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A California man recently swapped his 1999 Oldsmobile Bravada in good condition for a smashed-up 1995 Isuzu Trooper, believing the Trooper’s value doesn’t lie in its spare parts but in the damage itself.
Roy Howard of Anderson, Calif., made the trade after the Isuzu was hit Feb. 26 by an unidentifiable piece of debris that fell from the sky in Cottonwood, Calif., dented the Isuzu’s dashboard and melted part of its windshield, the Redding Record Searchlight reported.
A lifelong enthusiast for all things rock-related, Howard said he’s also recently become interested in meteorites, which is why he wanted to preserve the damaged SUV. The Trooper’s owners passed up offers for free repairs from nearby Mike’s Body Shop and Platinum Auto Glass in order to make the swap with Howard.
“To me, it’s worth more not fixed,” Howard told the Searchlight.
The offending debris, which was black and gray with rough edges and about the size of a golf ball, was sent to the California Department of Justice for analysis.
Meteorite expert Darryl Pitt, curator of New York’s Macovich Collection of meteorites, told the Searchlight a “meteorwrong” was more likely the culprit for the odd damage to the Trooper.
“(A meteorite) doesn’t have the power to melt or change what it’s hitting,” Pitt said. “It can smash the hell out of it, but it won’t change it.”
Because of the uncertainty surrounding exactly what the hunk of space junk is, Howard has requested that the piece be sent to the Arizona State University Center for Meteorite Studies for further testing.
In the meantime, Howard has another project to keep him busy: an ongoing search for a meteorite “about half the size of a Volkswagen Beetle” that fell near his home in 2001. Howard said he’s canvassed the local area by helicopter four times attempting to find it and is still on the lookout.