Fact Check

Stuck Couple

Adulterous couple gets stuck in sports car and has to be cut out by the fire department.

Published Jan 23, 2000

Claim:   An adulterous couple trysting in a sports car becomes trapped inside the automobile (and each other) and has to be cut out by the fire department.


Example:   [Train, 1978]

[Collected on the Internet, 1994]

This reminds me of the old story about the man and woman (I think this occurred in England, but don't quote me on that) who were trying to get it on in an MGB, him on top. Apparently something about the gyrations he had to do to accomplish this in the space provided caused him to wrench his back, or some such thing, with the result that he couldn't dismount, and the unlucky couple were trapped in the car. She finally summoned help by honking the horn with her foot, and the local rescue squad was finally dispatched to the scene. They had to extricate the couple by cutting the car apart with whatever power tool rescue squads use to perform that task, and got the poor guy in an ambulance. The rescue squad told the lady involved that they thought her boyfriend would be ok after a short visit to the ER. Her reply: "Screw him! How am I going to explain to my husband what happened to his car?"


LONDON — A tiny sports car leaves a lot to be desired as a midnight trysting spot, two secret lovers have learned.

Wedged into a two-seater, a near-naked man was suddenly immobilized by a slipped disc, trapping his woman companion beneath him, according to a doctor writing in a medical journal here.

The desperate woman tried to summon help by honking the horn with her foot. A doctor, ambulance driver, firemen, and a group of interested passersby quickly surrounded the car in Regent's Park.

"The lady found herself trapped beneath 200 pounds of pain-racked, immobile man," said Dr. Brian Richards of Kent.

"To free the couple, fireman had to cut away the car frame," he said.

The distraught woman, helped out of the car and into a coat, sobbed: "How am I going to explain to my husband what has happened to his car?"



  • The reason why the couple becomes stuck in the car varies:

    • They simply become wedged into a space too small to free themselves.
    • The man (who is on top) injures his back and is unable to move.
    • Freezing weather immobilizes them.
    • The effects of alcohol or carbon monoxide fumes render the lovers incapable of freeing themselves.
    • The woman is startled (generally by the approach of someone else), resulting in a case of
      penis captivus.

  • Sometimes one (or both) of the participants is a well-known community member.

Origins:   This story about a stuck-together

is told both as a joke and as a real occurrence, so this legend, like many others, may have originated as a piece of humor that was later run as a "true" news item by an unsuspecting newspaper. It is a typical adultery legend in which those who commit an infidelity are ultimately exposed by some accidental or freakish occurrence. Some variations heighten the couple's humiliation (and possibly increase the implied moral censure, since we hold persons of privilege to higher standards than ourselves) by making one or both of them prominent people in their community. The punchline delivered by the woman in the final sentence has several possible interpretations:

  • The

    Cartoon of the legend

    wife is so amoral that the "wrongness" of her infidelity (especially in light of her narrow escape) doesn't give her pause at all; she is solely concerned with trying to explain away the evidence of it.

  • The wife considers her unfaithfulness to her husband to be a wrong of far lesser magnitude than ruining his car.
  • The woman cares so little for her boyfriend that his well-being is much less important than covering up their affair.
  • The wife realizes that it is the destruction of his precious car (and not her affair) that will make her husband most angry; he values his automobile more than he values his spouse.

The example above was cited by Train as an actual [undated] Reuters article, with a footnote indicating that the story was supposedly also covered by the London Sunday Mirror.

Sightings:   This legend was used as the plot of a 1985 British comedy film Car Trouble.

Last updated:   22 March 2011


    Brunvand, Jan Harold.   The Choking Doberman.

    New York: W. W. Norton, 1984.   ISBN 0-393-30321-7   (pp. 142-143).

    Brunvand, Jan Harold.   Too Good to Be True.

    New York: W. W. Norton, 1999.   ISBN 0-393-04734-2   (pp. 122-123).

    Dale, Rodney.   The Tumour in the Whale.

    London: Duckworth, 1978.   ISBN 0-7156-1314-6   (pp. 125-126).

    Train, John.   True Remarkable Occurrences.

    New York: Clarkson N. Potter, 1978.   ISBN 0-517-53505-X   (p. 20).

Also told in:

    The Big Book of Urban Legends.

    New York: Paradox Press, 1994.   ISBN 1-56389-165-4   (p. 119).

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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