21 October 2013

Losses and Lessons: Smoky burnout ends in tears for Plymouth GTX owner

VEHICLE COVERED: 1970 Plymouth GTX 440/390 hardtop coupe

WHAT WENT WRONG: There’s an old, two-word adage that “accidents happen.” Unfortunately, when mixing the wrong ingredients – large ego, high levels of testosterone and a crowd of easily impressed people, for instance – accidents are practically inevitable.

The owner of a 1970 Plymouth GTX stopped to get a sandwich at a local restaurant and came outside to see a group of teenage boys gathered around his car. Several of the car’s admirers commented how cool it was, and then one of them asked, “Can you show us what it can do?” Embracing the opportunity to help educate today’s youth, the owner spoke too soon, apparently, by answering, “No problem.” He jumped behind the wheel, turned the key, revved the engine, smoked the tires and released the brakes –immediately losing control and crashing into the side of a parked 2010 Jaguar XF.

DAMAGE/LOSS: The GTX suffered damage to the front end, hood and windshield, and the Jaguar’s passenger-side door and front bumper were crunched. All told, repairs were estimated at more than $20,000, which Hagerty paid. In addition, the driver hit his head on the windshield, broke a tooth and needed stitches to close a gash inside his mouth. The teenage boys couldn’t suppress their laughter while being interviewed by police, which also poured salt in the wounds.

LESSON: As it often does, this moment of bravado went terribly wrong. Insurance may cover stupidity – at least it did in this case – but use your head when you get behind the wheel of an automobile, particularly a powerful one. Instead of living by the adage “accidents happen,” remember that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”

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