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bofusmosby

Just Curious, Driving an Old Car With One Leg?

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After reading all of this I hope that my terminology is not so politically incorrect as to offend anybody.

My old racing buddy Mike always referred to his damned 'wooden leg'.

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John Bevins, you are incredible. I can say this with authority as I became a paraplegic and amputee of my entire right leg not quite 2 years ago when an SUV ran into the motorcycle I was riding. I was 60 when the accident happened. I keep hearing you can do anything if you adapt to your situation. Driving a standard shift old car I figured was never going to happen again, much less ever ride a motorcycle (after 40 years of riding).

Thank you for your posting. I'm not sure I will ever be able to do what you are doing but I do feel a lot more inspired.

Thanks also to the others who posted here with their stories.

Terry

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20, or so. years ago, I built a clutch setup in a Bronco for my friend who was a paraplegic.

I used a standard handicapped, column mounted hand control for the gas and brake. For the clutch, I built a lever that bolted to the floor on the right side. I used an old parking brake cable that ran from the bottom of the lever to the clutch pedal. When you pulled back, it disengaged the clutch. I used a heavy spring that attached to the lever 6 or 8 inches above the pivot point. The other end went to the floor. When the spring went over center, the clutch would stay dis engaged. I used a motorcycle twist grip on the end of the lever, so it had two throttles. The twist grip was for shifting and taking off from a stop. Once he was rolling, in high, he used the column mount throttle. It worked very well.

If you were missing a leg, you could dispense with all of the monkey motion except for the clutch lever with the over center spring setup

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Here are some photos from my 1950 Olds Master parts catalog for the Valiant controls I mentioned. The car appears to be a 46-48 Olds. I would assume it was equipped with a Hydramatic as I didn't see any provisions for the clutch pedal. post-43003-14314238557_thumb.jpg

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In 1956-57 I spent 9 months studying at a school that was ran in conjunction with a rehabilitation center. I met the most amazing person there I think I have ever known. He was probably in his early twenties and had lost both arms (at the shoulders) in a hay baler accident. It caught one arm and he tried to free that arm and it caught the other one. He had a light blue '51 Ford and when I marveled that he was able to drive he told me after he lost his arms he drove a straight-drive '40 Ford coupe to California and back by himself. He carried his room key in his loafer shoe and would kick the shoe off, pick the key up with his toes and unlock his door, and put the key back into his shoe. I never understood how he could position himself in the car to steer it with his feet but I know he did because I saw him many times leaving the school or returning. At that time as long as you did not get it taken away for road violations, once you got a driving license it was yours for life. I doubt the examiners would ever have passed him if he had to retake the road test.

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Thank you guys, this thread has turned inspirational to the max, and I am appreciative of all of you.

With my leg, I got the test results back from the MRI, and the doctor thinks it's cancer. The growth has grown so big, it is now pressing on the femur. So far, the bone is OK, so as long as it doesn't get into the bone, then I am in hopes that I will keep my leg. Another problem I have is having no insurance. If I have surgery (which I am positive I will have), then they may go after my assets, and I'm sure that my old Pontiac will be one of them. Well, it is staying closed up in my garage, so maybe not. LOL

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with regards to truckdrivers not using the clutch once the semi is moving, that is true, I know, I am a 16 year veteran of driving semi's cross country, but truck transmission have straight cut gears, some cars, if almost all of them have gears with angle cuts teeths. Charles Coker, 1953 Pontiac tech advisor.

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I knew a guy who not only drove but restored a Model A roadster from a wheelchair. He was paralyzed from the waist down in a motorcycle accident. He probably had some help but he did far more than I can do and I have all my faculties. He had the brake and clutch levers but he was plenty busy with shifting,choking,braking, throttling, steering and spark advancing and retarding. He would approach the car from the passenger side, open the door, drop the left armrest,lift up and edge over,fold up the wheelchair and pull it up while scooting over to the driver's seat.

I'm certainly sorry to hear of your trouble, Bofy.You are a guy that should benefit from the new healthcare plan. I hope it doesn't get to that.

Edited by Dave Mellor NJ (see edit history)

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Yep, the straight cut gears like in the '20's cars are a bit easier to 'feel' the gear teeth matching then meshing. But a syncro gearbox is even easier, the balk ring or syncro will just act as a buffer against you forcing the gears to mesh until their speeds match. It's actually pretty easy. And the sliding gear has similar engagement 'dogs' or teeth like a truck or early non-syncro trans, just no syncro rings in between the two.

Greg.

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I remember back in the early 80s, the shop I worked for had a service truck. One day the clutch pedal went out, asnd I was able to drive it without a clutch. When I came to a stop sign or light, I would let the van stall. I would then **** into first gear, and to go, I would start the van in first gear. When the engine started (I was moving in first gear) I could then time it right and shift into the other 2 gears without the clutch. I had to drive this way for a few days until we had the truck repaired. I had forgotten all about that.

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I remember back in the early 80s, the shop I worked for had a service truck. One day the clutch pedal went out, asnd I was able to drive it without a clutch. When I came to a stop sign or light, I would let the van stall. I would then **** into first gear, and to go, I would start the van in first gear. When the engine started (I was moving in first gear) I could then time it right and shift into the other 2 gears without the clutch. I had to drive this way for a few days until we had the truck repaired. I had forgotten all about that.

Had a VW Beetle that broke a clutch cable and had to get it home that way too. Had a '63 Dodge truck and a '92 Jeep with hydraulic clutches which both failed at different times and used that technique to get them home.

I am a bit surprised about the finance issue. Even if not eligible for subsidy, I would have thought that with the new setup, healthcare insurance premiums would be cheaper than paying for the surgery out of pocket. And they can't deny you for pre-existing conditions anymore.

