Graverobber has been a regular PCH Tirade™ machine in recent weeks, and we thought it would be convenient for all PCHT™ aficionados to see his greatest hits all together in one convenient location. That way you can approach the prospect of your personal Hell Project with the knowledge that you might end up much like one of the victims in Graverobber's vivid (yet no doubt accurate) imagination.
Jensen FF. The Aston, even in this condition the Aston is worth some scratch. There were only 1,021 DB5s ever produced, and today they can go for six figures. As a wise man once said: "Thars gold in them thar hills!" so you might be able to even eke out a profit, but probably not. You would earn the respect of other Aston owners and auto enthusiasts for being a respectful steward of the car, and saving it from ruination.
So, the Jensen FF. FF, Ferguson Formula. First all-wheel-drive production car. Gotta' be worth something right? And this one seems pretty intact, the fact that it is being consigned by an expert on the brand is a good sign, isn't it? Jeepers, you should just face the fact now that buying this car is a one-way trip to the poor house. And you ain't gonna be getting there in the Jensen.
There's now way in hell that this car is ever going to be valued at more than what you'd have to put into it just to avoid having Nelson Muntz wannabes point at you and shout "Ha-ha."
You'd go through your vacation fund, pissing off the rest of your family who really did want to go see that civil war reenactment, and it wouldn't be done. You'd blow through your oldest kid's college fund and he'd just stare at you, all puffy haired, and zit-faced and cry. Still, it wouldn't be done.
You'd cash in those bonds that your aunt Eunice gave you for being such a good boy on your birthdays all those years ago, and it still wouldn't be done.
Your wife would start feeding the family generic hamburger helper without cheese, substituting plain-wrap cat food without telling anyone, and still the shop would call every week and ask for another check.
When you finally run out of money, and get banned from eBay for trying to sell a kidney, you tell them that they'll have to stop working on it. You'd then get a bill for the storage.
Pulling out your hair, you decide to sell the thing, but your so far in debt with the shop that they won't let any prospective buyers in to see the car. You offer it to them and the owner's eyes get really big and he says "thanks, but I already have an ulcer."
At your wits end, and soon to be evicted from your house, you concoct a plan to burn down the shop, and the car within. The insurance money will cover your debt with the shop owner, and you can move to a different state, change your name and start anew.
The plan goes off without a hitch except that you find out that the shop has moved the Jensen out into the yard to make room for cars not owned by deadbeats, and it is the only thing left standing. You troubles compound when the source of the fire- a gas can with your name and address on it (damn your wife and her dymo labeler!) is discovered.
You are arrested two days later, hiding on skid row, having attempted to mask your identity by wearing one of your wife's dresses and a wig you stole from Kmart.
The trial is quick, and your public defender inept, but eventually you are relaxing in the county lockup, enjoying the promise of 5 years of three squares a day and free clothes. It's not too bad, and you even are allowed mail every week.
Everything looks like it's finally turning around for your until one day you get a letter from the shop owner- it's a bill for two years of yard storage for the Jensen. And you start thinking you may still have some gold fillings left in your back molars...
Jaguar XKE vs BMW 502
Buying this car would fill that empty spot that has been growing inside you ever since you took that early retirement. From clearing out space in the garage, making sure your whitworth wrench set was complete, and doing endless Google searches for Jag E-Type, you have a new-found purpose. You start eagerly checking the mail every day waiting on boxes from XKs Unlimited and have animated, albeit somewhat one-sided debates with your wife over the dinner table of the advantages of going with Dunlops over Continental tires.
An E-Type is a fairly easy car to restore. You'd find all the parts you need are merely a web-order away, and you're now on a first-name basis with your UPS driver. The car comes together quickly, and you start to move beyond the restoration and to driving your lithe six-cylinder cat.
Your wife comes out to the garage while you're looking at the car, trying to decide between a biscuit interior or black. She puts her arms around you and gives a squeeze. Sharing your contemplation of the car she tells you that she hasn't seen you this happy in years. Hugging her back, you sheepishly attempt an apology for your curmudgeonly behavior over the years, but she says it's never been an issue for her, she only worried that you weren't happy, that you weren't fulfilled. You tell her you love her, and that your malaise had derived from a sense of purposelessness since retiring.
When the car is done, she presents you with a jaunty tartan cap and a leaping-cat key fob. Never being good with thank yous, you offer her the passenger seat for the inaugural ride. She turns coy and asks if you're trying to pick her up. Her humor is disarming and you think to yourself that, at this moment, right now, your life could not have been any better. This woman, who has stood beside you through good times and bad, raising two children, an overseas stint with the army and now, fully supporting you in what many might have seen as a fools errand, bringing an old English sports car back to life, has been your rock. Carefully getting into the car so as not to nick the fresh paint, sliding over the wide sill, and down into the scalloped buckets , you both settle in and buckle your seatbelts. Keep it under a hundred your wife smiles as you turn the key and push the chrome starter button. The overhead cam beast under the long, domed hood barks to life and settles into a lumpy, but steady idle. The wood-rimmed wheel feels thin and delicate in your hand, and after a moment to check the gauges, you gingerly let out the clutch and away you go.
