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Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Stripped VW On S.F. Street Bears Blunt Message: "F.U. City Tow"

Posted By on Wed, Aug 24, 2011 at 7:30 AM

... and the horse you rode in on
  • ... and the horse you rode in on

A psychiatrist might say that hauling a stripped automobile to Fisherman's Wharf, lowering it onto the street, and spray-painting "F.U. City Tow" isn't the most productive way to manage one's anger.

But we have to hand it to the person identifying him or herself as "J Treehorn" for coming up with an interesting way to express dissatisfaction with the city's former towing contractor.

At least that's what we gathered when coming across this mysterious stripped VW Bug that's been sitting on Kearny Street, near the Embarcadero.

click to enlarge junked_car_007b.jpg

When I first saw the partial vehicle more than a week ago, I thought it might have been stripped by its owner after the SFMTA put a boot on it. Or could vandals have stripped the thing?

However, a close examination of the area surrounding the car shows no more debris than a handful of broken glass, which could easily have been chipped off the mostly busted out windows during the couple of weeks it's been sitting there. Additionally, it's rusty inside and out, as if it had been in a junkyard.

Could somebody have placed the already junked and stripped car on the street?

Adding to the mystery: City Tow hasn't been the city's towing contractor since the early 2000s, when the company paid a multi-million dollar settlement after San Francisco and California sued it for allegedly rigging vehicle auctions. For the past seven years, the contractor that coordinates car towing for the SFMTA has been AutoReturn.

click to enlarge junked_car_011b.jpg
Did somebody go through an extraordinary amount of effort to send a message to a long-gone towing company?

(We've left a message with the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Authority's spokesman, Paul Rose, for any information behind this ominous car -- we'll fill you in when we hear back.)

Anybody with clues about the Kearny Street mystery car, please e-mail

Update Aug. 24: SFMTA spokesman Paul Rose contacted us with the following information:"We are currently processing the backlog of requests from the weekend and are taking action on this vehicle. We don't believe this vehicle sat for 2 weeks as indicated without notice. If it had been, it would have been cited during street sweeping which occurs on Bay three times weekly (M,W,F) and/or identified as an abandoned vehicle sooner."

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Matt Smith


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