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Hot Rods What was your closest call to disaster while driving vintage car

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Darin Younce, Aug 4, 2020.

  1. Lil'Alb
    Joined: Sep 22, 2013
    Posts: 210

    from brier, wa

    That has always been my biggest fear, losing steering!
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  2. saltracer219
    Joined: Sep 23, 2006
    Posts: 780


    Does spinning 219 out on the salt flats at 160+ a couple of times count?
    das858, ffr1222k, seb fontana and 7 others like this.
  3. This didn’t happen to me. It happened to my dad. So there we were driving to NSRA Bakersfield a couple years ago and we were just outside of Sacramento near the airport when this guy in an O/T Lincoln continental decides that he wants to be in the same spot my dad is in , so he forces his way into my father’s space and runs him off the road ( can you say road rage?) after which he took the exit to the airport. As much as I’d love to tell you what my father said after the incident, I can’t ( family forum and all)

    Sent from my iPhone using The H.A.M.B. mobile app
  4. NWRustyJunk
    Joined: Jan 2, 2017
    Posts: 388


    I had a 54 Hudson Hornet that tried to kill me a couple of times. First time, I was coming to the stop sign at the end of our road, and no brakes due to a bad master cylinder!! Luckily it was early in the morning, so there was no traffic. Second time, I was driving home from dropping a buddy off at his house when the left front tire blew out, about sending me head on into a lady coming the other way in a Honda Civic. Good times!
    chryslerfan55 likes this.
  5. partsdawg
    Joined: Feb 12, 2006
    Posts: 2,847

    from Minnesota

    Had a 1970 Triumph Bonneville motorcycle that tried to kill me at 55 mph but this is car site
  6. jaxx
    Joined: Mar 22, 2008
    Posts: 388


    65 ford pickup short bed fleet side - show truck - all custom inside and out - heading to an all ford show in Murfreesboro Tn. - a young kid heading home after a shift and a half of work fell asleep and crossed the center line at about 80 mph - I tried to get into the ditch but didn't get there in time - he hit me in the driver side door then tore thru the cab and under the truck - knocked the rear end out of the truck - tore the motor off the motor mounts and sent the truck about 40 feet in the air - landed in the ditch and the rear end was across the road - his car was wedged into the pavement - everyone lived but it was nasty - totaled both his car and my truck -- don't want to do that again - jaxx
    wicarnut, brianf31 and chryslerfan55 like this.
  7. Gabby
    Joined: Apr 14, 2007
    Posts: 259


    On my way to NSRA nats in Louisville 92 coming down the mountain out of Beckley, WV when I lose the right rear axle in my 38 Chevy. I was running 65 mph passing a semi on a curve . Had to climb over a guard rail and a barbed wire fence to get my axle and tire and rim to put in the housing so we could get it on a rollback.Wrecker drive told me he didn't think he would have would have gone down to get it as they have a lot of copper head and rattle snake in the area.
    LAROKE, wicarnut and brianf31 like this.
  8. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 5,386

    from Oregon

    saltracer219 and chryslerfan55 like this.
  9. 41rodderz
    Joined: Sep 27, 2010
    Posts: 5,386

    from Oregon

    Good old Beckley. Coal mines and great dirt racing.
    LAROKE and chryslerfan55 like this.
  10. Kilroy
    Joined: Aug 2, 2001
    Posts: 3,219

    from Orange, Ca

    Couple... When I was a teenager, I was flying down the 14 freeway in my 67gmc when the drivers rear tire passed me... Somehow that POS balanced on 3 wheels until I got it to the side of the road. Tow truck driver grabbed the wheel and tire first before recovering me and didn't say anything about it... Back when AAA were badasses...

    In my 49 ford... Approaching a stop sign in the left turn lane on Huntington Dr (huge busy street in South Pasadena... 4 lanes), I realize the brake pedal has gone all the way to the floor and I don't have the light... I have 4 friends in the car and I have to make a split second decision to ditch it into the back of the car in front of me, go rt into through traffic (blocked by a delivery truck), or swing into oncoming traffic and cut the light against the right of way... I see a narrow opening, cut left into oncoming traffic, punch it, make the left turn... Which was half the battle, because I still had to stop... My friends house was 2 blocks down, so I decide to wing it... Start downshifting the auto and pulling the hand brake.... Have to make another left into my friends street... Time it right and make the left without stopping... Then have to make a quick right into the Alley for his house... Barely make and and figure I'm home free, right... Wrong... Delivery tractor trailer, coming the other way down the alley... Lean into the parking brake and pray... Stopped about 3 inches from the bumper of the delivery truck... He figures there was more going on than just a bunch of stupid kids, backs up for me and we wheel into my friends parking lot... I fall out of the car and pass out.
    56don and chryslerfan55 like this.
  11. B.A.KING
    Joined: Apr 6, 2005
    Posts: 3,698