The drive is more wonderful than you possibly could have imagined, the sun dappling through the trees overhead and playing hide and seek with your sleek machine as you eat up the twisting roads. A horse, behind a white fence keeps pace with you, and the smell of sage fills the air through the open windows. Surprisingly, the temperature gauge never goes above 140 and the car feels strong and eager under you. A flash of sunlight reflects on the windscreen and you catch a glimpse of your wife's reflection there. Only, it's not your wife today, but a reflection of the 17-year old girl you first fell in love with. Your mind, you think, must be playing tricks with you.
The drive and the day are just perfect. Never before in your life have you felt this. You don't know who to thank for your good fortune, but still, under your breath, you offer acknowledgement of your good fortune. The exhaust note from the twin pipes behind you is intoxicating as you race the sun back to your home. Backing the car into the garage, your wife leans over and kisses you, long and gently, and you let her. Thanks for the ride Parnelli she says and climbs delicately out. She says she is going to start dinner and asks if you will be in soon. You tell here you want to give the car a quick wipe down after the drive, but should be in in a half hour. You're left alone with your car, and it clicks and creaks as metals cool and tires contract.
Grabbing a soft cloth, you begin to wipe the nose and fenders. You shift the rag from your left hand to your right, as you start to feel a pain in your shoulder. It soon becomes worse, and is radiating down your arm. Stumbling back to the bench next to the driver's door, you find that you can't raise your arm, and sweat has started to cover your face, neck and back. You call to your wife, but even though your mouth moves no sound comes out. The pain is now almost unbearable, and it feels as though a huge rock has been placed on your chest. You gasp for breath, and fall against the door of the Jag. With whatever strength you can muster, you reach for the latch with your right hand and open it. The narrow opening is difficult to traverse, but somehow you manage to get in the seat. You pull yourself upright and use your right hand to put the left one on the wheel. It nearly drops off, but you push it up with your knee. There's no sound now but a dull roar in your ears, and tears fil your eyes. Graping the thin wheel with your right hand you raise your head and look off out of the garage and towards the setting sun. The pain, the roar, the tears causing waves in your vision conspire against you, but you manage to see. Manage to imagine yourself back on the road, your wife by your side, the happiest moment you can think of right now.
And then, in an instant the pain is gone. And the setting sun, moments ago a dull, red orb on the horizon, is now the most brilliant white light you have ever imagined, only it doesn't hurt to look into it. In fact, you don't feel any need to look away. You're compelled to look into it, compelled in fact to push the starter button, through the Jag into gear and drive towards it. As you do, voices and sights fill your head- Your mom, driving you home in her old Buick, you with an icecream cone in your hand. You can taste it, now, Peach! Sitting on the fender of the Buick, handing your dad the new aircleaner as you helped him fix it. Learning about cars, and life from the man. Meeting your wife in High School, picking her up in that Cougar convertible. Driving home from the hospital with your first son, only days after he was born, in the clapped out Volvo you used to have. Your first Mercedes, Your Jag... It all come flooding back. And now this; the smell of sage through the window, wind tussling your hair and the road beneath you, stretching for miles ahead. A voice. A song in your head; come home. And then, shifting into fourth, you open her up. You're as far from project car hell as any man can be.
V8 MGA vs V8 Triumph TR6
If you were able to track down the seller - who's probably trying to hide from a torch-weilding mob, you'd be able to talk him into letting you have the car, probably for free. You'd get it home, drag it into your garage and set to work. You'd need to enlist the help of a neighbor - Igorny Weaver, or Igor for short - to help you with the project, and after weeks of toil, you might be able to claim success with your mutant creation. You'd paint it green, and add a black tonneau. Two, knurled-chrome windshield angle adjustment bolts added to the sides would make it complete.
Once finished, you soon long for the days working in the garage, breathing life into the inanimate collection of seemingly random parts. You miss the aid and comradeship of Igor, and start thinking about something original.
So, you decide to embark on another project: a lawnmower with a wheels of a mountain bike and the steering of a yamaha grizzly. This is so rewarding that you decide why stop there? So you begin to plan your greatest project yet, and start clearing out space in the garage for the machinery you will need. Much of it you buy army surplus, some of it you liberate from that creepy old hospital that was closed down a few years back. In the garage, you assemble your tools. Cutting a hole in the roof, you devise a winch and lever system that will raise a tray vertically and up between a pair of lead lightning rods connected to feelers rubbing the tray sides. Igor looks at your work and purrs good, gooood. You notice that he is more stooped than you remember, and think you will not ask him to do any more heavy lifting for you.
