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Most Expensive Car Crashes Ever

December 30, 2009

I received this in an email which has “gone viral” among car people …

Most Expensive Car Crashes … Who’s The Biggest Loser?

#10. Bugatti EB110 …   $500,000

This 1992 $500,000 super-exotic Bugatti EB110 was being driven by a mechanic as part
of its annual checkup. He claims there was an oil slick on the road which caused him to
lose control and crash into a pole. The owner of the Bugatti is a famous “feel good” guru
named Emile Ratelband. Not sure how good he was feeling after this wreck.

#9. Pagani Zonda C12 S …   $650,000

Only 15 Zonda C12 S were ever built, but that didn’t stop this owner from driving it like a mad
hatter. He crashed this beauty in the wee morning hours while driving in Hong Kong.

#8. Mercedes Benz SL 300 …   $950,000

The SL 300 “Gullwing” represents the very finest of Mercedes. The owner thought
it would be a good idea to race this million dollar car on the streets of Mexico, at the
annual “La Carrera Panamericana” race – limited to classic cars produced before 1965.

#7. Jaguar XJ220 …   $1.1 Million

The XJ220 once held the record for highest top speed for a production car (217 mph).

#6. Ferrari Enzo …   $1.3 Million

The most famous Ferrari Enzo crash (shown above) was at Malibu, California in 2005,
when the driver, “Fat Steven” Eriksson crashed the car at 196 mph.

#5. Bugatti Veyron …   $1.6 Million

The Bugatti Veyron is the most expensive production car in history. Only 300 are
expected to be produced, and already two have crashed. Above is the first one.
The driver thought it was okay to speed at 100 mph in the rain.
He only had the car for one week.

#4. 1959 Ferrari 250 GT TDF …   $1.65 Million

This extremely rare classic car, the 1959 Ferrari 250 GT “Tour de France”, crashed
into a wall at the Shell Ferrari-Maserati Historic Challenge in 2003.

#3. Ferrari 250 GT Spyder …   $10.9 Million

The record price for a 1961 250 GT California Spyder at auction was set on May 18, 2008
when a black one was sold for $10,894,900. So what is one doing buried in the sand?
The unlucky owner had it stored near the beach when a Hurricane hit.

#2. Ferrari 250 GTO …   $28.5 Million

The 1962-64 Ferrari 250 GTO became the most valuable car in the world. In 2008 an
anonymous English buyer bought a 250 GTO at auction for a record $28.5 Million.
The crash above represents a car worth more than the combined value of all 14 Enzos
(see #6 above) involved in accidents. After a track event involving historic cars,
the owner rammed into the back of another car after traffic slowed down.

#1. Tiger Wood’s Escalade…   $55 million and rising
The most expensive car crash ever?
Final estimate to be determined by Elin

[the original page can be found at]


Some Drivers …

December 14, 2009

The other day I was following a BMW X3 on seven miles of a two lane road near home.  The road is a relatively major road, heavily travelled throughout all hours of the day and night. It is not as though you could see for any great distance, because this is a ‘country road’ twisting and turning around hills and through the watershed, through the woods.

The driver of this vehicle was obviously thinking of everything but driving.  The X3 would serve across the double yellow lines and straddle for long stretches at a time until the driver saw oncoming vehicles, nearly colliding on more than one occasion.  Then seeming to overcompensate the driver would hang over the shoulder coming very close to hitting the trees along the road.  After making the correction of driving off the road the driver would then go back to straddling the center line. I left an increasing margin between myself and the X3 as we continued to travel.  One car became impatient with my increased ‘safety margin’ and passed me on a double yellow line, only to then turn within a 1/4 mile – why take that risk?
Over the years I find myself allowing more safety margins when I drive.  When I have to stop for a red light I wait a moment when the light turns green and check all directions to make certain all those with the red light do indeed stop.  That little moment of hesitation has saved me from near misses or accidents more than a few times.

With age comes wisdom, or so I hope.  It is more likely that with experience comes caution.

Rat Rods

December 14, 2009

Rat Rods at the East Coast Indoor Nationals

Uploaded by j.kscott on Flickr

Rat Rods may be similar to Hot Rods in the types of cars from which they begin, but that is where the similarities end. Rat Rods are fully custom cars, generally built from 1930’s and 1940’s coupes and roadsters. Most are built without fenders or hood (leaving an exposed engine), bumpers or running boards. Quite often the body is cut down, ‘sectioned’ to make the car smaller in length or width, ‘channeled’ to ride lower and ‘chopped’ for a lower profile. Unlike Hot Rods which are usually painted with glossy paint (often with flames), Rat Rods may sport only a primer coat or a satin or matte finish in black, brown, sepia or dark gray. Many Rat Rods may have a ‘patina’ (original paint with rust and wear showing, possibly even enhanced). Other rodders prefer no paint at all, allowing the metal to rust and weather naturally, or an oiled metal finish (retarding but not eliminating rust and weathering).
A Rat Rod is best described as function over form. Whereas Hot Rods usually have improved suspension, a stiffened body frame, increased power with improved handling, Rat Rods are usually engineered only for driving. All the essentials to run the auto are in place, although the parts and pieces can be from other types of autos, or not automotive at all – i.e. old license plates or road signs as floor boards or brass knuckles as door handles.
Most often Rat Rods are built by the owners/backyard mechanics of spare or scrounged parts. Some common themes in Rat Rod accessories include Maltese Crosses and Skulls. The interiors of Rat Rods commonly feature bare essential seating, bomber seats or old seat covered with Mexican blankets, no carpet and only the barest essentials.
It is thought by many that Rat Rods are today’s incarnations of what Hot Rods started as many years ago – an inexpensive means of transportation, by just about any means of assembly. Current Rat Rods are intentionally left to look unfinished and rough around the edges.

Rat Rods are akin to Rat Bikes – motorcycles built under the same ‘rules’.

Sometimes it is hard to define the lines between Rat Rods and Hot Rods – generally Rat Rods have finishes which seem incomplete, as opposed Hot Rods which seem finished to perfection.

Rat Rod engines often appear to be just put together.

Hot Rod Engine - even the engine is dressed and ready to show.

Hot Rods are often painted and finished to every last detail.

East Coast Indoor Nationals, December 2009

December 8, 2009

Marines stopping for a photo opportunity.

Originally uploaded by j.kscott

This past weekend we participated in the East Coast Indoor Nationals in Timonium, MD at the Maryland State Fairgrounds. This car show was presented to benefit Toys for Tots, raising more than $16,000 to benefit the program. I have posted multiple photos and videos of the event on Flickr.

We set up our display on Friday, arriving on a beautiful sunny day. Saturday saw the usual December 5 snowfall – for some reason Baltimore seems to be able to count on some amount of snow on the fifth of December. This year we had 3 – 5″ of fluffy snow which fell throughout the day. Sunday was a beautiful day with a bit of the snow melting, but the roads were almost dry by the time we drove our truck home.

We were blessed to be able to participate and share our truck and story with a lot of people. We met a lot of new friends and became better friends with others we have seen over the years.

The son of the farmer from whom we purchased our truck more than 25 years ago came out to see our display – still not believing we still have the truck and have restored it. He is now near 80, and suffering from debilitating Multiple Sclerosis. We were surprised to see he and his wife approaching.

The Marines in their dress blues were a welcome site throughout the show, selling 50-50 raffle tickets and collecting donations to benefit Toys for Tots. Each of the Marines had their own favorite vehicles, and enjoyed visiting with the owners of the vehicles, stopping for photo opportunities with the permission of the owners.

Thank you to the Marines for their service, I know the young men I met at the show will soon be deployed. I wish them well on their mission, and pray for a safe return home.

To see more photos from the event visit Flickr.

Preparing for the East Coast Indoor Nationals

December 1, 2009

1953 Dodge Job-Rated Retro-Rod

This coming weekend is the East Coast Indoor Nationals, in which we were invited to participate.  The promoter/manager of the show attends events throughout the mid-Atlantic area selecting cars, trucks and motorcycles he would like to have displayed at the event.  He tries to round out the selections to cover a wide range of interests from classics, antiques, muscle, modified,customized,  hot rods and rat rods.

A few years ago our 1964 Corvette Convertible Stingray was selected.  We prepped our car, packed up our cleaning supplies and joined a friend with another Corvette for the weekend show.  Our display was simple, the cars and some small Christmas trees as stanchions with strands of garland as roping.

