Instagrammer Claims Haters Burned Down His Stanced RX-8. Internet Commenters Have Doubts

stancypants car fire

Screenshot: Stancypants on Instagram

Here’s what we do know: A battered Mazda RX-8 driven by a man named Luke, better known on Instagram as StancyPants, burned to a crisp a couple of days ago. We don’t know how it started. Luke says he has been the victim of arson and “hate”; the internet says it was his own dirty work.

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There is reason to be skeptical of each of these claims. StancyPants is seemingly deliberately controversial, claiming in his Instagram bio, “I build cars to hurt your feelings.” He had modified the RX-8 to sit so low it was almost impossible to drive, and a once-viral video showed it scraping on a ramp. Luke claimed in his Instagram post that hatred of the build is what led someone to spray a lighter under the hood and light it on fire. He also says that the car was parked and, since it will not be driven in the winter, it was not insured.

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“I understand that a lot of people out there hate me, my car, my company, etc. [sic] But that’s a line that shouldn’t be crossed,” Luke said in an Instagram post. “There’s no way to put lives at risk by blowing up a vehicle on the road next to people’s homes. Whether you hate me or not, I do not condone acts of violence or hate like this against anyone.

Internet commentators are skeptical. The location of the fire led many to believe it was a simple vehicle fire, possibly even caused by Luke’s modifications. In one previous video explaining the trade-offs of his auto-to-manual RX-8, Luke noted that the car refused to start after changing the transmission. Since it couldn’t confirm that the car was in park—it no longer had “park,” after all—Luke had to bypass the factory start procedure by running a direct switch to the starter motor. Messing with the starter wire, which provides quite a lot of power, can cause an electrical fire. But if the car was parked and the battery was disconnected, as he claims, that doesn’t explain it.

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An anonymous supporter has set up a GoFundMe to supposedly help Luke recover from his uninsured loss. It also claims that the money won’t be awarded to Luke without proof of his claims of arson, but given the anonymous nature of the poster, there’s no way to be sure that’s true. At this point, neither Luke nor his detractors have provided evidence for or against arson.

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We have reached out to the police and fire departments in Renton, Washington, where Luke operates his store, but have not received any comprehensive official information. This was confirmed by the operator of the Renton Regional Fire Authority Road and track that the department responded to a vehicle fire call of a possible arson on Nov. 20, but it is unclear if it was related to this particular incident. We have also contacted Luke, but have not yet received a response. We will update this post if we receive new information.

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