One of the great things about going to the Chicago Auto Show – or any auto show – is that you can sit in the new vehicles and fantasize about driving them at ridiculous speeds (or is that just me?) Anyway, I couldn’t help but notice that when I reached down for the shifter on several vehicles at this year’s show, I was greeted with an empty stub at the end of it. The shifter knob was missing.
Having been involved in the car business, I understood the reasons for this. Either the car companies removed them so they wouldn’t be stolen – or they were in fact stolen. It took me back to my days at the used vehicle auctions. So many times when you would take a car for a spin, you would find the knobs missing – from radio to shifter. It infuriates you for a moment, because you know if you buy the car, you are going to have to replace the knobs. And for many car dealers, the solution to replace their missing knobs is to steal others from the auction cars. It really is a never-ending circle of petty theft.
After my flashback was over, I decided to tell myself that the manufacturers removed the knobs on the show cars to avoid any greedy hands. Like usual, my hope for humanity was crushed to learn that several jackasses were in fact stealing shifter knobs from the cars. But lucky for the rest of us, the thieves were dumb enough to post their conquests on social media. Because unscrewing a shifter knob from an unguarded car is something to be proud of.
This is where the Internet took over, flaming these idiots for the wannabes they are. The flaming was so successful that one of the wannabes even went so far as to post a picture of himself and the Mustang shift knob in front of the police station – as he allegedly was going to turn it in. But he’s not going to apologize until the flaming ends. So basically, there will be no apology.
Chalk this up to the rare occasion when flaming made a positive impact. Well done, Internet.
It was also interesting in shifter knob news to see that the Chrysler 200 had no traditional shifter at all. The shifter on this car looks very much like a radio control, following the lead of the new Ram trucks. Maybe this is to avoid knob stealing knobs?