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Oregon man dies in accident driving his 1958 Chevy Impala


MarrsCars
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Sad news today as we learn that a 69-year old gentleman, who was apparently a true car fanatic, died in an accident that may be another wake-up call for some of us. The damage appears minimal, but the stated lack of seatbelts caused it to be a fatal incident. Just last week I relocated the shoulder mounts for my car, originality be damned, just to help give an extra edge in such a horrible event. It is also alleged in official statements that he was perhaps speeding.

http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-northwest-news/index.ssf/2013/10/north_portland_man_dies_after.html

Be safe out there folks, we see too many of these stories as it is. RIP George James Raeburn

Edited by MarrsCars (see edit history)
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Our first antique vehicle was a 1958 Chevy Biscayne, two door. We added lap belts before we started driving it (except Bill bringing it home the day we bought it) to it so that we at least had those. His son lived with us and was twelve at the time. He of course wanted to ride in the Chevy on the ride home, but we wouldn't let him until the belts had been installed. This hits home since we had a very similar vehicle and Bill is also sixty-nine.

Edited by Shop Rat
OOPS!!! Listed the Biscayne as a two door hardtop. The two door hardtop was the '63 Falcon we used to have. (see edit history)
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Our 1914 Buick has 5 sets of seatbelts....and they are properly anchored....

Same for our 1930 Packard !

and for our 1941 Cadillac Cabriolet !

and of course the 1970 Cadillac convertible

and the back seats of the '34 & '37 Buicks - (there is no reasonable way to install them in the front of these two cars.

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Congrats to all of those who have common sense. Even belts that are anchored in an unorthodox way will still keep you from flying out a door or crashing face first through your windshield 99% of the time. (The 1% is if you wrap the shoulder belt around your neck!)

At car shows, seats belts should be required in order for the car to be judged. Just like they do with fire extingishers! I never hear anyone say, "A fire extinguisher is not original equipment. I am not going to have one!"

Prehaps seat belts should not be demanded. That is OK. Just give an extra 5 points on your total as a safety award. Seat belts would grow like mushrooms after a rain!

No belts? NO GO!

The life you save may be somone you love.

Edited by Dwight Romberger
I had more to yak about. (see edit history)
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Something a bit strange about the photo in the acticle. If the truck was traveling at approx. 55 MPH, then how come the car is still at the back of the truck. I could understand if the truck was stopped, and the car remained at the rear of the truck, but at 55 MPH, this defies logic.

It is ad that this happened. Before I start driving my car around, I plan on installing seat belts. I've got to get it in good driving condition first. At least the brakes have been gone over, and they work as the should.

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Guest my3buicks

If the truck had a trailer hitch & ball on it, it could have easily held on, the Chevy also appears to be totally wrapped around the rear step bumper of the truck.

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This is a horrible story. The one thing about belts that I think everyone misses is that statistically you may or may not be decreasing the probability of a bad outcome by installing your own belts. There are thousands of hours of engineering and testing that goes into the correct placement, mounting, tension, etc of the belts so that they actually add value and not kill someone.

It is quite possible that a backyard installation of seat belts could increase the likelihood of someone getting killed as preventing it.

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Our first antique vehicle was a 1958 Chevy Biscayne, two door hardtop. We added lap belts before we started driving it (except Bill bringing it home the day we bought it) to it so that we at least had those. His son lived with us and was twelve at the time. He of course wanted to ride in the Chevy on the ride home, but we wouldn't let him until the belts had been installed. This hits home since we had a very similar vehicle and Bill is also sixty-nine.

(Off Topic)Don't like correcting Susan; but 1958 Chevy Biscaynes did not come as hardtops; only 2 doors where sedans.(With Post)--

(On Topic)Truely tragic story on that fellow out in Oregon. --Larry

Edited by llskis (see edit history)
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Not arguing anything about seat belts but one thing that alot of people are forgetting is the fact that the Impala was flying when it hit the truck if the truck was doing 55. Those wheels don't look factory either. There is probably something pretty warm under the hood and the brakes may not be up to snuff for what was under the hood. Even an upgraded brake system isn't sufficient if it isn't properly installed or working. Disc or drums don't matter if they aren't being properly applied either by the driver or the system when the driver is actually applying them.

They also said that the driver died but what did he die of, the accident or a medical problem ahead of time?

Hard to say if a seat belt would have saved the guy if he didn't die of trauma from the accident. The high rate of speed as evident by the amount of damage and rear ending a truck that is doing 55 MPH leaves alot of questions to be answered. Especially since the car looks to be perfectly aligned with the truck. Wouldn't he have tried to atleast swerve one way or another?

It seems any accident where someone dies not wearing a seat belt is because they weren't wearing a seat belt. Kind of like the Duesenberg Phaeton that was t Boned and rolled. I'm pretty sure that wearing a seat belt in a touring car or phaeton that rolls over isn't going to save you much as your entire upper body is exposed.

I wear my seat belts everyday in everything that is equipped as all my family does , but there is crucial information missing to determine if a seat belt would have saved the owner in this case.

Edited by auburnseeker (see edit history)
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I don't know this but it seems most reasonable to presume that the newspaper account of the impact is garbled somehow. More likely the car was traveling 55 mph, not the truck.

In any event, seat belts are highly desirable in a frontal impact.

