Do you ever wonder where that car you really really liked that got sold off for pennies at copart after you wrecked it went? I did, and I found it.
In December of 2014, I came home from my first semester of college, and my old hand me down gmc envoy needed enough work that it was no longer worth fixing. So I was tasked with finding a replacement vehicle by my parents. I made a list of cheap, fun performance cars, including things like civic si’s, BRZ’s, Miata’s, and things like that. I ended up getting shut down on quite a few of them, but I somehow convinced my parents a 2014 focus ST was a good idea. He was then christened Otis after Otis Redding, and a 2 year blissful journey ensued. Otis and I went all over the country together. I put almost 45000 Miles on him going everywhere from college in Florida, to home in Tennessee. I even took him on the dragon. It was a brilliant car, which at its peak made almost 300hp, and occasionally shot fire. Until I screwed up.
Sometime in early January of 2017, I took a corner a little too hot, the back end kicked out, and by the time I corrected one wheel had dropped off the edge of the road, and it sucked the car into the ditch. It bounced off the other side of the ditch and rolled over, coming to rest the right way up, facing the road. Thankfully though, it kept me safe. The structure was so strong that all 4 doors opened and closed after the accident. No airbags went off, weirdly, but I was uninjured. The tow truck arrived and wisked him away to a tow yard so that the insurance could decide what to do. Of course they totaled it, and sent it to our local copart to be auctioned off. I went to say goodbye, and get my personal effects out, and that was the last time I ever saw him. I watched the auction with intent to try and get him back, but the bid rose above what I was allowed to give, and someone in Texas bought him for 2200 or so dollars. That was all I knew, up until now.
Fast forward to now, life moved on, I dropped out of traditional school, came home, and ended up going to a trade school for welding and machining, and I now have a job at lane motor museum in Nashville. I drive an 04 ranger, and am constantly looking for something to replace it. Every few months, I google otis’s Vin number to see if anyone has put him back on the road, or is selling him for parts. Mostly I got copart auction results and photos, as well as the aggregator sites that host them. This time though, I found something interesting. I found a “sample bill of lading” from a company called Oceania exports LLC, listing otis’s Vin number as contents in a 40’ container headed to Arequipa, Peru, by way of the Panama Canal.
This was finally a lead. I looked into this Oceania exports company, but there wasn’t much, A crappy website and a phone number. I thought this might even be just some generated thing using a random google search to BS some container contents to transport something more sinister. But, on the assumption that he really was in Peru, and that there aren’t that many focus st’s there, I simply googled “focus ST Peru”. And after a little bit of searching through google images, I found and Oxford white focus st that looked strangely familiar.
Sure enough, it was him. Otis has been given a new lease on life, he’s been straightened, cleaned up and put back together, and is currently sitting for sale in Arequipa, Peru, at a dealer called “wise cars group” for 17.500 American. They didn’t list a vin number, probably for good reason, but I know it’s him because of the blue and white stitching on the center console and shift boot, the carbon vinyl wrapped air vents, the custom cutout in the airbox I did with a Dremel and some weather stripping, and, most notably, the fact that they left my flippin stickers on the back quarter window. This whole discovery was a little bit jarring and conflicting to me, primarily because it made me happy to see that he didn’t just get left to rot somewhere, someone took the time to fix him, but it also really bummed me out because I know I will probably never see him again.
Over the next day or two I processed all this information, and thought about what to do. My initial reaction was “let’s go get him back!” But it isn’t that easy. By the time I got it here, If I could even get it in the country, let alone retitled and reregistered, id probably be in it deep enough to buy a brand new RS. And at the end of the day, it’s a car I wrecked almost 2 years ago, that got reassembled in a second world country, that they want $17,500 for because it’s a premium item down there. It hurts me to say, but it’s not worth my attachment to the car to go get it. So Im finally going to close the book on Otis. He got me from so much more than a to b. He was a hell of a car, and was my escape from a rapidly changing and uncertain life. Now he gets a second chance half a world away, and I hope whoever buys him has as much fun as I did. If anyone is interested in the car, and you are in a location where you can go see him, I’d love to get the story and maybe even some pictures of how they rebuilt him and how bad he actually was to repair. Thanks for the fun, bud. Enjoy your South American retirement.