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Internet commenters are skeptical of the Instagrammer’s claim.
Here’s what we know: A slammed Mazda RX-8, 0wned by a man named Luke but better known as StancyPants on Instagram, burned to a crisp a couple of days ago. What we don’t know is how it started. Luke is saying that he’s been the victim of arson and “hatred”; the internet is saying it was his own shoddy work.
A post shared by Luke (@stancypants)
There’s reason to be skeptical of either claim. StancyPants is seemingly intentionally controversial, claiming in his Instagram bio, “I build cars to hurt your feelings.” He had modified the RX-8 to sit so low that it’s almost undriveable, with a former viral video showing it scraping on a ramp. Luke claimed in an Instagram post hatred for this build is what caused someone to spray lighter fluid under the hood and ignite it. He also says the car had been parked and, because it wasn’t going to be driven for the winter, was not insured.
“I understand a lot of people out there hold hatred towards me, my car, my business, ect. [sic] But this is a line that shouldn’t be crossed,” Luke said in an Instagram post. “Endangering lives by blowing up a vehicle on the road next to people’s homes is not alright in any way shape or form. Whether you have animosity towards me or not, I do not accept acts of violence or hatred such as this to anyone or anything.”
Internet commenters are skeptical. The location of the fire has caused many to speculate that this was a simple vehicle fire, perhaps even caused by the modifications Luke had done. In one previous video, when explaining the compromises of his automatic-to-manual swapped RX-8, Luke noted that the car refused to start after he swapped the transmission. Because it could not confirm that the car was in park—after all, it no longer had a “park”—Luke had to circumvent the factory starting procedure, running a direct switch to the starter motor. Messing with the wiring to the starter, which handles quite a bit of power, could potentially cause an electrical fire. But if the car was parked and the battery was disconnected, as he claims, that wouldn’t explain it.
An anonymous supporter has set up a GoFundMe to allegedly help Luke recover from the uninsured loss. It also claims that the money won’t be given to Luke without proof of his arson claims but, given the anonymous nature of the poster, there’s no way to be sure that’s true. At this moment, neither Luke nor his detractors have provided evidence for or against the arson claim.
We’ve reached out to the police and fire departments of Renton, Washington, where Luke runs his shop, but have not received any comprehensive official information back. An operator for Renton Regional Fire Authority confirmed to Road & Track that the department responded to a vehicle fire call alleging arson on November 20, but it’s unclear if it was tied to this specific incident. We’ve also reached out to Luke but have yet to hear back. We’ll update this post if we receive new information.
Post expires at 8:38am on Friday February 24th, 2023