You Can't Save 'Em All

IMAG4956 The sun came out on Sunday for long enough to trick my wife and I into venturing out for a nice long afternoon walk. Half an hour after leaving the house we found ourselves enduring storm force winds and impenetrable gloominess, but we pressed on nonetheless. Our path took us past our local fire station, where a poor, unfortunate Fiat Punto has spent as long as we can remember acting as a corpse for the Fire Service to gradually dismember with their hydraulic jaws of life. Every time we passed it a little more had been hacked from its bright metallic orange frame. Yesterday, Nicola pointed out “Look, the fire station have a new car to practice on”. And then I started getting all miserable. This silver Saab 9000 CSE 2.0t is a local car. I’ve seen it pootling around the vicinity many times in the past, and every time I have noted the little “Abbot Racing” sticker above the left tail-lamp. Abbot are an Essex institution who have been tuning and maintaining Saabs for a long time. Their sticker on the back of a Saab can mean that it’s received anything from an oil change to a full hybrid turbocharger setup and Quaife limited slip differential. I suspect, though, that the car photographed is more likely to have been maintained by them than breathed on. It’s all irrelevant, really, because it appears to be doomed. The license plate no longer shows on the British licencing database, which would mean the car has already been issued a certificate of destruction. Ending its days in the muscular arms of the fire and rescue service for training is a noble demise. And, for all I know, the extremely tidy looking machine could have been struck by some awful, insurmountable mechanical malady. Most likely is that it was either donated by its owner or the local scrapyard because the value of scrap metal is so low at the moment. Whatever, it means that I may have to alter the route of subsequent walks we go on as I don’t really want to see it all smashed up. What’s wrong with me? 9000a Having owned the above, red 9000 in the past, (an older, less turbocharged version than the silver car) and having really enjoyed my time with it, I felt saddened to see one which has obviously been loved during its lifetime, meet its death. I know there really ought not to be any space for sentimentality in this industry; we can’t keep all the old cars at the same time as welcoming the cutting edge- it’s just not viable. The economics of the whole industry are based on people wanting rid of the old and in with the new. But, nonetheless, it does seem that the standard of car found circling the drain of unsaleability is higher than it has ever been. I have it on good authority that the scrapyards are filling with working, drivable cars with nothing wrong with them apart from being old and unfashionable. If nobody wants to buy it as a car, then the scrap man cometh. So, my question to you is: Are any of you as emotionally afflicted as I am? Do you get pangs of unexplainable guilt when you see a car that’s about to get the chop? Or are you brave enough to say “it’s just a car”? Or is it more complicated than that? I mean, I didn’t particularly mourn the passing of the orange Punto which previously occupied the Saab’s spot, and no doubt there are loads of cars which mean so little to me that I probably wouldn’t notice if they were all gone anyway. But seeing a shiny 9000 meet its maker somehow hurts a little more. I can’t explain it. Maybe you can. (Images copyright Chris Haining / Hooniverse 2016 and 2008 respectively)

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