The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

30 April 2008

A smashing success

In 2006, four thousand-odd Mazdas on the way here from Japan got an unexpected salt-water bath, prompting the company's North American branch to scrap the entire shipment. Turns out that this isn't as easy as it sounds:

"We had to create a disassembly line, basically," says Bob Turbett, the Mazda executive overseeing the destruction process.

It took more than a year to devise a plan that satisfied everyone. The city of Portland [Oregon] wanted assurance that nearly 5,000 cars' worth of antifreeze, brake fluid and other hazardous goop wasn't mishandled. Insurers covering Mazda's losses wanted to be sure the company wouldn't resell any cars or parts — thereby profiting on the side. So every steel-alloy wheel has to be sliced, every battery rendered inoperable, and every tire damaged beyond repair. All CD players must get smashed.

Although one part is salvaged before the hammer comes down:

[C]atalytic converters, rich with precious metals like platinum, are removed. Parts like these have a street value of hundreds of dollars apiece.

The crushed remains will be sent back to Japan for recycling.

(Via Autoblog.)

Posted at 9:44 AM to Driver's Seat


They probably could have gutted them of engines, gas tanks and such, and sold them to fraternities and other school groups as potential victims for "car smashes." (I don't know how widespread those are but they used to be popular in the upper Midwest - you paid a buck and got a chance to swing a sledgehammer at an old beater car. Of course it was the MOST fun for the first person in line, because once the windshield's been smashed, what's the point?)

Posted by: fillyjonk at 11:46 AM on 30 April 2008

I was kind of hoping they'd hold one out for the 24 Hours of LeMons, but no such luck.

Posted by: CGHill at 5:50 PM on 30 April 2008

they used to be popular in the upper Midwest - you paid a buck and got a chance to swing a sledgehammer at an old beater car.

I got to take part in such an event at my high school in Sacramento during the '70s. The high point was when we all got together after the smashing was done to turn the thing over.

Posted by: McGehee at 9:42 PM on 30 April 2008