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Old August 9th, 2010, 09:06 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Jamesbo's toasted 69 H/O Warning this will make you sick

Oddly enough about 30 minutes earlier I was concerned because the Keep you car GM sticker on the air cleaner was curling.

I had driven about six miles when noticed some smoke at a red light. Thankfully, it immediately turned green and I whipped into the edge of a gas station. Opened the door, looked under the dash and saw a small flame under the cigar lighter. Next, I was concerned because I could not put it out with a rag, then I was concerned because I had to pop out the fire extinguisher I keep between the front seats. I thought Rats, Im going to get this white stuff all over everywhere putting out the fire. I thought I had it out when suddenly it appear on the other side of the under the dash. I ran around the other side and poured more fire extinguishers to it. The problem with an under the dash fire is because of the smoke coming from under the dash you cant see exactly where the problem is.

As I ran around the car, I should have opened the hood and pulled the battery cable but I was distracted by and upset owner of the Mini Mart and the presence of a tanker truck filling up his gasoline underground storage tanks. In retrospect, it might have saved the car if I had pulled the cables. The fire just would not go out. My extinguisher was empty, the owner of the mart wasnt about to do anything but talk on his cell phone to Mumbai. The 911 operator kept asking me questions and told me to evacuate the gas station. [Which I did not do.]

The fire department put it out but the interior is gone, seats, dash, steering wheel all gone. The roof buckled but the trunk and engine compartment look like the day it was restored. Perfect. Keep your car GM sticker and all.

It was a very typical fire that started out as almost nothing and went out of control very fast,

As you can imagine, Im sick over it

I have to wait to hear from the insurance company but Ill bet they total it. Im gonna try and buy it from them and perhaps let someone younger put it back together. Its going to need a new roof and complete interior [including dash] and of course windows. But the 5 15 H/O wheels with new Goodyears are fine as well as the engine with D heads, and the H/O posi rear. The engine compartment and the trunk look untouched.

The vin is Ok but the plastic around it is melted. This brings up one of those W machine / Joe P discussions about restoration and vins/cowl tags.


I guess this one goes in the coulda, woulda, shoulda category.

At my age, I think I may have had enough. Anybody want to take a crack at putting this thing back together please let me know. So far, I have only answered questrions with the insurance compnay. They haven't told me a whole lot. So I am currently not in a possition to do anything.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 09:15 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Really and truly sorry for your loss. I had the exact same thing happen to me on a restored '68 Mustang.

Now I have the quick disconnect on the negative battery cable. If I smell smoke, I can quickly disconnect the electrics so I can minimize the damage.

Hope it works out for you.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 09:20 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Old August 9th, 2010, 09:27 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by My442 View Post
Really and truly sorry for your loss. I had the exact same thing happen to me on a restored '68 Mustang.

Now I have the quick disconnect on the negative battery cable. If I smell smoke, I can quickly disconnect the electrics so I can minimize the damage.

Hope it works out for you.
Thanks,

I've got that on some other cars, For origionality sake this one has the "Spring Ring" cables which I could have gotten off without any tools.

Like I said, Coulda, woulda, shoulda
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Old August 9th, 2010, 09:30 AM   #5 (permalink)
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that hurts me and it is not even my car. sorry for the loss. i hope you were covered well with your insurance.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 09:30 AM   #6 (permalink)
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Son of a B@#%&! I am so sorry that you lost your car, I hope that you had a collector car insurer, perhaps they'll cover a resto for it. I wish that I had the funds to buy it.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 09:37 AM   #7 (permalink)
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sorry for your lost. i'd be depressed and sick for months. hope insurance takes care of everything.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 09:40 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Yes, I've got insurance. What I am trying to figure out is, If they "total it" and I am able to buy it from them at a reasonable price, What next. The story I get is it will have a salvage tag and be uninsurable for collission insurance. Others have told me there is a "process" whereby you can "make it right" get it inspected and get the salvage title removed. I dunno

I've got a million questions about insurance and about body work

Like if you reinstall a new roof, Would you use the origional lead filler or not. Perhaps some on has been through this.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 09:43 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Talk to your DMV. Collector Ins. companies should have the info, I would think.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 09:45 AM   #10 (permalink)
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Very sorry for your loss! I had a similar situation that turned out ok. I had my Vista Cruiser in the garage. I opened the door and smelled burned plastic. The cigar lighter surround was melted. Fortunately I had a low battery and the whatever the short was quickly killed it. I don't leave the cigar lighter powered any more - I never use it anyway. I could have lost the whole car, garage, truck and contents.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 09:50 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Sounds like you'll have to wait for your insurance companies response before you can figure out the next step. What a mess, but it look salvageable to me. Take some time to figure this out, don't just sell it out or frustration. Best of luck friend.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 10:01 AM   #12 (permalink)
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Sounds like you'll have to wait for your insurance companies response before you can figure out the next step. What a mess, but it look salvageable to me. Take some time to figure this out, don't just sell it out or frustration. Best of luck friend.

