Head-and-butt cars

I could not have imagined it still happened. But in a hall, where an acquaintance of mine had rented some square meters, I saw a 'head-and-butt car' in the making. An 'straightening bench' had been made on the ground with a few heavy profile beams. And on that, the blue front half of a 2015'er Jaguar XF was comfortably close to a white rear of such a Jag.

A kind of puzzle

The case hadn't been crossed out in one straight line, but there was a whole jigsaw pattern in the jigsaw that had apparently been done with the thin flex.
It was clearly intended that one of the two half Jaguars would be made again of a color to be determined. It seemed a risky operation to me because every part of a modern car has been calculated through and through. And in a normal car there are a lot of different types of steel, each with its own properties. Maybe a modern 'head and butt' car is a technical tour de force, but I wouldn't dare drive it. Fortunately, Cor's co-tenant told us that the car was for export. And we would add a sad smiley in the social media.

Nothing new under the sun

In the past, of course, head and butt cars were also made in the darkest trade segment. There it could also happen that a 'short' car was brought back to length by positioning the rear and pulling the front, if necessary with a Mercedes Diesel or Massey Ferguson tractor. Boy next door from the past Rudy bought recent (preferably large) BMWs with heavy damage from Germany at the time. I was there when the front end of a 7'er Coupe was pulled forward another forty centimeters with a couple of ratchet blocks, chains and hooks. Steel that has been cold-worked and is - roughly - pulled back into shape screams like a seal that ends up in a wood chipper.

Rudy's business went well

He sold 'fat', well-painted cars for competitive prices and with retention of benefits to friends with the same or even more exciting revenue models. His margins increased significantly after he found a product that could quickly and effectively remove blood stains from leather and textiles.

The Utrecht car market

Besides the fact that the kind of beautiful cars were made in this way that gave the Utrecht car market its well-thumbed reputation, you should not imagine what happens to the structure of steel when you start forming it cold several times or heating it and welding it. The turns a vehicle into a potential fragmentation bomb. And that a few heavy I-beams weren't the perfect car straightening bench? That such a reborn edelvoiture when driving and / or braking pulled a little - or much - to the left or right? That tires very quickly showed very unique wear patterns?

Well: it was still in the cowboy days of motoring.

Cars were still clear. So you could do something about it. And a 7'er Coupe was already dangerously fast, even if he was fine and if the driver was not yet drunk on his own testosterone to conquer the world. Not everything was better in the past. But should you soon run into a tightly painted Jaguar XF for 'little'? Then I would still throw a purchase inspection.

For privacy and (our) security considerations, we do not publish the pictures of the protagonist in this story.

The Jag in the photo we do use is proof that you should just let the dead rest. And with all those BMWs it must have turned out alright… Right?

Half a beginning will be good work?



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  1. Sawed-through VW beetles often served as a platform for all kinds of constructions such as a Buggy, etc. I have a photo of a separate trike based on a beetle: sawn in half and with a clever tube construction equipped with the front train of a BSA motorcycle. Driving on it was practically covered by the Gambling Act….

  2. my nephew made a lot of money with German Volkswagen beetles.
    they were also welded together head and butt. Until his father, who was on the bus, saw him driving with different license plates in front and behind. In the evening it gave a “decent” conversation at the table.
    My other uncle and aunt bought one of those welded beetles from him. they knew that; a sleek white sprayed copy. they have enjoyed riding it for years. But yes, times were different.

  3. In my hometown in the Achterhoek, the local garage owner was already known as a supplier of 'bricked' minions. Usually it concerned Mercedes Heckflosse and Strich 8 models. The work usually took place in the evenings and in a finished part of the garage. When he became a Simca dealer in the early 70s, that process stopped in order not to damage his image.

    In a German hobby magazine I also read a nice article about Ford M151 jeeps that were phased out by the American army. These Jeeps had a questionable image in terms of handling. To prevent them from ending up in civilian hands with claims as a result, they were sawn in half and sold as scrap. An Italian trader took advantage of this and ensured that the sawing was done very precisely on his instructions. Once in his workshop, the jeeps were welded back together and fitted with Alfa and Fiat double cams. The chassis was modified to handle the power.

