Page 1 of 1

A Sad Story

Posted: August 31st, 2014, 11:25 am
by John Losch

In April 2014 I was given 1930 AA Stake Body truck fully restored as a working truck. It was a gift from the restorer, a former student of mine who actually bought it from me about ten years ago, after I had started to restore it almost twenty years earlier. Why he gave it back to me is another story, not relevant to this story. He is a craftsman, which is why he was my student in the first place. We both restore historic clocks and scientific instruments professionally, although both of us have been automobile and truck enthusiast most of our lives. We are essentially amateur auto mechanics, but skilled in our pursuits. I am eighty two years old, and he thirty years younger, and if you don't think that matters, wait until you are eighty two. The truck was beautifully restored.

I had the truck from Mid-April until July 9, 2014. On that last date I took my adult grandson for a ride. We went the two mile route since he had to go back to Boston quickly. It was his first ride, and my last. Within less than a mile from my house a car in the opposite lane on a two way road broke out of his lane and accelerated directly toward us and my truck. Of course there was a head on collision, and my truck was apparently totaled. My grandson sustained a serious ankle fracture, I got five broken ribs, a damaged knee, and various other injuries. We were both lucky to be alive.

I have to say that those fourteen inch mechanical brakes did their job beyond reasonable expectations: we went from thirty miles per hour to near zero and skidding when impact took place. On my schedule the week this happened was to install seat belts. They are not required for an antique in Massachusetts unless it was originally so equipped. I am sure that the fact that we were high up, and that we sat on a massive steel frame is what saved us. At impact I managed to bend the steering wheel.

Both my grandson and I were in shock, so we were both able to get out of the truck unassisted. When I got out of the truck I discovered that a car following me had also rammed into the truck from the rear. That car sustained considerable damage, moved the bed of the truck about five inches forward and against the cab (the U-bolts slid along the frame), and although that driver left the scene in an ambulance, his passenger was uninjured.

The fact that we are AA collectors will always have a double entendre, but I can assure you that being denied alcoholic beverages for four weeks will be part of my claim for pain and suffering. Now that its over, what about the truck? Just a few days ago it was delivered to my yard where I can begin a thorough autopsy on the wreck, and wreck it is. From it's good side, the left, it looks ready to drive. From the front and right it is another story. RIP beautiful truck.

Before I have analyzed all of the problems, here are the most important: the engine was moved back about six inches with the balancer smashed, the bell housing is completely smashed, I am told that the transmission case is cracked, the frame is bent and the left frame "horn" is broken off and attached to the font bumper, removed. The front axle is pushed back from the frame at the right, and is probably bent. This, of course effects the brake rods, etc. The front splash apron is demolished, the bottom of the radiator shell is collapsed, and the radiator is damaged. The right front fender is seriously damaged, the sheet metal above both running boards is sprung and wavy, and the alignment of the doors to the cab is irregular. At the time of the crash an electrical short burned all the wiring harnesses.

As I recover from the accident, and regain my mobility, I will examine the truck in detail. Then the fun begins. I know what I think the truck is worth whether restorable again, or for salvage. The insurance company will have a more conservative idea. I will keep you all posted.

If it is still up, this URL will have an article about the accident with a picture: ... /140706910

John Losch

Re: A Sad Story

Posted: August 31st, 2014, 12:01 pm
by spdway1
Get well soon!
Thanks for sharing your sad story.
If you need anything I am in Springfield, MA.
Don Jr 8)

Re: A Sad Story

Posted: August 31st, 2014, 12:18 pm
by spectria
Thanks for letting us share in your story, really sorry you were hurt, and lost your truck. Hope to hear more as you recover, and maybe we can all help in some way.

Re: A Sad Story

Posted: August 31st, 2014, 6:17 pm
by macswoods
like the man said , put in seat belts. yes in my 29, tudor and AA. Let us know if you need help from the AA group. Mac.........

