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Fort McMurray's resilience inspires contractor's Mad Max-style disaster vehicle

Call it post-apocalyptic art on wheels, a dystopian hotrod ready for the next beast to come along.

Creator Marv Shine isn’t sure what to call it, but he has sure had fun building it.

“My son’s idea was that it should look like it had escaped the last disaster and should be prepared for the next,” said Shine, 40. “So we are slowly gearing up with all the tools to help people along the highway.”

The contorted compact has been his family's post-fire project in Fort McMurray, serving needs both practical and psychological.

It began when Shine, a contractor specializing in home exteriors, decided he needed a smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicle to use on the highway.

Following the city’s re-entry last summer, he acquired a Honda Civic that had clearly suffered burns, front-end damage and other scrapes during the fire.

But instead of fixing it up shiny and new, Marv and his 16-year-old son Thomas decided to make it look worse.

The red paint job was deliberately scratched up, old rims were attached, and the fenders distorted.

Of course that wasn’t enough. Father and son then started adding other items they found around town left from the fire.

They decked out the top of the car with a child’s sandbox manufactured to look like a crab. The trunk lid is adorned with a spoiler made from old licence plates, while a warped “No Littering” sign is bolted to the hood.

One of the best touches, though, is the sign in the back. It reads “Beauty Survives the Beast,” making the car a homage of sorts to Fort McMurray’s resiliency.

The Shines have now started equipping the coupe with all sorts of items to help other motorists along the highway — containers of water and gas, a pick, shovel, jack, ramps and a winch.

With a little more work, and a few more decorative touches, it could soon be a vehicle worthy of any Mad Max movie.

“You don’t expect a little Civic, especially one as creepy as this is, to stop and help you,” Shine said. “But we do a lot of that highway travel back and forth, so if we can help with gas or help you get a tire back on, why not?”

Though the car doesn’t yet have a name, it is starting to get a reputation. The elder Shine has already received some strange looks when he pulls up to stores or gas stations, but then enjoyed the smiles he gets back when people realize what the project is about.

Shine says that before the fire, he didn’t have a positive impression of Fort McMurray. That has all changed after seeing the response to the disaster.

“This time around, this is home. Me and my son, we are proud to be here” he said. “The people, the scenery, even the burned trees. They were beautiful before, but now they have a custom touch.”

kgerein@postmedia.com

twitter.com/keithgerein 

source : Calgary SUN
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