Each year, the Car Talk Vehicle Donation Program accepts thousands of vehicles on behalf of NPR stations around the country. Most of them are pretty standard fare. But every now and then, a ride comes along that causes us to fall out of our chairs.Like this one – the Zebra/Rhino mobile, a.k.a., the Zehnomobile.
Coveting a convertible that will make heads turn? We’re auctioning this car right now – and the proceeds will benefit WWNO in New Orleans. You can check out the Miata auction, going on now, with vehicle specifications here.
Miata enthusiasts, public radio supporters and any other people who find regular paint jobs boring: Now’s your chance! Don’t miss your big opportunity to own this unique ride.
To learn more about this rather outgoing ride, we talked with Zehnomobile owner, Kathy Cain.
Car Talk: Okay, Kathy, so what’s with the stripes?
Kathy: The transformation of the Miata from sporty to stripey occurred at the time that our company rebranded itself about a decade ago. We adopted the Zehno mascot, which is a cross between a zebra and a rhinoceros.
Car Talk: Zebra plus rhino… zebra plus rhino… oh, we get it! How’d you get the Miata, anyway?
Kathy: Zehno’s Paulette Hurdlik was trying to sell her “midlife crisis car,” her red Mazda Miata. But the only other people who were interested in buying the car were young boys who lacked the cold hard cash. So, we got creative.
You can read the birth announcement here.
Kathy & Paulette, back in the day.
Car Talk: What’s it like driving this car around town?
Kathy: The best part is seeing the reaction of motorists, local children and especially tourists. It usually gets a double take. In many cases it brings out cheers from all of those LSU Tiger fans around the state. They think it’s a tiger… not a Zehno!
Car Talk: Why did you decide to donate the Zehnomobile to support your local station?
Kathy: We’ve had it for 10 years now. Zehno is established as a company, so we’ve gotten our big bang. We support WWNO and wanted to contribute in a way that had real value. This felt like the right move for us. We’re thrilled to be able to do it!
Car Talk: What colors will your next car be?
Kathy: Who knows! I’ve owned the Zehnomobile, a 1955 Chevy two-door hard-top, and a 1968 Mustang Convertible that was red with a white interior. Perhaps it will be a different kind of animal all together.
Car Talk: Thanks for supporting your local public radio station, and best of luck trying to find a car that can fill the shoes of this wild ride!
Kathy: It was our pleasure!