    Not driving so i guess it doesn't really count. I have a spot at HRR that i try to get every year. Try to be first there and last to leave looking at cars. I was setting behind my elky watching cars come in when i heard people start yelling. Looked up at a guy i was talking to, he started running the other way. I still trying to figure out what the hell is happing. The pits to Beach bend, the road to them goes right thru the show. Sharp turn. Guy with a motorhome and HUGE enclosed trailer cut corner to close leaving .When i finally looked down I could see the trailer running right against my bumper, about 1" from my arm. He never knew he was doing that. A friend stopped him before he got much further.He thought he had run over me. If he had not stopped him ,he would torn the rear quarter of a beautiful 70 Chevelle . Guy got out had Attitude. It was so close my bumper ripped a 110 receptacle cover off his trailer and it landed in my lap. I just knew the side was torn off car. I was afraid to look.crushed an antique tricycle i had .Only damage was a hub cap and I found when I got home it seemed to push rear frame rails together . I spent 20 year working at local short track, there were some close calls, was never as scared as i was then. Guy was very arrogant !! I could not think straight which is prolly good, with his attitude, he or I one would have ass woopin. I honestly was shaking it scared me so bad.
    wicarnut and chryslerfan55 like this.
  12. brianf31
    Joined: Aug 11, 2003
    Posts: 632


    It ain't no fun when you sling an axle, that's for sure!
  13. OLSKOOL57
    Joined: Feb 14, 2019
    Posts: 475


    Summer 1966, just installed new cam and solid lifters And new afb on my 348 in my ‘55 210 Sedan. My buddy and I were leaving a burger joint on a Sunday afternoon. I shifted my 3 speed Hurst shifter to first gear, looked to my left seeing a white car about 1/4 mile down the road, wound that W motor for all she was worth, side stepped the clutch, smoking the tires, crossed the center line of road, straightened her out and grabbed 2nd gear with a chirp. Heard the siren, saw the red light in my rear view mirror. I pulled out in front of a City Cop. Reckless driving, illegal engine and a Court date with the Judge. Beat the illegal engine not the Reckless driving. $250.00 fine. Oh to be 19yrs. Old again.
    wicarnut and quick85 like this.
  14. Mr48chev
    Joined: Dec 28, 2007
    Posts: 28,161


    Which time do you want?
    Add me to the Firestone N50 spun out in a rain storm brigade Times 3 as I didn't learn anything the first time.
    When I lived in McGregor TX in the 70's we drove hwy 84 to Waco. Locals from Central Tx know Cement plant hill out of Waco and that in a gully washer rain storm water builds up in a couple of sections of the road. I was on my way to work in Waco and hit a rain storm, the back end came around and I did a full 360 and went into the middle bar ditch going forward, slogged along in the ditch and got back on the road, and headed on to work, Funny part of that was there was a guy on his CB giving a spin by spin description of what was happening with me and then he asks If I am alright when he spots my antenna and goes on after I tell him I am OK. A year later I had my wife with me on the way to Lone Star Nationals in Waco and we spun out in the same spot in another rain storm but didn't hit the ditch.
    Spun it out up here in Washington in another rain storm with the wife and two kids in the car. Went in to the ditch backwards that time but again no damage.

    I towed a loaded to the roof 16 ft Uhaul from TX to here with the 48 in 1977 and the tail wagged the dog the whole 2500 miles. I had to stop and put some hd coil spring overloads that clamped to the axle to try to balance the load but that thing beat me to death the whole trip including someone turning me in for DWI in New Mexico and some banty rooster cop was giving me the whole dwi drill until his boss pulled up and told him to get the hell out of there. Then this officer says " I can see you aren't drunk so what is going on?"

    Had a little incident where too many adult beverages and way too much speed was involved with the 48 one night where I came to a stop after sliding sideways a bit three feet from a 20 ft drop off to rail road tracks. It was only two miles to home but that was a slow two miles.
  15. gene-koning
    Joined: Oct 28, 2016
    Posts: 2,184


    Another fun one. I was building a new hot rod and it was progressing very nicely. My wife and I registered for a big car show with the anticipation the car would easily be finished in time. As the show date grew closer, we faced the fact it wasn't going to be ready, too many distractions. Our 19 year old son had a hot rod that was road worthy, and he offered to let us use his car, and we took him up on it.
    The car performed pretty well. There were a few little issues, like the gas gauge didn't work, the auto shifter was off just a little, the speedometer was off a bit, and the car really sucked down gas. We got to the point we were filling the gas tank every 100 miles, and it was taking 12 to 13 gallons out of that 16 gallon tank every time. We adjusted, and really did enjoy the show.

