When it all goes horribly wrong…

So this will go down as one of the worst days of my life…

I get home from what felt like a fairly successful test session at Sears. The car’s in one piece, seemed to run ok, probably not any faster than it was but at least I seem to be over my distributor problem and I have a list of improvements I want to make over the winter.

I start unstrapping the car and as I release the last strap (drivers front) my world instantly turns to shit… The car starts rolling backwards (I live on a hill) and FALLS off the trailer and keeps going. I haul ass and grab the car and dig my heels in and try to slow it down but it just keeps gaining momentum. I hang on as it drags me along for a few seconds and finally it’s going fast enough that I know I just have to let go…

The next several seconds are agonizing as I watch the car go rolling downhill, backwards. I know there is no possible way this will end well. If it keeps going straight it will go right through a house at the bottom of the hill. Then at pretty much the last second the front wheels hook and it takes a hard 90 degree turn to the right (still going backwards) and slams into the side of a concrete staircase of a neighbors house…

I don’t know this at first. I can’t see the car. I just hear the sickening sound of the impact. Still running I catch up to the car and the rear is completely destroyed… I’m in shock and sick to my stomach. The next hour is a blur. The neighbors come home. I call a tow truck. We pull the car out (the driver’s rear wheel won’t turn because the rear qtr is flattened against the wheel). The tow guy is awesome though and we get the car on his flatbed and he drives it up the hill and helps me get it back into my garage.

Wow. It’s a miracle that no one was killed/injured. It’s also amazing that the damage to the staircase seems to be cosmetic. If it had hit any other part of the house it would have wound up INSIDE the house…

So that’s the good news. But, I’m CRUSHED 🙁 if you’ve been following the blog over the last year and a half you know how much time and energy has been invested in this car. It’s such a huge setback and I don’t even know if the car is repairable… I’ll update more later but I need some time to decompress…

1974 Javelin-road race, American Iron

13 comments


  1. Jonathan Feltis

    Hey Asif,

    Just saw this, I can’t believe it. I am just glad that you or no one else was hurt. I can’t tell much from here but, if the car is repairable i found a 73 rolling shell on craigslist some what near me that looks to have all the panels you would need in good shape. If there is any thing I can help you with just let me know.

    Jon

  2. Thanks Jon. Is the Javelin green? I saw that one. Yeah, I need that car but it’s so far… I have a line on something closer. Hope it works out.

  3. Jonathan Feltis

    yeah, it’s the green car. If the one up there doesn’t pan out let me know.

    Jon

  4. Gregg Roper

    Asif…can’t believe it…as Jonathan said, no-one was hurt. Good luck with the re-build. You’ve had great support during the build, I’m sure that will continue. Keep us posted and best regards…

  5. Zane Todd

    I have followed your build for so long that it feels like my car was crushed. I am just numb. I wish you the best and will continue to follow.

    Zane

  6. Brian

    Like everyone else said, I too feel like this is my car. One of my favorite sites to visit and love the updates. Keep your chin up, take a minute and thank God you or anyone else escaped injury.

  7. Steven Martinez

    Oh No!!! So sorry Asif, this is terrible to see.

    Take care, fix the metal when you’re ready, and look forward to seeing you back on track soon.

  8. Asif…didn’t see this on the forum…are you keeping this low profile? I would certainly understand. There might be some help there…just sayin’…Gregg

  9. thanks Steve/Gregg. no it’s not a secret… just didn’t get around to posting it. I found someone whose going to sell me the back half of a ’73 Javelin and now I just need to drag the race car to a body shop and find out if they can fix it and if they can, how much it’s going to cost 🙁

    at least I’m going chumpcar racing this weekend 🙂

  10. Hello,

    Heck, not much I can say to ease the pain of this. I have admired your work for some time and while I don’t know you, it pains me to look at that picture. Especially having an idea of the effort it must have taken to get this far on that project.

    But! shit happens and thankfully no physical injuries resulted from it.

    I plan to continue to listen in and see how you manage this set back to another successful solution.

    Also, while granted at an extreme distance, another “last ditch” body panel option might be Eddie Stake at PlanetHouston. He has been listing three 74 bodies for parting out the last couple weeks.

    And lastly the oil pressure. That is an insidious problem. The TransAM Javelins had it, even my 71 had it and I never did much more than punch it on the highway.

    I don’t know if it is allowed in your class of racing but a dry sump system might be an option.

    At least to help protect the engine while localizing the problem.

    So many possible root causes, pump, scavenging in the pan, slow drain back from places like the galley or valve covers, foaming from the crank, or even the at rest angle/pitch of the engine block itself.

    There is an AMC engine build guide by a Brian Johnson up in Washington that addresses some of these issues.

    Regards,
    Dave Beuck

  11. hey Dave, thanks for the good wishes and all the suggestions on the oil pressure problems. I’ll have some updates soon. still recovering from the chumpcar race this weekend.

    oh, dry sump not allowed in American Iron…

  12. R B

    Wow, I hadn’t checked in with you in a while and just saw the damage. I feel a little sick to my stomach as well. Once the shock disapates, just get back at it. Your friends sound great and I’m sure they will have you back in no time. I had a similar folly unloading my Mustang at work during the build, a ramp came unhooked when the car was 1/2 off the trailer, but there was only minor cosmetic damage. I use a winch now so I can control the speed of the car.

    Good luck and get her built!

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