Cash For Clunkers program ruthlessly killed plenty of good cars

It was back in the depths of the 2009 Great Rescission when the U.S. Government launched the Car Allowance Rebate System, better known as the Cash for Clunkers program. Some $4 billion worth of government money was allocated for new-car purchases for folks trading “inefficient” vehicles. Sadly, a slew of rather nice cars and trucks met their demise through the program.

This fourth-generation Corvette is a prime example. It looks fairly clean, with no noticeable body damage and a well-running 5.7-liter V-8. A deep detailing job and a new set of tires seems to be all this Vette needs.

However, its owner traded the Vette in for $3,500 worth of government rebates on a new car, leaving the Vette to meet an early demise at the hands of sodium silicate. Yep, the “magical elixir” poured into the small block’s oil sump is designed to kill the engine. The solution turns into a glass-like substance when heated up, seizing the engine and destroying all the internal components for good. With a dead heart, these cars were unceremoniously sent to scrap yards for recycling. That microwave you bought in 2010 might just have Vette metal in it.

If you want to spook yourself out, just watch the video as this poor V-8 sings its last song. Searching YouTube for Cash for Clunker videos turns up a slew of similarly gruesome mechanical carnage. It’s such a shame so many nice cars were so needlessly destroyed.


Mark McNabb
Mark McNabb was a contributor at TopSpeed from 2013 to 2018. Growing up, Mark always had a mind for tinkering on random items throughout his home and dad’s garage, including a 1953 Ford Mainline and 1971 Corvette Stingray.  Read More
About the author
What do you think?
Show Comments
Car Finder: