Dartre Shrine

DartreShrine Vol.1
Welcome to the Shrine. Please, if you must talk, whisper quietly.

Here are a few of our favorite comments from other mourners. Share your Dartre remembrances at the bottom of this page.

The obvious question is: Doesn't the car belong, after a suitable period of lying in state like Lenin in Red Square, in the Smithsonian? Haven't they made the call? We assume it's only a matter of time, now that they've heard. If the folks at the Smithsonian don't act soon, then perhaps the Museum of Broadcasting (along with Alistair Cooke's tie and the original, moth-eaten Kermit)?

Again, sincerest condolences, Tom,


Anne Biberman (KUAC-FM, Fairbanks),
and Nick Popovich

I suggest you donate the remains of the Dartre to NATO. They can load it into a transport helicopter and fly deep into Serbia in the dead of night with a team of crack commandos. They can find the Serb leader's house and leave it in his front yard. The next morning, when Milosevic wakes up and goes to collect his morning paper, the mere sight of this monument to the impermanence of all things will single-handedly end the war in Yugoslavia and start an era of peace that will last a thousand years.

Anthony Gabriel

Why not let your Dart become a part of art history! At Alliance, NE, there is a car-body work of art called "CarHenge," fashioned after Stonehenge. It is quite a tourist attraction in western Nebraska. Car bodies are arranged standing on end, on their side, etc. You have to see it to believe it!

Your Dart would live forever, and as far as Alex goes--he can come to Alliance, NE, every summer and sell tickets to tourists! Think about it.

Linda Studnicka

Build your own Dartopia, a monument to Darts everywhere. You could start with Dart Tower, a 30-Dart-high tower of Darts in the shape of a pyramid or Trump Tower.

You could place several Darts around the Dart Tower in a circle and placed at such an angle vertically that it might be considered that they were praying to the Great Tower. Who knows, you might even be able to start a new religion in which you guys could be co-popes. It boggles my mind.


In reponse to your query regarding the disposition of Alex and the "beloved Dartre," I recommend (commensurate with political correctness) that equal treatment be afforded both. The "beloved Dartre" should be immersed in clear acrylic and displayed in the Smithsonian adjacent to other icons of historic or religious significance. Alex should be immersed in clear acrylic and used as a paperweight.

Dave Pfahler

I've heard that there is a group of guys who call themselves THE HURLING SOCIETY, and they have a really big catapult. I think that the Dart and that really big catapult and the new millennium would make a great combination, or at least constitute a historic event.

Cautiously TOSSING this suggestion to the wind,

Jim Tropea
Campbell, Ohio

Why not solve two problems at once? Put Alex in what's left of the trunk and throw the Dart away.

Brian Schneider

A. Melt the Dart down and cast it as a statue of Lee Iacocca.
2. As for the kid, he can clean the pigeon droppings off the statue for a year.

Dick Jamieson

I suggest a nationwide candlelight vigil. Everyone could gather at a location in their neighborhood or their own backyard and light a candle for the passing of Tommy's beloved Dart. A moment of silence could be observed as everyone reflects on their beloved cars, no longer with them.

Following this, I suggest the Dart remains be blessed, then carved up into small pieces that would fit into those Hide-a-Key boxes, so we may all carry a piece of it on our cars to ward off accidents. It could replace all those plastic statues.

Erin Blackwell

A new national monument in D.C. near the Washington Monument maybe, dedicated to the Unknown Motorist.

Holly Coldiron

Buy Alex a fancy new car. Place the keys to the new car in the Dart. Have the Dart crushed. Present the Dart to Alex and tell him he can drive his new car when he gets the keys out.

With our sympathies,

Janine and Rich
Woodbury, MN


Al Zimmerman

I think the Dart would be a stunning addition to Harvard Square. Either crushed into a cube and placed on a stick near the base of the Dewey, Cheetham & Howe building, or placed in the law offices, peeking out through the windows onto the Square. OK, it would violate the historic nature of the Square, but once the Dart is 50 years old, it too might be considered eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

With sympathetic regards,

Bert Hoffman

Alex, should he be found, should take full credit for providing you with what is potentially thousands and thousands of dollars in funds raised for public radio. As far as I can tell, in this case the parts are worth far more than the whole.

