On his deathbed, my grandfather on my cousin’s side told me a profound secret of life: for all things in life, you can divide them into two categories, squashed and unsquashed. In general, you want to try to seek out unsquashed things, except in certain crucial moments, when you absolutely, unequivocally, must seek out the squashed. He was right about to tell me what these situations were, but then the nurse came in and told him they really needed the room and would he mind just dying now, so he forced a sopping wet paper bag into my arms, locked eyes with me, and screamed an unholy shriek of terror for a solid 30 seconds until he expired. I’ll never forget that moment, which may be why I was drawn to valet tickets, with their selections of squashed and unsquashed cars.
You know what I’m talking about, right? The little line drawings the valets use to show how fucked up your car is before they take a crack at fucking it up a little bit more? The ones that show all the body panels so they can note all the dents and scorch marks and keyed-in slurs? Sure you do.
Let’s look at the squashed ones, first:
I like the one on the left especially, because it’s sort of a car from a bygone era; it feels almost like someone took a Polish Syrena, went through considerable trouble to make it into a four-door, then hired an out-of-work giant to stomp it flat, probably paying him in Englishman’s blood and bone meal to make bread, because that’s what I hear giants are into.
It’s almost definitely not a Syrena, but youhave to admit, it looks like one:
Weird, right? And speaking of right, that one on the right ticket is very odd, because I don’t even think it was ever intended to work as a non-squashed car. That’s a car that started squashed, and could only ever be squashed.
Let’s peek at some common non-squashers:
The other method for showing all panels is to display line drawings of 3/4 views of cars, front and rear, and to accomplish this, usually an American four-door full-sized sedan is used. I think the most common choices are an early ’80s GM G-Body, something pretty close to an Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, with cheese. Then, we discover that Cadillacs are popular, with a late ’90s to early 2000s STS on the right one, and a later mid-2000s STS on the left.
I’ve seen some oddballs on these, too: Volvos and Hondas, and strange, unknowable hybrids. Did you know you can buy 1000 of these for $35? I feel like there’s a good use for those, somehow. Note pads? Bookmarks? Sew them together to make long, flowing robes?
The first squashed one on the left is clearly the rare 4-door Bug
Austin’s city parking meters spit out a sticker with a brown Saab on them. I love them so much.
The really inexplicable one is how Regina, Sk uses the Geely Panda to demonstrate sticker placement.
What is a ”grandfather on my cousin’s side”? Is that a line from a movie? Inside Autopian joke?
That is some pure, un-cut, Torch right there. Drink it in.
That ‘late ’90s to early 2000s STS’ on the ticket definitely appears to be the earlier and ’92-’97 generation, not the ’98-’04. Similar overall shape, but, recognizably different at the same time.
The only valet parking that is a really place to have is at a medical clinic location. There is one we have gone to a few times. Tipping not allowed. You drive up to the entrance, hand over your keys, and walk to the appointment. Really helps the patient and other to not have to drive around looking for a space. A great service. The medical place pays for it.
A hospital near us has that and the one time I tried to use it the valet couldn’t drive stick. My car sat in the main entrance the whole time we were there.
The car on the pink box is clearly not an Oldsmobile. That’s a ’79/late 70s Cadillac Seville, especially from the rear view. The droop of the rear is distinct.
It’s interesting that Cadillacs are the car of choice for the illustrations.
And the photo of Oldsmobile is wrong, too. It’s B-Body, not G-Body as Jason surmised in his article.
You are correct: it’s first-generation Cadillac Seville due to the smooth, continuous curve all the way from the front to the rear end without any notch. Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme sedan doesn’t have that. Perfect comparison photo:
Me think, the sawing through the lead-acid batteries has done the numbers in Jason’s head lately…
THANK YOU – came here just to say that about the Seville (on the the Nova platform, shudder).
Hey isn’t the boxy pink one some kind of Cadillac from around 1980?
(Going on Wikipedia will be back if I find it..)
Added later: Yup, this one
Has anyone else noticed that Cold Start has become the daily newsletter on automotive transparency?
I don’t recall ever getting a valet ticket with car damage indicated. I’ve only seen these for rental cars.
I remember back in the late ’90s/early ’00s (when the domestics were still dumping cars on rental lots), they didn’t care what condition you brought it back in.
