and a Dominican flag and a giant wooden cross [hanging] from the rearview mirror."
When the car disappeared from her block in 2006, Pogany said cops laughed when she asked about tracking it down....
... Pogany had basically forgotten about the car, simply using the car-sharing service Zipcar instead....

An officer told Pogany that cops found her Honda while busting a Queens chop shop and were able to trace it back to her even though the VIN number had been filed off.

"I was like, 'Shut up!'" said Pogany, who teaches Judaic Studies and Hebrew language at the Solomon Schechter School of Manhattan.

Turns out, a major car enthusiast bought the Honda from the thieves and then put a ton of work into it, police told her. He was in the middle of paying to put in the brand-new transmission when the raid occurred.

What should Pogany do now?
Sell the car to the "enthusiast" for a price equal to what she lost in the theft.
Put the car up on eBay and get the best price for it.
Learn to drive a stick shift and have fun.
  
pollcode.com free polls

28 comments:

The Drill SGT said...

The Hottest car for Low-riding Hispanic hoods is a mid-late 80's Honda CRX SI (aka The Roller Skate)

Known for its low ride and jack rabbit starts, my wife had hers stolen twice and often folks would pull up along side at a stop light and make offers to buy it.

Juba Doobai! said...

This is so sweet! I hope Ms. Pogany enjoys the ride and puts some good security on it so the previous 'owner' won't come to steal, er, reclaim it.

ricpic said...

Worst thing Jews do to themselves is convince themselves they're "above" all that lowly manual stuff. All that I've got a brain false superiority. All they do is render themselves helpless and miss out on the fun of getting your hands dirty. Fools.

ironrailsironweights said...

What makes this story even funnier is that the prior "owner" probably spent thousands in custom work on a car that's now been taken away from him. What a moron. But hey, maybe they'll give him the Dominican flag back.

BTW, Ms. Pogany is fortunate that the car had been ten years old when stolen. If it had been newer she likely would have had theft insurance, and now the insurance company would own the much-more-valuable car.

Peter

Big Mike said...

#1 is almost right -- sell it to the enthusiast but get some profit on the deal.

Scott said...

If the insurance on her car paid her for her loss, and she later recovered the car, would she have to pay the insurance company for the proceeds of the sale?

In any case, if she doesn't like it, she should sell it.

In January, I bought a 2010 Honda Civix EX 4 door, equipped with a manual transmission. It didn't take me long to re-learn how to drive it, having had a Civic with a stick in the '80s. But now I live in New Jersey, and let me tell you, driving a car in a traffic jam with a stick is a royal pain.

john said...

As a commenter asked - does she even legally own this car, or does her insurance company?

Skyler said...

Can you sell a car that has had the VIN filed off? Is the car really still hers after the insurance company paid for it?

ironrailsironweights said...

If the insurance company had paid her for the car, it wouldn't be hers, and the police would have returned it to the company. Given the age of the car at the time of the theft, it's unlikely that she still had any theft insurance.

Peter

Hagar said...

Slushboxes are Jewish?

edutcher said...

There should be a #4 - Sell it to the "enthusiast" (what's the penalty for receiving stolen goods these days?) for all she can get out of him, or, better yet, what the car is really worth after he installed all the goodies.

Francis Barragan said...

This whole story looks like a legal exam question waiting to happen in a remedies class.

From Inwood said...

Turns out, a major car enthusiast bought the Honda from the thieves.

Car Enthusiast, of course, has spent a lifetine posing as an uptight, upright citizen.

BTW, can't wait to see C4's post here.

Michael Hasenstab said...

As a car guy, I'm calling bullshit on the original article.

The car in the photograph that accompanies the article does not have a V8 engine. Such an engine would not fit withing the standard body of a '96 Honda Accord.

The engine in the photograph is a four cylinder engine manufactured by Honda, and probably modified for increased horsepower. The red engine cover with the letters VTEC suggest that the engine may have originally been in an Acura, a line of cars also made by Honda.

The care in the photo does not have "oversized tires with special hubcaps" as stated in the article. It has standard sized tires on what appear to be aluminium wheels.

