Yup, it’s that time of year! When you get to find out what decided to hibernate in your exhaust manifold. In case the title didn’t tip you off, there will be discussion of dead things in this post. If you don’t like reading about that sort of thing, you know, don’t.
I rolled my Miata out of the garage this morning. Planned on an oil change and general inspection. When I opened the door, it smelled, um, not nice, but I soon got distracted by what seemed like a major mechanical issue — car was stalling out within seconds of starting.
After 30 mins of tinkering I determined I’d forgotten to reconnect the mass-airflow sensor (Miatas are boring like that). The engine was running smoothly, but now I heard a buzzing—flies swirling around the small cabin. I still didn’t think much of it. Been raining here and the bugs are out. I went ahead with my normal interior cleaning.
That’s when I noticed the poop.
On the armrest, head rest, dash board. Uh oh. I put gloves on and gingerly pull out every item. Finally, the kitty litter jar, which I use to keep the moisture down. Only, there’s no kitty litter. Just a small, not very fresh mouse who must not have realized he was checking into hotel California (you can check out any time you like/but you can never leave).
I handled it like the man I am, which is to say I squealed loud enough to scare the neighbors then hastily dumped the jar in the trash, where the mouse is interred this evening if anyone would like to pay respects.
Anyone else deal with this sort of thing? I want to hear about it. Maybe.
Not gross, really....but I did find a couple old vials of hash oil in the lip of the underside of the dashboard on the '73 Dart Sport I owned more than a few years ago...... 🙂
Didn't intend to gross anybody out but the truth is the truth. It was an Opel Kadet that I bought with my own money at 15 yrs old, earned pumping gas at the local AAA gas station. It lasted till my senior year in school. Then I graduated (school and cars) to a ford Pinto that lasted through my stint in the U.S. Navy. My best bud also bought a Valiant slant 6 the same day from the same guy. Either he had a stronger stomach than me or the past owner had a hankie handy! Actually the Opel was a better car and stomped my buds slat six.
Having been a used imported car dealer for over 60 years, where do I start?
Here's a few.
Getting ready to restore a 1950 Riley 2.5, I found a parts car in St. Louis and had it trucked in. It arrived and wasn't a bad car but smelled gross. On the back of the driver seat was a map pocket. Sticking out of it was the remains of a cat that chased a mouse into the pocket. It had the mouse in its mouth but couldn't extricate itself from the pocket. God knows how long it had been there.
I often buy cars in Florida. I fly with my wife to pick them up and spend a few days, sort of a working vacation, and often invite friends along. I bought a Honda HR-V with low miles and nice. Quite happy with it but I kept seeing motion out of the corner of my eye. I couldn't see anything when looking closely. This went on for a week in Florida plus a couple of days to drive home. After I got back to my business we took the car apart to detail and under each of the covers over the bolts holding down the seats was a nest of roaches. We took the seats and carpets out and thoroughly cleaned them all but I never told my wife and friends what they had been sitting in for days.
I bought an old Cadillac at an auction about 100 miles away for a friend who also was a dealer. I drove it back for him but was embarrassed since it was a pink metallic with oversize wheels that looked like a drug dealer's car but that's what he dealt in. As I drove along the freeway I felt the center armrest and found a slit in the armrest side. Idly sticking my fingers in I found a loaded nickle-plated .38 snub-nose revolver. I guess it didn't just look like a drug dealer car, it was.
There are lots more but these are ones that stick out in my mind.
You qualify for a World's Bravest Car Guys Award. No way I'm sticking my hand in the slit of a used car interior that is large enough to hold a small firearm, since it would also be large enough to fit a tarantula or spider from a 1950s sci-fi movie. I'm not afraid to die, as long as it doesn't involve arachnids.😳
I bought a Mazda Protege for a friend of mine who needed a (really, really, super-duper cheap) car. Paid $100 for it, and it ran great, but the transmission fluid was burnt to a crisp, so I'd already sourced a transmission. When my buddy and I pulled the dolly into the barn, we noticed several smells. Notably, rodent droppings, moisture, cheap cologne, and old Taco Bell. Since the guys we were buying it from seemed like the cheap cologne and Taco Bell type, we made a snap judgement that there's no way it was the car. How would it even be possible to smell the interior from the this distance?
My worst fears were confirmed after the car sat in the sun in the driveway for a couple of days, and the stench was obvious from 6-8 feet around the car. I decided to shop vac it out before my friend came by to not give her the wrong impression of her $100 investment. As I was sucking up cigarette butts, rodent droppings, etc., something got stuck on the shop vac under the seat. I pulled it out, and it was a cracked cheap cologne bottle, and all the nasty liquid inside was entering my vacuum, which hasn't smelled the same since.
Then it happened. Another clog revealed the other half of the stink. A maggot-infested, half-eaten Taco Bell burrito.
I've now learned to trust my nose, as well as my gut, which told me that I would never in a million years have purchased a Mazda Protege. Especially not one so well, ahem, lived-in.
Sticky control buttons starting with the Ferrari 360 and later models. Nastiest interior parts I have ever seen. The steering column surrounds will make your pants black on entry and exit. Window and HVAC controls are so sticky you cringe every time you touch them. Sticky is so bad that several companies were started to refinish these parts. Embarrassing that Ferrari allowed the situation for more than one year and several models. Sometimes you don't get what you paid for!
Love the reminders about "traditional smells" like Brut, etc. Would add Old Spice of course. And my personal favorite: "007" aftershave, which I think I got turned on to just about the time that Connery was turning out those great early Bond films. Black bottle with chrome lettering, if memory serves. I mean, who could resist dousing a stinky interior with some pure "essence of Bond, James Bond"?
