The crash of the Zephyr. An uncontrolled physics experiment.
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    1. #1
      Member barry2952's Avatar
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      The crash of the Zephyr. An uncontrolled physics experiment.

      The driver has pled no-contest to causing a permanent injury. The classic car insurance paid off more than I had it insured for. They covered every dime our medical insurance didn't and we fell and landed on a big pile of money when we agreed to the fastest mediation, ever. In fact, the lead representative from their insurer asked to apologize to us personally before the negotiations began. That bode well for a pain-free mediation.

      Fortunately, our permanent injuries took some getting used to, but we've regained some degree of mobility. The crash has left my wife with a real fear of travel and and I lack the ability to walk any real distance as I lost 2/3 of the hamstring in my left leg. I'm strongly considering selling the collection as the cars aren't much fun if you don't use them. They've kinda become a burden.

      It was a little more than your every-day bang-up nearly two years ago. More like an uncontrolled physics experiment. Imagine, if you will, a 2 1/2 ton 1942 Lincoln Zephyr doing 55 and a distracted semi driver hauling scrap metal doing 65 with the cruise on. At the last moment she swerved and ran up the back of the car with the right tire crushing the fuel filler neck. We were spit out from under the semi as we went into a violent spin that knocked my wife out and blurred my vision. We came out of the spin and slid sideways 100 feet at about 50 miles an hour. The rear tire blew and the steel wheel dug into the dirt causing the car to flip, side over side, in the air, 5 times before we came crashing down on the passenger side and flipped up on he roof and came to rest with my wife hanging from her seat belt. As my head cleared I recognized the sound or burning brush and knew I had to get her out of the car, but she had a head injury from hitting the passenger door. I had no choice. I unlatched her and she fell on me like a rag doll. I pushed her out of the car, but couldn't move my left leg. I rolled out over her and likely broke 4 of her ribs. I went Superman, pulled myself up on the upside-down car and saw flames 15 feet tall. I grabbed her wrist and literally flung her 8-10 feet from the car and crawled to her. I was dragging her a foot at a time when a good Samaritan came along and took her to safety. I started crawling away from the burning wreck and someone grabbed my shirt and started dragging me. Then the gas tank exploded, knocking us to the ground. It only took one person to carry my wife away but they gathered 6 to pick me up and take me to her 300 feet away. The laws of physics were looking out for us that day. The car didn't fare very well, but the newly-installed lap belts kept us in our seats. They save our lives as we surely would have been flung from the car.

      The semi driver walked away from the crash. The seat belts saved her, too. Wear them if you have them.







      If you're gruesomely inclined. These are the State Police crash scene photos.

      http://s244.photobucket.com/user/bar...?sort=3&page=1

    2. #2
      Member vwpiloto's Avatar
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      I just cannot imagine the feeling you must have felt when you saw your wife in that state. That alone is horrific. Glad you are both doing ok considering the accident's scale. It's awful that you can no longer enjoy the hobby that you love, but hopefully that will give you the opportunity to discover a new one.

    3. #3
      Member barry2952's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by vwpiloto View Post
      I just cannot imagine the feeling you must have felt when you saw your wife in that state. That alone is horrific.
      I must have been in some kind of state myself as I yelled at her twice, "Are you dead?" I don't know what response I was expecting. Fortunately, I don't seem to have the psychological problems from the accident. Mine are all physical. I was kinda hoping for a much different retirement.

    4. #4
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      Speechless.

    5. #5
      Member GruuvenNorth's Avatar
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      Wow...glad you guys made it. That is quite the wreck.
      Seat belts save lives indeed.
      Easy like Sunday Morning.

    6. #6
      Member megaDan's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      Terrifying story
      People are idiots. I hate everyone.

      Happy you made it through, if you can call it that. Saddened that your life has changed so drastically because someone couldn't be bothered to monitor their 65mph torpedo.

