Crushed: The Tragic Wagon

CJinSD, FRONT AND CENTER! Thank you. Today, you will be recognized for having a very well-polished crystal ball. You were able to see five years into the future with near-perfect accuracy. Time for you to accept your prize, which is a whole bunch of EXPOSURE! Don’t spend it all in one place.

Yesterday, I told you about the disappearance of more than 40 good-condition B-body station wagons, commonly called “bubbles” in American street culture. I asked you to help me find my old bubble — and if that wasn’t possible, perhaps to help me find a solid “Oldsmobubble” Custom Cruiser Wagon with the Vista Roof.

There were plenty of good ideas, but it was fellow TTAC contributor Bozi Tatarevic who solved the mystery of what happened to my old car — and its compatriots — in painful detail. He pulled my inadvertently hilarious “DTF” license plate from the original story on the Caprice Classic.

From that he got the VIN.

From the VIN, he found out the car’s history.

That “historical record” entry is likely from when I had the car comprehensively serviced shortly after buying it. Or maybe from the title transfer. You can see that the title was transferred with just under 53,000 miles — and that’s how it sat for eight long years until it was sold to Buckeye Auto Parts, which stripped it, scrapped it, and junked the title.

I called Buckeye Auto Parts and was told the rest of the story. All of the bubbles came in together. Whether they ran or they did not, they were stacked up, painstakingly stripped — BAP is not a “Pick-and-pull” operation, they do their own parts removal and inventory — and then crushed for their weight in steel.

My wagon, which ran perfectly up to and including the A/C and all power features, which had fetched $3,000 dollars from the obsessive Bubble collector, was crushed. With 52,908 on the odometer. If that doesn’t upset you just a bit, then, my friend, I fear for your soul.

CJinSD called it. From what the guy at Buckeye could remember, the brothers had died and left the bubbles to relatives who didn’t want them and didn’t care about them.

My wagon is gone, along with many more like it; good, top-condition cars, many of them the Roadmasters with the LT1 engine. It’s a shame. But it’s also a lesson: if you don’t have a plan, a plan will be made for you. I’m taking that lesson personally. It applies to everything from my guitar collection to the stacks of gold and silver coins that, I’m afraid, are probably going to disappear in a tragic boating accident shortly after I quit work for the last time. The tragedy here is that the intransigence of the Bubble Brothers led to a lot of good cars disappearing a long time before they could have, or should have.

The vanquish’ d hero leaves his broken bands,
And shows his miseries in distant lands ;
Condemn’d a needy supplicant to wait,
While ladies interpose, and slaves debate.
But did not chance at length her error mend ?
Did not subverted empire mark his end ?
Did rival monarchs give the fatal wound ?
Or hostile millions press him to the ground ?
His fall was destin’d to a barren strand,
A petty fortress, and a dubious hand ;
He left the name, at which the world grew pale,
To point a moral, or adorn a tale.

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