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1966 corvette road trip from hell

 
Old 03-10-2019, 07:15 PM
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68hemi
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Default 1966 corvette road trip from hell

Back in 1982 I bought a 1966 Corvette coupe 427/390 4 speed with A/C, P, PB, PW, teak, telescopic, side exhaust and knock offs Mossport green with dark green interior. A very nice car.

I bought it from a good friend In Illinois. I flew back from AZ. to drive it home. He had already told me the brake were having a problem and that you sometimes had to pump them to work right. I figured it was the master cylinder and it would be OK to get it back to AZ.

This turned out to be the road trip to HELL with this car. In Wichita Kansas I was crossing the big river on the bridge at rush hour when the right rear knock off wheel came off dropping the the rear end down on the shock mount as I slide to a stop light at the bottom of the bridge at an intersection where the road then began an uphill slope. I got to the light just as it turned green, made right turn and then a quick left into the lobby parking area of a hotel here to car came to a stop. Just before I got to the intersection I see my wheel pass me as it made a right turn onto the intersecting street and come to a rest in the gutter. It all happened so fast I did not have time to be scared but when I got out of the car the adrenaline hit and I began to shake all over. In hindsight for an accident I was VERY luck with the entire outcome as I could have just have lost my life. When I calmed down I started to walk up the side of the bridge to look for the KO spinner which was in the gutter but just as easily could have been in the river. I remember thinking it would be and I could be stuck there waiting for a special order. I retrieved the wheel and tire and called a wreaker to lift the back of the car up to put the wheel back on. I later discovered the wheel adapters were on the wrong hubs and the wheels kept working themselves lose. The wheel coming off ripped the rear quarter panel also.

Now this is not the end of the story. Remember the bad master cylinder I thought I could get home on? NOT!! Just outside of Albuquerque it completely failed, no brakes, NADA!! I limped into Albuquerque with the 4 speed and quick shut off of the ignition to a parts store for a master cylinder rebuild kit. Of course there was not on in town and it was going to be a 5 day wait. I had to be back to work and could not wait so I decided that since It was all interstate back to Tempe, AZ. WHO NEEDS BRAKES? I took of and only stopped for gas, again, gearing down and chugging to a stop after hitting the off switch on the ignition. At on point driving across AZ. on I-40 I looked down at the speedo to see I was doing 95 and decided maybe I should slow down since I had “0” brakes. Well, I made it home without further incident.

I would like to blame this on being a stupid kid but I was 32 at the time so I can only say I was a STUPID adult.

OK, so lets fess up, I KNOW some of you have done some dumb stuff like this so lets here your story.

