For a new blog post, I’m looking for first-person accounts of your first dumb fender-bender. Make them funny! And if you have photos (maybe your younger self with the car before you bent it), attach those, too. A long paragraph or shorter is good. Time is of the essence! The best stories received by the end of the day Wednesday will get posted on the site.
What site? Link?
Are you associated with the car talk web site?
It appears not, which makes this spam.
Hi everyone, it’s actually not spam. That’s Jim Motavalli, one of the bloggers on cartalk.com.
He should have posted his full name and explained why he was requesting the stories better.
So there I was, fairly new driver in my 1961 olds dynamic 88, now at a busy intersection, with stop signs and traffic backed up due to a traffic light a few blocks ahead, a guy waves me to come through, so I did. Missed a car in the opposing lane, probably 1970 or so, danged if I did not hit his front fender, and tore up the side of his car, even got a scratch in my chrome bumper. We exchanged info, My parents made me pay for damages as they did not want to turn it into the insurance agency. No police, no ticket, $736 I think it cost me. When some one waves you on proceed with caution.
I was 16, just a couple days earlier got my driver’s license. I was backing out of my parent’s one car very narrow garage. I had finally obtained permission to take their 62 Ford Galaxy with a wrap-around chrome front bumper for a drive by myself. I can still see it in my mind, like it happened yesterday. They were both looking out the kitchen window. I wanted to be especially careful not to back into anything, so was looking in the rear view mirror with eagle eyes. Bang! I got the steering wheel a little crooked I guess, and the wrap around front bumper’s edge hooked the garage door opener track and bent it into a pretzel … lol …
My dad – bless his heart – comes out, takes a look at the situation, issues no complaints to me at all, but instead gets out his hammer and bangs on the track to bend it back into more or less the original shape. And away I went on my first solo drive.
I had just gotten my license days earlier and took a tight corner a bit too shallow, putting a crease in my mom’s car from the car parked on the corner. Those were the days of metal bumpers (the '60s) and there was absolutely zero damage to the parked car… and just a small crease in my mom’s. My mom and dad were great about it. Everyone lived.
Young driver impatient with being on a short leash. Decided to sneak out with Mom’s 1965 Olds 98 land yacht one afternoon while Dad was napping. Put the car in neutral and with driver’s door open and hand on steering wheel pushed to start it rolling out of the garage. The physics of mass weight took over. Took about a second to impale the sharp top corner of the open driver’s door into the garage wall beside the garage door. Had to start the engine, pull forward, then back out. Dad never said a word for twenty years, just let me sweat every time he glared and frowned at the slash in the wall.
The morning after I proposed to my fiance, I was still so starry-eyed and mesmerized about it that I drove right through a red light and crashed into another car.
Fortunately no one was hurt.
17 years old, driving my 1964 Pontiac Tempest. 215 CID 6 cylinder with a 2 speed automatic transmission. Not enough power to spin the tires on wet pavement but it could haul 5 passengers and the driver and another 4 or 5 in its huge trunk. Pretty much a perfect first car for a kid. My grandfather bought it new and gave it to me right before my 16th birthday. It had rust holes in the usual places and not all the turn signals would work. That was important, I couldn’t take my driving test in the car if the turn signals didn’t work. That started my odyssey with my DIY hobby with cars, right there.
I fixed the lights, took my drivers test and passed the very first time 18 days after turning 16, the earliest you could get a learner’s permit in my home state.
I didn’t like the rust holes nor the sea-foam green color (I hate green) of the car so I dug into repairing the body with fiberglass and bondo. LOTS of fiberglass and bondo. I worked on it for a year while working and going to school. The fall after my 17 birthday I took it to Maaco and had the car sprayed blue used on some model of Thunderbird. Coincidentally, very similar to the color of the Thunderbird my grandfather now owned.