Thanks Pat,

It's the ole knees and the underdash work that are making me think may let a younger guy take this project on.

I dunnno, I'm still in ths sorting stages of this mess. Wanta come to 97 degree Georgia and pull burnt crap out of an H/O. So we can see what's what.Cause right now ya can't see squat.

As best I can figure, The only parts I don't have to redo this is a 69 Rally pac. I've got everyother part in storage. [I think]
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Old August 9th, 2010, 10:01 AM   #13 (permalink)
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Sorry to hear this sad news......
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Old August 9th, 2010, 10:01 AM   #14 (permalink)
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Fortunately no one was hurt. Stuff can be rebuilt or replaced. Good luck with the insurance company.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 10:02 AM   #15 (permalink)
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No F'in way, dude!!
This is a joke, I sure hope!





Holy crap...



Sure am sorry if it is for real.

Dang...

Makes me sad as hell to see it - I know how much you liked that car...

Looks like an electrical short for sure - have any idea where and how and why?
If I can help in any way, let me know.

I think it is past the time to get a fire ext. for each of my cars.

Sad....
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Old August 9th, 2010, 10:03 AM   #16 (permalink)
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By the way, repro roof panels are available now. Heck the hardest part is probably the steering wheel.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 10:14 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Thanks Joe,

I've got an extra 69 sport steering wheel

Rob,

In 60 years, I have had 4 cars catch on fire. 1-1958 Cheby convertible, 1-1971 Ford LTD [oddly enough at the same intersection the 58 cheby lit up] and on 1969 442. [Then this one]

I have never seen a fire I couldn't put out but this one. I would guess it was either the a/c switch or the cigar lighter. But Somehow,it jumped from the drivers side to the passangers side and it just wouldn't go out. I don't know, I just don't know.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 10:27 AM   #18 (permalink)
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That really doesn't look that bad if it's just the roof panel that's needs repaired or replaced.
Probably talking 25-30K insurance damage though, I would want that much at least to have it fixed right with a good paint job.

I would strip out the body and yank it off the frame then have it media blasted and epoxy primed, then on a rotisserie and go from there like any frame-off.

The steering wheel probably will be the hardest part to deal with...but you got one I just saw.
Is the shifter **** still good?... looks intact, shifter okay?
They did make those out of the same stuff as bowling ***** and cooking pot handles, maybe it doesn't melt very easily?

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Old August 9th, 2010, 10:28 AM   #19 (permalink)
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Sickening in a really big way. I wished you were somehow telling a bad joke. Just terrible. The pics are hard to look at.
Most important that you're okay, though. You're insured, and it can be made right. Plus, and plus.
1. Don't settle with insurance co until you're sure you're getting it back.
2. Take your time making decisions.
We share your pain, JB.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 10:37 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Really, really sorry. I just put a fire extinguisher in the Starfire yesterday.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 10:42 AM   #21 (permalink)
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I'm speechless. When did this happen?

Losing one to fire is unnerving. Were it me, I'd take the insurance settlement, buy it back, part it out, and let the crusher have what's left, but I'm kinda funny about fire and animal damage to my vehicles. Yah, enough time and money can always put it back, but it's just never the same- especially with fire damage.

Keep us posted. Just seeing the pictures has made me queasy. I can't imagine having to deal with this.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 10:43 AM   #22 (permalink)
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so why was the sticker peeling?
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Old August 9th, 2010, 11:00 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Jamesbo, really sorry to see your H/O turned into a crispy critter. My stomach turns seeing that. At least the car is not a total loss and only took the interior with it, plus you are OK, which is more important than a car.

Take everything slow and it will all work out.

If you end up not wanting to fix back up the H/O let me know, I'll gladly pay you, bring it home and fix her up. Maybe then you'll want her back.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 11:28 AM   #24 (permalink)
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HOLY CRAP!!!!!! sp sprry for you loss man, if that happened to me i would prolly kill someone. if you want help with anything, even though i am in texas, will be glad to see what i can do.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 11:34 AM   #25 (permalink)
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so why was the sticker peeling?
Jeffery, I guess moisture but dunno. Odd thing is the sticker is not curling up after the fire.

