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Hot Rods Ever think about getting in an accident in your hot rod?

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Big A, Oct 14, 2021.

  1. trevorsworth
    Joined: Aug 3, 2020
    Posts: 949


    I recall reading that Malibu was already a junker, with severe structural rot. But that generation of cars does not typically hold up well in accidents regardless.
  2. nochop
    Joined: Nov 13, 2005
    Posts: 2,390

    from norcal

    That’s what I thought too
  3. Fisher400
    Joined: Jan 27, 2020
    Posts: 124

    from Reading Pa

    Yea, maybe at a low speed impact…it reminds me of a story my grandfather told me, he was in his 54 Chevy when a 65 mustang hit him head on. He was doing 45 and the stang was doing 60+(the driver was drunk at 8 am). When the stang hit it pushed the engine and trans into the front seat throwing my grandfather towards the passenger door and breaking the latch and dispensing him in the lawn of the Blind Association and at the feet of some blind guys waiting for the bus. Needless to say he was hurt bad but survived. Drunk guy refused to pay for the medical bills initially even… crazy. He said not having seat belts saved his life in that situation…you can see those old cars just folded up at head on impacts… I guess we know why there was an argument when seat belts first came around… was it really safer to be trapped in an old car or better to be thrown around inside or even thrown from the car? None of it sounds good!
  4. nochop
    Joined: Nov 13, 2005
    Posts: 2,390

    from norcal

    Similar thing happened to my dad in a 59 Olds….except it was a mule deer. Caved in like a tin beer can.
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,308


    Yeah, I think about it. Then I usually just forget about it as quickly as I think of it. Why? These are not "normal" cars and are usually not used as such. I live rural, just 5 lousy miles from my shop, my commute is meaningless in that regard. Would I drive my car like regular transportation? Maybe after several thousand miles when all the reactions and senses become 2nd nature like we have in our domestics. I tend to drive everything as if I'm in my dually pulling a trailer. Room, turning, stop time, reaction time, looking further down, all around. Situational awareness. I'm not dissin here at all, and no matter how aware you are some lumpdick jerkoff is gonna wreak havoc. Some little twit will be texting and driving. Our cars don't fare highway gymnastics very well and visibility is limited compared to new stuff. WE have to be adjusted. I'm only offering perspective and I have no words for how much I hate or regret this type of misfortune when it happens to our hot rod brethren. I'm so glad you fared as well as you did and hope it never happens again, to anyone really, but we all know anything anywhere can indeed happen. All the best, to everyone.
    Thor1, Big A, 61Cruiser and 4 others like this.
  6. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 4,281


    You mean the 59 Belair? Look at the video, examine it in still motion....See severe rust? some dirt and dust but I see no rust..
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2021
    Thor1, nochop and Fabulous50's like this.
  7. I don't think about getting into accident but I always think about safety.

    I have seat belts in my 53 Chevrolet, the brakes are in good working order etc.

    On my vintage racecar build I thought about placement of switches, bars, the event of an emergency they will not impede me from getting out.
    Stogy likes this.
  8. I've always thought about it and have installed lap belts in my old '32 roadster and lap and shoulder belts in my '32 pickup when I built them. I'll put the best seat belts I can in any car I own. I've seen too many people die from survivable crashes because they weren't wearing a seat belt. Without them your head is going to hit the windshield and the header above it, or any of the hard parts of the body. I'd rather survive and live to drive another day.

    The possibility of an accident in a hot rod really hit home when I lost a good friend, Ron Hickman, who was in an accident in his '32 roadster in July of 2016. He died a few months later of his injuries. Some guy pulling a trailer pulled into a parking lot of a closed strip club to make a u-turn and came directly back onto the highway without looking or stopping right in front of Ron and his two granddaughters. There was nothing Ron could do, except throw himself in front of the kids, who were belted in. The seat belts and Ron saved them from more serious injuries but his body bore the brunt of the impact and he was severely injured and never recovered. I had just seen Ron at the LARS and sat with him in his roadster at Bobby Walden's Open House just weeks before the accident. Ron drove thousands, if not tens of thousands of miles all over the country, way more than anyone I knew, and this happened not far from his home. You just never know what's coming your way on the roads. I learned that at an early age in 1972 when I was on my new Honda, coming from making my first payment at the bank, when an old lady turned left in front of me, leaving me in the middle of the street flopping like a fish with three broken vertebrae in my back. She was turning into a grocery store parking lot and didn't even know she had hit me, I had to yell at bystanders to stop her from driving away. I had owned my first motorcycle for just a month then and learned that people will kill you if you give them half a chance. I rarely ride my Indian Chief these days because it just isn't worth the risk of some idiot taking you out because I see it happen far too often.


