About 3 a.m. Wednesday, Doug Rose stood outside an auto repair shop, guarded by a tan pit bull, with a sign reading "100% Satisfaction Guaranteed!"
Detectives entered and his worst fears materialized. He saw what was left of his $300,000 champion drag racer, Green Mamba, which was stolen Nov. 1 outside his apartment when someone towed away its trailer.
What Rose called his life and livelihood had been chopped up, torn apart, its jet engine gone.
Seeing it dismembered was worse than discovering it had been stolen, he said.
The owner of Manuel Auto Repair at 4805 N Coolidge Ave. couldn't be found Wednesday, and no one was at the shop. The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office made no arrests.
Rose carted the scraps back to his garage. "You guys want to get sick?" he asked a group of reporters. "Come on over and look."
"This is the nose of the car," he said, lifting the beheaded serpent-like cone with brown snake eyes. He held up ripped upholstery that seemed like shed snakeskin.
When asked whether he could rebuild it, he ticked off a list. He had spare jet engines. The car's nose was intact. It would cost thousands.
"Oh yeah," he said. "I have another chassis. I'll have another car. ... I'll have this thing running."