During the winter ice storms, I was driving in an iced over alley behind my favorite underground comic store… Remember the Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers?? That kind of comic book store. I was moving slowly because of the ice and was hit by a car coming from a tee to the alley right in the newly painted, fiberglass-repaired LF fender. He was not much older than I was and his car was similar in age and condition. He was apologetic and accepted fault. I was crushed after doing all that work.
We traded info and he asked said he’s pay cash if I didn’t call the cops. He didn’t have insurance (not required then) but he promised to pay. My father rolled his eyes when I explained all this and told me not to expect to see any money. I got 3 estimates and called him on the phone to explain. He came by my house to indeed pay up. A lesson in trust. A good lesson with a good outcome.
I fixed the fender again myself and saved the excess cash for the paintwork. Never did get the paint re-sprayed as shown in the picture. I sold the car with primer on the fender.
My first accident was as a result of my inattention/being distracted by one of my rear seat passengers. Something fell off of the rear seat onto the floor, she made a big fuss over that situation, and I turned my head to see exactly what the problem was.
At the exact moment that I turned my head, the driver of a tractor trailer in front of me hit the brakes, and I “crunched” the hood and grille of my father’s '63 Plymouth against the “under-rider” bar on the back of the truck. Luckily, the front of the car contacted the back of the 18-wheeler at very low speed.
Some states–including mine–now ban new teenaged drivers from carrying more than one passenger, simply because of the distraction factor, and my first accident is a perfect example of why this is a good idea.
Incidentally, while I dreaded my father’s reaction when he saw what I had done to his car, he remained very calm, and simply said, “We’re not going to file an insurance claim. Tomorrow, get three estimates, and then take enough money out of your bank account to cover the cost of the lowest estimate”.
Believe it or not, the cost of a new hood and grille (plus painting the hood) amounted to ~$400., and the way that my father chose to deal with the situation helped to teach me a lot about responsibility.
I was 16 and driving my 55 Chevy in a trailer park. The trailer park was for people over 55 only, sort of an old folks home and my brother was mowing lawns there. As he was moving the lawn mower to the next space to mow, a buddy of ours was sitting on the hood and I was idling along talking to our buddy and my brother, not watching where I was going. It was only about 2 mph, about as fast as my brother could push the mower.
Well this old lady had decided to visit a friend so she had driven over to her friends and just parked in the middle of the street. Suddenly my brother shouts stop, I hit the brakes and our buddy slid off the hood into the back of the 57 Plymouth and I hit him and the car. The 57 Plymouth had huge tail fins, but the trunk lid slanted downward to enhance the size of the fins. He had landed on the trunk lid so when I hit him and the car, instead of being crushed, he sort of popped up into the air.
He didn’t get hurt, but the fin got bent over a little. It cost me $60 to get it straightened at a body shop.
A year later, almost to the day, I was working in the same trailer park mowing lawns and the same old lady in the same Plymouth ran into the back of my Chevy. She only hit it hard enough to put a little ding in the gas cap door.
Yes, I really am Jim Motavalli, the Car Talk blogger, so please do send in your stories–with photos if you have them.
That 1964 Pontiac Tempest was a pretty good looking car @Mustangman . My 62 Galaxy had a nice appearance too. It’s all consistent w/my theory that the best-appearing car designs occur every 30 years. 1900’s, 1930’s, 1960’s, 1990’s, and the next one will be in just a few years, the 2020’s … Can’t wait for 2020’s. Hopefully we’ll see the end of the current wagon-wheel trend.
@GeorgeSanJose Thanks! I really liked the look of the car when my grandfather bought it. He traded a turd of a 61 Chevy for it. He had a good eye for a number of iconic car designs…
He owned a 32 Ford, a 40 Ford, a 57 Chevy (Powerpack 283, 4 barrel, dual exhaust!) and the 64 Tempest. It looked like the first GTO, just wish it had the engine, too!
I think I’ll pass on this one. Nothing funny about getting T boned in a VW bug. At least it hit on my side and not hers.
“Nothing funny about getting T boned in a VW bug”
However, being able to survive the collision and (presumably) not be seriously injured is at least a positive thing.