    Last edited: Oct 17, 2021
    Big A, wicarnut, Tman and 2 others like this.
    Joined: Feb 21, 2010
    Posts: 359


    Big A I can tell you I am thinking about it a lot more than ever before after reading these 4 pages on the topic. Glad you survived your accident and thank you for posing the question. It really is quiet sobering. Take care and be safe
    Big A and Stogy like this.
  10. Budget36
    Joined: Nov 29, 2014
    Posts: 7,573


    Funny ( not in a laughable way by any means) but your tale of you on the MC is what I just saw, well went past, on my way to work. Country road around 6:30am, see a bunch of cars parked. A guy using a flashlight directing traffic. I cruise around (still dark) I see a what could have been a model A to a 34 Ford Vicky in the middle of the road and a big Harley stick underneath it.
    Many folks
    Attending to the fellow on the other side of the car, biker it had to have been. It appeared as I was thinking about it driving on, the hotrod had to have pulled in front of the biker.
    I just kept hoping he was alright as I went on to work.
    But at 6:30 in the morning, still dark, I don’t thing drinking could have been involved, who knows. Just seemed it was a bad “accident”.
    Ok. I just had to get that off my chest as it did shake me up some. I couldn’t have been too far behind it, EMTs, fire trucks and Sherrifs were coming in as I past by.
  11. SS327
    Joined: Sep 11, 2017
    Posts: 451


    Deer scare me more than anything. I wiped out my 63 Bel-Air with a big ol buck that just walked away. Wiped out my 02 Malibu deer went through windshield in my lap.
    When I was learning to drive everyone said drive defensively well a good defense begins with a great offense! I drive as offensively as I can and most people want to stay away from me! ;)
    Lloyd's paint & glass likes this.
  12. Truckedup
    Joined: Jul 25, 2006
    Posts: 4,281


    Fucking deer...can kill a motorcyclist. A deer ran into the side of my 37 Chevy truck...hit the driver's door then the bedside and limped off into the woods trailing blood, dead deer walking....
    The door had a large dent and even the thick gauge bedside was dented...
    Joined: Jun 3, 2005
    Posts: 8,308


    I'm going to add something. Some of the cars I build and service have wooden structures wrapped in sheetmetal, so a nightmare scenario in my mind is if I were to get hit in the side, the body or door takes a hard shot, the wood breaks and I'm gutted like fuckin deer in autumn if I was strapped in by a seat belt, where otherwise I'd be tossed either to the other side or indeed thrown from the car. Which is better? I didn't come to this concern over a 6 pack of beer and a milk crate, I spent 5 years in crash and safety and got to see some events at the barrier test facility. Intrusion, inertia, crumple zones, forces decellerated or accellerated, all part of safety concerns in new construction today. The crash test dummy was a $100,000 device that even "bruised" to show the personal damages to occupants. WE have to be the safety device in these cars. I've raced as well, and of course I was strapped in and caged should the worst occur. I love our vintage tin and what we here do with or to them but at the end of the day they're not up to 80 MPH in 4pm traffic on a Friday. Do we go without? Oh HELL no, we just consider the risk and drive accordingly, or as the old TV commercial used to say "Drive defensively, and WATCH OUT for the other guy."

    wicarnut and Stogy like this.
  14. jnaki
    Joined: Jan 1, 2015
    Posts: 6,434


    “This happened to me a few years ago. All my fault. Was pulling up behind an SUV and foot slipped off brake onto gas pedal. Slow speed but still $10k in damage. Not a scratch on the SUV the trailer hitch did all the work. It had 3 point belts as does the one in my avatar. Hoping not to need them again.”

    upload_2021-10-18_3-47-58.png 1962


    My brother was insistent on getting a solid bar trailer hitch vs a normal angle iron unit. Those that we saw at stores and welding shops were strong, but he had future plans of towing our Willys Coupe build. So, he had a custom made 2x3 inch solid bar unit with a nice shiny ball on top installed on the Impala. It stuck out past the rear bumper of our 58 Impala and the custom tow bar fit nicely, as did our wiring for the Willys rear brake lights.

    We used it almost every Saturday from 1959 to the late summer of 1960. It never faltered or had signs of wear. But, the cool thing was it was a safety guard for the rear of the Impala. The 6 red taillights never got damaged, thanks to the solid trailer hitch. It was just at the correct height to ward off any intrusion from the rear.

    When I parked in the front row of the local, Bixby Knolls drive-in restaurant parking lot, the row behind us was for the teenage hot rods and cruisers. The front row was the second choice if one was not available in that premium back row. So, the Impala was sitting in the front with the rear sticking out into the narrow through fare of the parking lot.

    Sometime in the evening, cars were coming through and one guy in the back row tried to turn his hot rod sedan to get out, but as the angle of the parking spaces was such that he had to go forward toward the front row cars and then make the right turn for the exit. Well, this time the guy just forgot to put in the clutch and brake to stop.

