QOTD: The Unforgettable Fire?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd the unforgettable fire

Without fire, society as we know it could not exist. The combustion of flammable fuels is what warms most of our homes, cooks much of our food (perhaps indirectly), and drives the bulk of our many modes of transportation. Long ago, people considered fire one of the essential elements, like air and water.

A beautiful thing to behold, yet fire’s destructive power remains ever-present in the back of our minds. Uncontrolled fire takes lives, scorches homes, and can lower the value of your vehicle to zero. Maybe this has happened to you.

It hasn’t happened to your author, but it easily could have. My second vehicle came from a two-piece set — a brace of 1993 Chevy Corsicas bought by my father at a government auction in 1997. At the time, the two identical, grey, V6-powered LT trim sedans were by far the most modern vehicles to ever appear in our modest driveway. The price for both came to $8,000.

Naturally, as both vehicles were identical save for the license plates, the cars were referred to as “Corsica 1” and “Corsica 2,” like we were all agents on a protection detail. I later bought Corsica 1 for the tidy sum of $1,000.

What happened to Corsica 2, you ask? Well, after a Saturn SL2 joined the family, Corsica 2 went to live at a family friend’s house, where it was driven by that family’s university-aged daughter. Corsica 2 met a fiery end in their driveway one night. The cause of the blaze was never determined, but this family had few — if any — enemies. Blame GM.

Given the climate of your author’s home country, corrosion was a familiar friend. Happily, Corsica bodies came heavily galvanized, but the same could not be said for the fuel lines. Corsica 1 soon sprung a fuel leak below the driver’s side rocker panel (one must assume Corsica 2’s leak occurred in a less benign locale), and your devil-may-care author revelled in attempting to hit that small spot of pooled fuel with a lit cigarette after pulling away from the curb. Usually, this bit of target practice took place after pulling a U-turn and stopping across the street, thus lining up the pooled gas with the driver’s side window (and preventing a reputation-bruising immolation).

Memory fails to recall a successful hit. Ah, youth. Regardless, the fuel line eventually underwent replacement and the threat of fire abated, never to return. I’ve never lost a car to fire, though my current ride was recalled the day after signing the note for just such a possibility (the circumstances under which this could happen were very specific and highly unlikely, and thus did nothing to temper my Lordstown-sourced bliss).

From Tesla to BMW, Hyundai to Audi, fires and potential fires fill today’s headlines. Does your automotive history contain such a blaze?

[Image: Murilee Martin/TTAC]

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  • Dividebytube Dividebytube on Jun 12, 2019

    I forgot my own story until now: I was mucking around with my 355 powered Monte Carlos SS. There wasn't enough room for a proper air cleaner so I had one of those cheap Edelbrock foam units that was a chrome triangle. It looked cool but... I got a backfire that started the foam on fire. While it was burning, I unclipped the brackets, pulled off the metal case, and plucked the burning foam (What was I thinking?) off the carb with a bare hand. That carb was never the same after that - and luckily my hand wasn't badly burnt.

  • Jdmcomp Jdmcomp on Jun 12, 2019

    I remember my father, a used car dealer, who was driving a 1960 Thunderbird he had traded for several times, it just kept coming back. On a buying trip the carb burst into flames on the interstate so he pulled over quickly and walked away from the car. A helpful truck driver stopped, grabbed his extinguisher and opened the hood. Soon the fire was over but the 460 CI engine was missing a carb. The truck driver took one look at my father and said, "I am sorry". The car was insured and my father was rather tired of seeing it.

  • Wjtinfwb How does the ICE mid-engine C8 platform work for... anything else? A sedan? SUV? With a mid engine configuration? A mid-engine SUV will have to be Suburban sized to offer the utility of a CRV. GM should dust off the Omega platform designed for the Cadillac CT6 for an SUV/Sedan offering with exceptional handling, Rear or AWD capability and acceptable space utilization. They also need to focus on interior fit & finish, trim choices and high quality final engineering and assembly. What GM doesn't need is another half-baked product with a storied and prestigious badge on the decklid and a premium price on the Monroney. No more Cimarron's, Allante's or X-cars needed to tarnish the reputation of Corvette.
  • InCogKneeToe BUILD It and they will come.By Build It, I mean a Vehicle that the Customer Wants and it works for them. It could be called Chevette for all that that matters. The Mach E's success isn't because it totes the Mustang on it.Just build what people want, the next Caravan/Taurus/Beetle/Maverick (truck).
  • YellowDuck Wait...how do you make a mid-engine crossover? Or even a 4-door coupe? Me not get.
  • 28-Cars-Later Thanks Corey. The head stud job on NOrthSTAR-T was $3K *years ago* as it involves an engine pull so rear wheel arch rust in and of itself isn't a show stopper. I'll be sure to check out the trunk as it may start to add up on deferred maintenance. Supposedly this was garaged so the underneath the rockers etc. should be decent but if those are shot its not gonna work.
  • Mark 2016 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid, G4NG engine with connecting rod bearing issues. Engine needs to be replaced, but Hyundai is denying warranty claim. I have all maintenance records from mile zero. It has been in Hyundai Service department 5 time in 4 months. They added the knock sensor and software update to let you know the engine is about to blow up. They kicked the can down the road doing patch work until the car was past the 120k extended extended warranty. I have that documentation too. So how can I join the class action law suit or find a Lawyer that handles these types of issues?