Avide readers of this blog, of which the law of averages suggests there might be at least one, will know that Brown Fury is the Great Escape Cars Allegro. They’ll know the name derives from the interior, which has been described as so brown it makes other brown things less brown.
On 21st February 2015 The Fury suffered a rear ender on the Coventry ring road. Since then it’s been touch and go whether it/he/she will ever be back on the road again. Sadly for Brown Fury’s many, many fans insurance companies make rational, practical decisions. There is no place for emotion. Consequently the last few weeks have been, if not actually stressful, certainly made mildly more interesting because of the very real risk that this much derided piece of motoring ephemera might be written off and sent to the crusher.
Like the All-Aggro’s interior, this would have been a bit of a sickener because the accident didn’t cause much damage to the car. It faired considerably better than the Peugeot 307 that hit it, suffering light damage to the rear offside quarter. There is also, it appears, much to be said for driving a car without headrests fitted. Several weeks on I am suffering no neck or shoulder pain, unlike the driver of the headrest-equipped, safety-cell fitted Peugeot who is off work with terrible neck and shoulder pains. Gosh. Has Euro NCap been shoving us up a safety blind alley all these years? Some might say that I’m a walkin talkin rootin tootin medical miracle but for me, it’s Brown Fury that deserves the praise.
Whether it is his pain medication, amnesia from the accident or the weird and wonderful effects of the solar eclipse, I can only guess. I may never know for sure. But it seems likely that at least one of those factors, as opposed to simply lying, explains why the Peugeot driver now can’t remember what actually happened. Or rather, appears to recall two different scenarios, neither of which involve the traditional distribution of blame when one car goes into the back of another.
All this only served to ratchet up the mild interest in the office as to whether the Allegro would survive the assessor’s beady gaze. Earlier this week it was collected to be checked and quoted. Within hours I received the dreaded call.
The conversation was perfunctory but friendly. Repairing Brown Fury was going to cost £1000. The car’s insured for £1500, which puts The Fury right on the tightrope between crusher and survival. The assessor was clear: its fate was in my hands. I mulled it over for what may have been a nanosecond. Or quicker. I’m ashamed to admit this but admit it I must: for a brief moment I felt that giddy feeling surely familiar to the sword-wielding executioner on the scaffold. I felt all-powerful. “I’m sure we both agree that it’s not worth anyone wasting £1000 and time on that car. What’ll you give me?”
The assessor sounded almost relieved. There was no quibbling, no last minute appeal, no reprieve. It remained unspoken but we both knew it was the right decision. The only decision. We had independently arrived at the same place: that it would be more painful to force someone, anyone, to waste days of their life fixing up Brown Fury.
We agreed a price for the loss. And then I did something I may live to regret. After the wielding of unfettered power often comes regret. A chink of reconciliation even. I found myself uttering the words that may come back to haunt me: “can I have salvage rights?” Now it was his turn to mull things over in a nanosecond. Or sooner. “Of course. When can you collect it?” I agreed to buy Brown Fury back for fifty quid and so, avid readers, it remains if not quite a much loved part of our fleet, certainly a part of our fleet.
We’ll fix up the damage to make the car road legal and safe but we won’t be repairing the dents. This latest fender bender will join the many other tell tales of the car’s history, from the hand-painted wings to the Tesco battlefield scars. A concours Allegro feels like an oxymoron: while we want to hire out cars in good condition, the Allegro is different. Its dings and dents are part of what make it Brown Fury.