Many of the cars were displayed with lighting and mirrors giving visibility of the bottom of the vehicle.  There were displays with carpet or special flooring.  Some of the displays depicted a theme such as the beach, a nature scene and a drive in restaurant.

A few of the displays were truly above and beyond.  Cars were displayed on chrome wheel stands, allowing viewers a great view of the bottom of the car. There was a full snow scene with a pick-up truck filled with presents.  One motorcycle owner brought his own ‘boardwalk’ on which to display.  Many displays included specially designed chrome barriers to keep spectators away from the cars.  A few of the owners had completely custom surrounds in which they displayed their automotive works of art.

All the years we have done car shows, it seems natural to go to shows in the great outdoors.  Doing this show inside the Cow Palace at the Maryland State Fairgrounds is a bit different. We still have to consider the elements as we get to the show, I am praying for dry roads.  Unlike most car shows, once we set up on Friday, our truck will remain in the same spot until the end of the show on Sunday afternoon.

This year we are displaying our 1953 Dodge Job-Rated pick-up which we recently completed a resto-rod (restoration with alterations qualifying the truck as a ‘rod’).  The impetus for the conversion was to allow us to carry his Harley Davidson motorcycle in the bed, while closing the tailgate.  The bed was lengthened, the frame reinforced and modified, a new engine and transmission and many more upgrades were incorporated in the project.

For this year Hubby is planning a special display using a reproduction gas pump, gas station island light and classic style oil can stand.  We are designing posters to tell the history of the build/conversion. His father is building boxes to be incorporated into low barricades.  In all this is a family project as we prepare for the show.

The build of this truck has been a great mental diversion for Hubby as the stresses of work were taking their toll.  He would revel in the decisions and choices, spend time online and pouring through catalogs and magazines looking for parts and ideas, doing little detail touches and dreaming of the day the truck would be completed.  Now that the job is almost complete, he enjoys taking the truck to shows and telling the stories of the truck’s history and build.

The East Coast Indoor Nationals features a lot of beautiful classic and modified cars, trucks and motorcycles, all displayed in the climate controlled environs of the Cow Palace.  Three hundred of the finest pre-1973 All-American vehicles from the mid-Atlantic will be on display to benefit Toys for Tots.  This show is held annually on the first weekend of December (or the second weekend after Thanksgiving, depending on the calendar — the weekend after Thanksgiving is the Festival of Trees).

Driving Habits – His vs. Mine

November 18, 2009

Driving Habits

Even though we drive in different ways, we both try to avoid the road hazards - like cows on the road.

My husband and I have two different philosophies for getting from point a to point b.  He applies the accelerator more liberally than I do.  He weaves through lanes in traffic, trying to get ahead.  He is more aggressive.

I have learned from years of following him that his approach to driving does not always get him there faster.  On a recent trip from our home to our daughter’s college 158 miles away.  We drove in two vehicles because we were leaving one on campus for her use.

The route started with 20 miles of country roads, with very few passing areas. He drove with enthusiasm for the first several miles. I know the route and used a little less enthusiasm, knowing we would probably get there at the same time.  A couple of miles up the road he ‘got stuck’ behind someone driving nearer the speed limit.  Wouldn’t you know, I caught up to him rather quickly.  After he passed in one of the few passing zones, he was again ‘stuck behind’ another car.

Once we hit the highway, he hit the accelerator.  I kept an eye on him in the distance and sort of snickered as he was held up by traffic, allowing me to catch up to him.  He never got so far ahead that I lost sight of him.  In fact by driving closer to my normal habits I had the chance to pass him – but I was kind and let him out in front of me so we could continue to play cat and mouse.

We usually stay together on the highways, with him driving a bit more ‘sanely’.  On that morning he realized I wanted to be on the road long before he was ready, and tried to ‘make up for it’.  In the long run we only gained about two minutes over the course of the first 140 miles.  The last 18 miles don’t count in the time because it was football game day at Penn State and the related traffic was stop and go getting closer to campus.

