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Oh hell, this is gonna hurt....


Honorary Admin
I had a few minutes this morning to schedule in the annual inspection for my car. The weather was slightly cooler, thankfully, so out I went to my buddies shop with no issues. The road out and back is an interstate, two lanes each way with an average traffic speed of 65, even though it's rated to 55. It's heavily enforced in spots, and I know most of the hiding areas. It (the highway) also serves a couple of local hospital and fire agency's along the short eight mile stretch that I travel to my friend's shop. Just a little back history for the upcoming story...
So, after shooting the sh*t for a bit I needed to get back to my office for an business appointment later that morning. I shot down the entry ramp to the highway - and like most, it's way to short to merge properly. At the bottom of the ramp I was already doing close to 50 and caught the front end of an rescue truck out of the corner of my eye. At the end of the ramp we were neck and neck, so I hit the brakes and slid in behind him.. no worries there. I had several cars behind me on the way down the ramp, and by the time I hit the highway, there were several more behind and pulling beside and slightly behind me - which is always an irritant because with that setup (people looking at the car from the rear quarter) you don't have an out in case something happens. Which it did.
A couple hundred yards down the highway, I'm about 6 car lengths behind the rescue truck - a fire vehicle that looked like a Chevy 3500 with a rescue box (basically a square toolbox) as the bed. He's following a tractor trailer and several cars, and there are a couple of cars in the left lane slightly behind him. Suddenly he swerves towards the middle of the road - and out from his passenger side rear wheel comes a piece of tractor trailer tire - the recap - big enough to be more than half of the tread. And I have nowhere to go - the tread is bouncing all over my lane. And I'm doing over 65 already...
By the time I reached the tread I had a decision to take it either right down the middle or try to jog to the middle of the road and miss most of it, which I tried.. and the car took the hit squarely on the passenger front. The front wheel popped off the ground for a brief second.. I don't know what happened at the back because at that point I was already fighting for control and avoiding the other debris that were still peeling off the tractor trailer ahead of everyone. I found an opening and slid into the left lane and slowed down to see if the tread had got caught up somewhere or tore a brake line off the front. Everything seemed fine control-wise, so what else could I do? I continued back home to drop the car off.
I parked the car and got out to survey the damage... and was amazed to see what could have been a bad break any other way. The tread had caught the undertray right at the left front intake and slid along the side of the tray in front of the front wheel. There is paint missing at the point of impact, and a heavy scrape along the side. I just came in from compounding the quarter and got most of the rubber off, even though there is still a scrape mark that probably won't come out. But the fiberglass held together... one more testament to the build quality of the early cars and the thickness of the fiberglass.


New member

Glad your ok, and the perk of having the car basically ok too is a plus!*thumbs up*

Did this happen today? It is Friday the 13th after all.;)


Site Owner
Staff member
Wow, Rick...close call! I was wincing the entire time I was reading that post waiting to see how bad things were. I figured you were fine (on account of how you were posting the story), but I was wondering whether it'd be a story that ended in the demise of a windshield, a front corner, or like poor Donnie, a whole front end right up to the cockpit, etc.

All in all, I like how the story ended. Geez...the things we get away with.

Rick...you have "met" my car trailer and you know it's all sparkly and new. In fact -- as a little factoid -- it is the one and only new vehicle I've ever owned. That trailer couldn't have been more perfect.

...until my second time pulling it. *whaah*

I was driving a two hour trip in the middle of the night. Somewhere in the middle of the trip, for no particular reason, I was strongly compelled to pull into a parking lot just to walk around the trailer once to make sure everything was okay (tire pressure, etc.)

It passed my inspection. Everything was fine. So I started the rig back up and pulled back onto the highway.

Well, while still accelerating back to cruise speed, the semi in front of me had a catastrophic failure of a tire which went squarely back under my van and into the front of the brand new trailer, mashing up the beautiful aluminum diamond plate skirt around it's front. So for anyone keeping score, if I hadn't stopped to inspect my trailer in the name of safety, I wouldn't have damaged the brand spanking new trailer.

Of course, I know you can't keep score like that. For instance, if I hadn't stopped, would there have been some other traffic event that would have been horribly worse (unrelated to that truck tire)?

But anyway, back to the original thought: I'm glad you're alright...and I'm glad the car only has a little more "character." :D

I've run over an already-dead groundhog in my Sterling. In case anybody was wondering, a groundhog corpse is in fact a little taller than the ground clearance of my car.

I don't want to talk about it. *sigh*


Site Owner
Staff member
this what makes me scared to drive this thing-confused*

Yeah, I definitely understand the feeling of concern. But, except for legitimately poor visibility that you always need to account for, the Sterling is a safe and solid little thing. The irony is that a truck tire or groundhog strike would have bend the crap out of a sheet metal car. Sterlings are surprisingly resilient.

That said...let's make a pact to stop hitting things. Everybody else in? :D