GONE IN 60 SECONDS
This article is from our archives and has not been updated and integrated with our "new" site yet... Even so, it's still awesome - so keep reading!
Published on Mon, Nov 11, 2013
By: The LACar Editorial Staff
By Doug Stokes
Once again, I'm reminded of a racing tragedy...
Fortunately no one was killed or injured (at least physically in this one) but it is a tragedy nonetheless.
Got a call that another racing trailer has been stolen and, this time, a true one-of-a-kind race car is most likely gone forever.
Forget the damn trailer for a moment here. The little car that was in the trailer was the true treasure. This particular one, a wonderful example of Formula 500 racing ingenuity from the late 50s that had been carefully preserved and was at a well-known shop (in said trailer) awaiting restoration.
I'm pretty sure that we've lost the spindly little machine forever.
What was in the trailer: a very tiny, very ancient-appearing open-wheel, tube-frame, single-seat, rusty, oil-stained contraption with numbers painted on its sides, was not the target. It is my (beyond) sad belief that the race car described above was quickly disposed of as scrap metal. Had it been a 30 year old 'Vette or a straight Olds 442 there may have been a chance; but I'm pretty damn sure that the little old formula car never had a chance in hell of surviving intact.
This time the trailer was the prey (although given the right circumstances I would have stolen the car myself). It was a late model contemporary enclosed unit, top name brand, well-appointed, and the perfect size for what the detectives who were called in told the owner was the bad guys' real occupation: stealing mass quantities of stuff (and then using his stolen trailer to transport it).
So, there must be a moral or something here right?
Yeah, there is and it might not be anything new to anyone who has ever stood on a freeway overpass even for a few minutes or viewed a crowed race paddock from any high vantage point.
And that is?
Every damn trailer out there (well, virtually every trailer out there) is (viewed from above) two things: rectangular and white. They may have a full color/3D/Day-Glo version of Michelangelo's entire Sistine Chapel ceiling on the sides, or the most garish and eye-bruising of racing graphics on the ground level-visible vertical panels. But the top, and all the other tops, thousand of them out there, are all rectangles in varying shades of white among other white rectangles, all scurrying up and down the freeway with not a clue of their true identity and no way for a cop to spot yours from the air. So, how about a simple mark, logo, number, symbol, or whatever(just something identifiable from the air) right on the top of your (what is now a completely anonymous rig). Something that only the good guys will know about, but something that will make your trailer and its precious cargo stand out and maybe save-able. Yeah, I said maybe, but maybe is a better deal here than flat gone, right? Most likely they don't want your racer; those are hard to sell ("Psst, hey buddy, wanna buy a hot Lucas Oil Modified?"). On the other hand, that nice aluminum jack, your personal tools, spares, your EZ-shelter, and all manner of other good stuff that you bring to the track is pretty easy to peddle, right? The deal here is to get the whole nine yards (your trailer AND its contents) ID’d, run down, found, and back to you BEFORE the bad guys cut the stuff up, crap can your cool racecar, and sell what's left. Or, in the case that we started with, add insult to injury by using YOUR trailer as a haul-away unit for stolen cigarettes, electronic gadgets, or leather goods. What I'm soapboxing about is easy to overlook, like the back of one's head, you don't find yourself scoping out the top of your trailer very often. I'm bummed out and pissed off about the loss of a irreplaceable vintage race car that by all rights should be running at one of those revival races or on view behind a velvet rope at a race car museum. I really don't want to hear the above story (or variations of it) any more. - Stokes *Which trailer, viewed from above (we've omitted the tow vehicle because we have no idea of what the bad guys are pulling YOUR unit with) has my #28 car in it?