Effspot is a car YouTuber based in California, who uses a Toyota Prius hybrid as his daily driver. By normal standards, this is the perfect eco-friendly car for Californian streets, but after being targeted by thieves, the Prius has become somewhat less street-friendly than Toyota ever intended.
While parked up at the side of the road outside his home, effspot - real name Gordon Cheng - discovered that the catalytic converters had been stolen from his Toyota Prius hybrid.
Scrap metal thieves had jacked his car up, made the cut in the exhaust piping, and put the car back on the ground without Cheng or anyone else noticing.
Why are catalytic converters stolen?
Cheng explains that cars such as the Toyota Prius and Honda Insight (a similar hybrid city car) are targeted due to their low weight, meaning the thieves can lift the car easily for access.
Catalytic converters are stolen for their high scrap value since precious metals are used in the converters to filter out harmful exhaust gases. These precious metals can then be extracted and sold on the black market for a profit.
Video starts at 7:18
Free exhaust mods
The Prius starts up in electric-only mode, but as soon as it switches over to gasoline mode the results of the thieves work are hilarious to behold. The once dormouse-quiet hybrid turned out to be louder than Cheng's Mercedes S600 without its muffler, which no doubt annoyed his neighbors somewhat.
Taking the Prius for a drive, the level of noise coming from the cat-less car is genuinely hilarious to witness. Despite not going above 40mph, the car sounds as if it is doing at least double that, sending Cheng and his friends into fits of laughter.
Perhaps the greatest part is that this urban runabout now pops and bangs like a custom exhaust when Cheng lets off the throttle. This is usually an expensive modification to make to a car, but it has been achieved here for the grand total of $0 thanks to some metal thieves.
Realistically though it isn't going to be a 'free' modification. The state of California has some of the strictest emissions laws in the world, and replacing the catalytic converter is going to cost effspot upwards of $1500 due to the tight emissions testing and restrictions.