Ernie Kelly
Orlando, FL

My husband also suggests you could launch it into outer space so it could circle the earth indefinitely, or--better yet--freeze the Dart until future technology could bring it back.

Kathy Ozog

My brother-in-law lost his vintage 1954 MG TF in 1993 when it was completely burned (nothing but the frame remained) in the fires that ravaged neighborhoods in Laguna Beach, California. The house was lost as well. A few years ago, when they rebuilt, my brother-in-law had the shell of the MG deposited at the bottom of their property, which he had landscaped beautifully, and started vines growing on the frame of the MG. Now the car is an "auto-topiary," if you will, and has become an interesting and truly beautiful part of the scenery.

My suggestion is that you do a similar thing with the Dart. I might further suggest that you could even incorporate it into a religion of sorts, were you to become a Druid. As I understand Druidism, it's the celebration and worship of nature. In a topiary form, the Dart would become one with nature and so be eligible for religious "shrine" or "icon" distinction. The Dart would no longer be lost to you, but would have ascended to a higher plane, even godlike in its status.

Candy Barnette
Valdosta, Georgia



I think the Dart ought to be towed out to sea and sunk to create an artificial reef. Mechanics from all over could cruise out in their boats and look down through the water at it.

Jon Rice

I suggest that you incorporate the dashboard into a wet bar and use the front seat for bar stools.

Rob Evans Bend, Oregon

Perhaps the Dart's final rest ought to be in the Valley of the Kings, placed in perfect alignment with the North Star. In fact, we shall continue to check the night skies of both Florida and Wisconsin so that we may be amongst the first to observe the galaxy's newest constellation: A Tribute to Dodge's Finest Production Model.

Miami and Monroe

Regarding Alex, I thought a good punishment could be to take him to a junkyard and make him wash and wax 36 (one for every year you owned the car) cars in the yard. Pointless labor always seems to make the best impression. Then again, you could contact my good friend Paul Falzone; he lives in Hull, Mass., and I'm sure you could persuade him to give your son a good kickboxing lesson.

Tom Neumann
Portland, Oregon (Ory-gun)

Have the Dart cremated and spread its ashes in places that are meaningful to the two of you. Perhaps you would like to throw some of your Dart's ashes on his or her favorite filling station, or at the parking lot of the DMV where you first took possession of the title-or maybe where you and you wife would park to "test the shocks," etc.

Andrew Annand

What to do with Alex? Give him a hug and hope he has learned a lesson that no act of pleasure goes without a measure of guilt. Metal, such as the Bondo sculpture Dartre, can be replaced, but broken bones or worse in drivers and passengers are not expendable. Look at it this way: your noble vehicle gave its life so Alex could drive again. What more could you ask from a trusted family friend?

The Muellers

You should melt down what remains of the beloved automobile and have it cast into a set of commemorative medieval stocks, to be placed in the center of Harvard Square. Each year, on the date of the sad snowplowing anniversary, the guilt-ridden Alex should be placed in the stocks so that passing tourists can hurl furry dice dipped in sump oil at him in a day of mourning and celebration of the memory of the Dartre.

Simon Bird

I recommend you create the Beloved Dartre Memorial snow globe, which would include a dignified piece of the precious remains as well as a suitable "Ode to My Beloved Dartre," written by one of our country's great, but currently unemployed, poets.

Those who wish to obtain one of the Beloved Dartre Memorial snow globes could receive one by donating to the Magliozzi Brothers' Brain Trust, which is perpetually underfunded.

Dan Henning
Fremont, Ohio

I think it would be a fine tribute to put her on a flatbed and take her on one last run around the country, just like they did when Lincoln was assassinated.

Tom Abbott

I have recently been to the Guggenheim Museum of Art. I am positive that if you throw some paint at zee Dartre, it will be worth a king's ransom to any art dealer.

Joel Meltz

I vote for a Viking funeral--load the Dart's mortal remains onto a small boat, set it on fire and turn the boat loose to drift gently to sea.

Alex's punishment? Tell the Coast Guard that it was all his idea.

