Monday, 13 August 2012 13:42

Jim's Blog - What's the Strangest Thing You've Ever Found in a Car?

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A .50 cal and a quarter for scale A .50 cal and a quarter for scale

As you read this, the ACC and SCM crews will be on the road to Monterey, California for the annual collector car auctions, Monterey Motorsports Reunion at Laguna Seca, and the Pebble Beach Concours, all of which take place this week.  

I spent this past weekend prepping my Charger SRT8 for the 1,600-mile round trip, which included a thorough cleaning inside and out. This is a pretty regular thing at my house, but a little surprise was waiting for me this time. Jammed between the trunk floor and the folding rear seat in my Charger, right behind where my daughter Katie's car seat is mounted, I found a live .50 caliber Barrett sniper rifle round. 

I've found some interesting stuff in old vehicles before, but most of the time they're tools that ended up down inside fenders or ancient paperwork of one kind or another. This was on a completely different level, mostly because it was in a relatively new car bought from a Chrysler dealership. You just don't expect live ordinance in that sort of situation. And it was less than a foot from where my daughter sits. 

This is the bullet that once held the world record for longest confirmed kill — 2,657 yards in Afghanistan in 2002. That's a mile and a half away. Other sources say they're deadly at distances of up to four miles. Of course, that requires the rifle. And I didn't find one of those under the seat, too. 

Clearly the previous owner of my car was into guns - expensive powerful ones - and the Chrysler dealership that sold me the car didn't find it when they did their pre-sale detailing on the car. From a safety perspective, it's more than a little alarming, but I doubt it would have ever gone off in the car. I just don't like the thought that my daughter could have found it before I did.

It's easy to forget that our cars lead their own lives and come with their own histories. If you've been in the hobby for any length of time, you've bought and sold cars, and you know that they do come with baggage from time to time. So what's the strangest thing you've ever found in one of your cars? Let us know in the comments below.



Jim Pickering

Jim Pickering is the Editor of American Car Collector magazine and has been the Managing Editor of Sports Car Market magazine since 2006. As proficient with Snap-On tools as he is with a keyboard, Jim began his career as a professional mechanic while still in college at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, where he earned a B.A. in Creative Writing. He can often be found at Portland International Raceway at the Late-Night Drags, behind the wheel of his 12-second big-block powered 1966 Chevrolet Caprice. He is also currently restoring a 1972 Chevrolet K10 Cheyenne Super longbed in his spare time.