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First Gear: The Scenario

The Plan

Our group of friends in Plymouth, Massachusetts lived pretty fat during the summer of '97.  And we knew it.   Toward the end of August we all prepared to head back to school; some of us left, and the rest of us quit our jobs and dreaded the end of the summer.  It was in this state of affairs that Project Omni was born. The proposal was delightfully simple: we would take our 1981 Dodge Omni, test its limitations through a variety of experiments conducted in an appropriately scientific fashion, and then methodically beat the tar out of it.  It struck us as the perfect climax to the perfect summer.

And Goddamn if we didn't make it die.

The Car in Question

The sleek American engineering you see below is the 1981 Dodge Omni.  It's a four door hatchback, with a sorry four-speed standard transmission designed for Volkswagen Rabbits.  It features no tachometer, no radio, and a clothless ceiling made of a crumbly material which, as we come to discover and you will come to learn, has a striking similarity to asbestos.   All exterior lights work; the heat and defrost are, well, bearable.  Don't even ask about air conditioning.  The color of the Omni can be best characterized as "toasted maroon".  The interior is a burgundy colored light burlap reminiscent of a potato sack.  The four cylinder 1.7 liter engine purrs like fifteen fat, fat kitties trapped inside that burlap potato sack. 

 Joshua's front yard

Massachusetts license plate : 478 -WFR

Vehicle Identification Number : 1B3BL18A9BD297933

Estimated Blue Book value of the Omni as determined by Kelley Blue Book: "$Salvage".  (No joke--check for yourself.  150,00 miles).

The Omni was purchased from our friend Todd McCarthy to serve as a "wagon" to transport us to and from the Plymouth Athletic Club. We bought the vehicle from Todd for a mere two hundred dollars. Todd had bought it for two hundred and fifty dollars from  some old lady in 1995. During the course of the Omni's entire life, only about six hundred dollars had gone into the maintenance and repair of the vehicle. It is a miracle that this chick magnet lasted as long as it did.  Todd never knew about this project, so... uhh, keep reading, Todd.  We're sorry, dude. 

Not very sorry, though.

The Players

Here are the principles involved.  Five men with the guts to handle Project Omni and all the injury and the... sadness that it brought.  To help you, the web surfer, get a better understanding of what was going down in our lives during that summer (and how our lives have changed in the two years since), we have provided the links below.  For a comprehensive profile of each fellow, click on the names to the left or on these head shots:


         Joshua Tupper  Ryan Gantz  Jonas Pizer  Daniel Sankey  Jeremy Gantz


Now that you know the scenario, click the shifter knob on the sidebar (or click here) to move this project into higher gear with The Forest Tests.  We spent quite a bit of time testing the limitations of the Omni to learn just how manly a car it was.  All observations were made in a purely auto-scientific fashion.  All exact quotations recorded during the two day session appear in green.  In some ways, this little car failed miserably, but it other ways it far exceeded our expectations.  Granted, our expectations were pretty damn low.

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