Mike Basile


Al Zimmerman

I think you should attach some solid-fuel rocket boosters to what's left of your old girl. Light those babies and run like the dickens. Just think, sitting out in your backyard on a warm summer evening, eating a great grilled burger and then looking up into the heavens and seeing that grand ol' girl go whizzing by at 17,000 mph.

Boy, she could never go that fast down Main Street.

Art Eytchison

I think there is only one way to preserve the sacred memory of one of America's most treasured automotive icons: the Dartre should be shrink-wrapped and transported to Las Vegas, where it will be placed on a pedestal in front of the Mirage Hotel, right next to the statues of Siegfried and Roy.

Ed Papile
Las Vegas, NV

Dear Tom and Ray,

Here's a suggestion for what to do with what's left of the Dart:

Hang it from the window of Dewey, Cheetham & Howe. This could be a great way to attract even more people to Harvard Square and be a lucrative moneymaker--people could bet on things like when certain parts would fall to the ground, when the whole thing will drop, who it would most likely fall on, etc. I'm sure the fine counselors at DC&H can figure out how to avoid liability.

Rob Morse


Dear Magliozzi Brothers and Disinherited Son,

My deepest sympathies at the loss of the Dartre. A number of suggestions for the Dartre's post-mortem life:

1) Disassemble it completely and have it reassembled in a Picasso-esque rendition of the Dartre. You can then donate it to the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum and write it off on your taxes.

2) Turn it into the world's largest Chia Pet.

We feel your pain. We love your show.

Sincerely yours,

Anne-Marie Happe (pronounced "Happy")
Cindy Powell

Find (or make) an image of Elvis in the twisted sheet metal. With some good advertising and a reasonable admissions fee, the faithful will absolutely *flock* to see the latest manifestation of the King. You'll make so much money that you'll be able to afford a Z3 (with automatic or manual transmission) for you, your wife *and* Alex!

Eric Kouba

Dear Tom & Ray,

As a faithful listener for 10 years, seven of which I didn't even own a car, I've established a memorial for the Dodge Dartre at In Memoriam. You will find it at:

Brother Mike




As befits a noble road warrior, I suggest putting it on a raft made up of old car seats and inner tubes. Fill it with 10W40 and leaded gas for use in the next world. Take it down to Boston Harbor sprinkle it with gas, light it and set it adrift to join all the heroic Darts of the past. While the environmentalists may not understand the symbolism, Car Guys worldwide will be brought to tears as they observe in quiet reverence.

Don Boito

An old man like Tom needs a very special car. After all, he needs something to make him feel young again. Tom needs to get a Ferrari.
You see, that way, if his son drives it and wrecks it, there isn't a jury in the world that wouldn't say it was justifiable homicide. Besides, it would be good for his broken heart and shattered ego.

Bob Stewart

Much like vowels exported to Bosnia, the Dart should be cut up in little pieces and dropped on Belgrade. With a little note attached: Remember the Yugo.

Dan Estabrook


As an engineer for a major defense contractor, I believe that we have the perfect job for Alex--provided he can be just as effective against other types of vehicles (tanks, trucks, aircraft, etc). Please reply if interested....


Entrepreneurial suggestion: We have all seen the rage over sunken vessels such as the Titanic and other, more ancient vessels of transportation: professional diving teams, documentaries, romantic movies, etc. I recommend dropping the Dart (what's left, that is) into the Atlantic Ocean just off the coast. In about 100 years, give or take, interest will begin to stir over the story behind this unique vehicle. This will lead to many financial opportunities for your family and can serve as an inheritance. The beauty of this "time-lapse" inheritance is that Alex will be long gone before it comes to fruition.

Vince Franz

Your unlucky son? The answer for him is also simple, and yet subtly devious and eternal. See to it that your son marries a nice, beautiful and intelligent Italian girl. This will certainly give you a warm glow as you think about the lifetime of misery he will endure after that inevitable moment when he realizes the honeymoon is over. He will be cleaning garages, putting up and taking down seasonal lawn and house decorations, and taking his "dirty feet off the coffee table, fer gahdsake" for years beyond the number that you have enjoyed the magic of your beloved car.
Whatever you finally do, I wish you and your family the best (and I will light a candle for your son).
Until next time, I bid you peace, love and happy fishing.

