Home » When You Work On A Car So Much It Becomes A Part Of You: COTD

When You Work On A Car So Much It Becomes A Part Of You: COTD

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Truck manufacturer Nikola had some rocky beginnings thanks to its founder, Trevor Milton. There was a time when it seemed Nikola was peddling vaporware, and what went on behind the scenes didn’t help. Here, just read this from Thomas’ report:

In case you aren’t familiar with Nikola, let me give you a brief summary. This alternative fuel vehicle startup was founded by Milton, went public in 2020 via SPAC, and was quickly found out to have lied about some fairly important things. A Hindenburg Research report claimed that the Nikola One truck was made to look functional by just rolling it down a hill, and that was later confirmed by Nikola itself. From there, the stock value plummeted, the SEC mounted an investigation, and we eventually ended up here, with Milton’s sentencing.

Anyway, Milton reportedly asked for probation rather than prison time and he defended himself by telling some personal stories. One story was about how he is one-quarter Cherokee and that learning about how indigenous people have been treated impacted him. Maymar’s comment in the thread is today’s hilarious COTD winner:

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

I heard DT was 1/32 Cherokee.

But also, like 1/25 Grand Cherokee and 1/18 Wagoneer/J10.

That sounds about right. David has wrenched so much on rusty Jeeps that they just have to be a part of him now, right? I think also has some Nissan Leaf and BMW i3 in him, too. For a second COTD nomination, we have a touching story from former Suzuki RE-5 owner, AnalogMan:

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Mercedes Streeter

I owned a RE5 that I bought new back in the mid 1970’s.

I was a college student in upstate New York back in 1977, looking to buy another motorcycle. A dealer in Newburgh has a leftover 1975 RE5, in metallic blue. Back then even when new they were not well loved, though the magazine reviews were glowing. The dealer sold it to me for $1000 and made it crystal clear he never wanted to see me again with that bike. It was the only RE5 he took new and couldn’t move it for two years (until I came along). He explicitly said if I had any problems, needed any work on it, to not bring it to him. He had no manuals, no replacement parts, and refused to work on it. Even though new, it was ‘as is’, no warranty expressed or implied. That was OK by me. I thought I was getting a cool new bike for a bargain price.

I owned it for about a year. It was a blast to drive. After having had a few conventional bikes beforehand (three Hondas), what struck me most was how incredibly smooooth the RE5 was. The Wankel engine lived up to its reputation. No vibration whatsoever. It attracted attention wherever I went and other bikers saw it. The attention was neither complimentary nor derogatory, just ‘what the heck is that’?

The sound was distinctive, like a jet turbine spooling up for takeoff. It was quick, but like any Wankel, little torque down low. Also like any Wankel, gas mileage was abysmal. It got 25 mpg, all the time. Regardless of whether riding it hard, around town, highway, always 25 mpg (plus about a quart per 500 miles of oil consumption from the oil injection system). Handling was fabulous (for a mid 1970’s bike), though it was heavier than it looked.

My time with it came to an end about a year and about 2,500 miles later. One day, riding in the rain on the Taconic Parkway in upstate New York, rounding a curve at about 65(ish) mph, I hit some oil in the road, and down I went. I plasma-planed for about 300 feet, until an exit sign conveniently stopped my slide.

The pseudo-crash bars (there more to protect the radiator) prevented any real damage to the bike, though the left side directional lights were ground off. The biggest damage was to my ego. I also ground a lot of gravel into my left side.

The bike was still running, so I picked it up, rode to a gas station, used their hose to wash off as much of the blood and dirt (and gravel) as I could, and drove myself to the Vassar Hospital emergency room in Poughkeepsie NY. There they removed about 75 pieces of gravel from my left side.

They missed two. To this day I still have two pieces of gravel in me, just under the skin, one in my left shin, the other my left shoulder. I can see and feel them. I kept them as reminders of my joyous biking experiences. Plus whenever anyone has asked me, ‘Do you have a chip on your shoulder?’, I honestly replied, ‘Why yes, as a matter of fact I do, would you like to see it’?

The accident took place on the same day, exactly one year later, as an earlier, much more serious motorcycle accident that nearly killed me and landed me in the hospital for a couple of weeks and required some non-trivial surgery. I took it as a sign from the motorcycle gods than maybe I wasn’t meant for mechanized two-wheel transport. So I repaired the bike and sold it to a guy who lived in Connecticut.

I’d love to own one again (even though I’m now a decrepit mid-60’s-something with arthritis and not a limber college teenager). I suspect most parts are now impossible to come by. It was rumored Suzuki was so frustrated by the bike’s commercial failure that they dumped all the unsold machines and spare parts into the ocean off Japan. Parts were unobtanium in the 1970’s, I don’t imagine it’s any easier now. But then…

Who says you can’t go home again?

Don’t ask me, because I’m a bad influence. But I’d say go with your heart, AnalogMan! Have a great evening, everyone.

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Maymar
Maymar
3 months ago

Thanks Mercedes!

Mike B
Mike B
3 months ago

That lead photo makes me miss my ZJ. Why are there so few of them left?? I can get on marketplace and find dozens of XJ’s, some even fairly decent, but at the same time find maybe 3 or 4 clapped out ZJ’s. Where did they all go???

Last edited 3 months ago by Mike B
MikeInTheWoods
MikeInTheWoods
3 months ago

AnalogMan: I too have scars from gravel and 2 wheeled conveyances. Grew up in Poughkeepsie and frequented the Vassar campus as a mischievous kid. I can confirm you can outrun a campus security golf cart on a BMX bike if you are a really scared kid.

TOSSABL
TOSSABL
4 months ago

That AnalogMan story may be the best personal story I have yet read here. Really appreciate that you told it, AM.

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
4 months ago

That was also my first though, when I got to the Cherokee part of the crazy scam guy story, so a perfect joke and well deserved COTD badge of honour 🙂

Bradillac
Bradillac
4 months ago

great motorcycle story

Parsko
Parsko
4 months ago

Wow, that Analogman comment is amazing. I missed it earlier. Thanks Merc.

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