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Off topic, I know but what word did the filter block???? Crammed? Shoved? Inserted? Pop it? It does get funny sometimes. I know on some boards, if your name is Richard and you go by the common nickname, you become "****"

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I am thinking there may be missing an F.

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I knew a guy with one leg named Pete. I don't know what the other leg was named

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I am a bit surprised about the finance issue. Even if not eligible for subsidy, I would have thought that with the new setup, healthcare insurance premiums would be cheaper than paying for the surgery out of pocket. And they can't deny you for pre-existing conditions anymore.

I will be calling the affordable care insurance place in the morning. My problem is, for the first time in my life, I am a small business owner, and for the first time in my life, I have no income. I didn't pay myself anything in the month of January, but hope to make a little profit this month. This all weighs heavy on me with no insurance, no income, and possible cancer in my thigh. The timing of all this couldn't possibly have been worse.

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Jim, hope all goes well for you. I did the ACA this year, in January, and it went great. Joined on line as PA has no state run site. Took longer than I expected as I had 22 plans to choose from. Its nice to have choices!!

Terry

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Jim

Does Florida have taxpayer supported public hospitals? I have lived in Texas and they have public hospital districts where larger counties have a hospital supported by real estate taxes. Some rural counties group together to support a district. These are full service hospitals often teaching hospitals affiliated with well know universities. If one can't afford to pay there is no charge. The public hospital in Houston is affiliated with Baylor University School of Medicine.

What about the American Cancer Society? Can they provide some assistance?

I wish the best for you and will pray for you.

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Thanks guys. Truth be told, I have never accepted or received a penny of public assistance. No food stamps, Welfare, handouts, nothing. My parents taught me to pull my own weight in this world, and never rely on any kind of assistance. This is one of the things that is really getting to me. I had my last cancer surgery in 2009, and after that, no insurance would cover me, well, that I could afford. I've never been unemployed my entire adult life. I guess it's the timing of all this at the same time that is putting a heavy toll on my mind and body.

Actually getting cancer was the main reason why I bought my old Pontiac. I had always dreamed of owning an old car, and there is nothing like a slap-in-the-face illness that makes a person re-think their life. I decided then, that if I didn't make the move, I would never experience the joy of driving an old car. So I bought my Pontiac.

I will say this though, by joining this site, I have never met a more generous group of people in my life! From the very beginning, I was welcomed into this community. I will never forget the friends I have made here, and all the help that was given to me, even though my knoweledge on old cars was very limited at best. I want to thank each and every one of you for this. Thank you!

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If he only had one leg what other leg are you talking about?

Tthththththththt, :P ... Peter, the middle one. Got it now. ;)

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I have had my share of handicapped controlled vehicles. My ex-wife was born with OI which is a brittle bone disease. She had an 87 Pontiac Sunbird with a hand control. Of course this was an automatic trans car. Next vehicle was a 92 Ford Econoline Van. This was equipped with a Wheel Chair lift. The switches would sometimes go out of adjustment and I would have to do some adjusting to get them to work. This van had hidden magnetic switches in the rear right of the vehicle. The wheel chair lift could be deployed while on the ground by operating the switches with a magnet that was on the key chain. She ran the wheels off of that vehicle. We had two children that were dealt with the same problem as she. When they were 3 and 5 she and I split. I was granted custody so more handicapped equipped vehicles were in my future. Next was a Dodge Van with a high top and wheel chair lift. Did not keep that one long as the rear end howled and it had some other issues. I think it was around a 96. Next was a Chevy Astro Van with a Wheel chair lift. that ran good but had a ton of miles. The last one was a Chevy Express with a wheelchair lift. Very nice van. The lift deployed with a remote control, from outside. All these vans also had switches on the inside so that the lift could be from the drivers seat or off of the lift its self. The children are no longer with me, so I had no need for a special needs van any longer.

As far as insurance, I would bet that you can get covered much easier now than a few years ago. I had surgery on a left knee back in December and was 100 percent covered under the new insurance laws. I have also been self employed for many years. When I went to apply, they did not even ask me if I had old cars. You should not have a problem getting covered and retaining your assets. The law is that you are required to have it, and it must be affordable. Look around on the Web for your state insurance programs and get the ball rolling. Dandy Dave!

Edited by Dandy Dave (see edit history)

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Thanks guys. Truth be told, I have never accepted or received a penny of public assistance. No food stamps, Welfare, handouts, nothing. My parents taught me to pull my own weight in this world, and never rely on any kind of assistance. This is one of the things that is really getting to me. I had my last cancer surgery in 2009, and after that, no insurance would cover me, well, that I could afford. I've never been unemployed my entire adult life. I guess it's the timing of all this at the same time that is putting a heavy toll on my mind and body.

Actually getting cancer was the main reason why I bought my old Pontiac. I had always dreamed of owning an old car, and there is nothing like a slap-in-the-face illness that makes a person re-think their life. I decided then, that if I didn't make the move, I would never experience the joy of driving an old car. So I bought my Pontiac.

I will say this though, by joining this site, I have never met a more generous group of people in my life! From the very beginning, I was welcomed into this community. I will never forget the friends I have made here, and all the help that was given to me, even though my knoweledge on old cars was very limited at best. I want to thank each and every one of you for this. Thank you!

I also wish you well and pray for a complete recovery for you! I have a substantial collection of antique cars that I am unable to drive at the present time due to health conditions. My very compassionate wife has traded me sides on the seat and we enjoy them immensely. I am enjoying teaching her and the kids and grandchildren how to drive also. They had to learn some time and the experience was wonderful. So do I still enjoy my old cars......of course I do, just in a different manner.

in prayer and thoughts, Wayne

p.s. I am seeing scenery I never knew existed !

Edited by AlCapone (see edit history)

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