22 February 2006

So Speedy, So Exclusive, So Expensive, So Totaled

This is enough to make a gearhead cry. On the other hand, if you're rich enough to do this and not worry about the other Ferrari owners putting out a contract on you for desecrating a shrine, go for it. From the LATimes:

It was a SigAlert made for Malibu.

A red Ferrari Enzo - one of only 400 ever made and worth more than $1 million - broke apart Tuesday when it crested a hill on Pacific Coast Highway going 120 mph and slammed into a power pole.

The driver jumped out of the wreckage and ran into the canyon above, evading a three-hour search by a Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department helicopter and a mountain search-and-rescue team.

The crash did not result in serious injuries. But it sent shockwaves through both the tabloid and exotic car worlds as one group wondered if the driver was a celebrity and the other mourned the loss of a hand-built car revered by many as a work of art.

Read on. The owner, who blew very slightly but legally under the influence, claims he was a passenger and that 'Dietrich' was driving and ran away. Around here, it would have been a deer or an icy road. The trick is to get away so the cops don't catch up with you until the next day.

Here's the part that got me:

Ferrari owner Chris Banning, a Beverly Hills writer who is finishing a book called the "Mulholland Experience" that will touch on the cult of sports car racing on that mountain roadway, characterized the Enzo's destruction as "a tremendous loss" to the automotive world.

"He destroyed one of the finest cars on Earth, maybe the finest. It's like taking a Van Gogh painting and burning it," said Banning, who is a leader of the Ferrari Owners Club.

Hey, rich boys break their toys all the time. They probably get drunk and burn their Van Goghs too, just because they can. That's not the part that got me.

Back in the 60s, I participated kinda on the fringes of the MAD (Mulholland After Dark) Racing. It was fun. It was run what ya brung. Sports cars, muscle cars, bikes, whatever. There was some pretty good racing, and some not-so-pretty-good racing. Probably the best racer up there was Steve McQueen in his Cobra, although some pretty good SCCA club racers would show up from time to time. Mainly it was just normal bozos.

I've seen people lose control, splinter a guard rail, barrel roll off a cliff, end up an amazing distance down a steep hillside, exit the car unhurt, climb back up to the road, hitchhike back to the 'pits', borrow a car, and keep racing!

One time I took a friend's wife for a spin on my roommate's Honda. We rode from Coldwater Canyon, near where the pits were, to Laurel Canyon. It's maybe three or four miles. On the way back, the sky in front of us lit up in a green flash. We didn't know what that was all about until we rounded the next bend and saw a Mustang leaning nose-up against a power pole, with three or four other cars in attendance. If the guy hadn'ta had the decency to crash, we'd have rode right into an oncoming race!

Ah, memories. I'm going to keep an eye out for that book.

18 February 2006


February is traditionally a slow month for us and this year didn't disappoint. We're usually done with the paying work by lunchtime, Harry takes 3 hour lunches, Indian makes his yearly pilgrimage to worship at Daytona, and PDB and I are left to our own devices.

So we're a couple weeks into the February doldrums and the shop has been reorganized, projects we've put off are getting done - making calls hounding customers to pay outstanding bills, going through the 'you never know' cans of parts and hardware culling the shit you never will use, cleaning in all the crevices we're too busy to clean the rest of the year, new shelves for the service manuals, redoing the parts inventory to keep up with changes, and trying to clean Harry's shit pile desk a little at a time so he doesn't notice - and doing little shit on our own cars. Needless to say, PDB and I still have too much free time. Not a good thing.

We've already designated Fridays 'Indian Sucks Ass Day' and annotated all the calendars and the appointment book. We make lewd - anatomically correct - snowmen and women, much to Harry's, and the mayor's, chagrin. And we play practical jokes. An empty plastic oil jug makes a hell of a noise when you screw the cap back on and put it behind someone's tire. Hooking the old bell for the gas pumps to the toilet seat - lift the seat, the bell over your head starts clanging - gets a rise out of folks too.

So by now, everybody is waiting expectantly for March, when the work will pick up and nobody has to look over their shoulders until next year. Well, except for the Indian. His life will be a living Hell for the next couple weeks because he has to pay for taking two weeks off and calling in every other day to remind us how warm it is in Florida.

16 February 2006

I'm so glad

So many people in Africa want to trust me with hundreds of millions of dollars.