There are no hubcaps; the red brake calipers can be seen through the front wheels. The tires may be higher performance, i.e., have a stickier tread compound for higher traction, but they are not the fat oversized tires typically seen on modified front wheel drive street cars.

And as for the "custom valve stem caps shaped like bullet casings"...seriously, just unscrew them and replace them with a $10 set of standard valve stem caps. This one is just laughably ignorant.

I'd keep it. Take out the flag and the cross, swap in a used transmission, an automatic if necessary, and drive it. Looks like the previous owner paid some attention to how well it drove, so why not keep driving it?

Seven Machos said...

I think she probably had only damage insurance on the car (or whatever it's called).

I say offer it for the fair price before the improvements. The only problem there is that you are then putting yourself in contact with somebody who might be pretty upset to have his car taken away and might not want to pay you (and may or may not be shady). Therefore, drive it and have fun might be the best practical option.

I love Zipcar, by the way. If you live in a big city, it is completely and totally awesome.

ironrailsironweights said...

There's absolutely no reason why Ms. Pogany should give the interim "owner" any kind of break. He would have bought the car without a title and almost surely would have known (or had good reason to know) that it was stolen. It's also highly likely that he drove it with a forged or otherwise invalid registration, no insurance, and quite possibly a suspended/revoked/nonexistent license.

Peter

Slow Joe said...

The torque steer for this car with that engine is retarded.

It's simply a bad design. Those little half axles will break all the time.

If she knows how to change ball joints and cv joints, then sure, sounds like a neat hobby.

Slow Joe said...

Would this car be better with a super heavy front end? That car was already badly off balance for weight with a pretty light iron 4 cyl.

A truly great car. That iteration of the Accord, 5th generation, is still the best Honda ever made in a line with many excellent cars.

I agree that it's unlikely the v8 is really in there. There wasn't much room in the front, and this car already had a challenged cooling system. Unless the engine popped way over the hoodline, and even then, how to mate that with the transmission is an interesting problem. And then, it's probably too heavy to turn well and breaks itself all the time.

A terrible idea. Better to get a turbocharged V6 or 4 cyl. Why people put any kind of motorsport interest into a family sedan with front wheel drive is beyond me. I like the way Accord's drive, but some people need to get some perspective on what these Hondas are. They are not hot rods.

Slow Joe said...

Also, since the best aspect of this car is its longevity, and that has been removed, I think the car is worth far less in its 'have fun' condition. It's actually probably less fun to drive, too.

If she could get good money out of it, which I highly doubt, that's what she should do. If she wants a 5th gen Accord, they aren't that expensive. She could get a real one instead of this zombie.

But she can't sell it. She's screwed. The guy who did all this work is probably not willing to pay fair market for cars, hence how he came to own the stolen car.

biz said...

amanda's husband here. just to be clear: we only had liability insurance, nothing to cover theft, so the car is indeed legally ours.

Scott said...

"amanda's husband here."

Sure, buddy.

berkeley bum said...

Have an Orthodox rabbi kasher the car

Original Mike said...

I won't own an automatic transmission. I'd be so bored I'd fall asleep at the wheel.

Seriously, sticks are just fun.

Comrade X said...

my friend's VW Bug Conv. was stolen in the late 80's. When the cops found it a year later it had been repaired, repainted, reupholstered and had a new top. They put his story and picture in the Weekly World News.

Calypso Facto said...

As long as she's a good Jew and has the cover removed from the knob of the stick, then by all means she should learn to drive it!

The harder and faster, the better.

jpr9954 said...

She needs to learn to drive a stick and then enter the care in "Pinks All Out"!

Your Correspondent said...

' "I was like, 'Shut up!'" said Pogany, who teaches Judaic Studies and Hebrew language..." '

Me, I'd be happy if a language teacher would get fired for speaking like that in public.

wnpaul said...

@Your Correspondent: But then she's a Hebrew teacher, not an English teacher ...

@Michael Hasenstab: who says that the car in the picture is the car in question?