Classic Car Corner - Crash

  • Written by Tom Berg, Windermere Real Estate

Alas, my record of never damaging any of my vintage vehicles is broken. I’ve had plenty of mechanical difficulties (including a blown engine)  and made use of my AAA membership lots of times but up to now I’ve never actually incurred any body damage.

I have now and it sucks.

tbird damageI was driving my beautiful red 62 T-bird to a listing appointment on a very nice fall day when I decided to get some fuel. The gas gauge works, but not very well, so I was being cautious since one doesn’t want to run out of gas on the way to an important meeting. I pulled slowly into the Shell station in Clearview and since my T-bird is an automatic I continuously had my foot gently on the brake. When I got to the gas pump I realized my foot was on the floor and I was headed straight for the store some 20-feet directly in front of me!!

Since I have lots of cars I don’t actually remember where the gears are located or even where the emergency brake is or if it works on most of them so I think perhaps I panicked. I’m not too sure what I did but whatever it was, it didn’t work and I drove right into a heavy duty bollard. That’s better than driving into the store but I did smash in the bumper and dent the hood. I think if I had acted a little quicker I could have found neutral or park or reverse and stopped in time and I am curious if I would act better next time (which I hope never comes).   

As some of you may have deduced, my master cylinder was failing but I sure hadn’t noticed it before this incident.  I suppose an astute driver might be able to periodically test the brakes but they had seemed to work just fine right up to the moment they failed. I will make a point of re-familiarizing myself with all my cars as I drive them so that I could respond to a failure in a more appropriate manner.

I am notoriously a “cup is half full” kind of guy so I see positives in this mishap.  First, Woodinville is home to “Fenders and Fins” – a terrific restoration shop that works exclusively on vintage vehicles and they will do a great repair job.
Second, last summer I parked my T-bird here in the #1 parking spot at Windermere while I went golfing. It was a nice sunny day but when I got back I noticed raindrops on my car, was pleased that it hadn’t rained on me and thought nothing of it.  The next day I noticed water marks on the hood, roof and trunk and had been unable to get them out, so now since I will have new paint on the hood I will have Jon paint my roof and trunk and my car will look even better than before.  

Third, I discovered that I have  zero deductible insurance with Hagerty so all I have to pay for is the extra painting.  And fourth, nobody got hurt and the only damage was to my car (and perhaps my pride).

In closing I say, “Drive your vintage vehicles” even though stuff happens and if you have time, stop by my office and show me your ride.

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