    He rolled up on my rear bumper and luckily, for me, the trailer hitch hit his license plate, the front bumper with some force and smashed in both. It was a nightmare that no one wanted to see, but it did happen and I was relieved that nothing happened to the rear of the black Impala.


    Then during one summer at Merle’s Drive-In in Newport Beach, the same thing happened, but it was a shorter distance in the rear parking area of the drive-in lot. We were in the front row of the rear parking area, the coveted front row to see the cars cruising by in front of us. But, behind us was the second row of cars in the odd shaped lot. They were on a slight slope as the property made a slight rise to the major street behind all of the drive-in location on MacArthur.

    The girls in the car behind us had finished and as they were ready to leave, she must have put in her clutch as their car rolled down and hit the trailer hitch at such an angle that it damaged her front bumper and part of the grille. The slope made the trailer hitch higher than normal and the license plate got little to no damage. She was so apologetic, but no damage was done to my Impala. The 6 red taillights survived again. She was going to have a lot of explaining to do for her parents.
    Big A, wicarnut and Stogy like this.
  15. tbirddragracer
    Joined: Jul 25, 2013
    Posts: 101


    T-Boned a SUV that made an illegal left turn in front of me, never saw it.
    A 1957 factory option lap belt kept me in the car. Kissed the steering column,
    broke all facial bones, nose, knocked out all my teeth, concussion, tongue almost severed, and left leg broken in four places. Thank you Mr.Ford for that lap belt.
    My black '57 T-Bird has a three point system I devised. IMG_0152.JPG
    Big A, wicarnut and Stogy like this.
  16. 31Apickup
    Joined: Nov 8, 2005
    Posts: 2,813


    September 1991, had a little old lady hit me. Hit the left tire hard, bent the steering box mount ( Vega cross steer). E5D273DB-2BEB-4089-AD0B-A28E2F61B484.jpeg
    Big A and Stogy like this.
  17. rpu28
    Joined: Jan 17, 2006
    Posts: 173

    from Austin

    "Ever think about getting into an accident in your hotrod?"

    Yes, but decided against it.

    Seriously, drive with the assumption that the accident won't be your fault.
    49ratfink, Big A, X-cpe and 3 others like this.
  18. Tman
    Joined: Mar 2, 2001
    Posts: 35,183


    Drivers are simply getting worse and less attentive. On Sunday my wife and I were about sideswiped THE EXACT SAME WAY in two separate incidents. Car merging from the right and thinking they needed to cross all lanes and be in my FAR LEFT lane. First one was at speed, second one in town at about 30mph. Good thing I drive defensively.
    Stogy likes this.
  19. trollst
    Joined: Jan 27, 2012
    Posts: 2,069


    At sixteen I had a 65 vauxhall viva, a car about the size of your thumb. Short story, was head onned by a kenworth on a back country road, no seatbelts in the car, my buddy dave with me. Under the truck we went, both doors opened and spit both of us out, car turned into a white ball of metal, and after a bit, We crawled up our respective snowy banks in horror. Survived because of no seatbelts, but I have worn them ever since.
    vintagehotrods, wicarnut and Stogy like this.
  20. Guy Patterson
    Joined: Nov 27, 2020
    Posts: 317

    Guy Patterson

    I was hit in the rear while stop at 45 and had on a 3 point seat belt. The belt broke and I bounced off the steering wheel and hit my head on the windshield header. the airbags did not go off and my son though I was dead because was stunned. He opened the door and I fell out of the car and the woman who hit us though I was dead also an panic broke out. I spent the night in the hospital with a puncher lung and one bad headache but my son was ok as I told him to lay down on the seat an that kept him from injury
    Stogy likes this.
  21. You can have 'safety' or you can have 'strictly traditional', you can't have both. My '51 pickup has three point belts, but also an OT Chev pickup seat that includes removable headrests. I took them off, then realized how close the back window is to our heads and put them back in... I don't want to bash the rear window on rebound. I've heard a few negative comments over the years, but screw the 'shouldn't have those' guys, they can sacrifice their noggins, I prefer to keep my wife's and my craniums intact.
    But....know-it-alls will be know-it-alls.
  22. wicarnut
    Joined: Oct 29, 2009
    Posts: 8,143