Mike Sedik

Stick some stamps on it and let the post office worry about it.

Ward Herring

The Dartre should be loaded aboard the space shuttle and released into geosynchronous orbit above Car Talk Plaza.
Alex needs an enema.

Jeff Morgan

The time has come.
I don't blame you for not recognizing the awesome, terrible truth. If my son Alex were the CHOSEN ONE, the ORACLE OF DESTINY, the CRUCIBLE OF LIFE (you get the picture), I'd probably also be in a state of blind fear and denial.
Embrace the New Truth without fear. As it was foretold so many ages ago, before the turn of the millennium, a PHOENIX forged by the HAND OF MAN shall rise, giving Hope, Light and possibly lower gas prices (it's $1.26/gallon around here) to the groveling, unwashed masses.
Alex will fix the Dartre. His hands will be guided by Divine Inspiration. The nation's Faithful will provide the necessary parts, once the WORD has spread. And the world will awaken to a New Age of HOPE and GRACE.
Yours in THE DARTRE.

The Peabodys of Yreka, California

My son Christopher, the Car Person of my family, suggests that you (and I am quoting here) "honor the beloved memory of a fine, fine automobile such as the Dart...and rebuild it. Cost should not be an issue, for this is a mission of love.
To continue quoting Christopher: "If you do not repair the Dart, you'll forever shame yourself, your show and the car's memory. There are plenty of parts suppliers, enthusiasts, rust-free sheet metal and skilled body repairmen to make the Dart better than new."
Furthermore, Christopher is convinced that the Dart has entirely too many good parts on it, and that turning it into hundreds or thousands of paperweights would be a crime. The least you can do (I'm quoting again) "is allow others to benefit from your misfortune, and part the Dart."

Linda O'Connor

Embed the remains of the vehicle above the front door of Car Talk Plaza with the now shortened rear end sticking out. Who knows, with this, the story of the demise of the beloved Dart could evolve in such a way that it becomes fact that Alex actually drove the car into the building as he was rushing there to tell his father about the A+ he got on his history exam.
My second suggestion would be haul the vehicle to Texas to plant it in the Cadillac desert and gather a group of mourners to follow in the funeral caravan.

Michael Slaughter
Dallas, TX

Who was the fellow who did the LOVE sculptures? Joe Indiana? Mike Indiana? Judy Chicago? I forget. Anyhow, if it's good for a stamp, it is good for a Dart. Get the car crushed into a cube. Put it at an angle at the Prudential Center or in front of Copley Plaza or wherever--just don't put it in Baltimore--and put DART on it and paint it red, green and blue.
Boom, done.
Requiescat in pace, Dart.

Jacqueline Watts

I would like to give my suggestion as to what should be done with the famous Dartre. It is Tommy's moral and ethical duty to make rings out of the car. These rings would be given to all Dodge automobile engineers to remind them of the mistakes of the past, so they are not destined to repeat them in the future. This would be very philanthropic on Tommy's part, but for the good of humanity, it should be done.
Cheers, fellows!!

Sev Urban

Alex should be made to pound the Dartre out flat, using nothing but a hammer; so flat that the Dartre may then be mounted on a wall and viewed as Artre.


I suggest that since the Dartre has passed the great existential divide in a way that only a car can, being in both a state of existence and nonexistence, that we enshrine it for all posterity (or at least for the embarrassment of Tom's posterity) by donating it to the Smithsonian. They have Oscar's trash can, the Bunkers' chairs and a gaggle of less culturally significant automobiles. What they really need is an example of the car that made such a significant portion of America's listening public grieve its death.

John O'Connell


A few options:
1) Open the "Car Talk Museum" at the former site of the Tasty. Now you have something to show.
2) Disassemble the Dartre and reassemble it in Jane Christo's office. During the next fund drive, have people pledge money for bits of it. When Jane sells the whole thing, she gets the office back!
3) Sell pledges to let those folks who hate Car Talk take a swing at it with a baseball bat, sledgehammer, whatever. (Most of the folks who hate Car Talk are pretty wimpy, so you should be able to sell a lot of these.)
Hope this was helpful.

