X Magazine editor Mark Simple made a promise a few years ago:
We will be serving up a proper telling of the Staff Car Death in a few weeks, and you can while away your time between now and then by thinking globally and acting locally (start with Dysart, Iowa). Thank you.A few weeks became nearly four years, and X Magazine became Cardhouse, but I'm finally getting around to fulfilling that promise.
It all started because my job (I had a job back then) was getting me down. I needed a trip. Not just any trip. I needed a 454cc, high-octane RAMPAGE to rev me up.
Fortunately, X Magazine came through.
In late November, 1994, Detroit's X Magazine ("Music and/or Humor"), of which I am a Señor Editor, announced a raffle. The prize: the X Magazine staff car, a 1974 Pontiac Grand Ville whose roof had been sawed off in a wildly successful bid to achieve the White Trash Cheapass Convertible look. (It also turned out to be a wildly successful bid to destroy the structural integrity of the car--but more on that later.)
The X Magazine Staff Car was painted to resemble a yellow cab--from a distance. A distance of, say, thirty city blocks. I mean, when's the last time you saw a yellow cab with the roof sawed off? Or with a huge "X" painted on the hood? Nevertheless, it was not unheard-of for the Staff Car to be flagged down by unsuspecting (read: moronic) would-be passengers.
Before long, the cab thing got old and another social experiment was called for. In these situations, Fisher-Price products always seem to provide the answer. Accordingly, Mark repainted the car with Fisher-Price Little People. Replacing the huge hood "X": the gigantic, ever-grinning face of Lucky the Dog.
I called X Magazine and screamed at them. Gimme the car! Gimme the car! GIMME THE CAR! Why should they give me the car, they wanted to know. Well, I said, I would fly out to Detroit, drive the roofless Lucky all the way back to Arizona in the dead of winter, videotape the experience with my Fisher-Price PXL-2000 toy video camera (see? Fisher-Price comes through again!), and make daily reports of the experience for worldwide Internet consumption. Oh--and I promised to wear a Santa suit all the way.
X Magazine editor Mark Simple immediately pronounced the raffle closed and awarded the Lucky car to a happy reader in Arizona.
|Here's what was painted on the trunk.|