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I know that the belts must be connected to the frame, and not just the floor metal. This metal is very thin, and would just rip apart in an accident.

I've heard just the opposite: You want the belt attached to the body metal not the chassis because if the body pulls off the chassis the belt would prevent the passenger from going along with it.

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I've heard just the opposite: You want the belt attached to the body metal not the chassis because if the body pulls off the chassis the belt would prevent the passenger from going along with it.

My 69 Pontiac, and that means all GM "A" and "B" cars with a full body on frame have the seatbelt mounts on the body and not mounted to the frame. My 76 Olds is a semi-unibody and has the belts attached to the body in the rear and in the front where a three point system you have one at the trans tunnel, one in the "B" pillar on the bottom and one in the roof section above the "B" pillar. Take a good look at the Chevy, it's lowered for one thing, The proper ride height on that particular car has about one inch of tire showing above the " Sweep Cut" rear fender wheel house opening and typical of collisions such as this is the driver never gets a chance to hit the windshield in one of these collisions because they are impaled by the steering wheel / column.

Just a FYI to all you people that have a GM 1966 intermediate. The 1967 intermediate do have a collapsible steering column which is a direct bolt in to a 1966 intermediate. They also have dual circuit brakes too. One last thing, Some, if not all GM intermediates from 1966 already have the reinforcement and the welded in bolt in the roof for the required shoulder belt requirement for 1968.

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I bought my first VW bug in 1969. A '65 sedan from a private owner, and installed the optional 3 point belts in it a few days later at Autohaus VW, Lancaster, Pa. A bunch of friends, and a few dealership mechanics made light of it. The owner of Autohaus, Herb Warner told me I had made a smart move. His family VW's all had 3 point belts. I've never wrecked a single VW, but if I had I'm sure the belts would have aided in my survival. They did keep me in the seat when I was hit from behind by a drunk driver at a traffic light back in 11/1977. He received a broken up face, and a destroyed car. I drove my bug home.

If any of you all did any racing then you know the importance of seat belts in a crash.

All VW Bugs from 1962 onward had 3-point belt attaching points installed at the factory as did Karmann Ghia's. The bus had provisions for lap belts only through 1967. I imagine bench seats were the reaon for this.

Prior to '62 VW dealers sold lap belts with installation kits for them. Perhaps VW was leading the way in regards to passenger safety way back in the 50tys. Long before the government got involved. Remind anyone of a fellow named 'Preston Tucker'?

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To clear some things up, I have seen/read a couple of different accounts in local media and they allege that the driver was perhaps speeding and failed to see or possibly stop in time to avoid hitting, the municipal truck. Here in Portland it was extremely foggy that day but this happened in Eastern Oregon where it tends to be sunnier. The guy was known as a builder and in comments on one article a person who claims to know him said that car was a custom, with a "hot motor" and yes, the wheels are aftermarket. From there, it seems unknown yet if he suffered a medical incident, failed to see the truck, or couldn't brake in time. Whatever the case, if the work truck was in fact doing 55 then he was speeding if he hit with this kind of force.

Re: mounting points. My '62 Benz came with non-retracting Kangol lap belts when new, I left those in the back as I never carry more than two people but up front I added three point retractable belts. The car, even tho not yet mandated, has mount points for the shoulder point already installed. They sit low due to the pillarless design and would always cause the shoulder belts to fall down, so you were always reaching up to put them back. Not ideal. The later cars moved the shoulder point to the top of the side rail, now visible through the glass, a major aesthetic trade-off but one I felt was necessary so I moved mine up there. The floor mounts go into the body on my car but it is reinforced at those points and has wide washers also.

Edited by MarrsCars (see edit history)
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One last thing, Some, if not all GM intermediates from 1966 already have the reinforcement and the welded in bolt in the roof for the required shoulder belt requirement for 1968.

Shoulder belts, front and rear, were a rare but factory-available option from GM starting in the 1966 model year. The Fisher Body Manual for each year clearly shows how they are attached. I have a friend with a 1967 GTO convertible that does have factory shoulder belts, front and rear.

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(Off Topic)Don't like correcting Susan; but 1958 Chevy Biscaynes did not come as hardtops; only 2 doors where sedans.--Larry

OOPS!!! My bad. :o The two door hardtop was the 1963 Falcon we had. Too many years have passed since Bill sold the Biscayne and I haven't seen a photo of it in as many years. Sorry about that. I corrected it above.

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The 58 looks like it hit the truck's bumper with the grill. The impact damage only moved the left front fender back may be an inch, and notice that the left door has no damage from opening door into the fender.

To me it was not a high speed impact, but maybe a medical problem and a face that hit the steering wheel.

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I stand corrected guys. You are correct, they sould be connected to the floor, but reinforced with large washers or other forms of mounting to give it strength. You're correct that if they were monted to the frame, and the body seperated from the frame, then a person would litterally be cut in half by the seat belts.

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From the mid fifties American cars were equipped to take seat belts as optional equipment. There were markings in the floor or mounting points. Reinforcements were built in or came in the seat belt kits. In other words, they were engineered.

From 1962 or 63 this became mandatory, and from 1966 or 67 the seat belts became mandatory.

So, seat belts are an authentic accessory back to the mid fifties.

56 Studebaker Hawk had the belts mounted to the door which I don't think was a good idea.

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