Breaking Curfew….

It took slightly longer than I expected for something to go (reasonably) seriously wrong with the Curfew Jag, although to be fair, it was brought on by my mildly excessive use of the throttle off road. Having access to a field always made it inevitable that I was going to end up driving one of the cars around in there, I won’t pretend that I have the self restraint to stop myself doing silly things like this.

There could be a few causes for the accident, with my driving being the most obvious. The field isn’t unduly rutted or rough, and I don’t believe that the wheel caught in any significant way. The wider wheels and tyres will have put additional strain on the suspension components (especially when moving laterally as they were at this point). However, considering the way that the hub has sheared, I’d say it is likely that it had a pre-existing fracture and was simply an accident waiting to happen. I’ve been waiting for some sort of component failure with this car, given the life it has lead both as a neglected car and then being pushed into service filming for ‘Curfew’, where I have little doubt it was abused and driven hard.

If you watch the video in its entirety you’ll be able to see it all going wrong. It doesn’t look all that dramatic, and it didn’t feel very dramatic, but you’ll be able to see how it could have easily ended up much worse. The gouges in the ground are testament to the car digging in, and fortunately for me it didn’t roll.

The car is now sat at the back of the workshop awaiting a strip down and inspection. From the photos you can see the obvious damage such as the sheared hub and bent shock absorber (and its safe to consider that the other shock on that side at least is bent), but I’m also expecting some damage to the subframe and associated areas. There is also the bodywork damage to repair, which fortunately is fairly limited. The tyre has been pierced and it remains to be seen if there is any damage to the wheel (but I hope not!).

The damage will be repaired, and it is also a chance to improve the whole back end of the car, and renew and refresh everything that is easily accessible. I’ll also look to reinforce the running gear to make sure we have no more incidents like this. I doubt I will end up changing the position or construction of the arches, though I would very much like to, but I will look into options for brake upgrades (without an outboard brake conversion), and I’ll also be redesigning the exhaust so that no noxious fumes enter the cabin.

There is another side to this story though. I had no qualms about posting the photos and video on social media. I had done the damage, and I had no issue with a bit of ribbing from people – and indeed perhaps I deserved it. Most people laughed with me, and in a couple of instances, people reached out privately to make sure that I hadn’t been hurt (thank you to those people, you know who you are and it does truly mean a great deal to me). Some people saw it in the same light I did and were similarly glad that it happened off road. Plenty were disappointed that the car was damaged but also understanding that these things happen and that it would be repaired. However, when I posted a particular photo on a Jaguar Customising page on Facebook, along with a joke about stanced cars, I was met with open hostility and aggression. I cannot profess to be a fan of stanced cars and in a lot of cases I’ve seen cars that are quite obviously dangerous, but I don’t judge the owner/driver for their preference – and it isn’t my place to instruct them on the legality or safety of their car. In my case, the car wasn’t stanced, and though you couldn’t see the mechanical damage underneath, I believed it to be obvious that the wheel wasn’t sitting correctly and that there was a skate underneath it. The one comment that really leapt out to me was one individual writing ‘kill yourself’. Perhaps unsurprisingly, I was a little shocked by that, and it did bother me on some level. Is it reasonable to assume that the poster didn’t actually mean that, or that they believe it is acceptable for them to post that because it is ‘obviously a joke’? When I replied asking if they did think so, the poster was surprised that the comment warranted any sort of reply, which surprised me even more. I had hoped that other commenters would reply and support me, but instead the only other person to reply called me a snowflake (although, the original comment had been edited at this point, to make it seem less bad). I am saddened and amazed that this sort of behaviour is deemed acceptable, and condoned by the wider community who don’t step in and tell someone that it isn’t ok to act like that. We’ve all seen the effects of poor mental health in both men and women, and this sort of thing is exactly what will begin to push someone into that darker mental space. Lots of us have been there, and none of us want to go back there, so if I can ask anything of you, it is to consider how you use social media and how you interact with others on social media. The car community can be such a fantastic place with such a variety of tastes, styles and characters, and that is something to celebrate. Everyone is welcome. We all struggle and have our low points, but it is good to remember that there are many people who are happy to listen and talk to you (and that includes me, and I’m reachable at any of the LUDEN social media accounts).

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