Rocket,

I just can't bring myself to send one of the 500 or so 69 H/Os left to the crusher. When ya talk about parting one of these out, there really aren't that many unique parts to it. I mean an H/O fender is a Cutlass fender also. I would think, not many H/ O restorers would want a non matching engine.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 11:51 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Sorry to hear about this Jamesbo. At least you are in one piece which is more important. See what the insurance co. pays out. It might be easier to look for a replacement already done up.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 11:53 AM   #27 (permalink)
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HOLY CRAP!!!!!! sp sprry for you loss man, if that happened to me i would prolly kill someone.
Starting with Baboo at the Quicky Mart?
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Old August 9th, 2010, 11:54 AM   #28 (permalink)
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DAMN.........Sorry to read about this. No matter what the insurance company says sit and ponder this one as like you said 1 of 500 or so left and looks like it can be saved. Depending on what it is insured for my guess is it may not be totaled from a dollar standpoint. You also may be able to settle with the insurance for less than their estimate and bring it down under the salvage line. Not sure but I think so. I would work every angle to not have it totaled and if you do not want to redo it you can atleast have the clean title and go from there.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 12:19 PM   #29 (permalink)
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I would strip out the body and yank it off the frame then have it media blasted and epoxy primed, then on a rotisserie and go from there like any frame-off
Thanks Blue,

It's got less than 600 miles since the frame off was done a few years back. I've had some experience with fire damge in buildings. Most of the time we encapsulate the damaged joist etc with Bullseye [If I remember correctly]

Like I said, the trunk compartment and the engine bay are like new. The burlap behind the back seat is as close as the fire got to the trunk.Do you think there is any way to not take it off the frame and clean the smoke damage from the floors and doors. Like maybe pressure washing with some kind of solution?
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Old August 9th, 2010, 12:37 PM   #30 (permalink)
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Jamesbo.... those pics just give me goosebumps. I would come help you clean it out if you wanted help. I sure hope you rebuild her, but I know it's overwhelming right now, and like you said, a million questions need to be answered before you can decide anything. I feel soooo bad!

Don't beat yourself up over the quick disconnect - who knows if it would have helped. The stuff gets old and dry in these cars, and it may not have helped any to pull the cable, once the fire was underway.

I always worry about people smoking at the shows, and walking up to the cars with cigarettes. You never know where there may be gas, or a hot spark getting into an interior.... could be disaster!

Hang in there bud, and give it some time. Keep us posted.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 12:41 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Talk to some body shop owners - I'm sure they could give you some answers. They clean smoke off of household items, there has to be something that would do the same in a vehicle I would think.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 01:06 PM   #32 (permalink)
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Wow, I am so sorry Jamesbo. I just stared at the photos in disbelief.

When I saw the thread title I thought it was a joke. This is unbelievable. I don't know what I would do if it were me. Definitely keep us posted!
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Old August 9th, 2010, 01:09 PM   #33 (permalink)
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That's really sad. Electrical fires are hard to determine origin and hard to put out, like Sandy said, hang in there.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 01:10 PM   #34 (permalink)
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I still feel sick - I feel the pain...
Given the kinds of rustbuckets I have seen turned in to show cars, this one is totally restorable. If the smell can be eliminated, then everything else can be redone. Even the roof can be replaced.
I am sure there has to be a solution out there to neutralize the smell of smoke, like the pet odor removers out there.

I somehow blame the bear for this... "Only you can prevent auto fires" he is saying from afar.
I still want a rug.....
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Old August 9th, 2010, 01:12 PM   #35 (permalink)
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Really sorry for your situation. If its not something you feel you can deal with. Maybe park it till it finds a new owner or you find the energy to redo
yourself.
Good luck, glad your o.k. !
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Old August 9th, 2010, 01:20 PM   #36 (permalink)
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Glad your ok but that really sucks. I'm sure she was your pride and joy.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 01:42 PM   #37 (permalink)
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Sobering story and pictures.
Don't beat yourself up with shoulda's...........
Glad you are safe. Good luck with what happens next for ya.

(I'm going out and checking my fire extinguishers!)
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Old August 9th, 2010, 02:04 PM   #38 (permalink)
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Hard to look at. I've always had a fire ext in my rockcrawlers because they are required on most trails. Never had one in my cars, but I do now.

Quick disconnect on the battery is a good idea, which I have on my crawler too.

Good luck with insurance and the rebuild (whether it's you or someone else)
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Old August 9th, 2010, 02:15 PM   #39 (permalink)
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Sorry man!
Don't let it go if at all possible....
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Old August 9th, 2010, 02:18 PM   #40 (permalink)
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Sorry to hear about that...I'm sick to my stomach, too. It takes so much time to build and create, but so little to destroy. I hope you work things out so you can get the H/O back on the road someday.
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Old August 9th, 2010, 02:18 PM
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