Chris Curvey

Just like one of those strange people in the "Guinness Book of World Records" who makes the largest foil ball or endures the most bee stings (and still lives!), you (or Alex) can ingest the Dartre. Imagine grinding it up in itsy-bitsy pieces and sprinkling it on your morning cereal or blending it up with a banana to make a tasty smoothie. My mouth waters thinking about the culinary possibilities: cakes, pies, ravioli.ÖBut I wouldn't suggest going through a metal detector after a big meal.

Kaaren Schilke-Cherns

Be grateful that Alex is alive; after a brief moment of gratitude, send him to a monastery in Tibet. How could he do this to an icon? I first saw the Dartre in 1992--took a picture of it and framed it. As far as the car is concerned, I really like the idea of making it into an altar; Tom could make his home a shrine. People from all over could come to drop off spark plugs, mufflers, etc. Think of the T-shirts, the bumper stickersÖthe list is endless.
My sincere sympathies to you, Tom. Your car lived a good life and will be remembered by all who love you and the car.

maureen nagle



The solution to "what to do about the Dart" can be found in some recent medical research. The Virtual Man was made up of photographs of thousands of actual 1mm "slices" of a frozen human cadaver, which, when assembled in a computer, createdÖthe Virtual Man!
Why not save the Dart for all time in a similar fashion???
Using this technology, one could "travel" throughout the Virtual Dart (V.D. for short), and it could be regenerated in whatever format necessary via computer graphics.
The Dart would live on forever!!!


I believe in recycling. I think it is a great way to save energy. So I think you should recycle parts from the Dartre and use them in your studio. You could replace the chairs you currently use with seats from the Dartre. You could take out the radio and tape player and the antenna and use them to broadcast your show. You could make the steering wheel your new volume control (then your esteemed producer would have a much easier time getting to the volume when you two mess up). Ray could use the stick shift to beat Tommy over the head. These are just some ideas that would allow the legend of the Dartre to live on.




Now, on to the sacred remains and the "Car Slayer." The Alex solution is obvious. The boy has a vocation, a calling: he is meant to be an Amtrak engineer. As for the car, first pull the engine and drop it in a Jaguar. The composite will not be fast, and it may not be fun, but a slant six will make it the only reliable Jag on the road.

Tom DeBor

1. You could use it for a chicken coop (or should that be chicken "coupe"?).

2. Run a pipe into an open window and bury it in the yard, and it would make a pretty good septic tank.

Marc Corney


Undoubtedly, you felt comfortable in your Dart, even if others did not. The condition it's in now must make you, and other Dart lovers (are there others?), feel UNcomfortable. That's why you need to find a talented individual to fashion your beloved Dart into a four-post bed. The Dart would then provide you with comfort on a daily basis, even if you cannot drive it. I'll let you try to explain it to your wife.

Alex should make the bed daily and polish when needed.

Sue Fladager

1. The Dart should be shipped to the Vatican and blessed by the Pope. It should then be sent to Papal Industries, Inc., in Southeast Asia (exact location known only to the Finance Committee of the College of Cardinals). At PII, nine-year-old boys will earn 50 cents per day for turning the Dart into rosary beads and other assorted holy relics to be sold to automotive pilgrims worldwide.
B. Alex can make a fortune by charging $100 each to drive the Volvos of middle-aged husbands whose wives have said: "Sure, you can have a Miata, honey. Just as soon as the wagon dies."

Dave Gipson

1. It's not really totaled. Even God can't total a Dart.
2. A Cambridge cabbie with a can opener wants the slant six.
3. If you can reattach the wheels and start it, you've got a
nearly crush resistant automobile--a great improvement.
4. You have no idea how many of your six listeners would pay for a piece of the Holy Rood, uh...Hood.
5. You may need professional counseling--not for grief, but for the growing fear that you will never know how long it would have taken to wear that car out.
6. Here in Norwalk, CT, the local yard has a shredder. You could convert it to tiny bits and bury it at sea--preferably if you can find a big oil spill in progress.
7. The folks at NASA are now aged and senseless enough to buy it for a few billion bucks, thinking it to be a next-generation space probe. Give them $10 million off, and they'll think they're smart and frugal. Space Dartre!
8. Your Fair City, which will commemoratively name almost anything immobile as a "square" even though absolutely nothing there is remotely right-angled, may want to erect the Dart as sculpture in one of the many locations where daily offerings of crushed bodywork are likely.
9. A counterweight to lift the level of your humor.

