Coming to terms with tremendous personal loss is never easy. Even when the item lost is widely considered to be worthless junk. Such was the case with Tommy and his beloved 1963 Dodge Dart convertible. Grieving inconsolably this past week, it took fully three minutes for Tommy to touch his morning cappuccino and biscotti.
In an effort to help bring closure to Tommy's tragedy, we retraced the final hours of the Dart's life. Well...actually...we didn't do it, per se. We, of course, were too busy grieving. (If you define "grieving" as laughing it up and singing, "Ding dong, the Dart is dead!")
So, we assigned our Car Talk Plaza lackey, Isaac, to the task.
Knowing that many of you are also searching for understanding, and realizing that comprehending what the Dart went through during its last intact hours is an important part of the healing process, we therefore wanted to share with you...
Fig. 1: The Crash
Alex is stopped at a light. A city plow truck driver hits his brakes...and slides into the Dart. Alex's mother says, "Thank God you weren't killed! Alex's father says, "I'm gonna kill you!" Parents negotiate .Alex ends up with a nuclear dope slap.
Fig. 2: The Tow
The Dart is towed to Mal's Junkyard, in nearby Arlington, while its fate is decided.
Fig. 3: The Debate
The Dart sits, while Tommy argues with the city over its value. Tom's value: "Priceless! Priceless, I tell you!" City's value: "We agree! But we might come up with 50 bucks if you ask nicely."
Fig. 4: The Crusher
Price settled ($2,000), a heavy-hearted Tommy signs over the title. Minutes later the Dart is towed to Johnny Carol's Crushing Service, where it is almost immediately crushed by a cruel and insensitive Johnny Carol...and shipped to the dreaded Prolerizer.
Fig. 5: The Prolerizer
What the hell is a Prolerizer? You remember that wood chipper from "Fargo"? Take that, and make it about 1,500 time bigger. Add hammers and teeth. And start the process with a conveyor belt and a 75-foot plunge. Beginning to get the picture? That's a Prolerizer.
It was here that the Dart was conveyored up and then dropped into the bowels of the Prolerizer, where it was clubbed into shreds. (Note: We'd have photos for you, but--and we're not kidding--a raging maniac came running out of the Prolerizer, shouting at the brave Isaac, "You stoppa snappa the picture or I breaka you face." Isaac turned and fled, not stopping until he reached Worcester, from where he mailed the film to us. We haven't seen him since.)
Fig. 6: The Final Shredding
In seconds, the heartless machine had completed its sordid task. Now Prolerizer effluent, the Dart was spit out to join thousands of other shredded carcasses.
We managed to get Prolerizer of New England to release about 3,000 pounds of the "remains" from the Dart's crushing-although they warned us that it may be "contaminated" by the '72 Datsun 510 that went in right after it.
Fig. 7: Bon voyage
While the remains of the Dart were transported to Doug Berman's living room for safekeeping, the other Prolerized vehicles were not so lucky. Here they are on their way to South Korea to become--we kid you not--Hyundais.
Fig. 8: Alex's new car