Finally the day arrives when you are ready to start you grand project. Much like the MG and the lawn mower, this will be an amalgamation of disparate parts creating something that has never existed before. Once night has fallen, you head down to the cemetery out at the edge of town, and slip through the gates. Having read about a recent execution at the near-by state maximum security prison, you have your prize in mind. A light rain falls, and off in the distance you can hear the mournful bales of a hound. The wind rustling through the leaves on the sycamores drowns out the scrape of metal over stone as you plunge the steel blade of your shovel into the freshly turned earth and heave spade-fulls out of the hole. Igor holds the lamp over you, providing light and keeping an eye out for the night watchman.
Soon the blade hits something new, not a stone, but the unyielding expanse of a wooden lid. Dropping to your knees, you push the loose earth off of the coffin, and reach down under the side to release the flip catches- one at the top, another at the side, and finally, two at the lower end of the casket. Slipping down between the dark wooden box and the side of the hole, you feel the cool earth at your back, somehow alive and subtly vibrating. The lid is surprisingly light- it is after all a state-issued coffin for this heinous killer. Swinging it open you are greeted first by a rising blast of putridity, which causes you to wrench and turn away from your bounty. Master? igor exclaims (he's begun calling you this, and you haven't felt any need to correct him) is it still fresh enough? It'll do, you tell him, and enlist his help in dragging the corpse from the depths of the grave. Lightning flashes overhead, illuminating your entry into the world of grave robbery, and you, almost giddy with the promise of your find, get a momentary sight of the body and something doesn't seem quite right. Once on the wheelbarrow, you beckon Igor to bring you the light. Examining your prize you discover, much to your dismay, that the electrocution that had brought an end to this life, and justice to his victims, has burned his head and legs beyond hope of repair. One eyeball has exploded in its socket, and the other is lolling languidly out on his cheek. His tongue, a giant purple bruise, fills the mouth in a macabre caricature of someone blowing a raspberry. The legs, blacked below each knee, and barely able to connect each foot to the thigh complete the damage.
No, no, no, you say to yourself, this will never do. You hang your head, and turn your thoughts inward looking for an answer. So deep in thought you are that you completely miss the arrival of the night-watchman, who has snuck up on your endeavor. What the hell do you think you're doing? he shouts. Surprised, you react from the Id. Swinging your shovel, you arc it though the air, and through the torso of the inquisitor. HIs eyes go wide as the blood leaves his face, and falls, along with his organs, down the hole and splash into the government-issue coffin. Wavering, he nearly follows, but you catch him and drop his rapidly cooling form onto the already occupied barrow. This was not in your plans. Murder most foul it may be, but it does remedy your problem with the damage to the other body. When life gives you lemons right?
Returning to your garage, you set to work: removing the charred strata from the massive criminal's corpse, and replacing them with those from the freshly killed donor. The work is tedious, but your can feel the exhilaration once again, you're making something! At five before midnight an electrical storm starts to build, peels of thunder rattle the windows and cause Igor to shrink behind his upraised arm. Soon, you murmur, soon. At midnight on the dot the storm builds to a crescendo and you are ready. the cold solidity of the cranking wheel feels assuring in you hands as you turn it, raising the tray and your creation up and through the hole in the roof. Out it goes, between the lead rods and closes the grounding circuit. Lightning slams into each, jarring the entire building and causing the dials on the esoteric machinery to jump and peg. Watching one gauge climb, you grow excited. It's working you shout, It's working!
The storm subsides just as the needle sweeps past full, and you flip the guillotine switch closing down the circuit, and lowering the tray. A miasma fills the air, clouding your vision of the creation, and you move closer. Tentatively so does Igor. A noise causes you both to stop dead in your tracks. Master, did it work? Igor asks, scared out of his mind. Under the sheet, you see a movement - a finger twitches, and then another. Yes! you shout Come look at him Igor, isn't he beautiful? Igor inches to the edge of the table and peers up, standing on his toes to see. The entity on the table, turns his head, straining the stitches holding it to his neck, and looks into Igor's eyes. Ooohh Igor moans, I don't like this!
A hand, cold and blue raises quickly from below the sheet, and grabs Igor by the throat. Mast..... Plea... is all he can get out as the life drains from his eyes before you have time to react. Igor's body is thrown across the garage and into the electrical board showering the room with sparks and smoke streamers.
You finally react, reaching for the straps on the table, but it is too late. The reanimated corpse grinds its head to look at you, cooling sizing up how best to dispatch another victim. You look into the empty pools of its eyes, hoping to find one glimmer, one simple shred of humanity left in the insanity brewing deep inside this monster, and see none. Only animal hatred and single-minded sense of mission: to kill anything and everything. It reaches for you, but thanks to a lack of scoliosis, you manage to dodge the attack. Jumping back, you fall against the surgical instrument tray, knocking it to the floor. The monster rises on the table, the sheet draping like a macabre toga, and lowers first one grafted limb to the floor and then the other. Standing there, all seven feet of him, you realize that you have only one chance and you take it. Grabbing your welder, you apply full acetylene and oxygen. The monster staggers toward you as you scrape the flint across the face of the igniter again and again. The gas makes a whooshing sound as it escapes the tip, and you are aware of a massive pair of hands reaching for your throat, twitching and dripping with blood. Your focus is on the welder, and with one, final push on the spring-loaded igniter, the torch blasts to life. You immediately swing it toward your attacker, and aim a hot jet of flame squarely at his chest. The dull, lifeless eyes widen, and a low, guttural moan escapes the transected throat.
