One of the 5 cars I totaled before the age of 20 was a white, Mazda MX-6. It was sporty, and handled great, and I once got up to 132 mph on the road to Las Vegas (rattling and shaking, maybe, but I got there). I loved that car, and I was constantly looking for ways to modify it, but my budget was always a major limiting factor – my eyes were (and still are) bigger than my wallet. I decided my car needed new, flashy wheels and tires, budget-be-damned.
I drove around the area between my house in Chatsworth and my school in Woodland Hills trying to find a set of wheels worth my attention. After maybe two hours, I spotted a set of wheels on a Mustang that really popped, and the game was afoot.
I went online and found the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power emblem, and had large decals printed. I collected safety vests from my friend who worked at a grocery store (the employees collecting carts from the parking lot are required to wear them). I got a pickup truck and a construction light from a friend whose dad worked in construction. I collected safety cones as I passed them on the Valley streets, and threw them into the back of the truck.
With all my supplies collected, I convened a gathering of my friends to go over the plan. The car was located on a curved street in a quiet neighborhood, so cones would be set up on both entrances, and the truck would be stationed at one of the road blocks (complete with flashing orange light and LADWP stickers; the driver even had a DWP hat because his dad worked there when he was younger). The rest of the “pit crew” and I would be dressed in all black, and have gloves on so as not to leave any prints at the scene. One side of the Mustang would be lifted with a two-ton jack, the wheels would come off, and cinder blocks would be replace them. Then we’d do the other side. For expedience, I had already gone and loosened the lug nuts an hour prior (luckily they didn’t try to drive away in the interim).
The groundwork was laid, the plan understood, so we piled into the two getaway vehicles and got to work. The road blocks went up and the crew ran to the target. There were some minor hiccups with the jack, but overall the whole thing went very smoothly.
A car approached the roadblock, but my friend with the DWP hat intercepted him saying, “I’m sorry, but there’s a sewage leak that we’re addressing. Shouldn’t be more than a few minutes.” Exactly as rehearsed.
The tires were off, the car set back down on the blocks, and everything was thrown quickly into the truck. Cones were loaded up, and the crew got into a separate vehicle, and everybody went in different directions. We met back up at the house, adrenaline still coursing through our veins. We had done it. With vastly more planning and forethought than was necessary, we put a car on cinder blocks and scored a new set of wheels.
In the name of poetic justice, the tires were too big to fit on the MX-6, so they were stored in my friend’s yard, where they were promptly stolen by someone else. Then I totaled the poor thing not long after. In hindsight, the wheels were never the real goal, just a way for my friends and I to alleviate our teenage boredom with the high that comes from doing illegal shit. In other words, it was totally worth it. What a rush.