Hooniverse Asks: What's the Most Tragic Bought-it-Then-Wrecked-it Story You've Ever Heard?

I bought myself a radio-controlled airplane not all that long ago. It’s electric, powered by an impossibly small Li-Polymer battery, and a lot of fun to fly. That is, until you crash it into the side of a building. Yes, that was what happened on my third flight as I foolishly decided to throw caution to the wind (pun intended) on a particularly breezy day. That sent the little Styrofoam bird into the side of a schoolroom at my local elementary teaching establishment.
Never fear however, as I was able to salvage the craft—although I never found the battery that was ejected in the accident—and it flies again. The same sadly can’t be said for some car buyers who have driven off the dealer lots only to immediately crash their new purchase in an instant of bad luck made worse by poor choices. There is nothing quite like the experience of having thatnew car smell be replaced by airbag talc mist, and that’s just what we’re looking for today. What’s the saddest instance you’ve ever seen of a just bought it—just wrecked it story?
Image: InsideEVS

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  1. Ian Wright Avatar
    Ian Wright

    I managed to understeer my first car (An 80’s UK Fiesta) three days after buying it into a brand new white Ford Escort. Went all the way down the side of it…
    I’m sure there will be worse stories.

  2. Kiefmo Avatar

    My only story involves RC, too.
    When I was 10, my brother and I got matching remote-control 4×4 RC trucks for Christmas. As soon as the four NiCad D-cell batteries were charged, I headed out with my truck.
    And promptly drove it into a creek. It never worked again. My dad was quietly livid, and my little brother prevented me from ever touching his truck.

    1. irishzombieman Avatar

      Had a Brazilian friend who was driving his nitro powered truck on sand dunes at the beach. He’d worked months to save up for it and was having the time of his 12-year-old life.
      Then he lost radio contact with the throttle wide open. He stood there watching it fly off dune after dune until it finally drove itself into the ocean.

  3. Kiefmo Avatar

    I don’t know how soon it was after buying, but it couldn’t have been more than a few months — the kid who bought my 2002 WRX wagon off of me overcooked a roundabout and understeered into the outside curb. It wasn’t all that tragic, as he replaced the bummed suspension parts and wheel and kept driving it until it spun a main bearing some 30-40k later.
    I think he comes round these parts every so often — maybe he can add to the comment.

  4. JayP Avatar

    I made a visit to my pal working at an Audi dealer in Dallas. We were trying out a TT225 when we came up behind an A6 which had been t-boned by car that missed a stop sign (sign was obscured by a tree.)
    We pulled up, my pal recognized the driver as a customer who had just taken delivery of that A6. Not 1 mile from the dealer. Everyone was OK, just rattled.

  5. Alff Avatar

    I’ve told this one here before, but it fits…
    Got a call from a friend on a Friday night, asking me if I wanted to fly from KC to NYC the next morning to pick up a CLS55 he’d just bought. Left my house at 7:30 am Saturday, flew to the city, took an outrageously expensive cab ride into New Jersey, drove straight through to KC. Got back at 7:00 am Sunday. By 2 pm, his wife had slid it into a telephone pole. Repair bill was somewhere around $20K.

  6. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    Back in, I think it was 2002, I bought a motorcycle. It was to be my first street motorcycle, but I had ridden dirt bikes many years prior, so I was reasonably confident. It was a liter-class sport bike. My coworkers called me an idiot (they were right). I bought it on ebay, and it was a 12 hour drive away. Nobody made a hitch for my Maxima, so I cobbled some parts together from 3 different Reese hitches, and rented a trailer from U-Haul on a Saturday. I made it to the seller, bought the bike, and took it around the block before loading it into the trailer. I was home by midday Sunday, and unloaded the bike, and returned the trailer.
    Monday rolled around, and I had a job to get to. I rode the bike. No endorsement, and on the seller’s plate. It was hairy riding on the interstate, but I made it to work. My riding coworkers and I went for a ride around town during lunch. As an inexperienced rider, following my coworkers was markedly easier than my solo trip to work. I was feeling better about this.
    On my way home, I took surface streets. All was good until I had to make a left onto a busy street with no stop. My growing confidence and my trust in the capabilities of the bike conspired to pull out into a gap that the bike could do, but sadly, I couldn’t. I shot straight across the street, laid the bike over, and slammed it into a curb. Messed up my knee, bent the forks and front wheel, broke the shifter, and cracked most of the bodywork.
    I was teased mercilessly by my coworkers. My knee got better. I spent the next year fixing the bike. My riding improved.
    Then the bike was stolen from my garage, never to be seen again.