Richard Stein

I believe that the ultimate shrine of the Dartre should incorporate both a memorial to that Sleek Black Beauty and some punishment for Alex, destroyer of cars. Simply take the corpse of the Dartre and mount it on top of whatever car Alex is to drive next (you may have to reinforce the roof, but I leave you to figure that out).

Mounted proudly above the common traffic, the Dartre will then continue to cruise the roads, wild and free. Alex, on the other hand, will be condemned to drive around under a rusty hulk, which will not only impede his pimply teenage social life but will slow him down to more reasonable speeds on the highway and maybe prevent his having further accidents. But if he does total another one, don't worry: simply mount that car on top of his next car, with the Dartre still on top of that. If his habits continue, he'll soon be driving a tottering tower of cars, and he'll be lucky to get out of the driveway or hit 10 mph when he does. All the while, the Dartre will rise higher and higher, a beacon to junk-lovers and rust-mongers everywhere. I foresee a sort of automotive Tower of Babel, or maybe even apotheosis, with the Dartre swept up into the clouds...

On the other hand, they're paying a pretty good price for scrap metal these days.

Barbara Burrell

The death of the Dart may prove to be a veritable marketing bonanza for Car Talk, not to mention a source of valuable premiums for the next NPR pledge drive. As an added bonus, most of my ideas on what to do with the Dart carcass involve the application of extreme heat and massive amounts of power.

1. Melt the dearly departed Dart and cast it into little metallic Chad's House of Croissants key chains for use as NPR subscriber premiums.
2. Melt the Dart and make sets of threaded dart tips for pub competition. Sell them as Magliozzi and Magliozzi's Definitive Dart Darts.
3. Melt the Dart into dashboard statues of Tom and Ray to ward off the evils of engine knock and vapor lock.
4. Kick it up a notch by grinding the Dart into powder and selling little bags of Tom & Ray's New Age Engine Gris-Gris, New Age Motor Mojo, and New Age Boston Blast Transmission Spice. Add a dab of 30-weight for the Magliozzi Brothers' New Age Carburetor Poultice.
5. Melt into lug nuts and have them gold plated and awarded to listeners.
6. Melt the Dart and cast it into bowling balls.
7. Dartenstock sandals. Cut the tires into sandal soles for summer beachwear.
8. Compress the Dart into a cubic yard of metal and make Doug Berman wear it around his neck until he gives up on "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me."
9. Get Letterman to drop pieces of the Dart from his studio rooftop onto a pile of watermelons.
10. Get Letterman to drop pieces of the Dart from his studio rooftop while the cast of "Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me" awaits below with catcher's mitts. (Carl Kasell can wear a helmet, but not the others.)

Ron Edison

I too once owned a Dart, a 20-year-old 1971 whose color is described in trendy catalogs as "multi"--in this case, oxydized blue, primer orange, primer gray and rust. At the time, I was father to a teenage girl who would cringe, even hide, when I drove her to the mall with the windows down and the radio cranked, playing "Wild Thing." It was, of course, her filial duty to be embarrassed, in return for all the times in which she, as a younger child, had embarrassed her mother and me. The Dart was perfect retribution. It delayed her "need" to learn to drive too. Ah, memories!

But to the matter at hand. Alex has committed two sins: He has allowed the wreckage of a Boston-area institution, and he has fled prosecution. The court, however, recommends leniency in view of a crucial mitigating circumstance: He has had to drive the Dart. Isn't that humiliation and punishment enough? (If not, buy him a Chevy Vega.)

As to the Dart, I envision a piece of public art in the middle of the Squayah. A pile of radiators spraying, leaking and oozing various-colored fluids, tailpipes belching sweet-scented perfumes, fan belts playing homages to John Cage, and in the middle of it all, the Dart, top down, hood popped, and trunk accordion-crumpled, providing a safe haven to Cambridge's raccoon population and a place for Hugh Louis Dewey to hide his gin bottles.

