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It’s pretty obvious fire is one way. Severe collisions, intense flood damage, and of course, rust… They’re all capable of reducing anyone’s pride and joy into nothing more than a worthless scrap of steel and alloy. If you ask anyone who has put blood, sweat, tears, and most importantly, heart, into a car, they’ll tell you that there’s little worse than losing it all. For many of us, cars are an extension of ourselves. I know I’m not alone when I say that my cars mean more to me than some people in my life. Cars are simply what I do.
But none of this applies to Rusty. Rusty isn’t an extension of me, because Rusty is his own self. Rusty is more than a car, and if you doubt that for a second, I can say it’s only because you’ve never had the chance to meet him. I’ll be honest for a moment. Rusty is probably my best friend. Yeah, that might not be the “coolest” thing in the world to some, but I’ll just hope that they simply don’t “get it”, and that’s okay. Rusty and I have been through a lot. Probably more than most friendships could hope for in the good times or handle in the bad. Rusty has become the one thing I’ve always been able to count on, no matter what.
He’s always there.
Rusty and I have been from East coast to West coast, and we’ve met a lot of people in between. I can say whole-heartedly that this car is 100% responsible for a majority of the friendships I have today. It’s responsible for who I am, what I do, and who I want to be. Sure, to you, it may be “just a car”, but frankly, it’s not.
Watching my oxidized friend burn to the ground was something I never thought I’d actually see. All in all, it seemed like a fitting end, watching it happen. A viking funeral in a sense… It was better than getting wrecked in an accident, or stolen, or impounded, which always seemed likely… I just wasn’t ready for it. Standing there helplessly spraying with a garden hose as your garage goes up in flames… It’s pretty humbling. I stood there, spraying pointlessly until it was simply too hot to do so. You know those little red household fire extinguishers? They simply don’t cut it.
At that point, I knew it was game over. This was Rusty’s end. Four years of hard work and more importantly four years of friendship, done in an instant, and there wasn’t a thing I could do about it. That sense of defeat Memphis Raines felt when “Eleanor” was crushed really hit home.
I’m left with nowhere to build a car and a wheel collection powdercoated by ash and soot, begging for an acid dip to return them to the shine that their yellowed-aluminum may never have again. Socket sets entombed by their plastic cases melted around them, my toolbox forever enclosed by melted bearings. Hardly anything made it out of the garage alive. Puddles of aluminum are left where oil pans and engine timing covers once sat. An M30 head was melted beyond use. The front of Rusty is warped to the point where you would swear Maaco just finished their top-tier job fixing him up.
But there’s something fortunate to come from all of this. I shared this event with my community, my family… and I saw once again what kind of importance Rusty really carried. I saw a lot of people say some foolish things, but I saw so many people express compassion and distress for what happened. I realized that they too lost a friend in this fire. It really went to heart. It was reassuring to know that Rusty wasn’t just my friend. Rusty was more than a car to more people than I had ever imagined. People seem to love him, almost as much as I do. The entire community came together and showed me something incredibly important.
It takes fire to kill a car.
But for Rusty, it’ll take a bit more… and if you know him like I do, you know he’s stubborn. Very stubborn. You know he’s got attitude, you know he’s got some fight in him. He’s one of those guys who can’t be told “no.”
Nay-sayers, “haters”, people who legitimately want to see Rusty come to an end… I’ve got some bad news. This certainly won’t be your winning battle.
He’ll be back…. and if you know Rusty like I do, you know there’s a lot more than just steel that makes him.
It’ll take more than Satan’s hand to end his days.
So it’s time to dust off the ashes and start cutting, we’ve got fucking work to do.