    1. irishzombieman Avatar

      I spent the last five years on a Suzuki GS500. Great first bike. Just recently bought a Bandit 1200. Am SO DAMNED GLAD I didn’t buy this one first.

      1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

        The GS500 is damned near the perfect first bike. It’s tame enough for a novice, but fast enough to let your skills grow.

    2. jeepjeff Avatar

      I took a street riding course when getting my license, and one of the instructors used the phrase “the bike could have done it” repeatedly to warn us about overconfidence.*
      I’m glad I didn’t get the FZ-07 first. A middleweight is a lot of bike. Enough so that I’m not sure I ever need to own a liter bike.
      * EDIT: this has also been a useful mantra when I get in a little over my head. The bike can do it, don’t panic and let the bike do it.

      1. smalleyxb122 Avatar

        I eventually replaced that stolen liter bike with another liter bike (same make and model, but one year older). I rode it safely for a year before selling it for a down payment on my house. I had acquired the maturity that I thought I had with the first one. “It only goes as fast as you let it.”

  7. 0A5599 Avatar

    My first weekend with a driver’s license, I was cruising with friends and didn’t notice the black Trans Am in my blind spot until after I attempted the lane change. Fortunately, the damage was just a rub spot on some trim, and the other driver let me off with a lecture. No cops, no parents.

  8. P161911 Avatar

    Does this count? https://youtu.be/bgEOjxzrR10

    1. JayP Avatar

      I just told the kid about this event… He didn’t believe me.

  9. P161911 Avatar

    Not a wreck but a major mechanical failure on a used car. Bought my Z3 that had been converted to a M Roadster, barely managed to scrape together enough to get it. About 3 weeks later it starts running really rough. One cylinder is “severely scored”. Another junkyard S52 and more $$$ I managed to drive it another 18 months before it overheated and warped the head for more $$$$$!!

  10. Batshitbox Avatar

    Remember the guy who won the Lamborghini and crashed it 6 hours later? That was tragic on many levels. One not so important Lamborghini got munched (did it get repaired?) but I think the more tragic part is, you can’t have nice things! The guy won a dream car, but couldn’t swing the damn sales tax. If you’re gonna give away a car for free, it should be a free car! Nonetheless, that guy shouldn’t have taken delivery without a buyer in place.

    1. Alff Avatar

      In view of recent events, Turd Ferguson had a relevant comment when responding to Jalopnik’s speculation that the wreck was intentional.
      “If Jalopnik turns out to be right, it won’t be because they’re on the cutting edge of any kind of *journalism*, which necessarily would require reporting of facts, not speculation, and independent verification of “tips” supplied by readers. No, if Jalopnik turns out to be right, it will be because they guessed correctly.
      And a “growing deck of cards against David”? How so? Because he put a feeler out there to see if anyone was interested in buying the car so he wouldn’t have to borrow money to cover the taxes and insurance? Or because he crashed a supercar, presumably because he was driving over his head (it’s not like he’s alone in having done that)? Or is it because some unnamed “Jalopnik tipster” claims that Dopp will be better off financially if the car is totaled than if he sold it (this is pure speculation unless anybody has seen Dopp’s policy coverage)?
      At this point, it’s not “networked investigations” that are holding this so-called “story” together, but rather networked conjecture. And that’s not journalism.”

