Video from Douglas Thron
As Florida, North, and South Carolina are currently engaged in a super-sized recovery following the now-weakening Hurricane Ian, we get to revisit the case of the 1970 Plymouth Superbird and 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona that got flooded by the storm. Mike, the owner of the muscle cars, tells the story of how the disaster pulled the vehicles out of their garage and also tried to sweep him away as the man attempted to save the vehicles.
After taking out Cuba’s entire power grid, Hurricane Ian made landfall in Florida on Wednesday, as a Category 4 storm, which meant winds of up to 150 mph. The storm reached South Carolina on Friday, being downgraded to a post-tropical storm by the National Hurricane Center. The NHS currently classifies Ian as a post-tropical cyclone, albeit with the storm still being predicted to cause issues in the Central Appalachians and Mid-Atlantic—flood watches have been introduced in Virginia and West Virginia.
All in all, Hurricane Ian was one of the most powerful storms to have ever affected the U.S., killing at least 20 people and generating billions of dollars in damage. And with Florida being home to countless high-end vehicles, many of these were flooded by the storm—the surge was so vicious, that it pulled the Superbird and the Daytona, two of the most iconic muscle cars ever, off four-post platforms, with the vehicles sitting over six feet high inside their garage.
Mike was close to getting taken away by the storm surge
As Mike, who is turning 70 soon, explains in an interview for cinematographer Douglas Thron, he was “downstairs” when the flood hit the garage, attempting to save the vehicles.
The man recalls how the water started tipping the cars over, at which point the surge also threatened to take him away. That’s when Mike, who had taken another Superbird and Daytona to safety in preparation for the storm, knew he had to let go of the situation, so he disengaged.
The collector saw the classics getting dragged out of their garage and tumbled around, with the Plymouth being unfortunate enough to land on its vinyl roof after hitting a structure.
The man believes that the nose cones of the aero cars, whose unconventional shape brought NASCAR glory back in the day, broke the stream of water and prevented the cars from being taken all the way into the nearby bay. He’s probably referring to the Caloosahatchee River and, if we remember how Hurricane Ian pulled a McLaren P1 out of its garage and ironically placed it on top of a toilet seat, we’re glad these muscle cars remained close to their home.
Fortunately, Mike escaped the situation uninjured and, as previously stated by one of his relatives, it seems that nobody in his family was physically hurt by Hurricane Ian.
The current situation in Florida
As the two men discuss in the YouTube video below, somebody appearing to be an emergency rescuer intervenes, warning them about a 6 PM curfew imposed to prevent criminal acts such as looting, as the area, along with many others, still hasn’t seen power being restored.
In addition, Mike explains that having somebody over to flip the Superbird back onto its wheels and remove the rare, uber-expensive pair from the street has proven impossible so far—we presume that, with emergencies being prioritized and many roads being affected, getting to the area from outside is a serious challenge.
And while the Internet seems to be torn between feeling for these enthusiasts who hard their machines ruined and pointing the finger at them for having multiple days to remove the vehicles and not doing it, one thing is clear: the clean-up operation is anything but facile.