I was cleaning out the glovebox of a 39 Cadillac Limo that my boss bought at an auction. Wrapped in cloth I found a rather large syringe and needle. It was thrown away quickly.
When I was in high school, I had a Triumph Spitfire. We lived near a swamp and field. It was normal to see a snake or salamander, neither of which I liked, or would get near. One morning I went to get into the Triumph and there was a salamander inside crawling around. I never knew if it got in on its own, or someone put it in there. Since I wasn't getting close to it, I think I used a shovel with a long handle to get it out.
I think Bryan asked if you really wanted to know? I'm beginning to wonder if I did. Some pretty gross stuff, buggers, rat scat, drug paraphernalia, Grampa's piss jug, Sex toys....YUK. I do have to admit it is entertaining. I wonder what some of the Coolest things found would be? Keep up the good work guys, in these times of uncertainty a few laughs are better than a USED FACE MASK!!
Astute question, spoom - very timely and spot on accurate!
The "new litter", as I call them. Used to be empty cigarette packs and butts/filters, but in the parking lot outside of nearly every store nowadays, I will see at least one used mask.
Bound to turn up in used vehicles sooner or later...
When I was a teen, I hung out with a group of about 20 or so car guys. In my town, it was a deal on Friday and Saturday night to cruise Main, and probably engage in a few stoplight drags (like in a jillion other American towns in the '60s, I'll bet). After awhile, we all knew what our car would do, so we kinda got bored. The thing became to swap cars with another member for the night (Insurance Company people: please stop reading here...) and often after one swap, we'd run into another guy and swap with his swap, and so on. You didn't always know who had your car at the end of the night. This was way before cell phones, so it sometimes was a challenge for everyone to meet up and get home in their own ride. Like Hoser48, I once found a used condom in my back seat, and had no idea which of the gang to chew out about it, since it might have been anyone. I stewed about it, but years later, I got to thinking, "Wow, at least one of my buddies was smart enough to be using protection" - and those were in the days when buying those things was a bit more challenging for a 17 year old than it is now. It was a nasty thing to do to leave it in my car, but what I left in someone else's car another time was MUCH nastier, so guess I can't talk!
Some of you guys' used condom stories are giving me a guilt complex from around 1973. I don't suppose any of you found it in a white Rambler Classic? Like many other 60s cars, it wasn't uncommon to find at least half a dozen you could open with the same key, and I had borrowed the keys to our friends Rambler to go out to the parking lot with a young lady while skipping school. Getting to the basics of the story, I left the used tea bag in his ashtray as a joke. After at least a week where he had never said anything about it, I finally came out and asked him what he thought when he tried to use the ashtray. Turns out he had no idea what I was talking about, because we hadn't used his car. Never did find out whose car we used because there were several of them in the parking lot and after a while I lost interest in trying to see who was getting in or out of them. Not like I could put something up on the bulletin board asking.
Wow, what a standup guy to own up to that! Of course, everyone who ever owned a white Rambler is now wondering if it was theirs... Mine was maroon, so I'm feeling pretty good. 🙄 You just couldn't beat those lay flat seats, eh, spoom?
I had a buddy who had a grey one, and he'd removed the "R" letters on either end, thus making it the AMBLE. Very appropriate name.
I don't know if this had the folding back seat, but I only weighed 119 pounds back then, and doubt if she went over 100. Besides, at 16...
(Guess I should've mentioned I went to HS in Kenosha, WI, home of Rambler/AMC etc. Couldn't spit on a windy day without hitting a white Rambler or three, even the school's driver ed cars were white Ramblers at one time.)
The folding seats in the AMBLE were not the back one, but the front! It had a split-back bench seat, and with a certain pull of the levers, the seat backs went completely prone - almost touching the bench of the rear seat. It was like a futon bed (although we didn't know what a "futon" was in 1965 - unless you said, "put yer futon the brake pedal"). I guess I just assumed that all Ramblers had that feature, but maybe my friend had done some 'customizing' unbeknownst to me. Could be, I mean he had to have some advantage: almost everyone else had a hot rod, and he just had a Rambler...😁
I have two. When I opened the hood for the first time on my '68 Cougar I found a dead cardinal behind the headlight cover. When I picked up my '65 Galaxie from Dad and drove it home he told me to buy an electric heater as the heat didn't seem to blow too well. The whole ride home I smelled mouse urine (That was 13 hrs worth from Danville Il to Atlanta). The following weekend I decided to pull the heater core and turn on the heat. no flow, a little flow, then "THUMP!", and I got face full of a mouse's nest. It was actually like a mouse timeshare. So after donning a face mask (which I should have done in the first place) I took a wire coat hanger and scraped back and forth to dislodge the rest of the mouse vacation destination and thought I was going to have a header fire. The bad part about the mask, much like today when you get to smell your lunch slapping you back in the face thanks to COVID mask, is that the protection is there sort of (I'm pretty sure if the smell can get in it doesn't do too much), but the smell comes right through. Good times!
Seems to be a timeless topic. Much like the rats are timeless creatures. To date the coolest thing I've found was just recently. My wifes 63 falcon futura convertible left rear quarter window was sortta hanging up and wouldn't lower all the way down and had an annoying rattle down in the panel. Investigation revealed an old "Tootsie Toy". 1957 Jaguar Type D. I gave it a good cleaning and it's in our curio cabinet now. If anyone knows the history of them let me know. I think the are billed as Americas oldest toy company.