      Not trying to be political at all, but we really need to wise up and take safety into consideration when it comes to drivers instruction and licensing. More frequent, more difficult tests. Driving should be a privilege, not a right.



      Quote Originally Posted by deftonesfan867 View Post
      Ohio makes me wanna punch babies.

    7. #7
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      Wow, glad you came through. I thought gas tanks exploding with actual force after fire in cars was just a Hollywood thing

    8. #8
      Barry, I'm so sorry to hear this happened to you and your wife. Wow, man.
      Muh cahs: allpic My 3 C's- Challenger, Camaro & Corrado -*Dusk Edition SS-*Group-*Challenger RT
      Quote Originally Posted by vwlarry View Post
      Mine was white, and I sprayed on the BRG with a rattle can. "Instant Lotus Cortina!"
      http://forums.vwvortex.com/showthrea...ighlight=lotus

    9. #9
      Wow, amazing that you and your wife came out of that alive and mostly intact. You both could have easily died.

      God sent you a message.

    10. #10
      I love older cars, but hearing something like this and seeing the crash test videos of old vs newer cars gives me huge concern. I am not sure how well even a modern car would hold up to a loaded semi though.

    11. #11
      Member barry2952's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by dr whos it View Post
      God sent you a message.
      Doubtful. I'm a die-hard heathen.

    12. #12
      Member Ross1013's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by silver330ci View Post
      I love older cars, but hearing something like this and seeing the crash test videos of old vs newer cars gives me huge concern. I am not sure how well even a modern car would hold up to a loaded semi though.
      Yeah, this story made me even more convinced that it's OK to want the safest possible 'fun' cars and not feel like a pansy. I love this hobby but not enough to die or be disfigured from it.
      Past: '06 Accord V6, '95 Taurus SHO, '01 ITR, '98 Civic HX CVT

      Quote Originally Posted by jamerican1
      Dude, you know you're like the opposite of a purist, right?

    13. #13
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      JESUS CHRIST

      Wow.

      Damn.
      Germans are white people. Look up #84 on the list of things white people like: Gear. Lots of Gear. We even have gear farkles over here. -Atomicalex

      Upon my word I have had as much excitement on a car as in the air, especially since the R.F.C. have had women drivers. -James Byford McCudden

    14. #14
      Member barry2952's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by RobMarkToo View Post
      Wow, glad you came through. I thought gas tanks exploding with actual force after fire in cars was just a Hollywood thing
      It wasn't Hollywood-like at all. When the car was upside-down so was the gas tank. In the movies these always have accompanying flames and what looks like shrapnel. This was (just) a low-frequency pressure wave. As the last drop of fuel exited the tank the fumes ignited. The normally rectangular tank ballooned out, even bowing the trunk floor.



      There were some serious forces at work.


    15. #15
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      Doubtful. I'm a die-hard heathen.
      Perhaps for your wife then?

    16. #16
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      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      The crash has left my wife with a real fear of travel
      I read your story to my wife and she reminded me her fear of intersections, she was t-boned by an idiot that ran a red, and totally understands your wife's fear.
      Germans are white people. Look up #84 on the list of things white people like: Gear. Lots of Gear. We even have gear farkles over here. -Atomicalex

      Upon my word I have had as much excitement on a car as in the air, especially since the R.F.C. have had women drivers. -James Byford McCudden

    17. #17
      Member barry2952's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by dr whos it View Post
      Perhaps for your wife then?
      She's the one that made me stray. I was my Sunday School class President, but it didn't stick. I prefer science now.

    18. #18
      Wow. Amazing. Wow.

      The important thing is that the car is dead and you are telling the story, not the other way around.

    19. #19
      Quote Originally Posted by barry2952 View Post
      She's the one that made me stray. I was my Sunday School class President, but it didn't stick. I prefer science now.

      Science, where do you think that comes from?

      Anyhow glad you two each made it out in one piece. Hope you both recover near 100% as possible soon.

