QOTD: What's the Dumbest Thing You've Done With a Car?

Matthew Guy
by Matthew Guy
qotd what s the dumbest thing you ve done with a car

Youthful exuberance. We’ve all fallen victim to it. From “hold my beer” moments to an ill-advised rendezvous with you best friend’s girl, one’s youth is often rife with boneheaded choices.

Thing is, as gearheads, we have yet another outlet on which to waste money and make poor decisions: our cars. And, like you, I’ve definitely a few doozies in my closet.

Insane amounts of cheddar blown on ill-advised engine modifications.

Gonzo turbo swaps that blew up in less than a week.

Lift kits with all the structural integrity of a week-old salad.

Personally, I was fond of vaporizing paychecks by way of monstrous sound systems easily worth more than the car. Amps, sub-woofers the size of banquet tables, and miles of wiring all conspired to drain my bank account faster than effluent gets sucked down an airplane toilet. I once installed door speakers so big that my front windows wouldn’t roll down. This necessitated reclining my driver’s seat and opening the back glass in order to shout at the McWaitress in the McWindow.

Bad car-related decisions weren’t limited to, y’know, actual cars.

On one occasion, I was sick and tired of wedging myself between the underside of my tired Ford Escort wagon and the wooden floor of my father’s garage. Seizing a hand saw, I cut a coffin-sized hole in the floorboards, creating an impromptu pit like at a quick-oil place but without the apathetic attendants. My father did not appreciate this modification to his garage, especially since my cuts were about as straight as the Nordschleife.

It wasn’t the first time something I’d carved up something on impulse.

One lazy summer day in the late ‘90s, a friend of mine happened to have an aftermarket sunroof, a Sawzall, and his father’s Hyundai Stellar (look it up) in his garage all at the same time. You can imagine the result. I will say this, however — at least it didn’t leak.

What’s the most imprudent, darkest, misguided decision you’ve ever made with a car? We’ve all got stories. What’s yours?

[Image: ermess/Bigstock]

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  • MidLifeCelica MidLifeCelica on May 23, 2017

    Putting a Hurst line lock into the brake system of an '81 Z28. All that summer and fall it was great fun, spinning the rear tires while the brakes held the front wheels. Hurst apparently did not test their system in harsh conditions such as a -40 winter night in Calgary, however. Driving home late one night, pressed on the brake pedal, and *crack* went the casing on the stupid thing, shooting brake fluid all over and causing me to slide through a red light on an icy road. Good thing I was the only car around. Limped home using engine braking and the rears...took it all out over the weekend.

    • -Nate -Nate on May 23, 2017

      RE: brake line locks ~ . "Mico" has been making these for decades for use on delivery trucks and they work great, never fail and are cheap to boot . . Myself I'd never use one for your purpose but if you want to, there's a safe way to do so . Often found cheap or free on wrecked/scrapped 2 + ton bob tails and ex Govt. rigs . . -Nate

  • APaGttH APaGttH on May 23, 2017

    When I was young and dumb I poured insane amounts of money into my '89 Ford Probe (bought new). Keyless entry and alarm (they did do a damn nice install), all Alpine 2-1/2 DIN chassis in dash custom install, 20 speakers, 5 amps, ear melting stereo system, 15" Fitapaldi rims, engine modifications, body kit, custom paint, window tint, car phone (old school analog hard mounted phone - I was on the road sales). In one way it made sense, I was driving 40K to 50K miles a year and rarely left the state of Massachusetts - so I was living in the car. On the other hand, 4-1/2 years later, and 186K miles on the odometer, it was completely spent. The stereo equipment was on the way to being obsolete, that custom paint work was chipped up, the clear coat was peeling on the Fitapaldi rims, and the car had been stolen - twice - once with a ridiculous amount of damage where I was hoping for a total. From the new car purchase prices, and the thousands upon thousands spent in modifications, I was able to get -- $3,800 for the car. Ouch.

  • 2ACL I think it's a good choice. The E89 didn't get respect due to its all-around focus when new, but it's aged well, and the N52/6HP combo is probably more fun and capable than it's given credit for.
  • Wjtinfwb I can hear the ticking from here...
  • Daniel Bridger When y'all going to learn that nothing is free?
  • MrIcky This vehicle had so many delays, then a poor launch, and then the recalls- but I look at the recall for lugnuts and I wonder if you can miss the torque spec on those, what else did you miss? This car just seems very first gen to me. I'm glad it's out there. I like competition in this space, but I'd wait until the refresh on this one. Just one too many things.
  • Jalop1991 "Toyota and Daimler merging..."Wait--another merger of equals?