If my 2002 Toyota Echo hit Bill Booden’s 1960 Lincoln Mark V, he’d probably turn to his wife and say, “Whassat a bug or something?”
Bill Booden, who started B&B Collision, bought this two-door Mark V in the early ‘90s. It was made in 1960 of solid steel and iron.
The car weighs 5,200 pounds. It is 19.8 feet long. That is larger than many dining rooms in and around Royal Oak.
It has a V8 engine that develops 460 horsepower.
As noted, it is a two-door hardtop. There are only about 60 of these cars still believed to be in existence in the United States.
Originally, only 1,400 were built, period.
There are two things my car has in common with Booden’s. It is black and it has two doors. Other than that:
Without anyone in it, it weighs 775 pounds. It is 163.1 inches long. It has 4-cylinder engine that develops, ah … I’d rather not say how much horsepower. About 300,000,000 Echo’s have been made. What does all this matter? It matters a lot because over the years, the dynamics of your car have changed. Bill Booden’s car was not made to absorb a shock. It was made to stop one and at almost 20 feet long, the chances are fairly good it will.
My car, and yours, were made to absorb a shock, and fold up like a Venetian blind. The idea, according to manager Wendy Tomassi, a manager at B&B, is to “walk away from the accident. “If we didn’t have shoulder straps and seat belts, and air bags, plus cars intentionally designed to collapse under impact, you’d be on your way to Beaumont – if you were lucky,” Wendy says. “But I’ll tell you – the kinds of stuff (the car companies) are using to absorb the shock can be just a little frightening.”
As an example, she held up a piece of Styrofoam sculpted just like a bumper. The problem – it was a bumper, made to fit inside a piece of sheet metal about half an inch thick, if that, to go on the exterior of the car. It even came painted. “We have to be really careful putting these cars back together,” Wendy said, gingerly leaning on a small car. “You can put a dent in them like that,” she said, snapping her fingers, “and we can’t bump it out. The metal’s too thin. We have to order a whole new piece.
“This is what people don’t understand,” Wendy said, walking among cars waiting for parts or to be painted. “They still have that mentality that their cars are like my dad’s car. ‘It’s just a little ding, they can bump it out.’ I wish we could. On his car, we could bump it out. It’s made of steel with 15 coats of paint on it.
“On today’s cars, we have to order the part, and once it’s painted, it looks nice, but you can scratch if off with your fingernail and get down to bare metal.” Which of the two kinds of cars would Wendy feel more comfortable in? “I hate to say it, but I want a car I can walk away from if it’s in an accident.”