    20. #20
      Geriatric Member Aonarch's Avatar
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      So glad you guys came out alive from that. Insanity.

    21. #21
      Senior Member VWVan's Avatar
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      Wow man, glad you guys are still with us!

    22. #22
      Member Sledge's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by megaDan View Post
      People are idiots.
      I can deal with idiots as long as their vehicle is much lighter than what I'm driving. It's a bit different when it's 80000 lb of steel
      "The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views...which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering."
      - Doctor Who (Fourth Doctor) "Face of Evil"

    23. #23
      Member barry2952's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by silver330ci View Post
      I love older cars, but hearing something like this and seeing the crash test videos of old vs newer cars gives me huge concern. I am not sure how well even a modern car would hold up to a loaded semi though.
      Truthfully, it's not in how well it holds up, but in how well it collapses.

      I bring up the subject of the crash for a reason. It's almost Crusade-like. People really need to retrofit their old cars with a minimum of lap belts. There's a segment of society that would rather get thrown, but they ignore that people often lose control of their car when they slide out of their seats in maneuvering around a collision. They also ignore that that lack of control can easily kill innocent people that aren't even in their car.

      What people need to do is drop their anecdotal opinions and listen to statistics. People that clean up accidents will tell you that people that get thrown from their cars usually die, or worse. I don't want to live like a vegetable. Nor do you. Please don't post stories of how your uncle Ed walked away unscathed. That an anomaly, I assure you.

      Please take the time to understand what I'm about to say because it can save your life. There are actually three impacts in a collision. The first is your vehicle hitting an object. Whether it's a pole or rock or another car the rapid deceleration is the problem. Remember, if you're doing 65 in your car your body is traveling 65 miles an hour, too. The is a literal "body in motion" physics example. Even though the car comes to a rapid halt you continue on the same path the car was going when it stopped. Any energy absorbed by the planned crumpling of the car keep that amount of energy away from you, but you still travel a straight path into the dashboard or steering column. Now we have collapsible steering columns and padded dashes, but whatever energy isn't absorbed by them is passed to you in the second impact. The injuries suffered in being stopped by the dash or windshield are mostly survivable, but can be destructive. Using belts to keep you from going forward eats up so much energy that it lessens external injuries dramatically. Again, they keep you in your seat. That's the bit of physics that save us. As we spun 5 times had we been tumbling inside the cabin I doubt highly I'd be here to warn you.

      What I'm warning you about is the third and most-devastating impact of them all. We evolved from animals that walked on all fours. When we went upright our organs shifted and now sit suspended tenuously
      in our bodies. Kind of a flimsy latticework. There's not very much holding them in place, but since they are also in motion in a sudden deceleration the impact of all the squishy bits inside your hard bits like rib cage and thick skull is most-devastating. You're effectively giving your brain a large dose of shaken baby syndrome. The brain was not meant to be sloshed. Further damage happens when the brain deforms and the hits the back of the skull. That's the kind of injury that you wouldn't wish on your worst enemy.

      Moral of the story, buckle-up. Don't be that guy they have to scrape up off the pavement.

      You anecdotes for not being belted are meaningless. Just saying.
      Last edited by barry2952; 06-14-2017 at 07:12 PM.

    24. #24
      Member barry2952's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by megaDan View Post
      Driving should be a privilege, not a right.

      I don't think driving is a right. It's a privilege we all pay for. I do agree that laws and testing are too lax. We have family stories of geezers causing damage before having their license pulled.

    25. #25
      Member palakaman's Avatar
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      Amazing and jaw dropping story as it still gives me chills reading it. It makes me mad that the actions of someone else have left you with a soured taste for automobiles. It is truly disappointing that we probably won't be seeing amazing build threads anymore.
      Quote Originally Posted by ktk View Post
      Car enthusiast: One who harbors an inexplicable fascination with a relatively mundane mechanical device that goes beyond appreciation of its intended purpose and basic functionality, in some cases bordering on obsession.

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