(Sledge) Hammer Time: Get Out of My Life!

Steven Lang
by Steven Lang
sledge hammer time get out of my life

Sledgehammers aren’t a common mechanic’s tool. Yet there it was. In my neighbor’s hands as he sought to knock some sense into his old Saab. The trunk had leaked from day one and the wiring harness made the rear lights as helter-skelter as a Charlie Manson jailhouse flashback. The cops pulled him over for the third time in a week and as a special, “Thank you!”, to his car, he decided to give it an early Christmas present. Jersey style.

“You cheap, son of a gun, macker-quacker!!!” My neighbor was more Pesci than PG with that line. I saw him heave the sledgehammer up into the atmosphere and then “Thunk!”. A dent on the trunk. But not as big as I expected. Then the second one “Thwack!”. That did it. Strangely enough, the Saab’s trunk area seemed better aligned than ever before. Of course it was all bent. But it was together. He could have thought ‘Mission Accomplished’ at that point. But the artiste was in the moment. Within a few swings from his mighty Thor, his Swede’s rear end became more droopy looking than Al from Happy Days.

I wanted to do the same thing at that moment. But I couldn’t. My car at the time was the late Barnacle Bitch. She always seemed to have something a little wrong every time I drove her. Electrics. Steering. Just the feel of the damned thing. Old Benzes were built by Germans. These new-ish ones were devised by cost cutting Nazis from the 7th circle of Dante’s Inferno.

Though I wanted to take a meat cleaver and customize the entire car, I needed to sell it. Big time. It cost $12,600 and the recession seemed to make it depreciate worse than a Fannie Mae mortgage. So I primped it up, parked it, and tried to think about other things. Everyone loved that thing. Even my mom whose taste in cars rarely go beyond the color.

But for a tightwad like me, that S500 was the financial equivalent of MC Hammer.I wanted my money back damn it!… and it took two years… but I sold it for $13,800. Which covered it’s repairs and a much needed R&R for yours truly.

So what was your unholy rolling shitbox of a vehicle that made you want to Pacino its innards into a fine red mist?

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2 of 73 comments
  • Tankinbeans Tankinbeans on Feb 17, 2011

    I don't have any automotive horror stories (knock on wood), but the name of the post reminds me of Peter Gabriel.

  • Accs Accs on Feb 27, 2011

    Mr Lang... You dish out the most intelligent of advice and urge us to buy the right cars, at the right times with the info you run across as you "our king of the Atlanta BHPH lot". But turning around and picking up a S500 and admitting its got plenty of issues.. seems to tell me you have failed to take your own advice. I cant imagine buying one of those.. for the concept of the overpriced german tag and the sheer size, on top of the electrics and cheap parts. People who buy the damn things.. Really want a Panther or a Linc with the airbags to drive around. But since Benz's dont hold their resale more than a SIV does... and everyone wants a Benz badge... I have to ask.. How did you fall into such a trap?

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  • Alan I would think Ford would beef up the drive line considering the torque increase, horse power isn't a factor here. I looked at a Harrop supercharger for my vehicle. Harrop offered two stages of performance. The first was a paltry 100hp to the wheels (12 000AUD)and the second was 250hp to the wheels ($20 000 (engine didn't rev harder so torque was significantly increased)). The Stage One had no drive line changes, but the Stage Two had drive line modifications. My vehicle weighs roughly the same as a full size pickup and the 400'ish hp I have is sufficient, I had little use for another 100 let alone 250hp. I couldn't see much difference in the actual supercharger setup other than a ratio change for the drive of the supercharger, so that extra $8 000 went into the drive line.
  • ToolGuy Question: F-150 FP700 ( Bronze or Black) supercharger kit is legal in 50 states, while the Mustang supercharger kit is banned in California -- why??
  • ToolGuy Last picture: Labeling the accelerator as "play" and the brake pedal as "pause" might be cute, but it feels wrong. It feels wrong because it is wrong, and it is wrong because Calculus.Sidebar: I have some in-laws who engage the accelerator and brake on a binary on/off all-in basis. So annoying as a passenger.Drive smoothly out there. 🙂
  • Johnny ringo It's an interesting vehicle, I'd like to see VW offer the two row Buzz in the states also.