Most people wreck a car outside of their garage…

Posted: April 20, 2013 in Antique trucks, Diamond T truck, Tin Can Tourists, travel, Vintage trucks
Tags: , , , , , ,

DSC04455 (1024x768)…but not here at Cool McCool’s Garage! We do it INSIDE!

A combination of human error, and a Lokar shifter neutral safety switch that turns out not to be all that safe, resulted in this.  A front bumper mangled and sprung, two bumper brackets bent into pretzel-like shapes, chips in the paint on the hood, cowl, and grill shell, and a right front fender that was jammed up against the tire, sprung and buckled out of shape.

Pretty disheartening after 4 years of work, to crash it before it’s even licensed.

Happily, the truck is insured with “Hagerty” classic car insurance, and they assure me (insure me?) that the truck will be red, shiney and wrinkle free soon, and totally covered.

All of this when I leaned inside the cab from the passenger side to turn the ignition to “On” after fixing the gas gauge.  I’d taken it out of park to move the gear shift back to pull the screws that hold the gauge panel in, and before buttoning everything back up after I found the bad ground that was causing the gauge to not work, I thought, “I’d better check that before I bolt everything back together.”

I leaned in the truck, turned the key, which I thought was “Off”, but was really “On”.  Turning the key resulted in the truck instantly starting,  and since the Lokar shifter was in “Drive”, the truck jumped ahead, and crashed into a 4″ heavy wall steel pipe set in concrete in the garage floor.

If there’s a silver lining in this fiasco, it’s that the pipe was there, otherwise the truck would have hit the ’48 Pontiac parked at the back of the shop dead center over the right front wheel.   I didn’t get caught on the door handle, or the bed rail and dragged, or run over.  It really could have been MUCH worse.

So, I pulled the bumper off, and tugged the front fender off the tire by hand, and am driving it to Muffler Man tomorrow morning for an exhaust system.  I set the tow-in on the front wheels to  1/8″, and will get it aligned next week.  Then, hopefully, I can get the fender fixed and re-painted before May 17th.  If not, I’m getting a bumper sticker to put on the front thanking Lokar for their unreliable neutral safety switch.

And I will never, ever, turn a key on car I’m not behind the wheel of again…

DSC04457 (1024x768)DSC04460 (1024x768)

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Comments
  1. Christine Ruzicska says:

    I’m glad that you were not injured during this unfortunate event. It is still beautiful, even with it’s boo boo’s (:

  2. Gene Brechtelsbauer says:

    Been following and am sick-BUT no blood shed, that’s how the school of hard knocks works. You BETTER make it to the spring rally, as a lifetime diesel truck mechanic that worked at a DIAMOND REO dealership starting in 1970 am looking forward to an in person view. starship enterprize (earthbound)

    • flynbrian48 says:

      Thanks Gene! We’ll be there with it even if the fender isn’t completely refinished. LOL, if we have trouble, I’ll enlist you to fix it so we can get home with it!

  3. Scotty Gosson says:

    Brian: This happened to a friend of mine with a Lokar shifter in his Model A pickup. Pulled off the road to fix an under-the-dash headlight switch with the truck running and his wife standing outside to tell him when the lights worked. He bumped the shifter with his leg, it popped into gear, and knocked his wife through a wood fence before he could react. Those things need a gated guide plate and neutral safety switch.

  4. flynbrian48 says:

    Lokar makes beautiful stuff that’s great for show cars, but in the real world, they make parts that are too fussy, too finicky, but not suitable or safe to use. A friend of mine here is an NSRA Safety Rep, and inspects hundreds of cars every year at events all over the country. According to him, his team recommends to EVERY car owner with a Lokar or Gennie shifter to bypass the built in neutral safety switch and use a GM or Ron Francis one. He said that MANY cars fail NSRA inspection when they start in gear when checked. Much to the owners shock. HIs own ’34 cabriolet has a Lokar with a RF switch. He said NSRA has been aware of for some time, and have tried to work with Lokar for a fix, with no success. When NSRA says a product is unfit to use, we should listen. And let their members know.

  5. Rod Kiser says:

    That sounds like what happened to me Brian.

    Hagerty wil make it good. They have for me.

  6. Debbie says:

    Oh, no! So sorry. What some may see as minor we car people see as “Oh, my gosh!”

  7. Joe Chasse says:

    Glad to hear that you weren’t injured! Reading previous posts: shame on lokar and glad I sold my project with a lokar in it before it was finished!

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