Created in 1989 by Dustin Shuler, The Spindle (AKA the Car Kabob AKA Cars on a Spike) has graced Cermak Plaza in Berwyn, Illinois for almost as long as I’ve been alive. The spindle sculpture towers above the parked cars in the lot, showcasing vehicles from the late 1960s to early 1980s impaled on a 50-foot spike. To me, this Illinois roadside attraction best known as being my first real glimpse of roadside oddities, to others it is probably best known for its cameo in the Bohemian Rhapsody scene in the Wayne’s World film (along with the Chicago Eye Care Indian).
Unfortunately, the years (and birds) haven’t been kind to the Berwyn Spindle sculpture, which has been plagued with rust (and bird feces) for years. Now, the car Spindle has a problem that no mechanic can fix: Walgreens.
Yes, my silly American friends, the city of Berwyn now plans to tear down the iconic car kabob to put up a brand new Walgreens. Plans have been in place for a while now, and despite efforts of multiple organizations to “Save the Spindle” (it’s been estimated that it will take $300,000 to move theBerwyn car sculpture), it looks like the Spindle’s fate is futile.
I’ve talked about it before…but it’s looking like the fate of this Chicago roadside attraction is more and more official every day. The Spindle in Berwyn, Illinois (aka cars on a stick aka car kabob) will soon be torn down.
Alas, in what seems like a last-ditch effort, the Spindle is up on eBay. While I’d hate to see the silly cars go from my backyard of Berwyn, it would be nice to think that the cars have found a proper home among the roadside attractions of America. So…if you have an extra $150,000 to spare… , bid on!
The Spindle in Berwyn, Illinois Update: May 2, 2008
It is a sad day in Silly America. On Friday night, with no warning, the Berwyn car Spindle, the car kabob, cars on a spike, was torn down.
All that is left of the Berwyn car sculpture right now is a stump and soon that will be cleared away too to make room for a Walgreens. From what I’ve seen and heard the top two cars may have been saved before the rest was ruthlessly chopped down. We’ll see if anything ever comes of those.
For now, Silly Americans, we’ll bid adieu to our tower of cars. It will be sadly missed.
Berwyn Car Kabob Update: August 2018
In 2017 The Berwyn Arts Council auctioned off the top two cars from the famous “Spindle” sculpture on Ebay: a 1967 VW Beetle and a 1976 BMW. After the car spike was dismantled in 2008, the Berwyn Arts Council and The Berwyn Route 66 Museum had taken the top two cars from the sculpture and placed them in storage with hopes of someday restoring them. Unfortunately they could no longer afford the storage so they put them up for bid. At the end of the auction their $5,000 goal was not met, and the future of the cars is still up in the air.
The Spindle Update: August 2022
In August 2022 a new version of the classic Spindle roadside attraction was unveiled on Route 66. Created by local artist Pete Gamen, this 23-foot-tall sculpture is a smaller-scale version made from fiberglass go-kart bodies. It sits in the parking lot of Paisans Pizzeria and Bar in Berwyn, Illinois.
Former Location: Cermak Plaza, Cermak and Harlem, Berwyn, IL
Admission: Free to see…$150,000+ to purchase
Date of Photos: August 12, 2007