Apocalypse how? Vehicle modding inspiration for the end times
In my new novel Graft, the Britain of 2025 has all but collapsed. Up in lawless Manchester, local mechanic Sol props up his workshop business by stealing cars and scavenging their parts, while his partner armours vehicles for use on the country’s dangerous roads.
In Britain now, of course, things aren’t quite so harsh. But as they say in the cub scouts: be prepared. Will you have access to safe transport come the end times? And if only have time to nick your gran’s Fiesta, what will you do to make it ready?
Here are six fictional rides that might give you some ideas for apocalypse-proofing your pride and joy.
Wayne’s Mirth Mobile (Wayne’s World)
When it feels like the apocalypse is just around the corner, humour and fun can seem in short supply. Time to take a leaf from Wayne and Garth’s book – paint some daft flames up the side of your car, stick ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ on repeat, and start rocking out with your nearest and dearest. It won’t earn you any supplies, it’ll waste your petrol, but at least you’ll be laughing. And during the end times, it might be nice to forget the bad stuff for a while.
Lady Penelope’s FAB 1 (Thunderbirds)
This six-wheeled, pink, bulletproof, fully weaponised Rolls-Royce would be perfect for anyone wanting a bit of road presence during the collapse. Sadly, few in a crisis would have the resources (or the outrageous taste) to pull it off. The rest of us can simply run with theme – roller-paint your motor pink, don a flowing scarf, and cruise about like you just don’t care. Bonus points for a tin of oil in the footwell – you can empty it out of the window if you’re being tailed.
Modified Peugeot 406 (Taxi)
With the super-modified Peugeot 406 from Gérard Pirès’s super-silly Taxi (1998), you wouldn’t just have a fast getaway vehicle – you’d have a means to make a bit of cash on the side (handy in a post-Uber world). But even if you don’t have access to a Pimp My Ride-style garage, there’s something to be said for giving a bog-standard car a lot more oomph. Make some performance tweaks, and you’ll be able to outrun the baddies when it matters. As long as there’s any petrol left, anyway.
Tachikoma (Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex)
Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex’s Tachikoma crab-tank-things might look and sound cute, but they’d be a handy tool to have lying about in the garage should something kick off. In the anime series, they’re jolly little killing machines – their AIs happy to look after themselves or protect you at all costs. A cheery attitude is the kind of levity you’d want in that sort of situation. So: stick some scary metal appendages to your car and tinker with your satnav’s voice, and you’re well on your way to road-warrior status.
Max’s Pursuit Special (Mad Max)
Speaking of road warriors: Max’s V8 interceptor is the pinnacle of wasteland transport. This being a muscle car, you’d only really use it to move quickly in straight lines, so it’s not ideal for many of the UK’s winding roads. But as inspiration goes, it’s right up there on looks alone. Grab a leather jacket, cut a hole in your bonnet, throw in a ridiculously big supercharger (or a lawnmower – nobody’ll notice), and plant your foot. For added authenticity, rub some sandpaper down the panels. Nobody’ll try and carjack you if they think you’ve come straight from the desert.
OK, so this one’s not fictional. But the story of Killdozer is so grimly fascinating it almost could be. That’s because, over a period of eighteen months, pissed-off workshop owner Marvin Heemeyer armoured an actual bulldozer with layers of concrete and steel, then went on a two-hour-long rampage – destroying 13 buildings (including the town hall) in the process. You’d have to be unhinged to pull it off, but if you did want to armour-plate something heavy for the road, it’s reassuring that you’d only need a bit of steel sheet and some readymix. Apocalypse prepping starts at your local hardware shop.
Manchester, 2025. Local mechanic Sol steals old vehicles to meet the demand for spares. But when Sol’s partner impulsively jacks a luxury model, Sol finds himself caught up in a nightmarish trans-dimensional human trafficking conspiracy.
Hidden in the stolen car is a voiceless, three-armed woman called Y. She’s had her memory removed and undertaken a harrowing journey into a world she only vaguely recognises. And someone waiting in the UK expects her delivery at all costs.
Now Sol and Y are on the run from both Y’s traffickers and the organisation’s faithful products. With the help of a dangerous triggerman and Sol’s ex, they must uncover the true, terrifying extent of the trafficking operation, or it’s all over.
Not that there was much hope to start with.
A novel about the horror of exploitation and the weight of love, Graft imagines a country in which too many people are only worth what’s on their price tag.