  11. Van_Sarockin Avatar

    I knew a guy who was a pretty high flyer when he was young. Bought a new 911, but it wasn’t enough for him. He took it to a shop and had all sorts of performance upgrades done. An hour after he’d picked it up after the work was done, he’d stuffed it into an LA canyon. Totaled the car and was permanently paralyzed from the waist down.

    1. mad_science Avatar
  12. dukeisduke Avatar

    This was in ’77 – a friend of mine bought a ’72 Monte Carlo (metallic green with white top, 350 4-barrel, THM350, a/c, AM radio, rally wheels) from a used car lot, and hit a parked car with it 30 minutes later, buckling the right front fender.

  13. Top-dead-centre Avatar

    Just last week, one of Ms. TDC’s co-workers took delivery of a brand-new Honda Accord at the office. He was driving home after work (in normally horrible Boston area traffic), and hadn’t gotten five miles along the Interstate before traffic slowed down, and a large Lexus SUV didn’t. Think of the SUV as a pool cue, a Honda Fit as the cue ball, and the back of the new Accord as the eight-ball. There were no injuries needing anything more than band-aids, but the Fit had the hatchback door crumpled into the back seat area. The Accord ended up with over $15,000 worth of damage to the trunk area.

  14. Wayne Moyer Avatar
    Wayne Moyer

    Well I was working at a Toyota dealership in 1997 we had a guy buy a brand new T100. So it was sent back to detailing where they lifted it up and promptly smashed it into an overhead heater. He hadn’t even taken delivery yet. The new owners reaction was simply “And I haven’t even put a tank of gas through it”. Really?! I would have demanded a replacement truck.

  15. mad_science Avatar

    When my dad was selling his FD RX-7 to a family friend, said family friend overcooked an onramp, spun all the way across the freeway and kissed the passenger side of the car against the guardrail. Managed to put a small crease in every single panel.
    My dad was still feeling kinda conflicted about selling the car, as it was awesome…but also an aging RX-7. He said from the moment that happened, he was mentally done with it. He had Crashy The Buyer pick it up from the body shop.

  16. mad_science Avatar

    I bit the bullet and borrowed a stack of cash from my parents to deal with a blown head gasket (and assorted other issues) on my POS ’85 4Runner at a high-end shop. $2500 bill, but it was finally “right”, and had a 12 month warranty on all work.
    Stolen 2 weeks later, never to be heard from again.

  17. smalleyxb122 Avatar

    Above is my story of “I was an idiot and wrecked my bike the first day I rode it”. I also have an “I wrecked my Corvette on my way home from getting its first plates at the DMV.”
    When I was 18, I won a ’63 Corvette convertible in an auction. I had it for all of 6 weeks. My temp tags had expired, so I drove it to the DMV to get permanent plates. I made it to the DMV only to realize that I forgot my title at home. Home and back to the DMV with my title in hand, I got my plates. I put them on in the parking lot and headed home. On the way home, a lady in a van took a left across my lane, and I hit her front passenger fender broadside.
    $15k in damage to the ‘Vette. Took the check and sold what was left of it. The repaired car popped up on ebay a couple of years ago. I didn’t buy it.

  18. Fuhrman16 Avatar

    One of my friends in high school was given a fairly new car when she turned sixteen. Later that day, she swerved to avoid a fox, lost control, and totaled it (she was fine). Needless to say, she went without some wheels for a few months after that.

  19. wunno sev Avatar
    wunno sev

    guy at my high school – rich kid from a toney suburb, but a nice guy, so no schadenfreude here. got a VW Touareg back when they were new. had an accident and rolled it. got an identical one. had another accident, rolled it.
    what makes this a good story is the rumor that the second accident occurred while he was trying to demonstrate that he couldn’t have caused the first.

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