Already Folded, Spindled & Mutilated

Jamie PalmerBy Jamie Palmer

As seen in Wayne’s World and in many pop culture references, The Spindle was an piece of sculpture located in Berwyn, Illinois that was made up of a 50 foot tall spike with 8 cars impaled upon it. The two remaining cars from the sculpture were removed before it’s destruction in May of 2008 and have been stored ever since. They are up for auction here on eBay, and the sale will benefit the Berwyn Arts Council (where they are located). Bidding for the pair is currently up to $1,800 but the reserve has not been met.

This is, or was, a 1976 BMW 2002 that actually was the personal car of David Bermant, who owned and developed the shopping center where The Spindle was installed. Bermant was said to be a collector of modern art and wanted something to attract people to the shopping center.

Just in case you are thinking about refurbishing the 2002, you’d better look at the interior. Also, although it doesn’t say so, I’m guessing the engine was removed before the car was speared.

This is the hole in top of the 1967 Volkswagen Beetle that was the top car installed. It was owned by the sculptor/artist responsible for the design, Dustin Shuler. I think the mesh may have been a futile attempt to keep the birds out (be sure and view the video link in the first paragraph to see exactly what I’m talking about).

As you can see, the Beetle is no prize either. There’s a lot of metal missing and so is the engine.

On the left, you can see The Spindle when it was first installed. The cars below the BMW are a 1981 Ford Escort, a 1973 or 1974 Mercury Capri, a 1978 Ford Mustang II, a 1981 Pontiac Grand Prix, a 1979 or 1980 Ford LTD, and a late 1970’s or early 1980’s Mercury Grand Marquis. On the right, the Beetle is being removed from the installation just before it’s demolition. I have no idea why the first two cars were removed; they were donated to the Arts Council with the idea of a mini re-installation of the sculpture, but plans have gone in a different direction now. If you’re still with me, I have two questions for you: 1) Assume you were given the cars–what the heck would you do with them, and 2) How do you feel about the sculpture in the first place? As a car lover, I can’t say I’m a fan.

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Comments

  1. Jason

    How were the top two cars the last ones to be removed? Sounds like a Laurel and Hardy skit!

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    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      They were the ONLY ones that were removed. There’s a poor quality video on youtube of the rest being pushed over still on the spike!

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      • Jason

        This is why I read it as the last ones:
        “The two remaining cars from the sculpture were removed before it’s destruction”

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  2. DrinkinGasoline

    Regardless of the references….this post ’66 is a donor. I know…..
    It’s been shocked 3 times with no signs of life. Time for organ transplant.

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  3. alan

    Wow! A 2002 without a cracked dash – save it!!!

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    • hhaleblian

      Wow! A 2002 with a crapped dash! Clean it!

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  4. DrinkinGasoline

    Type 1 and cracked dash ? Never should they be mentioned in the same sentence…a Type 1 should ever have a metal dash.

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  5. Chebby

    Shish-car-bob!

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  6. Seth J

    Just keep in mind, in 1989 when the time the sculpture was built, these cars were in surplus and were cheap. It would be comprable to recreating the same thing today with a bunch of ’08 Impalas. Very similar situation to the General Lee. These are reasonably desirable cars now, and we couldn’t think of misusing them like that, but back then they were just beaters.

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    • grant

      They’re just beaters now.

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  7. Jim G

    10 seconds into the video link, you’ll also see on the side of the optometrist building a yellow Ford Pinto flattened out against the wall like a bear rug. Interesting place.

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  8. Alex B

    As an artist myself I don’t mind art like this, these cars would otherwise have ended in the crusher perhaps. It reminds me of Carhenge. 🙂

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carhenge

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  9. James

    You may not like the sculpture, but we are still talking about it today. That’s the “point”.

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  10. Jeffro

    The big hole in roof and bird $h!t is “patina”. And that’ll cost you extra!

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    • Jerry A

      it’s not a hole, it’s a sunroof

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      • Brian

        With the same shape as the sun no less.

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  11. Jay E.

    Perhaps they were thinking of a mini-me sculpture of just the top of the spindle with only two cars on it at the art museum? In context I kind of get that, but otherwise I suspect these are salvage.

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    • Jamie Palmer Jamie Staff

      That is my understanding after reading about it.

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  12. jaygryph

    The bird skeleton in the center console of the BMW is a nice touch.

    There are enough BMW and Bug fans out there to restore these, or at least put them back to driveable. It’s not like it would be that hard, and it would be one hell of a conversation piece to roll up to a car show in the bug that topped the spike for so many years.

    I think the bug folks tend to dig the “you drug it out of WHERE?” stories when someone gets one going again. Personally I find them way more interesting than over restored show cars that look like all the other overly restored show cars.

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  13. Nick G.

    I may have missed it, but what happened to the other cars? Other than the BMW, the Capri is the most rare and (at least to me) desirable car there.

    I finally saw one in person in an old junk a few months ago… and I’ve been looking for a long time. Unfortunately that Capri was badly mangled and rusted. It’s shame that more of these are not around.

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  14. Jack Quantrill

    Way better than Cadillac Ranch in Texas! Putting these on a Pole did get attention, which was the intent!

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  15. Kevin Reid

    No great loss. . . Probably better off bringing ALL listed in the spear out to scrap.

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  16. Karl Vacek

    Having lived all my life in the next town over from Berwyn, I always thought the spindle was a terrible eyesore and embarrassment. It was appropriately placed next to a similar-sized US map made out of junk. It wasn’t shown in Wayne’s World because it was a beautiful or prestigious thing. Thank God they’re gone.

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  17. KEN TILLY

    Seems to me that the Spear was a total waste of good metal!

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  18. Jubjub

    I knew they wanted to take it down but never knew they did. Too bad, it was an interesting automotive time capsule. For better or worse, these were all once ubiquitous vehicles seldom seen anymore. Seeing that Capri up there was always a treat for me.

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  19. Alexander

    I like most car-related sculptures and that is quite a time capsule of 1980’s suburbia. Have y’all seen the Cadillac ranch lately? Totally destroyed by graffiti, theft, vandals and people wielding mallets. I know, I know, public art is designed to be enjoyed by the masses. But mass destruction over 30 years is worse than bird doo and sun bleaching.

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  20. Bill McCoskey

    In France, at Château de Montcel, situated close to Versailles, the grounds of the Château feature a 60-foot-high sculpture consisting of some 60 real cars embedded in concrete, the work of the famous French-born American Nouveau Realist artist Arman. Installed in 1982 and entitled ‘Long-term Parking’, the sculpture symbolises waste generated by mass production, heralding the awareness of environmental issues.

    How many cars can you name by make & model? And what color is the Buick I first saw this when it was almost new, I was very upset to see it had a black Citroen Traction Avant.

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  21. Bossbill

    It’s a 73 Capri on the spike. Last of the chrome bumpers and first with the large taillights.
    74 had the rubber baby buggy bumpers.

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  22. Chris Selimos

    I thought I heard the owner of the shopping mall say that if you didn’t like his sculpture that you didn’t have to go to his shopping center that took a lot of guts specially when the owners of the stores needed the foot traffic money specially with the pressure he would get from all the renters of the stores

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