The flame catches the sheet on fire, then the monster itself. The moans turn to screams, and the garage fills with acrid smoke and flying pieces of burned flesh. The satanic creation stumbles back and falls over the tray, crashing over it and rolling to a stop next to your containers of kerosene, gasoline and the propane tank. Realizing that you have mere minutes to escape, you train your still burning weapon on the spring release for the garage door. It melts with a clang and the door lifts and slides across the garage ceiling. You toss the torch and take a running leap through the opening, seconds before the building explodes with enough force to level it and send what was left of your attacker flying into the pool where the flames were immediately doused and leaving him floating face-down, unmoving and smoldering.
Despite the all-over pain from the blast, you manage to pick yourself up and support yourself on the fender of the MG. Being as you live in a pretty rural area, it will be a while before the emergency crews would be able to get there. Surveying the damage in the early morning light, you see that the garage is a total loss, and most of the windows on that side of the house are also gone. You find Igor in the rubble, but there's no saving him. His head rolls around on his neck like the doll of a very angry child, and you leave him in peace on the floor. Heading back to the rear of the house, you find the yard strewn with debris. The pool is covered as well with the remnants of your workshop. You're amazed at the collection of tools at the bottom, and the notice something strange; on the far side of the pool the surface is clear, the debris on the edge having been been pushed aside, and there is a wet trail heading off into the woods. You turn quickly to scan the pool, but find no body there. Your breath starts to come fast and heavy as you realize: I'm gonna' have to report this to the homeowners association.
4x4 Econoline vs Lowrider Econoline
Once you fight your way out of there, fending off the liver-spotted horde with blasts of Kanye West and Fergie from the KRACO-brand car stereos on the wall, stopping only to grab a pine-scented rear-view mirror air freshener shaped like a waving american flag, you head back and start working on getting the driveline installed.
Since it's been dropped lower than a wiener dog's dog wiener, you can't get under there to fit the driveshaft. Digging yourself a pit under the van, you drag both yourself and the driveshaft under, and into the cool, damp darkness. Realizing that you have expended most of your energy digging and dragging, you decide to take a nap in the cozy, shallow grave underneath. Whilst napping, you have a dream in which you are a cherry cola, and are being drunk by hundreds of little, black straws.
Waking suddenly, you feel yourself moving, or at least something moving on you. Flipping on the flashlight, you find yourself covered in leeches, a common foe of those living in a van, down by the river. Screaming, you work your way out from under the van, feet-first, and banging your head on the frame and back axle. Leaping up, you dowse yourself in DEET and start pulling the blood-sucking parasites off your body. The ones that managed to climb into your tighty whities are the most nauseating to detach and leave marks that you would have to explain on every successful second date henceforth. Ridding yourself of the vermin, an woozy from the loss of precious blood, you stagger back to the van, which you find is rocking rhythmically.
Teenagers! you realize, and throwing open the side doors discover the Pep Boys counter dude, and some fat goth chick going at it on YOUR velour, circular bed. This is too much for you to take, so you leave them to their hot, sweaty action, and give up on your dream. You push your mid-life crisis back down in your soul, and head back to your old way of life; living in the basement at your mom's, watching Spike TV and masturbating like it's an olympic event and you're going for the gold.
And then you start thinking about that 4x4...
1964 Chevrolet Impala vs three 1949 Mercury coupes
Go to pick them up, and discover there's a family of Okies living in the middle one. Hose them out of there and pile up your booty on the flatbed. Drive them back to your house and arrange cinderblocks on the front yard. Put the cars on top and let the grass grow up around them.
Buy a really ugly and aggressive dog and chain him to the bumper of one of the cars. Never clean up his scat. Groom a "wife-beater by wearing it when eating junk food and shunning deodorant. Grow your hair long in the back, and keep it short in the front. Acquire facial scars from fights. Invite the Okies back to live in one of the Mercurys.
Go on Jerry Springer and be shocked by the revelation that your sister is actually your mother and the woman who raised you all those years (god rest her soul) was really your grandmother. Get bleeped no fewer than 172 times in the hour-long program.
Buy a gun.
Start hanging out at the Junior High School when classes let out. Offer fourteen year-olds smokes. Brag about how you're gonna' fix up the Mercurys and how you never should've traded the Cutlass and if you had half a mind you'd just go back there and get it, cause that guy in Norman was a total dweeb.