    On the way home, we filled the tank about 85 miles from home and figured we would make it from there. Traffic was moving nicely, and we just tagged along with it. We were on the 4 lane section of US 20 through IL, about 4 miles out of Freeport, when the car suddenly stumbled. Then it recovered for another mile or so and stumbled again, then it just died for a few seconds. At this point I figured we were out of gas. I shifted to what I thought was neutral, but as I did that, the motor came back to life. I quickly discovered it was in reverse, and it grabbed! Posi rear end, both tires started turning in reverse while the car was still rolling forward at about 50 mph. The car launched sideways, in traffic! I grabbed the shifter and pulled it back towards me, and hit 2nd, or low? Again it grabbed, as the tires changed direction. This turned the car sideways in the other direction, but the traffic was now giving me a lot of space. This time I managed to get the shifter into neutral, and able to get the car safely off to the side of the road. The fact the motor had completely quit running and we were coasting, probably helped a lot. After we got stopped, a guy that was sitting at a side road and had watched the whole deal pulled up and offered help. I told him I thought we had ran out of gas. He got a gas can out of his trunk and gave us the 2 gallons or so the can held. He wouldn't let me pay him. We put the gas from the can in and drove to the nearest gas station, then we drove home.

    We told our son about our gas experience and he just laughed. After all that crazy high speed shifting, the 727 Mopar trans never did seem to have any ill effects from it. Even though I offered to help, he never did address any of the car's issues, I guess as a 19 year old he had other priorities. He sold that car a year or two later. He is 40 now, he still has hot rods, and he still doesn't seem to worry about getting all the bugs worked out of them.
    Though he has offered to let us use one of his hot rods a few times since then, we have not taken him up on it again. Gene
    wicarnut likes this.
  16. Hellfish
    Joined: Jun 19, 2002
    Posts: 6,464


    Driving back from our wedding, my wife's '51 somehow managed to break 5 of 10 front wheel studs right after some rain in the mountains of the Pennsylvania Turnpike with semis flying down the road. She managed to get it off the road before the wheels literally fell off.
  17. verno30
    Joined: Aug 25, 2008
    Posts: 1,059


    I was just getting into drag racing with my Model A in 2000. I was fighting a carb stutter so I took the car to the local county road (John Deere Rd) that had strange marks painted exactly 1320 ft apart. I mashed the gas and it stumbled and died. WTF? I was pissed until I looked up about 12 seconds later. Crossing the road was a huge deer. (the antlered kind, not the tractor this time)

    I learned 2 things: #1 Deer suck #2 Stop testing on the street. I still think about it 20 years later as I cross that road
  18. Dennis D
    Joined: May 2, 2009
    Posts: 665

    Dennis D

    Do you mean like the time my girlfriend was.....and I hit the pothole?????
    Nicholas Coe and LAROKE like this.
  19. WiredSpider
    Joined: Dec 29, 2012
    Posts: 763


    How about Backwards at speed thru the Wendys drive thru window on a rainy night in a 32 Roadster?
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2020
  20. toml24
    Joined: Sep 23, 2009
    Posts: 1,620


    Many years ago at Perris Auto Speedway in Riverside, CA., the vintage racers group known as the WRA were offloading their vintage cageless Sprint Cars for display at the track. There was some distance from the offloading location to the actual display area and the Sprint cars was either pushed by hand or by push ATV. I was just standing around looking when suddenly someone yelled out to me to get INTO a Sprint Car and drive it towards the display area. I did as instructed and then a ATV came along and started to push the Sprint Car, faster and faster and FASTER!! Suddenly everything began to blur and I felt I was going 110 MPH with no brakes. I frantically waved my hand over my head and the ATV released its grip on the car and I slowly rolled to a stop. To say I was scared shitless would be an understatement. I didn't hit anything, but WOW!! What a ride! All of 100 yards.
  21. Kamp
    Joined: May 27, 2006
    Posts: 358

    from Peoria, IL

    Not a greatly exciting story, but traveling the interstate in my '31 Coupe on the way home from the street machine nationals, I approached a couple vehicles in the right lane with an 18 wheeler in front. Big Ford pickup and a few cars behind me, but a clear stretch in front. No big deal, right? Well, one of the cars was a Lexus, which proceeded to cut me off and then slam on the brakes while traveling at interstate speeds. With nowhere to go but into the ditch, that's exactly what I did at probably 75mph. Glad I did, the Big Ford about smashed into the Lexus, and I was lucky there wasn't a culvert, sign, giant couch thrown off, whatever ... hidden in the tall grass that I couldn't see over. I bent a mount for the split bones in front (which really jacks up your alignment!) but I was able to repair it at the next service station and make my way home relatively unscathed.
    LAROKE likes this.
  22. ramblin dan
    Joined: Apr 16, 2018
    Posts: 2,323