Last edited by 68hemi; 03-10-2019 at 07:22 PM.
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Old 03-10-2019, 07:42 PM
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DansYellow66
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Loosing a wheel and brakes would definitely make for a painful trip. My youthful adventure can't come close to topping that but it was interesting none the less. In my senior year of high school a neighbor friend and I took off in my 64 Plymouth to drive about 100 miles to go trout fishing. We fished all day and he borrowed my keys to get something out of the car - put the keys in his shirt pocket - waded back into the river to fish again - bent over to retrieve something and the keys go in the river. After pondering our situation for awhile we hiked to a phone booth, got the number of the local Plymouth garage and asked the Service Manager how we could hot wire my car to get home. Surprisingly he said - no problem, here's what you do, you need 2 wires, etc. He did say be sure to run all your lights, heater fan, radio, etc on the way home. I guess he figured we were not a pair of want-a-be car thieves. So we, stripped out some speaker wire wired the distributor side of coil to the battery and used the other to cross the starter solenoid terminals. We didn't exactly understand that part as we wired them together with the battery disconnected and when we put the cable back on the battery the motor started but the starter kept spinning. But we figured that out quickly. Managed to drive all the way home that way and didn't even manage to burn up the set of points which was surprising. We learned to take spare keys along after that.
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Old 03-10-2019, 09:32 PM
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Once in a while I think of the bald tires and recaps we often went 80 to 90 mph on, driving at night with no lights, checking your oil but never thinking to check your brake fluid, seeing how fast you can take a curve without sliding off the road. Crazy stuff, sends shivers up my spine!
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Old 03-10-2019, 09:40 PM
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I drove motorcycles at triple digit speeds back in Tidewater without a helmet. Quite a few times. Canít tempt fate much more than that.
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Old 03-10-2019, 09:50 PM
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My 65 had spongy brakes, which being new to C2s I didn't know was from loose rear wheel bearings ( it was 1982). I did a few runs at the airstrip at the company ranch just to see what it would do. 135 IIRC. Got home a few days later and tried to pull a spindle. It came out by hand and the outer bearing fell into my hand in lots of little pieces.
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Old 03-10-2019, 10:19 PM
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Yeah, we did a lot of crazy stuff, some of us made it through, some didn’t!
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Old 03-11-2019, 02:51 AM
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Back in 1978 my buddy and I took a bunch of friends up on a snow ski adventure. I had a 71 Blazer and he had a 68 Land cruiser.
It was a great snow day, very cold, snowed all day and remained below 30 degrees.
We had just installed a Chevy V8 into that land cruiser. This was its first voyage up into the snow.
We came out to leave and fired up the cars to warm up while we all cleaned the windows of ice and snow.
The land cruiser overheated on start up. We discovered Anti Freeze had been forgotten and we were in the mountains 140 miles from home.
The Highway Patrol was sitting at the resort exit making sure everyone had chains on or was locked in 4 wheel drive.
We let the land cruiser cool off enough to drive it past the Highway Patrol check under it's own power.
As soon as we went around a corner we took out a tow chain and I towed him all the way home with a 10 foot chain, in the storm and in the dark.
The first 45 miles we were in a heavy snow storm on a winding road but nearly zero traffic. We loaded my Blazer with 7 of us and 3 had to ride in the Un heated Land Cruiser.
Conditions got worse his windows fogged and his battery was getting weak. About every 10 minutes he would put it in gear and slip the clutch to start it trying to keep a little heat and battery but it would heat up quickly forcing another shut down.
Being young and dumb and thinking it was important to get home quickly I drove too fast for conditions. Did not wreck or anything but my buddy to this day will tell you he was absolutely terrified for the entire trip. All he could see what the glow of my taillights and followed all the way.
The two guys riding along with him were more afraid than he was.
About two hours later we finally got down into the rain which was coming down in buckets and that helped defrost his engine and radiator, believe it or not the radiator and engine had no damage. He was able to drive it down the rest of the way.
No doubt the Good Lord decided that was not our night to die even as stupid as we were.
We did have brakes all the way!
Mark
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Old 03-11-2019, 08:45 AM
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I don't have to go back to my youth. I was an idiot as recently as 10 years ago. My 60 Electra's vacuum booster/master which are integral in those cars (piston is part of the booster, not master) failed, which would suck the pedal to the floor until you killed the motor and pulled it up by hand. The can was filled with the DOT 3 that should have been in the lines. The shop was 11 miles south on back roads and when I contemplated the wait and nonsense involved in a tow I said screw it and hopped in. 5,000 pound Buick, no belts, no crush zones, no collapsible column and no brakes. I could bring it to a gentle, oil tanker style halt with the emergency brake.

I do not recommend this sort of thinking.

Dan
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Old 03-11-2019, 09:23 AM
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'oil tanker style halt' with a 60 Electra. Great visual!
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Old 03-11-2019, 09:26 AM
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I'm in
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Old 03-11-2019, 12:28 PM
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When I looked at the '66 coupe that I would eventually purchase. I test drove it. I came back a few weeks later and test drove it again. I decided that I would buy it so I test drove it one last time before I made the deal. I loaded it onto the trailer that I had brought with me to bring the car home. I decided to reposition the car on the trailer, backed it off and centered it. Got it home, unloaded it and took it for a spin. I came back and took my wife for a spin. Then I let my wife drive it. Later that day I checked the brake fluid level in that single reservoir master cylinder … I drove this thing a lot with no brake fluid visible (inside the master cylinder). I kept my eye on it for awhile after that.

Ray
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Old 03-11-2019, 12:59 PM
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These are great stories. Iíll play.

When I bought my 64 from an infrequent forum member here he was almost in OK living in AR. We made a deal subject on inspection and agreed to meet around Little Rock AR- I reasoned mechanically if the car would go a couple hours it would probably go 6/7 hours more home. Iíd inspect for rust and anything else pertinent.

On dry pavement in the rural area I was driving on inspection the brakes were pulling a little but I didnít think too much of it. I bought the car, my first Sting Ray, and was on cloud 9. My father in law and I headed for home (it was to be a marathon day) with him following behind. Around Memphis the thunderstorms set in and it was full dark, about 9 pm. Traffic came to a sudden stop and the car jerked the wheel out of my hands for a split second pulling me violently right! After that I increased my stopping distances as wide as possible. Traversed monteagle Mountain (for those that know) about midnight this way and got home to tell the tale.