Ride your bike from high school with a sixer of Colt 45 hanging from the plastic collars on the up-turned handlebars. Hang a confederate flag over the living room window and get in a fight with the dad of the eighth-grader you've been dating. Plan on making a home-made porno staring you and your new girlfriend "Starlene" whom you met when she was panhandling for Night Train outside the Vendome. Have your plans foiled by "Whiskey-dick".
Get served notice by the city for improper property maintenance. Yell at the neighbors for turning you in. Throw dog crap toward their house, but only manage to get it on the fence and the top of your shoes.
Put a for sale sign in front of the Mercurys stating "best offer."
Cut your hair and buy some clean clothes. Have the cars towed to the junk yard. Mow the lawn. Return to your given name and stop demanding to be called "The Hammer". Shoot the damn dog. Enroll at the Junior College. Make up with your sister who tells you Springer made her tell those lies. Promise yourself never again to buy another car you see on Project Car Hell.
Get on with your life.
Matra Murena vs Alpine A310
Peugeot 404 vs Rover 2000, with Offenhauser swaps
1970 Mercury Cougar vs 1972 Ford Torino
No, the car for you is the Torino. You've been eyeing them in the papers and online for years, and now is the time to pull the trigger. Why are you so keen on a Torino? Because you are obsessed with The Road Warrior and are looking to emulate Mad Max and drive around in his black Interceptor, telling people G'day and drinking Foster's. But you're not just obsessed, you spend almost every waking moment thinking about Mel Gibson in his tattered leathers, snaking along lonely back roads and desert highways seeking vengeance on wrongdoers. This is why you've moved your family to the high desert of the American southwest, as it's the most Aussie-like place you feel you can live. Since you live in the States, and can't easily import an Australian XB GT Ford Falcon Coupe, a Torino will have to do.
So you head out to Mesa and talk the seller down to $2500. Packing everything up in your trailer you head home, dreaming of eight side pipes, roof wing and a Concorde nose for the car. Getting home, the first thing you do is have it painted black. Not just black however, but the black of the soul of a rouge aussie biker. You drop in a proper 351 and add a Weiand blower that you also found on craigslist. A hole punched through the hood clears the gaping maw of the Scott injector hat. Pulling out the back window, you add massive fuel tanks to feed this beast, and as the coup de grâce you hand-fashion the Concorde nose out of fiberglass and aluminum mesh. You're tribute is nearly complete, and it is a thing of ominous beauty!
One thing that you don't take into consideration is the enormous thirst for high-octane fuel of the blown motor. It's so bad that you're on a first name basis with the guy that runs the only gas station in the desert who sells 100-proof racing gas. You take 55-gallon drums to the station to fill so you won't have to rely on the vagaries of his distributor to keep that thirsty v8 fed.
It's on one of these trips for fuel and supplies (Slim Jims and Cactus Cooler 6-packs) that things start to go wrong. While standing in the back of your pickup, filling a drum with racing gas, you notice a rough, black-painted motorcycle parked near the station entrance. Sitting on the back is an effete-looking young dude with flowing blond hair and a dog collar. Inside the gas station the bike's pilot is having an animated discussion with FiFi, the owner. You guess that FiFi is telling him that you've bought the last of the 100 octane - as the pump clicks off and you thread the cap back on the drum - and the guy doesn't like that. He comes storming out of the station, and you can see that he's wearing some sort of leather chaps/loincloth combo, and sports a rather lurid mix of a mohawk and eyeliner that makes him appear to be a refugee from a Judas Priest groupie brigade. He runs toward you and leaps on top of the near-by pumps. Youoooo! he fairly hisses, pointing at you as though to mark you. You took the gas! You take it, we kill you! Kill you! Kill! Kill! You can run, but you can't hide! Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa! And with that he jumps to his bike, starting it, throwing it into gear and peeling out of the station in one fell swoop. You stand there dazed, staring at the black stripe left on the apron. After a minute, you regain your composure and head for home.
While driving through town, you notice more graffiti than you remember. And a lot of stores are closed and boarded up. Down a few blocks and you see there are overturned cars and flaming barrels of trash. Things have really gotten bad while you were working on the Torino and you mutter to yourself - should have voted for Obama I guess. Getting home you are greeted by your wife who is frantic and crying. What's the matter? you ask, brushing back a lock of her curly brown hair from her forehead. Oy she says, your gander's dead.You look at her in horror. Not your gander. Not the beloved pet of your youth. You kept him in the backyard, in the pond, and have had him for most of your life. Now you run back there, your wife running behind you screaming No! Don't look, it's too 'orrible! You find him next to the pond, burned beyond recognition. Holding your hand to his throat you check for a pulse. Not finding one, you try another spot. His neck is really long so this takes a while, but you eventually convince yourself that he is dead. Standing up you look away from the body not willing to accept that your treasured fowl is no more. He lived a good lifeyour wife offers, trying to comfort you. You turn away- That... THING... is NOT my goose! you shout at her, pointing at the still-smoking corpse. Still reeling from the day's events, you eat him for dinner, but the pain lingers and despite his crisp skin and moist, succulent meat, you can't fully enjoy the meal. You go out to the garage and slide under the back of the Torino. There you check on the machete secreted next to the factory tank, and flip the switch on the booby trap. Then you hit the hay early and suffer a fitful night of sleep.