Then in the ’10s, they were very particular about examining things again.
Jason, I’m somewhat surprised that you patronize places that have valet parking. That’s more something I’d expect of Hollywood Tracy.
on the non-squashed tickets how do they indicate damage on the roof? Clearly an oversight.
The unsquashed pink one is interesting. I was all set to shame you for confusing a Seville with a Delta 88, but it has a little of both, doesn’t it? The overall lines are definitely Seville, but the nose and tail are ambiguous. I’ll let it go.
It’s kinda like someone was trying to remember a late ’70s GM and got all the cues mixed up. To me, rear is Seville and front is ’78 Delta 88 but if someone had a different GM product in there I’d believe them.
Jason – the bit about your Grandad, squashed stuff, and screaming. Was his oxygen line and your foot involved in this story as you don’t explain that in full?
I wonder if the same people that do these line drawings also animate cars for shows like King of the Hill. The detail level is remarkably similar.
Depends, does the model and year of the car change randomly as you work your way through the booklet (while at least staying the same brand)? Cotton’s Cadillac Car and Hank’s truck were kind of all over the place
Though I do remember when Hank clearly moved from a Ranger to an F-150.
Bob’s Burgers does its cars surprisingly accurately too, given the cartoony nature of the show. They’re just exaggerated vertically usually. Bob’s wagon reasonably appears to be a Ford Escort.
Bob drives a Plymouth Volaré. https://jalopnik.com/the-family-car-on-bobs-burgers-has-now-been-absolutely-1690242755
That link is borderline unreadable.
It’s just a thousand pop up adds.
This site is so nice.
Actually Hank moved way up to an F-250 SD from the Ranger.
An unusually “heart” rather than “head” purchase for Hank, whose personal-pickup needs were entirely met by the Ranger.
As I recall, Hank is pressured to move up to the F-250 by the salesman, and initially regrets it. But then there is a flood or something in which the F-250 handles with no issues. Plus Peggy and Bobby like the roomy and feature laden interior. Of course, I watched this episode 20+ years ago, so I may be imaging a large portion of this.
Hank does that a few times – he has a pretty nice Mason lawn tractor for a yard that’s a some tiny fraction of an acre and could be done in 15 minutes with a generic $230 push mower from Lowe’s
Hank’s truck started as a mid 90s Ranger, then became an ‘80s Ranger for one episode where it was dying and then gets crushed by a train. Then he bought an F-250.
I shall take this opportunity to proclaim how much I hate valet parking. If you’re just looking for extra money at your restaurant, install a gate and make me pay $10 before I park myself. A few months ago, we went out for my wife’s birthday and met some friends. We went to a place that had a valet, but in the past, we took one of a couple spots that they said were okay to self-park in. I took one of those, but as we walked by the stand, I heard the valet say to someone else “it’s valet only, no self-parking.” So I pulled out $10, handed it to him, said I’m right there, we good? He said he still needed my key. We go inside and sit down. The last of our group arrives and says “sorry we would have been a few minutes sooner, but the valet was too busy destroying reverse in your car, Jerry.” He moved it. After we were done eating, I just asked him for the key. Turns out not only did he move the car, he moved the seat into what I can only describe as a position made for someone one foot shorter than I am.
There are times when Valet is a must. Tiny lot, street parking in a crowded neighborhood, you know it when you see it and are glad to pay $10. (Or, if it truly is a MUST sometimes its paid by the restaurant). BUT, I hate it when there is a giant empty lot, the whole thing roped off, and valet is the only option.
It’s one of those features that nobody really wants but is somehow associated with “fancy” — like having an employee in the men’s room to watch you pee who then expects a tip for his services.
I was going to try to defend valet parking for instances in a city where there is only a space or two of street parking in front of the place, but the valets must be parking the cars somewhere — just let me park it there myself! I don’t even mind walking a few blocks.
I stand in bathrooms all the time watching people pee, and no one EVER tips me. Really “pisses” me off. Cheapskates.
Maybe try handing out some shitty cologne?
Why would I tip my parole officer?
When I see one of those guys in the bathroom, I just go in the kitchen.
A drain is a drain. It’s all pipes!