A close call for a classic car

Earlier today, I had the misfortune to be in a line of traffic following a tree service truck onto I-287.
At the beginning of the ramp, the truck was doing only 20 mph, but I assumed that the driver would have the sense to accelerate to something close to highway speed when he got closer to the merge. Unfortunately, he decided to maintain 20 mph at the merge, even though the truck was lightly-loaded.

Obviously, everyone in the conga line in back of the truck was checking his side-view mirror for a safe chance to pull into the center lane in order to get past this rolling hazard, but because of a steady flow of traffic, we were all essentially trapped in back of that damn truck. However, that didn’t stop the guy in back of me from veering into the center lane, directly into the path of a beautiful '56 T-bird that was cruising at or above the road’s 65 mph limit.

Clearly, a '56 T-bird lacks the braking power or the handling ability of a modern car, but–somehow–the driver of that classic was able to avoid hitting the a-hole who veered directly into his path.

Kudos to the driver of that beautiful red T-bird for being able to avoid that collision!


My son used to work in a grocery while in school. One day a co-worker of his was whacked about a block from work. He had a gorgeous '67 GTO. Took out both front fenders, hood, and bumper.

I think the kid sold the car as is rather than fix it. No way could I have given that car up because all of the damage was bolt-on superficial stuff. It really didn’t look that bad at all.

For a one time stop from normal cruise speeds, those old brakes were not inferior to modern disc brakes. The older cars suffered from not having modern tires. Putting on modern tires on those older cars greatly improves their handling and braking.

The real issue with those old drum brakes was not having a backup system, that is they only had a single master cylinder and that the brakes would overheat on repeated stops from higher speeds. Today one of the major issues is getting a brake shoe with a decent friction pad, they all seem to come with only the lowest quality friction material.

I beg to differ.
The drum brakes on my '71 Charger SE were so pathetic that you could feel them start to fade before the end of a high-speed panic stop. Maybe a '56 T-Bird had better brakes than my much newer Charger, but–then again–maybe not.

That’s the risk you take when you forgo modern safety equipment and drive a classic car or ride a motorcycle.

I know a guy who collected and drove classic cars. He owned his own business and someone I know who worked for him said he was a great person to work for.

The man died one day, in a collision that people said would have been survivable in a modern car. It made me wonder if it was worth the risk.

That same friend of mine happened to witness the death of a client who chased after his car as it was being towed. Parking at the client’s condo is limited, and my friend was parked in the driveway, so the client briefly parked on the grass, which the condo had been clamping down on. As the tow truck driver was pulling away with his car, he chased after it. Somehow the car swerved from side to side, and ran the guy over.

The other night I had a dream about driving a classic VW Beetle, a car I’ve always wanted, but when I consider the risks with an awakened mind, I realize it’s not worth the risk.

(Yes, I ride a motorcycle, but I’d look silly driving a classic Beetle wearing a helmet and a crash jacket.)

Anyway, I hope this helps put things in perspective. Cars are not worth dying for.