In the early morning, you are jarred awake by what sounds like a squadron of F18s outside of your house. You run to the front window, your wife - cradling your son right on your tail. Out the window, you can't believe your eyes- the house is surrounded by junker cars, most of which have some sort of projectile weapon crudely mounted on top, behind these circle an endless number of dunebuggies and motorcycles, each piloted by the most heinous, dirty, evil-looking scum of the earth imaginable.
At the center of the melee is an enormous, dual-engine, six-tired monstrosity of a truck, and atop that is a man that looks like a pale incarnation of Arnold Schwarzenegger, wearing a hockey mask and a pleather speedo. A small man wearing some sort of raccoon runs up and shouts Greetings from the Humungous. The Lord Humungous. The warrior of the wasteland. The ayatollah of rockin' rollah!
You can't believe this is happening, and think back to your college philosophy professor who told you that karma was a very real phenomenon and that you should be careful about what you wished for, as it may come to pass, but not in the manner you wanted. Humungous stands and addresses the house through a megaphone: There has been too much violence, too much pain. We want the gas. Give it to us and you shall live. Just walk away and there will be an end to the horror. Just walk away.
Overhead you hear the sound of angry bees and look up to see an autogyro passing in the sky. Making eye contact with the lanky pilot, he shakes his head as if to say You're on your own and flies off over the horizon.
Geez, you think to your self, I'm in some pretty deep diggery doo. What'll we do? your wife shouts as the baby cries in her arms. How'll we get out of here?! You think for a moment, and then you hit upon a plan. Get the baby seat you tell her, and take it to the garage. You run into the bedroom and open a box that has been at the very back of your closet. From it you pull a pair of leather pants and a jacket. It's a struggle to fit into them, as you're a middle-aged American male and have been fattened up by corporate America intent on one day turning you into Soylent Green, but somehow you fit. Running to the garage you hear a scratching at the back door. You grab a tire iron and throw open the door, ready to wage violence upon whoever is there. Instead of a foe, a dog runs into the house. He's a mottled brown and tan and is wearing a red bandanna around his neck. You recognize him at once as a dingo and shout come on boy, let's go! He jumps into the Torino, turns and faces out the passenger side window and begins to bark ferociously.
You slide under the back of the car and flip off the booby trap. Pulling yourself up you meet your wife's eye from the window. Oy! She says, and spells "Crazy about you" in sign language to you. Since you never learned sign, you look at her quizzically and then leap into the driver's seat of the ebony interceptor, it's lowered nose pointed eastward at the garage door and towards the rising sun. You hope your wife understands the plan. You hope that the circling hoard take the bait. Hope is all you have.
Giving the dingo's head a shake, you turn the key and the big motor leaps to life. The eight side pipes flame with un-burned fuel, and the blower whines like a dentist's drill. You throw it in gear and punch it. Instantaneously you are thrown back in your seat, and into daylight as the car blows through the aluminum door and onto the driveway. You have a fairly clear shot, as most of the freak show has parked on the front lawn, likely due to their mostly being from Fontana.
You dodge a dunebuggy, catching one of its wheels and sending it flipping into a ditch ejecting the driver who's head is removed by the roll bar as he is violently thrown out. Shooting across the lawn, you snag the corner of a tent in the encampment, pulling it off of two grungy fornicating freaks. They shake their fists at you and the woman manages to pop off a couple of .38 rounds in your direction, all the while as they continue to be attached at the hip, humping furiously. The dingo barks at them and provides his own "lipstick salute."
Over the curb and on the road you look in the rearview to see the hoard turning to pursue you. Behind them, you see your wife, in her yellow van heading in the opposite direction, and no one following her. Your plan is working.
Hitting the highway you open her up. This is the first chance you've really had to enjoy the car and you marvel at the power and the noise uttering forth from beneath the hood.
The maddening hoard is right on your tail, led by the biker with the mohawk and his Andy Gibb look-alike friend. You floor it, but his bike is fast too and he maneuvers up next to your right-rear wheel. He has some sort of cross-bow on his wrist, and he's trying to shoot barbs into the tire. Watching in the side-view, you time his attack and at the right moment tap the brakes. He fires the arrows, which miss the tire, but lodge in the gunwall of the car. The silver shafts penetrate the interior, and the dingo bites and growls at them. Looking in the mirror, you realize that they were on cables, and the biker is now attached by them to your car! Pulling up the red lever next to the shifter, you engage the nitrous, and gain a few hundred horsepower. The bike can't keep up and both the rider and his compatriot are pulled from their mount and dragged under the massive crush of your rear tire. You feel the car lurch as you run over them, you hear metal crush, bone snap and flesh rend from tendon as they're turned into crow food. Looking back after the carnage you see two of your pursuers swerve to avoid the tangle of bike and rider and slam into the abutments on either side of the road sending their occupants into the Joshua trees and certain demise.
