by the Left Coast Rebel
I just happened upon this story while writing up today's Morning Beat post. It involves intrigue, (perhaps) mischief, a giant Belmont warehouse blaze, a bizarre 1959 Lincoln Continental hybrid co-engineered by Neil young dubbed the LincVolt (image at left), a whole buncha Neil Young merchandise up in smoke and a smoking-gun connection to the hybrid's charging system which seems to have caused the fire and destroyed the LincVolt in one fell swoop.
I admit, it's hard to not feel at least a twinge of schadenfreude when reading the details of this story.
I know nothing about the LincVolt so here's some background on the LincVolt, Neil Young & Lincvolt at SEMA 2010:
And the Mercury News report about the fire that not only destroyed the LincVolt but a ton of Neil Young stuff too:
The three-alarm blaze that caused $1.1 million in damage to a warehouse filled with rock legend Neil Young's music equipment and memorabilia appears to have started in a one-of-a-kind hybrid car stored at the site, a fire official said Monday.
Flames began in a 1959 Lincoln Continental dubbed LincVolt, which runs on electric batteries and a biodiesel-powered generator, and then spread to the warehouse at 593 Quarry Road in the early morning of Nov. 9, according to Belmont-San Carlos Fire Marshal Jim Palisi and a website devoted to the car.
Young assembled a team of workers in 2008 to convert the 19.5-foot behemoth from gasoline to hybrid power, an effort he chronicled in a four-part film series.
While he exact cause of the fire is still being probed, it seems "to be an operator error that occurred in an untested part of the charging system," Young wrote in a statement. Workers have removed the car's computer and hope it will shed light on the cause.
"We are investigating the components involved with plug-in charging," Young wrote.
The flames severely damaged the car and caused an estimated total of $850,000 in damage to the items Young had stored in the roughly 10,000-square-foot warehouse. On the morning of the fire, Young's workers and friends carried guitars, framed photos, film canisters and crates of musical equipment out of the burned structure. Damage to the building is estimated at $250,000, Palisi said.
"How do you put a price on that vehicle?" Palisi added. "To me, it's priceless."
Firefighters managed to save at least 70 percent of the building's contents, which included five other classic cars. They raced to the scene about 2:55 a.m. and had the blaze under control by 3:45 a.m., officials said.
Young expressed his thanks to the fire department for saving what they could of his items in the warehouse, saying "a lot of archival items were threatened and the fire department did a first-class job protecting them."
The music legend had just returned from an appearance at the Specialty Equipment Market Association car show in Las Vegas, where he delivered a talk on the hybrid.
"I love my car," he told the audience.
Hmmm..it seems a Neil Young classic is due. Funny that he starts the live performance below of "Needle and the Damage Done," saying that "...a lot of great art goes down the drain..."
Related: Yglesias at Soros-funded Think Progress, "Tax the Air we Breathe."