    Rereading and following this thread it brought up a memory I choose to never remember, buried it, a bad deal. I was 17, 1965 cruising with my girlfriend who then became my first wife in friends car, him driving with his girlfriend, he was a station wagon guy. We were driving west on Villard ave by St Micheal's hospital, the road curves just west and we were hit head on by a guy drag racing going east in a new Mustang, the Mustang driver ended up in a wheelchair, his passenger died, he went to jail for a while, my buddy, crushed hip, misc injuries, bit his tongue off, Dr's reattached it, speech impediment problem rest of his life, his girl went under dash, many broken bones, fully recovered, ended up being his first wife, my girl the least injured, we were both thrown out of car, her, bumps, bruise's, no broken bones, myself, hit my face on way out or when landing, many stitches, broken teeth, caps repaired that, no broken bones but a severe concussion, I'm told I had to be watched 24/7 for a while as I was way goofier than normal, not that I've ever been normal. I was a street racer before this event and after, but I did use my head some as I never crashed being a Dumb Ass street racer. I've stated many times, I'm a very Lucky man, many times in my life things could have turned out differently/bad. I've been blessed with a guardian Angel, very thankful to be here sharing my history, still make sense most of the time at least to me. LOL I agree that today's drivers are scary, some of it is my age/time, as stated in my previous post, I made my cars as safe as they could be, added seat belts, disc front brakes, etc drove/enjoyed them never dwelled on the danger part and always on defense when driving, thinking riding motorcycles all my adult life makes you a very defensive driver. End of my BS for this AM, Everyone have a Great day and Be Safe out there.
    Big A, Stogy and Guy Patterson like this.
  23. wheeldog57
    Joined: Dec 6, 2013
    Posts: 2,206


    I think about it often, usually when I drive the roadster. The car is small and lightweight, when I get in I kind of wear it. Really scared to get T boned. Glad you are ok.
    Stogy likes this.
  24. SS327
    Joined: Sep 11, 2017
    Posts: 451


    The things I think has made the roads less safe is automatic transmissions, power steering and power brakes. It has allowed people with faulty brains to drive cars. With the older cars you had to pay attention to the road and others. You had to have the strength to handle your machine and presence of mind. Now a days people treat it like sitting on the couch and watching tv. I say take away the automatic trans, power steering and power brakes and let people learn the skills to drive again.
    Stan Back likes this.
  25. gimpyshotrods
    Joined: May 20, 2009
    Posts: 19,237


    That's ableist.

    If I didn't have a left foot, would you still expect me to drive stick?
  26. SS327
    Joined: Sep 11, 2017
    Posts: 451


    No, I’d expect you to walk, you probably lost your left foot in an accident any way. It’s called the Darwin Principal. :D
  27. Rusty J
    Joined: Nov 25, 2019
    Posts: 112

    Rusty J

    I've got a 64 Chrysler 300 and with a newborn I fully intended to have ride along, I had to install seatbelts and child seat anchor in the rear. I talked extensively with the vehicle inspection people at Autopac (A Manitoba vehicle licensing agency) and since there was no 'rules' on what to do with the old cars - it was suggested to study new vehicles. I studied the cars in the junkyard to see how seatbelts are anchored into cars and copied the steel plate bracing as well as extra reinforcing for the package tray - none of the modifications are noticeable and were made to look factory. A guy did come by to see how I did this mod, and now suggests the same procedure for others looking to do this mod.
    I did this because a friend's model A (with lap belts) was being rebuilt and when I was stripping the body I noticed the belt anchors - which was the bolt and 3" washer the lap belts generally come with had deformed the floor enough to be easily noticeable and the hole was larger than the drill bit that was used. No collision, just the occasional hard braking was enough to do this damage... so weld on the brace panels under the floor is the lesson I'd like to pass along to you kids.
    Stogy likes this.
  28. 6sally6
    Joined: Feb 16, 2014
    Posts: 1,799


    Be easy to "hate on somebody like that!" (But don't!)
    People/drivers are NOT like they were 30-40 years ago..........
    It's all about them......they don't want to get involved because they are afraid of a law suit......high on prescription meds/drugs .....too durn stupid to be behind the wheel....totally distracted.....looking for somebody else's insurance to buy them a new ride...... maybe she just made a mistake...(pick one!)
    Glad you're on the mend!!
    ( BTW...I think about it A LOT)
    Big A, deathrowdave and Stogy like this.
  29. SS327
    Joined: Sep 11, 2017
    Posts: 451


    Read my posts above. ^^^^^^^^^^^
  30. rivguy
    Joined: Feb 16, 2009
    Posts: 144


    The biggest changes in cars over the years has been in occupant protection. Newer cars cars are inherently safer, but as many of you have commented, adding things like a three point seat belt/shoulder harness can be a big improvement. I rode motorcycles for over 35 years, and in many ways small roadsters are much like them. When you spent most of your life riding bikes you became comfortable accepting a certain degree of hazard in your life. Traffic conditions seem worse than ever, as a lot of drivers are clueless, distracted or hostile. All we can do is drive as defensively as possible. I've owned and driven 50's and 60's cars but never anything like a traditional rod. At my age I'm sticking to later model cars.

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