Posted by Vale
I have never loved cars. I side with H.G.Wells when he said that everytime he saw an adult on a bike ‘I no longer despair for the future of the human race’. Or Orwell when he said ‘Four wheels bad, two wheels good’. Or something like that.
But I do understand that some people feel differently, lavishing all sorts of devotion on the mechanical brutes. Even so very few cars are loved enough to have their own obituary. Jimmie Johnson’s Daytona 500 race car No. 48 was one of those special cars. It’s a tragic story that starts with the patient facing its emergency team:
Ten men in matching black-and-blue jumpsuits surrounded the $250,000 car and readied for surgery. One held a motorized saw. Another yanked his gloves tight. Their job was to bring life back to a car in critical condition.
Jimmie, the driver who crashed this beauty, is clearly not the story. Doctors looked at him and, seeing he was only shaken up, focused back on the real victim of this Daytona scrimmage.
“It’s like the ER,” Malec said. “After someone gets into an accident, you clear out the wound, cut it open and find out if she’s curable.”
Mechanics cut out the firewall…Off came the hood, too, like a chest being cracked, so the parties could see the car’s guts. The engine, all 358 cubic inches and 800 horses of it, was salvageable. The rest of the car’s front not so much.
Mechanics crowd round. There is much waving of spanners and the like (forgive me, I am not technical). But in the end not enough could be done and:
They rolled the 48 onto a platform. It lifted the car above the hauler’s main cabin and into the top compartment, behind the pristine backup. In the front of the 48, an open hose still puffed steam, the last breaths of the great machine that gave its life on Lap 2, Turn 1 of the Daytona 500.
I was relieved that the poor thing was carried away on a ‘pristine’ backup. It’s what we’d all want for a loved one. Terrific stuff. You can read the full story here.