Fire ripped through the camping trailer in the early morning hours. The orange glow of the flames reflected off a wood fence across the street, soon joined by the red flashing lights of emergency trucks.
The trailer burned to its metal frame, leaving the rest as nothing more than black soot.
Parked not 2 feet from that trailer was my brand-new 2004 Honda Pilot, which, when daylight came, looked surprisingly good. Well, from the passenger side, anyway. I soon found out the driver’s side had almost completely melted away. Shattered glass burned holes in the new leather. The paint bubbled and peeled. Rubber trim was simply gone. While the Pilot didn’t catch fire, the intense heat destroyed the vehicle, which I thought would be totaled out. I took solace in knowing I’d get another new car.
The damage came to about $14,000, while the insurance company said the vehicle was still worth around $30,000. I always thought $14K was a lot to put into a vehicle that would never really be the same. But then I read about Mr. Bean actor Rowan Atkinson’s McLaren F1, and I have a new appreciation for expensive car repairs.
Atkinson is a supercar enthusiast and has been known to enjoy his McLaren often. In August of 2011, his enjoyment took a wrong turn, and the F1 ended up on the side of a road and pretty much shredded. Atkinson was mildy injured, but returned to health much quicker than the supercar.
It’s been 18 months since the accident, and the car is just now back to its factory state after around $1.4 million in repairs. That’s more than the car cost new, but much less than its estimated current worth of around $4 million.
Why so expensive to fix? A Yahoo story quoted the insurance representative as saying,
All modern supercars are predominantly carbon fiber—most Lamborghinis, most Ferraris—and the smallest ding in carbon fiber is a big repair job. And part of the engine bay is gold, that’s the best heat conductor. It’s the materials they used compared to everyday cars that make it so expensive.
The carbon fiber use is obvious, but gold in the engine bay? It’s true! The car uses about 16 grams of gold as part of a foil heat shield.
This story sure puts some perspective on the repairs to my old Pilot, which I promptly sold after getting it back from the shop. I’m guessing the F1, though, will remain in Atkinson’s possession and be seen back on British streets in no time.
What’s the most expensive car repair you’ve ever had done? Would you do it again?