Got the Nova home

Today we went to the Dallas Police Department Automobile Impoundment Facility to pick up the Nova.

I had AAA haul it from the facility to the house. Here it is on the wrecker:

The driver was extremely generous and went out of his way to shove the car fully into my garage. Here he is starting the process:

After a lot of jiggling and screwing around, he got it only so far. Something kept catching, and he needed someone to “pilot” the car. So here I am with my “last drive”:

The steering wheel was completely detached, and I can tell it collapsed at least ¼”.

Here it is finally in the garage:

Here is an illustration of how badly everything is tweaked. The back of the distributor (the gray part with the Accel sticker) is normally right against the firewall:

I think it’s about 6 inches forward.

Painted a street light today

I painted a street light today. I painted it a bluish hue. The bad thing is I used the wrong kind of brush:

Yup, that was my ’74 Nova. That’s me joking with the cop.

At roughly 6:00 PM I was traveling eastbound on Mockingbird Ln. Just before I crossed the West Lawther Ave. bridge, I was in the left lane. A silver or gray Honda Pilot was in the middle lane and started to change lanes into me. It had the appearance of very inattentive driving on the Honda driver’s part. I laid on my horn and jumped on the brakes to avoid a collision, but the rear end apparently swung out on me. I remember the nose swerving to the right. I quickly corrected the steering wheel to the left, so the car compliantly darted left. I briefly blacked out, probably because my brain couldn’t process everything that was going on. From the best I can tell, as my car whipped back to the left I must have darted the steering to the right. At that point I had to have been going sideways down the narrow median. I then must have crunched up against the light pole on the passenger’s side, turned 180 degrees clockwise, and ended up in the westbound lanes. Fortunately the nearest oncoming cars had more than enough time to gently slow down.

After the crash I was able to open the driver’s door with not too much difficulty. I got out and walked to the median, and immediately called 911. A motorcyclist who stopped approached me on the median. I asked him to accompany me to the side of the road, just in case I was going to go into shock or something. Shortly after I got to the other side, I called my wife at home. I was laughing enough that she thought I was kidding at first. Man, I am weird!

Shortly afterwards the Dallas Fire Department fire truck and ambulances showed up. The paramedics checked me out, but all my vital signs were normal.

I am not sure if I have the ordering correct, but at some point the guy who was following me (Hispanic with facial hair, roughly 6’ tall, driving a late model maroon convertible Trans Am with a dual exhaust) was talking with the cop giving his version of the story. He confirmed that I was only traveling the speed of traffic, and he also said I went vertical at one point. From the best I can tell I probably went somewhat vertical briefly when the car hit the pole. My wife says the blue marks were too high on the pole for me not to have slid up it a bit. That could easily explain the crash pattern. It looks like I may have slid up 10 or 20 degrees or so.

My wife showed up as I was in the ambulance. She was much more upset than me. A coworker also stopped and took most of the pictures. (My wife brought the digital camera, thankfully!)

After we were comfortable that the scene was handled, my wife and I went to the local ER to get me checked out. We arrived at the ER at around 7:00 PM and did not leave until midnight! Ultimately I just have a few minor abrasions and a sore back. They detected a low level of blood in my urine (not enough for me to see it), so they think one of my kidneys may have been slightly bruised.

Here are some more pictures.

This is where I sat. Notice how badly the dash is bent up. I think I may have hit the mirror.

The rear windshield is still intact with all the Nova Gathering emblems. Fortunately I hadn’t put the G04 emblem on yet!

Man, that seat got contorted!

I am SO GLAD that I was the only occupant:

The right headlight had just gone out last week. Don’t need to fix it now:

Great picture, with the building next door to where my grandmother died in the background:

But here is why I am very thankful:

I’m in one piece! Thank God that I wasn’t going so fast that I flew off the bridge or that cars weren’t in the westbound side or that I had no passengers.

My wife and I are debating whether to get the car back and put it in our garage. I think a lot of parts are still usable, so I could part out the remaining stuff. Plus I really like my engine. If I was to get another car that could accept the engine, I would want to put it right back in.

So what car will Aren get next? I guess it partially depends on what my collision coverage will pay for this car. (Yes, I do have collision coverage!)

What pains me is that I can’t replace the car that was my mother’s college gift, the car that was my father’s primary transportation for several years, the car that took out a crepe myrtle tree in front of my grandmother’s house, the car that I puked all over when I was around 6, the car one of my brothers was almost born in, the car that brought both my brothers home from the hospital, the car that was our family vacation car for several years, the car that a lady hit the rear bumper on in the mid-80s while we were on vacation in Austin, the car that I learned to drive with, the car that I drove through high school, the car that I had a fender bender crash in in 1993 or 1994, the car that I almost completely restored from the ground up and learned almost everything I know about automotive mechanics, the car that got me through college, the car that was a fixture in my marriage (for both better and worse!), and the car that has been a big part of my identity for 11 years. That is unfortunately a part of my life that I now have to leave behind.

But the biggest loss I feel is that there is a picture of me at 6 months old in a car seat in the front seat of this very Nova. My own son just turned 6 months. I was literally about to take that picture with him in the exact same position in the exact same car. I was thinking about doing this Monday night but never got around to it. Oh, well. The important thing is that I am still around for him and my wife. The car was fun, but it is ultimately just a material object. Throughout my life material objects will come and go, but the important things are my faith, my health, and my family.

Replaced P/S pump

I replaced my P/S pump on Saturday, and I painted pointless parts! Yup, I repainted the P/S pump brackets.

Here are the brackets after I wire brushed and cleaned them with brake cleaner:


Painted black:


I had to install it three times before I got everything fit correctly. The first time was aborted because I installed it with a belt wrapped around its back and without torqueing down the pulley to 55 ft/lbs, the second time was aborted when I realized I left out a spacer that goes between the left bracket and the upper bolt.

I figured out an inventive way to remove the pulley from the old pump with a faucet handle remover. It worked like a charm:

On my trip to and from work on Monday, the new pump performed great.