In a classic confrontation between a 1963 Olds 88 and a maple tree, the maple tree won.
I crunched a leg and knocked myself silly in a car wreck when I was twenty.
This was the car before the tree customized it much more radically than I could ever imagine. It was My Father’s Oldsmobile, but I got to dress it up for Saturday night dates. (Nancy wasn’t impressed.)
The “fashion” then was to
- remove the inner headlights because real drag racers know engine needs ram-air induction,
- pop the hubcaps because real drag racers don’t want their hubcaps flying off,
- jack up the front springs because real drag racers know that weight transfer is important,
- paint the rear wheel rims 1/2 black and 1/2 white because real drag racers need to know about wheelspin off the line,
- shine that baby up because real drag racers know wax makes things slippery.
This is the car that I drove to a trophy winning finish at Ononadaga Dragstrip in Class I/SA (I Stock Automatic.) The Olds had a massive 394 cubic engine but only a two-barrel carb. This gave the car great torque at a low horsepower. Since the classes at the drag races were determined by weight to horsepower, this gave me an advantage – well for that night at least.
Yup, I was a real drag racer with My Father’s Oldsmobile.
Remember the commercial starring The Shat and his daughter Melanie?
I wasn’t racing when I crashed. They make sure there are no trees alongside the dragstrip. I was on my way to work at the mill.
After the crash, I spent 67 days in the hospital, Sixty miles from my home. My injuries were severe enough that the local hospital decided I needed to be moved to the nearest “teaching” hospital where the experts could try to piece my leg back together and fix my noodle.
I found the bill from the University of Michigan Hospital while packing up some “important papers” my parents kept.
Here are the highlights: If you want to see the itemized statement (one page) click here.
- 4 surgical procedures
- 42 Xrays and EKG
- 40 Labs
- 29 meds
- 2 docs
- 67 days in the hospital
Total Charges: $3729.40 less insurance of $3,363.65, balance due from patient = $365.75.
Pretty good deal actually since the leg lasted over 40 years before my ta – da – dummmmmm Total Knee Replacement.
Not sure my parents got such good deal on the noggin repair however.