A psychiatrist named Elisabeth Kubler-Ross wrote a book titled ‘On Death and Dying’ in 1969 and discussed her experiences when she worked with terminally ill people.

The five stages have been applied to any heavy sense of loss in peoples’ lives over the years, and the stages are a topic found on many psychology papers written by students who have experienced few life-altering circumstances up to that stage in their young lives. For the record,”He didn’t call–or she gave me a bogus phone number” are not even remotely tragic enough to qualify as life-changers in any way, shape or form.

However, tragedy is a big part of the car hobby so we at MyStarCollectorCar would like to illustrate the five stages of grief as they apply to the world of car guys.

The first stage of grief is denial, an understandable emotion when a situation arises wherein a car guy believes “this can’t be happening to me”. Problems such as a blown engine, clutch, transmission, rear end, or any other mechanical calamity that puts a vintage ride on the side of the road will initiate denial as a defense against the cold slap of reality.

The second stage of car guy grief is anger: right after it becomes difficult to deny the grim fact things have come to a grinding halt on the side of a road and an easy solution may not be at hand. In fact, an easy fix is not even close, so a sense of frustration may make the car guy angry enough to punch a puppy if the little furball was in the disabled vehicle.

Fortunately, the anger stage typically results in a generous output of profanity to relieve the tension and few puppies have ever been harmed to the best of our knowledge here at MyStarCollectorCar.

The third stage of grief is bargaining, an emotional phase in which the car guy starts to assess his situation and figure out where he can get a replacement part or vehicle, depending upon the severity of the problem. 

Bargaining may also be necessary when a car guy tells his bride how much the repair or replacement may cost and what he is prepared to offer during the post-car breakdown negotiations with her. Sadly, the car guy may find himself negotiating with her lawyer if the bargaining does not go well with his bride.

The fourth stage of grief is depression, a point reached by car guys when they realize the repair or replacement costs for the vintage ride are too steep and he can’t afford them or a divorce at this point. This nightmare scenario has no easy solution for a car guy, and he is understandably depressed about a choice between an old car or an angry bride.

Which brings us to our last stage of grief: acceptance.

BY: Jim Sutherland

Jim Sutherland is a veteran automotive writer whose work has been published by many major print and online publications. The list includes Calgary Herald, The Truth About Cars, Red Deer Advocate, RPM Magazine, Edmonton Journal, Montreal Gazette, Windsor Star, Vancouver Province, and Post Media Wheels Section.