On teardown the wheel cylinders were all nasty but the left front brake hose was swollen and occluded and the right was getting all the pressure and locking up with almost effort!

A wonder I didnít stuff if but now just a part of my story with the car. Along with the time a semi truck hit me...

Last edited by ChattanoogaJSB; 03-11-2019 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 03-11-2019, 02:34 PM
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I can remember going on a Treasure hunt rally back in the 70's in Vermont. My copilot/navigator was trying to figure out the map and took us down this old cow path that was only one car wide. We got to the end and there was no way to turn around. So I had to try a 3 point turn and sunk in a mud hole. Needless to say, by the time we got the car out it was dark and the rally was long over.

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Old 03-11-2019, 02:37 PM
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Honestly....I'm just thankful that I grew up prior to cell phones, and the video that goes with them.

Pat
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Old 03-11-2019, 03:13 PM
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This is a static dumb act. In the '80's I was a member of the Ram Rods Car Club of Gaithersburg Md. We had a very large shop to work in. At the time one of my cars was a '66 yellow coupe. I had it up on jack stands so I could check a rod bearing that was suspect. I'm laying under the car on the floor with the remote starter in hand. I hit the button, and it was a "oh sh__t moment". The starter engaged and the car jumped forward, sliding on the floor and staying on the jack stands for about a foot. Of course I dropped the remote as I rocketed out from under. If the floor surface was not smooth, it would not have been nice. Dennis
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Old 03-11-2019, 03:17 PM
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I try not to dredge up stupid things i did because I really cringe at the thought of how things could have turned out very badly.
Doug
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Old 03-11-2019, 03:38 PM
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Originally Posted by dplotkin View Post
I don't have to go back to my youth. I was an idiot as recently as 10 years ago. My 60 Electra's vacuum booster/master which are integral in those cars (piston is part of the booster, not master) failed, which would suck the pedal to the floor until you killed the motor and pulled it up by hand. The can was filled with the DOT 3 that should have been in the lines. The shop was 11 miles south on back roads and when I contemplated the wait and nonsense involved in a tow I said screw it and hopped in. 5,000 pound Buick, no belts, no crush zones, no collapsible column and no brakes. I could bring it to a gentle, oil tanker style halt with the emergency brake.

I do not recommend this sort of thinking.

Dan
Awww, c'mon, Dan. You could've thrown it in reverse. Throwing it Park wouldn't. The pawl wouldn't catch until the car was almost stopped.
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Old 03-11-2019, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Frankie the Fink View Post
I drove motorcycles at triple digit speeds back in Tidewater without a helmet. Quite a few times. Canít tempt fate much more than that.
I can tell you something else you experienced during this episode Frankie....streaming eyes. I drove a friends new Kawasaki 900, back in the late 60's early 70's, with helmet on (no face screen and I wear glasses) and got up to just under 120 mph before my eyes were streaming watering so badly I could barely make out the side of the road and the tunnel vision was soooooo bad that had anything or anybody run in front of me, it was game over. Young and dumb!
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Old 03-14-2019, 09:50 AM
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Winter of 68-69 I put the Vette in the garage and bought a $250 '64 Corvair for a winter beater. The heater involved the air passage either inside of, or around, the exhaust, I can't remember which. At any rate, rust had done its thing and if you wanted warmth, it came into the car with the exhaust gas as well.

New Years Day I think it was, my buddy and I were going to some town about 40 miles away, and it was about 10 degrees out. We're alternately opening windows to get oxygen, and closing them and opening the heater to keep from getting hypothermia. I'm driving, and he had the snow scraper and he's repeatedly scraping the frost from our breath off the INSIDE of the windshield so I can at least see the road.

I did some sort of mickey mouse repair a day or two later and managed to get through the winter, but that car was was known as the Death Mobile or the Gas Chamber until I got rid of it in the spring.

(the guy I sold it to tried to run me down with a fork lift truck in the factory a few days after I sold it to him! )
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Old 03-14-2019, 10:55 PM
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LRAFB, 1985.

Friends car, loose fan belt, dying battery, night time. Trying to get back to base. Only enough juice left to keep the coil firing IF the lights were off. Drove back with our Air Force issued flashlights lighting the road ahead. At least we didn't have to remember to turn off the headlights when going through the back gate!
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