As longtime Scene readers know, actress Daryl Hannah used to drive a badass biodiesel-fueled 1983 El Camino — that is, until it was purchased via eBay auction by Nashville's own alternative transportation guru, former radio personality, tech entrepreneur and all-around good guy Freddie O'Connell. Perhaps you've imagined what it would be like to peel out on vegetable oil in a Black Keys album namesake once driven by Elle Driver. Well, now's your chance: The car is up for auction, and that auction ends today at 2 p.m.
Why would someone give up the privilege of spending even the most banal driving errands sitting in a chair whose shape was partially molded by the downward force of Daryl Hannah's backside? As O'Connell explains, "I always knew the only thing that could get between me and that car was a woman. In this case, it was my infant daughter." So Freddie's decided it's time to ride the lightning with a new (safer, backseat- and air bag-equipped) electric car — but his loss could be your gain. More from FOC below:
O'Connell Pulls Newport 1965: Going Electric
Says Actress Daryl Hannah Gave Him Ride of His Life
Nashville, Tenn. — Feb 13, 2012 — After four years of motoring bliss, Thomas F. "Freddie" O'Connell is giving up Daryl Hannah's Badass Biodiesel El Camino, which he bought from the actress on eBay.
Asked what could make him do such a thing, O'Connell responded, "I always knew the only thing that could get between me and that car was a woman. In this case, it was my infant daughter." O'Connell has assumed responsibility for daycare drop-off and needed a car that could more safely accommodate a car seat than his beloved El Camino.
In four years of regular driving, O'Connell accomplished his goal of driving demand for alternative fuels in Middle Tennessee. "Thanks to the Vanderbilt Biodiesel Initiative, Hillsboro Village Good Neighbor Auto Service, and Daily's, I was able to avoid ever having to fill up with ordinary diesel. I was always able to use a biodiesel blend. And I had started talks with some friends and Clean Cities of Middle Tennessee to see about getting a small refinery (for recycling used vegetable oil) and co-op going, possibly based at the Nashville Farmers' Market. It's my small part in the process of achieving greater energy security."
Among the craziest stories from life with the El Camino happened on day one. "We brought it home after having had it shipped to Nashville from California. It started, which was a good sign. In the driveway, we popped the hood, and there was a living black widow crawling around. So that became the nickname for the car."
The car, equipped with an iPod-ready stereo and powerful speakers, was hard to let go of. "I faced a timing issue. I knew we needed to go out in style, so we captured a little bit of footage, but it would've been fun to take the time to do a more elaborate project. It's definitely a missed opportunity." O'Connell demurs on whether any of the footage will ever see the light of day. "The soundtrack for my final ride was Rob Zombie's 'Dragula,' Cracker's 'Let's Go for a Ride," and the Magnetic Fields's 'I'm the Luckiest Guy on the Lower East Side.'"
O'Connell hopes that safety first won't mean cool last. "I actually think it's pretty remarkable how much progress has been made in just the last couple of years. I started researching my first car in late 2007, the year after Who Killed the Electric Car? was released. Now my next car is very likely to be electric, and that'll be a pretty cool thing for my baby girl to talk about someday. As cool as the El Camino was, it'll be even cooler to be in a vehicle that produces zero emissions." O'Connell has begun negotiating terms on a 2012 Nissan LEAF.
O'Connell says his first time around the block as a car owner was a thrill ride. "I made it past the age of 30 without ever having owned a car. Honestly, in some ways, it seems like the car found me. It certainly seduced me." He asserts that the next owner will be getting more than sloppy seconds. "There are a lot of new parts under that hood. And not many people can say that they bought a car that used to belong to Freddie O'Connell."
The car is available in the February auction, closing Thursday, Feb. 16th at McLemore Auction Company, run by local auctioneer Will McLemore.