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They listed the color as black…

April 2, 2018, 2:23 PM

In the time since the Soul burned a little less than two months ago, Elyse and I had been wondering what happened to it afterward.  We knew that it had been taken to Terry’s Body Shop in Purcellville immediately after the fire, and then the insurance company moved it to a facility in Culpeper in order to do their investigation.  The sequence of events that I described and the photos of the fire itself pointed to a fuel fire, i.e. that fuel started leaking out near the engine, and then, presumably, once the leaked fuel hit the hot engine, it ignited, and the rest was history.  However, the results of the insurance company’s investigation were inconclusive, as the fire had burned everything so thoroughly that their experts were unable to formally determine a specific cause that triggered the whole sequence of events.

Elyse had wondered if the car would end up on one of those auto salvage auction sites, and went hunting online to see if she could find it.  Her search came up empty.  Then, a few weeks later, I put the Soul’s VIN into Google to see what came up.  I didn’t expect to find anything, so I was a bit surprised to hit pay dirt.  I found a page from Insurance Auto Auctions with photos of my former car.  The listing indicated that the damage was “total burn”, with a black exterior and a black interior.  The black interior was correct, though I imagine that they weren’t thinking of the one that I remembered, but rather the one that existed after the fire.  The description of the exterior color as “black” amused me, because most of the body was no longer green following the fire.  Considering that, it’s pretty hard to argue with that description of the color.

Right front view.  I imagine that this side, with its heavy smoke and fire damage, is what led the auction site to list the car's color as "black" instead of green.
Right front view.  I imagine that this side, with its heavy smoke and fire damage, is what led the auction site to list the car’s color as “black” instead of green.

Left front view.  Note the missing front tire.  That tire exploded in the video that Elyse took.
Left front view.  Note the missing front tire.  That tire exploded in the video that Elyse took.

Front view.
Front view.

Right rear view.  I saw this photo, and my first reaction was, "Hey, the wheel survived!"  I'm pretty sure that's the only part of the car that made it out undamaged.
Right rear view.  I saw this photo, and my first reaction was, “Hey, the wheel survived!”  I’m pretty sure that’s the only part of the car that made it out undamaged.

Left rear view.  The back door was open during the fire because we immediately went around and grabbed all of our stuff before fleeing, and so I assume that's why the door buckled like that.
Left rear view.  The back door was open during the fire because we immediately went around and grabbed all of our stuff before fleeing, and so I assume that’s why the door buckled like that.

Under the hood.  That's my new engine right there.
Under the hood.  That’s my new engine right there.

The front seats and dashboard.  About the only things still recognizable are the gear selector and the seat frames.  Everything else melted away.
The front seats and dashboard.  About the only things still recognizable are the gear selector and the seat frames.  Everything else melted away.

Rear seats.
Rear seats.

I’m glad that I found these photos.  I got a chance to see the Soul one last time, even if only via photos online, which brought me some level of closure as I got a chance to say goodbye at my own pace.  I also got to see the full extent of the damage in daylight.  I didn’t get a chance to get a good look at the damage at the time because it happened at night, plus, once the fire was out, the emergency responders had to get everything cleared away quickly in order to reopen the road.  I was also not in a good emotional state at the time, and so I wasn’t necessarily looking at things with the rational eye that I usually do.

I shared these auction photos with a few relatives and friends, and one question came up several times: why would anyone want to buy that?  The answer is, of course, that no one wants to buy it as a car, but all of that metal is probably worth something as scrap.  I imagine that her next stop will be the junkyard crusher, described by TXL from Today’s Special as “machines used to crush, smash, and pulverize old cars and trucks.”  It makes sense to me.  The insurance company doesn’t need it anymore now that their investigation is done, and the auction is how they get it off of their hands so that it can be properly disposed of.

So all in all, 90,000 miles, two engines, and one fire later, the Soul’s story appears to have come to its end.  It is now in that big parking lot in the sky, so to speak, and I now drive a Honda, which, after a rough beginning, I’m starting to bond with.  All is well again, and life goes on.

Categories: Kia Soul