Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, or possibly good morning, and welcome to today’s round of Ask Doug, where you ask me some sort of automotive-related question, and I provide you with some sort of automotive-related answer, which doesn’t necessarily correspond to the question you’ve asked.
If you’d like to participate in Ask Doug, you can! Just e-mail me at OversteerDoug@gmail.com, and I will happily read your e-mail and almost certainly disregard it, unless of course you praise me thoroughly in the lead-up to your question.
Now, on to today’s question, which comes from a reader I’ve named Ned. Ned writes:
I watched and enjoyed your recent video where you destroyed the Audi. I’ve always been fascinated with the idea of destroying a car. It looks like so much fun, but logistically very difficult. It’s probably easy to acquire a cheap car to destroy, but what other things need to be considered before actually going down this road … transportation, equipment of destruction, space and safety, disposal?
For those of you who don’t read correspondence from people named Ned, as a rule, here’s a summary of what Ned is asking. Last week, Ned watched as I rolled over an Audi allroad and a Kia Spectra in my Land Rover Defender. Ned is curious what’s involved in such an affair, which is an excellent question, because the answer is: It ain’t easy.
What you saw, if you watched the video, was simple: I played around with the Kia and the allroad a bit — ripping the bumper off the Kia and rolling over the allroad — before I crushed both vehicles with my Defender. I condensed the entire thing down to about 13 minutes, but Ned’s question is a good one, because here’s the reality: This whole thing took about six hours — and hours of planning before that.
When I crushed two cars with my Hummer, it was a true logistical nightmare, and I knew I was in for another one this time. There are several things you don’t even think to consider when you watch a video like this, but you’re forced to consider when you make such a video — like, getting the cars to the place where you want to crush them, physically moving them around once they arrive, and disposing of them once they’re done. No part of that is easy.
This time, procuring the cars wasn’t a problem: My friend David, who’s in the video taking whacks at the allroad with the sledgehammer, found me the allroad from a mechanic friend of is who had it dropped off as a parts car by a customer. The Spectra belonged to my friend Filippo. Unfortunately, the two cars were about 20 miles apart, which leads to two questions: Where do we do this? And also how do we get the cars there?
The question of "Where do we do this?" is harder than you might expect, simply because it poses three issues: One is that you need a lot of space to physically run over vehicles. Two is that you will be making a substantial mess while you carry this out. And three is that the vehicles must then be removed from — or abandoned in — the place where you’ve done it.
We settled on doing the whole thing at David’s dealership, Automobili Limited, here in the Philadelphia suburbs — but David keeps his place nice, and that meant we couldn’t really make a huge mess. Problem number one. This also led to a second problem, namely that we had to get the Kia roughly 20 miles from its location of abandonment in West Philadelphia up to the dealer. The car hadn’t moved in a year, but I decided the best way to move it was to simply call AAA. Initially, this got us nervous — we thought the tow truck driver would arrive and refuse to move the car, on the grounds that it was clearly abandoned. So I called AAA, the driver showed up, and the first words out of his mouth were: "This thing’s been sittin’ here a while." I handed him twenty bucks. He towed the car.
Then the cars were in the same location, but we were still faced with another issue: Moving them around so they could be crushed and damaged for fun — and doing so without making a huge mess. David had the great idea to call a tow truck driver, who would simply show up and stand by the whole day, for whatever we needed. So, right at 10:30 a.m., just as we were setting up, Joe the Tow Truck Driver showed up — for $50 an hour. He didn’t leave until after 4. The tow driver was our single biggest expense.
But, it was also our most worthwhile. As it turns out, we needed the cars moved several times — first, next to one another, and also repeatedly as I kept smashing and rolling over the allroad. Joe was also instrumental in suggesting the cinder blocks that ultimately helped us climb up on the allroad and the Kia. And, most importantly, he had all the tools in his truck to clean up everything when we were done — the glass, the fluids, and any leftover car parts. By the time I left that evening, there was no way to know we ever ran over anything.
And that leaves us with disposal. Being in the car world, David knew mechanics, shops, junkyards and scrapyards — all of which would happily accept two vehicles (even if they had been crushed by a Land Rover Defender) just for the metal and remaining parts alone. I signed the titles for both the allroad and Kia over to David, and he had a junk hauler come and take them away.
There’s a moral to the story, and that’s this: If you’re planning on doing this, make sure you know someone who’s well connected — with junkyards, tow services and people who might have a parts car or two. Because I can promise you this from experience: Calling up random businesses and asking if you can crush a car on their property? That generally won’t go over very well. Find a used car for sale
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