You think you're out of the woods by now, flying down the valley floor at 150 miles per hour, the dingo with his head hanging out the window looks like caricature as the wind whips his jowls into an unearthly smile.
Suddenly you're thrown forward and the car swerves from side to side. It's all you can do to regain control and you've lost a lot of speed. You check the mirror and there, right on your tail, is Humungous in the twin-engined nightmare. Two of his minions are crawling forward on it, swinging chains each with a mace on the end. One swings his and catches the lip of the trunk opening, and pulls it tight. You gas it and yank him off of the front of the monstrosity and onto the rough macadam. His hand is wrapped around the chain as he's dragged behind you, bouncing violently. He first loses his pants, which flap up and into the face of the second minion still riding the grill of your pursuer. Flipping on his back to save his manhood from being scraped off, he looses both buttcheeks to the road, and eventually is pulled under Humungous and to his death. He is replaced on the front of the truck by another who is armed with a cross bow, which is now aimed at your head. The dingo barks out the back window at him, and you remember your "secret weapon". You flip open the glove box and pull out a sawed off double-barrel shotgun. Holding it back over your shoulder, you're nearly deafened by the explosions, and the dingo ducks down and returns to barking after the shot. In the rearview you see the minion with the crossbow standing on the front bumper of the following truck looking down at where his stomach used to be. It has been replaced by your shotgun blast with a hole the size of a grapefruit and he falls forward where he is caught by the front tire. Somehow unable to un-snag the corpse, he spins around and around causing the vehicle to bounce and to slow and fall off pace. Overhead, the gyrocopter reappears and drops Molotov cocktails onto Humungous, who fires a .357 at him in retaliation. The gyro-man loses control and falls to the desert floor.
This is your chance you realize. There's enough space between you and humungous, and the following hoards as you pull to the right, scraping the shoulder and describing an arc across the two-lane. Humungous, too far behind to attack, can only follow. You head back down the desert road, returning in the direction from which you just came. Hitting the nitrous again the wheels squeal to gain grip as you are thrown back in your seat from the monstrous acceleration. Humungous, thinking he has you trapped and not wanting to loose the chase does the same and leaps forward spilling minions backwards and leaving a trail of smoke.
Sailing down the road at 170 you face wall to wall freak-mobiles baring down on you. Behind you, their leader is gaining on you as well, the gap closing by the second. You pass the wreckage of the biker and look over at your companion. The dingo, panting in the passenger seat, looks at you and, as though he can read your mind, dives to the floorboard and braces against the firewall. You put on your seatbelt.
You return your attention to the task at hand and bury the go pedal in the black carpet, giving it all she's got. The distance between you and the hoard is closing. That between you and Humungous is even closer- 100 feet, 75, 50... At the very last possible instant, you throw the wheel sideways, the tires scream for grip and you rocket off of the road and into weeds. Hitting the soft sand you dig-in and flip end over end over end. Your head feels like you've had too many Mojitos and then was put in a blender, and you taste dirt and copper in your mouth.
Your amazing maneuver is so unexpected it leaves Humungous momentarily dazed, and that is enough. LOOK OUT screams the minions on the hood as they barrel down on the closing hoard. Humungous' eyes literally pop out of his mask as the truck slams head-on into the racing collection of road flotsam. A fireball erupts from the macadam and the conflagration envelopes them completely. Flaming body parts are strewn across the road, soon to be fodder for coyotes.
You awake to the dingo licking your face, and your initial thought is good dog but then you realize that he was licking the blood off your face and had you stayed passed out much longer he might have eaten your face off. Go on! you tell him, and extract yourself from the wreak. Surveying the damage you see that it's not as bad as you had expected, and the car might even be drivable once back on its wheels. Walking to the back, you hold your hand under the stream pouring from the overturned fuel drum. Sand. Many miles away your wife and son would have the fuel, hidden in the van, driven to safety. They would be able to barter it for food and shelter in this crazy new world. They would be alright. They would travel far beyond the reach of men on machines and you will never see them again, you will live only in their memories. You have been reborn on this road today. Not just a mid-level pencil-pusher. No longer a waspy guy with a beer gut. No more just a Jalopnik commenter, you are now, and forever will be known as...The Road Warrior.
1972 Mercury Cougar vs 1972 Volvo 1800ES
No matter what your political bent, that cougar is project car hell, pure and simple. Old cougars are good. Old cougars are fun. Cougars will getcha' there and back without all that baggage that a young filly brings with her. But a Cougar will bite you on the ass sure as shit.
Seeing this ad, you become immediately aroused at the sight of its dark, ebony presence. Standing ata jaunty tilt and seemingly leaning against the fence as if to say wanna smoke? The fact that it's in Rio Linda, and your best friend's mom's name is Linda Rio seals the deal for you.
