I've stolen my first hubcap. OK, what do I do with it?

Well, not really. :wink:

One of the things you hear in regards to the Beatles appearing on The Ed Sullivan Show on 2-9-64 is that not a single hubcap was stolen in NYC while the show was on.

So I’ve heard of teens stealing hubcaps and the Beatles fact since I was a kid, but it took all this time for me to ask: Why? What good is a hubcap? Why would you steal one? Is this just one of those things kids did, or was there true monetary value to the things?

cheap house siding.

Well, back in the day when cars all had fancy and idiosyncratic hubcaps, the thing is, sometimes you’d lose one by hitting a nasty pothole. So there you are, wanting to buy just one hubcap, and the dealer either will only sell you a set of four, or doesn’t have your 15-year-old version, or wants too much money. Enter the hubcap entrepreneur, with his wares displayed by the side of the road… He could, of course, buy his from some legitimate source, such as a junkyard, but how much easier to simply buy them off of street urchins, no questions asked.

Interestingly, in theory the loss of hubcaps via accident should nearly equal the number that can be sold this way, so in principle no theft is required. But there is a serious entropy problem to overcome, so that’s not how it works. It’s sort of how nobody mines extremely low-grade gold ore.

At one time, people commonly bought second hand hubcaps to replace lost ones. Hub caps came off easier in those days, too, so people did lose them. Since they were so easy to take off, people would pry off hubcaps either to enhance their own beaters, replace their own lost hubcaps or sell them to the second hand places for a small price.

Some hubcaps (actually wheel covers) are/were insanely expensive. The ones that come to mind are the faux wire-wheel covers from mid- through late-1980s Cadillacs. The option was something like $1500, and OTC replacements were nearly $1k each. There was a huge fad of stealing them not only for value but to pimp out lowriders and the last gasps of pimpmobiles.

There were others quite expensive as well. They aren’t/weren’t all dimestore stripper options, even though they look that way from this era of nearly all machined alloy wheels.

It’s just amazing that this was so common that it was notable that a single hour passed w/o one being stolen.

There may be a net worth/income level where I’m unconcerned that I just spent 4 figures on a set of hubcaps, but I haven’t hit it yet. :wink:

This sounds completely apocryphal to me, like all the toilets flushing and phones ringing at battered woman shelters every year right after the Super Bowl ends…

I feel that way about $3,000 nav systems and $2,000 rear entertainment systems representing about $500 (generously speaking) of off-the-shelf tech. But people happily plunk down for them every day. (They have almost zero resale value, BTW.)

You poopy in it and leave it along side the road to see if anyone else wants it … that’s what you do with it.

:confused: What’s supposed to be the meaning behind that?

In the UK since the 50s there has been a soap called Coronation Street. This was so popular at one time, that the electricity controllers would power up several extra generators to deal with the demand from electric kettles in the ad break and at the end.

Over here they used to steal the wheels.

Cuz, back then, we had cool cars, and we also had cool hubcaps.

Usually 4 hubcaps were stolen at a time.

Sometimes hubcap locks helped if the theft was prevented, other times it just made it worse if the thieves flattened the tires in order to get the hubcaps.

Kid, don’t steal the hubcap. Steal the whole car.

Hubcaps were easy to steal and had a ready market. Pawnshops and car parts stores would buy them without much scrutiny. Furthermore, there was very little chance the owner would track them down, since it was hard to prove the hubcap being sold in the parts store had been stolen. Cops also didn’t spend much time tracking them down.

I would think the hubcap story during the Beatles appearance is apocryphal. First of all, who would know? The hubcaps might have been stolen during the show, but not noticed until the next morning, when the owner couldn’t be sure of the time they were stolen.

Once I was just waiting at a red light , and I saw such a theft.

A little person darted out in front of me.

Quick as a flash, he’s knelt down at the back of a motorbike,
which had two riders on it.

He’s reached up to the front and flicked his wrist, presumably loosening a bolt.
And then he’s jumped up and raced away, and the motorbike is missing its muffler.

Hanoi, Vietnam in 2001.

Sorry if I wasn’t clear, I meant that the story that no hubcaps were stolen while The Beatles were first appearing on Ed Sullivan sounds like an urban legend to me…

Your higher class homeless use them for dinner plates.

I’ve seen this.

I lived in the vicinity of a smallish marina in Honolulu (Kewalo Basin, to be specific), 1981-1984. There was a long-term homeless guy who lived there. We all called him Banzai. Next door to marina, a huge beach-side park (Ala Moana), with concession stands, and trash cans full of half-eaten box lunches. Free banquets for the homeless!

One day I saw Banzai and some buddy of his sitting in the marina parking lot, enjoying a veritable banquet (seriously, not kidding) of goodies from the park trash cans, which they were eating off of hubcaps.

Even the scruffiest homeless people (which Banzai was) have some class!

ETA: I guess I should add, Banzai was truly crazy and was always doing crazy, but harmless, things.

Obviously all the hubcap thieves saw the Beatles and knew it was officially the 60’s (the age of the mag wheel) and the bottom was therefore about to fall out of the hubcap market. :slight_smile:

It’s interesting the mods aren’t locking this thread given that “advice” is being proffered as to what to do with stolen items.

I guess they mistakenly think we are too high class of a membership to actually engage in such behavior.


Come collect your prize! Just added to Snopes yesterday: http://www.snopes.com/radiotv/tv/beatles.asp