What The Hell Happened To This Jeep?

All image credits: Copart
All image credits: Copart
Truck YeahThe trucks are good!

Every so often, we see an advertisement for a car burned so crispy that we have to wonder what happened. Today’s object of musing was this 2013 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon.


As you can see from the Copart ad, the Jeep was definitely used as a quail rig once upon a time. But because of some unknown disaster, it was burned and its near-unrecognizable remains were sent to the junkyard.

The ad doesn’t say what happened to the Jeep, so we’re totally in the dark about what actually went down here. Some causes I’m mulling over are:

  • Barbecue gone bad
  • Improper gasoline storage
  • Lightning strike

That last one has a one-in-a-million chance of happening, but who knows? Maybe it was a particularly unlucky Jeep.

What do you think happened?

Illustration for article titled What The Hell Happened To This Jeep?
Illustration for article titled What The Hell Happened To This Jeep?
Illustration for article titled What The Hell Happened To This Jeep?

(h/t to Michael!)

Writer at Jalopnik and consumer of many noodles.


Kristen Lee

Oh, and here’s another guess:

It was early. The air smelled like dawn: crisp and cool, with just a hint of the grass waking up. The sun wasn’t yet up, but the sky to the east tickled with pink from its imminent arrival. This was the best time to go quail hunting.

Caleb made his way out to the garage, where his custom-made quail rig, built onto his 2013 Jeep Wrangler Rubicon Unlimited, waited. He checked the big storage container he’d bolted to the rear once more, made certain that the hunting bag was where he had left it after last month’s hunt, and tossed the keys to his sister, Bria, who had followed him out into the garage, bleary-eyed and still drowsy.

“Look alive, Bria!” Caleb sang out, strapping himself into one of the chairs mounted to a platform on the Jeep’s front. “Can’t have you driving half-asleep!”

“You owe me,” Bria said, the rest of her sentence drowning out in a huge yawn. She climbed into the drive’s seat, turned the key in the ignition and backed the Jeep slowly out of the driveway.

As she picked up speed on their long, windy road, Caleb leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes, enjoying the cool air washing over his hair. His fingers loosened slightly around the shotgun cradled in his lap. Above the growl of the Jeep’s 3.6-liter engine, the rolling hills were silent, dark.

Bria soon took a right off the main road and eased the Jeep onto a dirt path, its big tires traversing the loose surface with ease. Caleb’s favorite field was about two miles up ahead. Its expanse was lined by dense woods, the perfect spot for a quail.

Suddenly, a bright flash of light lit the sky from behind. Caleb whirled in his seat and squinted against the brilliance. Bria slammed on the brakes, nearly unseating him, and spun around to look, too.

A meteor soared through the sky, only about 2,000 feet overhead, red-hot from the friction of entering the atmosphere. Caleb, unprotected by the Jeep, covered his face from the awesome heat that emanated from it.

The meteor’s path brought it beyond sight behind the hills, but Caleb and Bria both heard and felt it hit the ground: an echoing boom and a concussive tremor that rumbled through the ground into their chests.

Caleb and Bria both shouted at one another simultaneously. “Let’s get out of here!” Bria yelled.

“Keep going!” he demanded.

“What? Are you crazy?”

Caleb banged on the Jeep’s hood impatiently. “Come on, Bri! How often do you get to go see a meteor? Just a quick look. Please!”

She didn’t move, biting her lip.

Caleb tapped the hood again. “Please, Bri?” He glanced toward the hill, the brightness from the meteor still streaking his vision. “Don’t you want to see?”

Bria sighed heavily and took her foot off the brake, easing the Jeep back to their original speed. They didn’t speak. Caleb felt his heart pounding excitedly in his ears. He was worried that they’d lose track of the meteor, but as soon as they crested the hill, they could see where it had fallen: right in the heart of Caleb’s field. Bria navigated the Jeep carefully through a path they had cut through the trees until they reached the clearing and stopped once more.

Caleb stood up out of his chair. “Can’t you get any closer?” he asked. His voice sounded over-loud in his ears; the rest of the field was eerily silent. The smell of burning grass lit his nostrils. No birds called. They had gone.

“Hell no,” Bria retorted. “I’m not getting any closer to it and neither are you.”

Caleb sighed but he knew she was right. Plus, it was still very hot around the meteor. It lay in its crater, making it difficult to see, but small patches of the dry grass crackled with flame, illuminating the scene somewhat. He pulled a set of binoculars from a holder at put them to his eyes.

He could just see the top of the meteor. Smooth like glass and black as obsidian and about the size of the Jeep itself, it seemed to absorb all light than reflect any of its own, a negative space in his vision. Caleb swallowed, suddenly chilled. It felt like looking into a deep well that had no bottom. Empty and filled with echoes.

“Okay, you got to see it. I’m turning us around,” Bria announced.

“Wait, I’m still looking.”

“Caleb, please!” she begged. “This doesn’t feel right—”

A crack as loud as a gunshot interrupted her, resonating through the incoherent trees. Caleb jumped but clapped the binoculars right back onto the meteor.

Its surface was no longer glassy and perfect. A web of cracks criss-crossed its exterior, stemming from a massive fissure near the top, from which something was moving. Caleb squinted through the binoculars, trying to make out what it was.

A set of what looked like talons reached out from within, skittering on the smooth surface of the meteor, which Caleb realized was not a meteor at all. It was some sort of... egg. He watched, transfixed, as the claws ripped away at the shell of the egg until it created an opening. A hideously horned head pushed through, followed by a set of shoulders from which sprouted leathery wing-looking things—

Bria screamed. Caleb ripped the binoculars away from his face, his jaw sagging open. The creature inside the egg had spread its wings—massive for its body and still sticky with the egg’s membranes—and gave them a thunderous beat, propelling the scaly body upward and into the air. It pumped its wings mightily to stay aloft, hanging in the air. Its red eyes fell on Caleb and the Jeep.

Caleb knew he had to run, but he couldn’t move his body. Terror so powerful seized him from head to foot and he stood, rooted to the spot—as if under a spell—staring into the creature’s terrible red eyes. Vaguely, he heard someone yelling his name. He watched as it unlocked its jagged jaws, revealing rows and rows of razor-like fangs, heard it take a sharp intake of breath, filling its lungs with air—

A hand grabbed him by the back of his jacket and dragged him off of the Jeep’s platform. “COME ON!” she screamed in his ear. That snapped him out of it. He scrambled away from the Jeep after her as the creature in the sky let loose a bloodcurdling shriek and a river of fire rained from its jaws, engulfing the Jeep where Caleb and Bria had been just moments before.

They threw themselves into the cover of the trees with the awful knowledge that if the fire came again, they’d be finished. There was nothing to do but hide. The Jeep burned openly.

Through the dense thicket of trees, they watched the creature hang in the air a moment longer. Its eyes glinted with, what was that? Triumph? Satisfaction? Lifting its snout toward the sky, it slammed its mighty wings downward and soared away, out of sight. And then, save for the crackling of the fire from the burning Jeep, it was silent once more

They crouched among the trees for what felt like hours until Bria finally spoke, her voice hoarse. “What was that?”

Caleb shook his head, his mouth very dry, eyes trained on the now-bright sky. “I’m not sure.”