As car enthusiasts, we try to make our rides better and keep them in tip-top shape. But sometimes things don’t really work the way we think they should, and you end up with a ruined car. Have you ever ruined your own car?
As you know, I’m a staunch supporter of the Gambler 500. I love buying some crapbox, doing some silly modifications to it, then trying to make it survive 500 miles off-road. My usual choices for a Gambler car are old diesel vans and Smart Fortwos, but one winter I got the bright idea to turn a car into a street legal go kart.
I found the cheapest running and driving Ford Festiva on Facebook Marketplace. It sat in someone’s yard for three years and the yard was wet for most of that time, so rust was allowed to flourish. The little Festiva had 286,000 miles, and there was not a single rust-free part of the underbody. But the little hatchback was intact enough that it could have survived plenty of rallies. That was, until I took the doors and windows off and took a Sawzall to the fenders.
It was great at first. Driving something that isn’t a Jeep without doors or windows on a warm day is an unforgettable experience. It’s about the closest you can get to riding a motorcycle without losing four wheels.
But you’ll appreciate the work that doors and windows do when the weather isn’t so great. One day, a snowstorm blew in while I had the car parked at work. I had to shovel snow out of the driver’s seat and off of the dashboard just to get home. I had to scrape ice off of both sides of the windshield.
Rain isn’t much better. Puddles form inside the car and it becomes impossible to keep yourself or your gear dry.
That miserable automobile lasted about two months before it blew both a brake line and a fuel line at the same time. I gave the car to an off-road park, where it now lives on as a side-by-side.
Have you ever ruined your own car? Did you try making your own death kart?