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The Car Spindle

The car spindle

Car Spindle In Berwyn Parking Lot May Be Torn Down
Spindle Was Featured In 'Wayne's World'

(CBS) BERWYN, Ill. An eccentric piece of roadside art that put Berwyn on the map for many travelers could be on its way to the scrap heap.

The Berwyn "Spindle" features eight classic cars on a giant spike. It is located in the Cermak Plaza shopping center, at Harlem Avenue and Cermak Road in the western suburb.

The Spindle, also known as the Eight Care Pileup or the Car Kabob, was built in 1989. Gradually it became a tourist attraction.

It was featured with several other Chicago area landmarks in a scene in the 1992 movie "Wayne's World," in which Mike Myers' "Wayne" and Dana Carvey's "Garth" are supposed to be driving through Aurora and singing along to Queen's "Bohemian Rhapsody."

But according to the Chicago Sun-Times, a developer wants to tear down the Spindle to make way for a new Walgreens drugstore.

The sculpture could be moved, but it would cost more than $300,000.

Berwyn Mayor Michael O'Connor doubts city residents would be willing to kick in tax dollars. "The Spindle has always been a controversial thing,'' he noted.

Spindle creator Dustin Shuler calls the dismantling "painful" and "a loss for Chicago."

"Personally, I would have moved the Walgreens (site) and left the Spindle where it is," said Shuler, speaking Monday from southern California.

The budget for the piece when it was built $75,000 and "we went over that,'' Shuler recalled. The foundation, he said, "is hellacious -- it's 30 feet into the ground.'"

O'Connor said ownership of the mall "is at odds with each other: Part wants to (move) it and part wants to take it down and junk it. So we have a little bit of a dilemma."

When then-mall owner David Bermant commissioned the work 18 years ago, an angry Berwyn resident said the sculpture would make the town "the laughingstock of the western suburbs," while a local elected official decried it as "more junk up our gazoos." Shuler, who came up with the idea by playing with toy cars, said of the design: "I just thought it was cool."

Today, the Spindle is touted in several travel guides, including one that lists it under "Road Cheese.''

O'Connor lamented the rust and pigeon waste that pockmarks the cars but said "from a marketing standpoint, I like the Spindle."

"We've had people from all over the world e-mail: 'Where is it? How (do) you get there?' It has definitely been a plus for the community," O'Connor said.


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