Getting the car home, you call over to your friend's house to let him know about the odd coincidence about the car and his mom's name. Your friend isn't home, but his mom picks up the phone. Perfect, you can tell her!
She is intrigued by the story and laughs a lot at your dumb jokes. Linda says she can't wait to see your new car, and in a move that seals your fate, you invite her over.
When she arrives, it's 6 hours later, and nearly midnight. Although she's carrying a six-er of PBR, you know she's already had a lot to drink. "Here" she says, pushing the beer at you and breathing a wave of cosmos and Virginia Slims over you.
"Thanks" you say to her, and put the warming cans on the workbench next to the Cougar's freshly extracted alternator. She walks slowly into the garage, and you're amazed that she can do so in such high-heels. "Have you... been out this... evening?" you ask her, your voice cracking with each syllable. "Out?" she repeats. "Yes, I've been out this evening at a fine dining establishment." "With Mr Rio?" you ask, thinking of her husband and his Navy tattoo. Your best friend once told you that, when his dad caught him smoking pot in the basement, he smacked him up side the head and knocked him out. The only thing he remembered was that tattoo, swinging at his head. She looks down her nose at you, and a lock of hair falls over one eye. Her expression mocks your question, and she shakes her head. "No, my husband is off with his buddies fishing, or so he says. She spits out the word husband like she was saying child molester or advertising executive. "Now, let me see this car of yours."
You lead her back into the garage, where there is little room between the car and wall. "Hmmm" she fairly moans, "It's so long, it must be hard getting it into tight parking spaces." You swallow hard and wish you had grabbed one of those beers. Linda says she wants to see the inside and slides sideways past you, so close that you feel her chest against yours, and her dress shifts left against your jeans. She raises an eyebrow while looking you dead in the eye, and turns to lean over the door and peer inside. Her dress, while seemly demure when she was standing, now appears to cling to her curves and outline her shape in a most provocative manner. "Ummmm, roomy" she purrs, "and so many shiny buttons and things." She rubs her hand down the door edge and under the latch. "I'm not good with buttons and things, that's why I have to wear these front-closure bras" she says directing your eyes to her ample and easily artificial cleavage. It's suddenly really hot in the garage, and you're now thirstier than you've ever been in your life. Opening the door she states that she wants to see the back seat. Linda swings the front seat forward, and in an attempt to duck into the dark, cool chasm of the opera-windowed rear, falls over and spinning, lands on her butt between the front seat and the door jam. "Mrs. Rio!" you exclaim, forgetting your age and her strict instructions to her son that all his friends should just call her "Linda."
Reaching forward, you try and get your arms around her, but she only manages to sink lower, bringing you down with her. The smell of cigarettes and loneliness fills the air between you as she moves her legs to gain a footing, but only manages to shift her dress up around her hips. Part of you doesn't want to look down, doesn't want to see this middle aged woman's underwear. But the stronger, stupider part makes you look, and you see a Victoria's Secret waistband and a black triangle of shear fabric. "You're stronger than you look" she slurs, and reaches her hand between your legs. Gulping for air, you think to yourself, this could not possibly get any worse.
And then it does.
From out in the driveway you hear a voice. "Linda?! Are you in there?" Linda smiles and says "that's my goddam husband, tell him to go f..." Her words are stifled by a belch and you taste bile in your mouth. "What the...?" from right behind you. "Why you little sombitch!"
All of a sudden you feel yourself levitated off the floor, Linda receding from your vision. Her husband plunks you down in front of the car and stands there breathing through his nose and the only thing that goes through your mind is that he should have a ring in his nose, because he's breathing like an angry bull, and they have rings through their noses and his little bloodshot eyes look kind of bovine too and....
When you wake up, you are in the ICU at the hospital and your mother is sitting next to you. "Wha..., what happened?" you say through your wired together jaw. "Oh dear" your mother says. "I warned you about cougars, didn't I?"
1961 Simca Aronde vs two 1961 Lincoln Continentals
Goggomobile vs Grand Nationalmino
Renault Type 25 vs Citroën Traction Avant
Imagine if you bought this bonnet for the grand-plus at which it is currently running. You'd take it home and seal it in a glass box, surrounded by pictures of Renault 45s at speed, their wheels canted by the long-exposure photography.
You'd invite over all your friends for a BBQ and unveiling, and after a lengthy speech revolving around the storied history of the brand, and the innate courage of those early French drivers, you whisk off the sheet and debut your new acquisition. After an uncomfortable period of silence, punctuated only by the intermittent sounds of Budweiser cans being opened and quickly quaffed, your best friend would say something like well, isn't that nice? That's just great. Isn't that great everybody? Boy what a great thing that is. and quickly the party would end.
As people disperse, you note than none seems able to make eye contact, and when that cute blond from the bar is leaving she comments how Friday night doesn