Question of the Day: Your Greatest Wrecks

This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.
This image was lost some time after publication, but you can still view it here.

Every accident I've been in has been mundane. Fender-benders and whatnot. Only two of them ever involved insurance companies, — one of which was only because the woman who rear-ended me was in a company car. I could've repaired the damage she did for 300 bucks and an hour's labor. Her company offered me $1,500. In fact, only one ever actually resulted in a bent fender. The hairiest incident occurred in Northern Ireland seven years ago when a pretty girl I met at a club in Newry spun her parents' Peugeot into a gatepost. More specifically, my door. I was picking glass out of my hair all the way back to San Francisco.


But that's a very long story that involves unaware distant-cousin near-incest as a punchline and far more tragically, the fact that I recently found out that she'd died. Over at the Telegraph, James May recently asked readers to submit their greatest accident stories, and there are some absolute gems. (Have you heard the one about the Isetta and the Vespa?) So, since we don't have the budget to rip off the Top Gear boys technically or visually, I'm just going to shamelessly lift one of their ideas. Commenters, start your keyboards. Ready, set, crash!

Don't Mention The Dam Busters [Telegraph, UK]

James May Responds to Alabama Hicks [Internal]

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In high school, I had a 1985 Chrysler LeBaron GTS with a 5 speed and the turbocharged 2.2. I participated in all manner of idiotic hoonery in that car, including but not limited to attempting to take it to its top speed (approx. 115) at night, in a light rain. That was on the Interstate. There was also a long, straight, hilly road near where I lived on which one could get a car airborne if travelling at triple digit speeds. I did that. A lot. I also broke the motor mounts twice due from doing 5000 rpm clutch drop starts. But I never wrecked it...until one cold winter morning.

It was parked in my parent's garage, and I went out, opened the garage door, and started it so that it could warm up. I came out a few minutes later, and was overcome with the realization that something was wrong. But I couldn't figure out what. That's when I realized that my car was gone. Turns out it had rolled out of the garage (the e-brake didn't work), gained speed as it had rolled down the driveway, and then gone straight over an embankment into a tree. Despite the fact that the entire rear end of the car was caved in, I was actually lucky that the tree had stopped it. Had it not, the LeBaron would have plunged ass first into a frozen lake. My friends thought it hilarious that this was how the car had encountered its first serious damage, given my complete lack of respect for the laws of man or physics behind the wheel.

In other news of K-car derivative abuse, I also rolled a Dodge Daytona Turbo into a cornfield. My brother and I were going to a party, and we were going a tad fast for conditions on an unknown road. Suddenly I crested a small rise to find myself about 15 yards from a 90 degree right hander, which I was carrying about 50 mph too much speed to even plausibly attempt. Panic ensued. We almost made it, but once the left side wheels found the ditch, it was all over. After having the Daytona's carcass towed away, though, I'm pleased to report that we did make it to the party. I think he even got some action.