    ramblin dan

    Was coming back from a car show out of town on a two lane road with farm land on both sides and not a house in sight. Far ahead of me was an Rv and the rest of the guys I was with were following me. All of a sudden in the distance a small plane started coming down out of the sky onto the road we were on towards us. The plane was clearly in trouble and with big ditches on both sides of the road neither the Rv or the show cars were driving had nowhere to go and were barrelling towards each other as the plane touched down on the road way ahead of us. The plane was taxiing towards us as we stopped and we thought it would stop in time but it ended up clipping the Rv and coming to a stop in front of my car with it's other wing almost above the roof line of my car.
    LAROKE, Terrible80 and 56don like this.
  23. hotrod37
    Joined: Aug 8, 2006
    Posts: 116

    from Indiana

    Not long after getting my Chevy on the road, coming back from a show. Going through a town, stop at a light in traffic. Car dies, wife and I look at each other. I reach down and start car. No neutral switch! Car starts, chrips tires, I can see the Chevy smashing into the little old lady in front of us!
    Next purchase was a neutral switch!!
  24. AldeanFan
    Joined: Dec 12, 2014
    Posts: 697


    Stopped by a friends house one Friday night to show off my Roadster.
    When I left I figured I’d better put on a Show and let ‘er rip. About 50’ in to a great burnout and Just as I was about to grab second the steering wheel came off in my hand!
    I locked it up and slid in to the ditch on the left side of the road just short of hitting the culvert.

    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
  25. dan c
    Joined: Jan 30, 2012
    Posts: 2,174

    dan c

    my dad bought a robin's-egg blue '41 ford coupe right after
    ww2 broke out. he was driving down to chicago from milwaukee on an ice-covered road when his new car started doing 360s. he came to a stop after about 8 revolutions and was pointed south--no harm done!
  26. Chrisbcritter
    Joined: Sep 11, 2011
    Posts: 1,886


    About thirty years ago I was in my '64 Imperial, headed north on Lake Avenue in Pasadena. At Walnut I had the green, doing 40, when some southbound idiot started turning left in front of me. Nailed the brakes and swerved to the right, just missing him, and thank heaven there were no cars parked at the curb. The engine stalled from the hard braking, but I was still rolling, so I punched the Neutral button, cranked it, hit Drive, pulled back in my lane and continued up Lake like nothing happened (except it took several blocks to catch my breath). Knew I couldn't do it again in a million years.
    LAROKE likes this.
  27. Darin Younce
    Joined: May 8, 2019
    Posts: 576

    Darin Younce

    Ha , could have been but he never new.
    Chrisbcritter likes this.
  28. 1987, Dallas. Driving my '62 Impala coupe, L60s on the back (pretty worn), Took the ramp off of SB I35 forEB I635, gentle sweeper, but had been drizzling. Before I knew what was going on, I was sliding backwards over the curb into the grass, and all I could see in the mirror was the HUGE concrete overpass support column getting closer pretty quickly. Managed to get it stopped short of carnage, but it was a slow trip to the tire store.
  29. Bob Lowry
    Joined: Jan 19, 2020
    Posts: 420

    Bob Lowry

    Was 17yrs. old, living on my own in Phx., AZ. Had a '40 Chevy coupe street rod, SBC, 4 speed, NO scatter shield which was normal in those days when you had no money. Got into a street race and had a clutch explosion that went up through the floor board, taking out half of the dashboard. Ripped out the brake line as well. When I looked down and saw the road, I knew it was serious. Initially I couldn't feel my right foot and thought it had been severed. After I coasted to a stop, the feeling started to return to my foot again. Saved my money and have always installed a scatter shield in all of my stick cars since then. Never quit street racing, and that was in 1966. Fun times and still wrenching.
    LAROKE likes this.
  30. Bob Lowry
    Joined: Jan 19, 2020
    Posts: 420

    Bob Lowry

    Was 17yrs. old, living on my own in Phx., AZ. Had a '40 Chevy coupe street rod, SBC, 4 speed, NO scatter shield which was normal in those days when you had no money. Got into a street race and had a clutch explosion that went up through the floor board, taking out half of the dashboard. Ripped out the brake line as well. When I looked down and saw the road, I knew it was serious. Initially I couldn't feel my right foot and thought it had been severed. After I coasted to a stop, the feeling started to return to my foot again. Saved my money and have always installed a scatter shield in all of my stick cars since then. Never quit street racing, and that was in 1966. Fun times and still wrenching.

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