This experience was in keeping with my own general observations about highway driving.  I regularly drive a 90 mile trek between Northern Maryland and NorthernVirginia, most of which is highway driving.  I get a slight joy by watching people trying to get ahead of traffic by weaving and bobbing between lanes to pass others. Quite often they don’t seem to be looking well in advance to see where the problem spots will be and where they will be hung up by slower traffic.

I make a habit of choosing a lane and trying to stay within it, only passing on occasion. Quite often I will be passed and pass the same car on a number of occasions, I know that I am using cruise control so I am driving a consistent speed.  Through using the speed adjustment on the cruise control I can adjust slightly when needed to better match the flow of traffic.  When I drive a long distance I look for another car that may be with me for the long run and use that car to gauge my progress on the road.  If we seem to be doing about the same speed for a couple of miles I will watch their progress as they weave and bob through the travel lanes.  More often than not we get to the same point about the same time.

The only time excess speed seems to work for anyone is when the roads are wide open, with little traffic.  Then you have to allow for the time it would take to speak to a police officer, on his invitation to join him on the shoulder.  If you could only hear the comments of the people you passed as they pass you on the shoulder.

My husband and I get to the same place, usually at the same time, even though we drive differently.  He quite often gets held back by slower traffic, which allows me to catch up to him.  I am not comfortable bobbing and weaving through packed travel lanes.  Even in heavy traffic it seems that when I stay in a chosen lane I get there within a moment of his time.

Traveling With Kids – Beyond the Obvious

November 16, 2009

When traveling with children I found there are travel essentials every auto should have beyond the obvious safety seat, toys, games and books.  There are other things to consider which will make the inevitable problems easier to overcome:

Seat Cover: whether you have cloth, vinyl or leather seats you may find that a covering will save  the seat from an array of messes.  The cover can be something as elaborate as a custom made cover or a simple sheet, old blanket or waterproof mattress cover.  Using a seat cover enables a quick clean up especially after tots have a snack cracker with crumbs or carpooling with the soccer team after a muddy game;

Rubber floor mats: the carpet in a car is one of the first surfaces destroyed by children, they track in mud and soil which is ground in and never seems to vacuum or shampoo out.  The floor mats can be ones specially designed to fit your auto or generic (cheap) mats available at most auto stores or general stores;

First Aid Kit: even when traveling without children a basic first aid kit is a good idea.  The minimum essentials should include antibacterial wipes, alcohol wipes, band aids, gauze patches of varying sizes, rolled gauze bandage, tweezers, vinyl gloves, safety pins and ibuprofen;

Bottles of water: fresh water for drinking or cleaning up a messy situation;

Plastic bags of all sizes: quart, grocery and trash bags will come in handy for a variety of uses from storing open food packages, corralling trash or emergency rain gear;

Packaged cleaning wipes: allow a quick cleaning of the windows and car surfaces;

Rags or towels: my favorite are white washcloths I purchase at Target 12 for $2.99.  White does not have dies which will bleed onto the car upholstery or your clothing;

Potty chair: for the emergency roadside stop when a restroom is not near.  I found that my daughter was more comfortable using her potty chair than a public restroom;

Maps for the children to follow along on the trip.

My daughter was an avid soccer player throughout her youth and I had to learn to deal with a lot of mud.  I would allow the mud to dry, then using a dry scrub brush I would brush the mud to break up the large glops.  The vacuum will pick up dry mud and soil very well after it has been broken up.  Do not try to wipe up mud while it is still wet – you will rub the dirt into the fibers and find it harder to clean.

If there is a spill on the carpet or upholstery, immediately dab to absorb the spill with white rags or towels.  Again – do not rub, as rubbing will work any stain into the fibers and make it harder to clean.  I have found that cleaning a spill as soon as possible will avoid staining.  If the spill was something sticky like soda or juice follow the dabbing with a good soaking of water and more dabbing to remove any residual stickiness (or dirt will collect on the invisible stickiness and cause staining).

If I have a stain I can’t clean I have found that a quick question at the dealership or shop where I have my car serviced will usually garner an offer of their favored cleaning solution for just that problem.

Whether your kids are children or pets these basic ideas apply.  The tricks I learned through traveling with my daughter work just as well for when we have our dogs with us.  When traveling with our dogs we always throw in a water dish and a dog bed which they have available to them at home.  Road trips can be a lot of fun and most messes can be easily overcome.

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