There’s no emotion that’s quite as powerful as the joy of a person who buys and/or restores a beautiful classic car. Well, except for the anguish that occurs if that automotive work of art gets destroyed by forces beyond the owner’s control.
Here are seven instances of classic cars which met a terrible end — but not because their owners crashed them on the roadways. (Hopefully, their auto insurance was up to date.)
Location: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
A garage in Philly’s Kensington neighborhood went up in flames on the first day of August 2012. But it wasn’t just someone’s personal garage — it was a large structure which housed 15 classic cars (worth over $1 million) owned by members of the Latin Cruisers Car Club. All of them — including a1966 Ford Mustang Shelby GT 350, a 1961 Ford Falcon, a 1949 Ford, a 1956 Chevrolet truck, and a 1961 Cadillac — were damaged beyond repair. Authorities believe that the blaze was sparked by someone who was working on his car inside the garage … which is prohibited under club rules.
Location: Plum Borough, Pennsylvania
The Keystone State must not be a safe place for classic cars. In February of 2009, an Allegheny County garage where classic autos were being repaired and restored caught fire. Several classic cars, including a 1955 Thunderbird, were heavily damaged before the fire could be put out. Thankfully, no one was inside when the blaze started.
Location: Haysville, Kansas
Steven Terry was greeted with a classic car lover’s worst nightmare. In July of 2012, he woke up at midnight and ran out to the detached garage of his suburban Wichita home, only to be met with the sight of his five classic cars burning inside it. Fire officials believe that faulty electrical wiring was the culprit. As a result, Terry lost a 1982 Z28 Camaro, a 2001 V28 Trans Am, a 2000 W6 Trans Am, a 1991 GTA Trans Am, and even a 1979 Trans Am that he spent a decade restoring.
Location: Leoni Township, Michigan
Electrical issues were apparently the catalyst for a fire in April of 2012 in a garage about 35 miles west of Ann Arbor. Owner Leo Warren lost four antique cars, including a rare 1910 wood-framed Velie. One of them was a vehicle with which he shared a name: a 1936 Ford Warren that he had just bought. Not only did he lose hundreds of thousands of dollars in cars, but also the pleasure of tinkering with them — a hobby in which he engaged almost daily.
Location: Barbengo, Switzerland
Classic cars also get destroyed by fire in countries other than the U.S. An expensive Ferrari 308 was consumed by flames, as were several other cars in the Swiss city of Barbengo, which is part of Lugano. There’s no word on what caused the fire.
Location: Branson, Missouri
This time, it wasn’t fire that destroyed classic cars; it was Mama Nature. A tornado tore through Branson in late February of 2012. Over three dozen people were injured, and several cars at this Branson dealership were destroyed when the roof of the building collapsed. A Camaro and classic convertible were probably totaled.
Location: Miami, Florida
Finally, some expensive automobiles were heavily damaged by one of the most underrated forces of destruction on the planet: the valet. In April of 2012, the driver of a Jeep Grand Cherokee handed his keys to a valet driver, who attempted to park the SUV but somehow lost control of it. He managed to run over a blue Maserati Gran Turismo S and a vintage orange Porsche 356. Total estimated damage to the two classic cars: about