    • Cunning people, those Italians! Reminds me a bit about the Yankee tanks that Americans left behind when they flew out to Soesterberg. Apparently those cars also had to be removed from traffic. The local demolition had an agreement to do so and cut only the sills under the supervision of the RDW

  4. In my youth I often saw head and head cars at carnival. Two fronts of an R2 were welded together (or just about any other front-wheel drive, as long as head and head were of the same model) and they rode with the procession, as a four-wheel-driven creation. Steering on both sides and then it went through the procession like a crab.

    • Sawed-through VW beetles often served as a platform for all kinds of constructions such as a Buggy, etc. I have a photo of a separate trike based on a beetle: sawn in half and with a clever tube construction equipped with the front train of a BSA motorcycle. Driving on it was practically covered by the Gambling Act….

  5. Friend once bought three Mercedes in one sale. Not that he knew because he only bought a single car. The thing turned out to be a red, green and yellow Mercedes painted in a beautiful beige. After that discovery he quickly sold it because he feared that his heavy trailer might run away with the trunk.

  6. My brother drove his VW Polo (series 1) a 20 cm shorter earlier.
    Indeed, with the help of some heavy Massey Ferguson (he worked in the agricultural mechanization, so tractors were enough) pulled almost 20 cm longer.
    You are amazed at what heavy tractors can develop pulling power in a crawler gear.
    The last half cm was eventually resolved by varying the tire pressure during the sale ... (the thing kept pulling)

  7. There are also many cars in Germany cut in 2 and then brought to Ned. That made a difference in import costs and then welded together again. The license plates were characterized by DD and JL.
    Stands for German Deuk and Jong Leven cars. Buyers could have known!
    Of course, a lot of head-butts have been revitalized by retaining the license plate (total loss).
    For example Fords Escorts and which popular brand not, as long as there was demand for it.
    Fortunately, it no longer occurs to that extent. The industry is no more damage recovery in a dark corner (aka Miami Vice) of the shed. Now a professional craftsman with training and certificates for a guaranteed good recovery.

  8. Hi Dolf
    I can still remember that in such a workshop a 180D rear was “attached” to a 190D front
    The problem arose when the new owner had a new exhaust fitted. So didn't fit P

  9. Funny that there is also a picture of half a B5 ... when I totaled my 1.8T from 1999 (not even hard, slipped on the back of a new Corolla and those new cars are just very strong) I got a portion of money from the insurance that corresponded to about 5 times the street value (and that was nil let's say for an old German with 3.5 tons on the counter). What I picked up was that many of these cars show up on the other side of the Mexican border (I'm in southern California) and start a second life there. Interesting.

  10. Bodyshops do nothing else than “reshape” everything on a straightening bench and warm it where necessary. Sheet metal parts are also still being welded, including bottom parts and wishbones.
    Provided it is done professionally, that's fine. The wheel suspension can also be aligned to avoid the tire wear mentioned here. Many a neat lease car or trade-in has already been repaired once from a major blow and restored with a Focwa warranty.

    Indeed they used to do that very dubiously, in sheds and with a lot of chain hoists and “on the eye”. Then you got a crooked car, hence the advice to take a good look at the evenness of the gaps between the sheet metal parts when purchasing. Or take a look under the floor mats. But is there also statistical evidence that such cars were more often involved in accidents?

  11. I used to visit a butcher who refurbished damaged cars as a hobby. He managed to turn a package of car with the necessary pressure and drawing work into a nice shiny copy. He then used, for example, a new mudguard to give the car the correct length again. It goes without saying that such a car usually became a good customer at the tire farmer afterwards.

  12. My dad had just had his 504 peugeot for 2 weeks when an idiot drove sideways at high speed almost all of the front. Not much was left of it until the windshield. Obviously explains total loss. The 2 week old wreck was then bought for an absurdly high amount by a trader, it was suspected that this wreck was driving around again a short time later, possibly sold as a super-assassin of only a few months old.
    Unfortunately, this is an all-time phenomenon.

    • Often only the cut-out chassis number and some loose parts of such a car were used. That was again artfully welded into a stolen counterpart and sold with the papers of the fallen car: the so-called 'recapitulation'….

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