Rich Garcia

1) Fill it up with Cambridge's cross section of ethnic foods and bury it as a time capsule.
2) Send it to upstate New York for the trailer-park version of Habitat for Humanity.
3) Deliver it to the New York State Hemophiliac Center in Rochester to be used as a jungle gym for visiting patients. (I know...a slightly sick suggestion, since hemophiliacs hate darts.)
4) Chainless anchor for Ray's secret boat moored in Boston harbor.

OK, send another coffee mug. I give up.

Farmer Mike

What to do with the Dart? Take it to the people! Car shows across America will clamor to display the world's most famous Dart. If you doubt America's burning desire to see this most famous of Darts, I challenge you to read this letter on Car Talk. I believe that you will be able to fill your calendar with show invitations.

Which brings us to Alex. Send him on tour with the Dart. He will learn how much America loves the Dart for its simplicity, reliability and style. He can sharpen his journalistic skills by sending dispatches to your Web site. He can develop selling skills by promoting the flogging Shameless Commerce Division at every show.

Bill Bynum

Eastern mystics believe in reinCARnation.

The fundamental principal revolves around the type of life that the car in question lived before its demise.

If it lived a good life, it would rise to a higher level of existence in its next life. Of course, if it lived a bad life, it would return to a lower level of existence.

My guess is that the Dart lived a long, good existence and therefore can be reinCARnated into a DaimlerChrysler SLK-380. This requires careful preparation of its remains. A pilgrimage to the mother country (Deutschland, of course) and reverent placement of the remains in the holy scrap smelter will cause the reappearance of the Dart in its new life.

Improper handling of the remains could backfire; we run a serious risk of reinCARnation of the Dart into an (gasp!) emasculating Voyager minivan.

Marc Fuller

Since Alex is unharmed, let's be thankful for that and let the retribution begin.

Does Alex enjoy spitting on his very own grandmother? Does he work to widen the crack of the Liberty Bell? Does he wipe his tuchus with the American flag? Does he take a leak on the Statue of Liberty?

Well, he sure killed the Dart and all the hopes and dreams that go with it. It was Tommy's only opportunity to own a Mercedes (and after all those years of hard work). How do I share this American icon with my as yet nonexistent children?

But, I must ask, who gave him the keys? Therein lies the real monster. One does not hand a toddler a Faberge egg, for obvious reasons. My suggestions are:

1) If Alex took the keys without permission, he should ride public transit until the death of every living being who's aware of this travesty and until they have passed into the eternal rest of whatever belief system they possess.
2) If Mom gave Alex the keys, it's premeditated murder and akin to Alex committing parricide. What motivation would drive Mom to be so devious? What did Tommy do to push her that far? Stone 'im!
3) If Tommy gave Alex the keys, it's your own damn fault for putting a national treasure in the hands of a child who could not begin to understand the depth and breadth of freedom and meaning the Dart brings to the rest of us. Stone 'im!
4) If Ray gave Alex the keys, obviously it's his attempt to drive the ratings up. Stone 'im!
5) If Dougie Berman gave him the keys, it's because he's jealous that Car Talk is getting higher ratings than "Wait, Wait..." Stone 'im!
6) If Colonel Mustard gave Alex the keys in the garage within a manila envelope, it's just a dream and we can all wake up and this horrendous nightmare will cease to exist. Whew! Bring on the wavy lines!

Please accept my heartfelt sympathies and condolences. Some suggestions for the remains:

May the Dart be parted out so it can continue to live. (I'm thinking stamp the sides of the parts with a phrase so that no matter what car it goes in, any mechanic who raises a hood will see the part and stop for a moment of remembrance and silence.)

May the Dart be sold in itty-bitty memorial-size pieces to raise a lot of money for NPR, or so Tommy can buy a new one.

May the Dart be sold to the Smithsonian for a memorial in perpetuity.

May the Dart be used for photo shoots with NPR types, starting with that newbie Kevin, for a rogues gallery.

May the Dart continue to live on in our hearts and minds and remind us of the reasons we fight to be free and equal under whatever supreme being our belief systems endorse.

With regret,