Re: A Sad Story

Posted: August 31st, 2014, 9:19 pm
by ModelAkid
I read the news article. Antique "pick up truck"? Sometimes it's hard to believe how stupid reporters are.
Looks like the modern Jap iron was probably totaled, as I would expect it to be hitting Heavy Henry Iron. I'm sure your AA is repairable and I wish I could help you with it, but being 3000 miles away makes it difficult.

Re: A Sad Story

Posted: September 1st, 2014, 5:18 am
by JPP
John, glad to see your fine. I too am in mass, if I can help just ask..

Re: A Sad Story

Posted: September 1st, 2014, 8:48 am
by Shorthaul
Sorry to hear of your sad situation. It is/was a fine looking vehicle and although it suffered quite a lot of damage it should be repairable. I'm curious to find out how out of square the frame is, I'm sure taking a hit on the left corner tweaked it some and it shows up the way the rear suspension clamps to the axle, with one side rolled around in a different location than the other side. Hope that makes sense. I think an easy fix tho.

Hope you are feeling better, ribs are hard to deal with, especially when trying to sleep / cough or laugh.

Re: A Sad Story

Posted: September 2nd, 2014, 7:42 pm
by Stakebed
WOW you are lucky! What also saved you is if it wasn't a civic or other low hood car hit you and attempted to ride up under your truck there may be a worse story. You and your grandson were being watched!

Don't forget that lap belts only are rather useless in model A's. Sure it protects your knees and body from crumpling up under the dashboard or falling out and the vehicle rolling on you but a shoulder restraint will keep your head, brain, and chest from hitting the unforgiving iron spike known as a steering columb and or flat windshield.

Hopefully it can be rebuilt, but if the frame is tweaked (sounds like every cross member is severely bent) its going to be hard and costly to get the frame somewhat square interesting how insurance plays out.

Was the driver that caused it drunk or not paying attention or heart attack or something?

Re: A Sad Story

Posted: October 5th, 2016, 1:47 pm
by carlsoncg
I am getting seat belts installed in my AA. I see the point re lap belts vs shoulder belts. Has anyone installed shoulder retractable belts? Any suggestions on how to do that without major or ugly surgury?

Re: A Sad Story

Posted: December 4th, 2016, 8:54 am
by fdohnke
How is the progress on the truck?

Re: A Sad Story

Posted: June 30th, 2018, 5:57 pm
by John Losch
Re: A sad story

I came across this report, originally filed August 31. 2014. I thought it had long gone away, but it is still up on the discussion group. I suppose I should tell you the final outcome of the event. As I reported originally, the truck was one I sold to one of my students, he meticulously restored it, and the gave it back to me. The truck was beautiful, was one of the few “deluxe” trucks Ford could have sold in 1930, (probably to some wealthy business trying to make an impression during difficult times), and every detail of the restoration was perfect. As I reported, someone drove headlong into my truck, with me and my grandson on a short trip, and the collision ultimately proved to have effectively totaled the truck.

The frame was badly damaged as were most of the remaining parts. The cab was sprung, the bell housing was shattered, and there was significant additional damage. After two assessments, it was apparent that the truck could not be restored at a reasonable price. The final estimate to restore it was $41,000. Has anyone been able to sell even a deluxe AA rack body truck for that kind of money?

I did not agree to have the truck restored, and I took the money the insurance company agreed to give me after months of trench warfare, when we finally agreed to a truce. Liberty Mutual cheated me, but not for as much as I would have had to pay a lawyer to get what I deserved. Yes, I will not tell you what was the final settlement.

What was the final outcome? As much as I love Model A’s, and AA’s I settled on an entirely different car. I started down the antique car road, and I did not intend to quit now. Without trying to explain myself, I have always liked big, boxy closed sedans of the late 20’s and early 30’s. After the insurance settlement, I came upon a 1930 Chrysler Model 77 four door sedan. ... php?id=484
In September 2016 I bought the fully restored car after a long and unnecessary story, and I am having a ball with it.

Last Sunday my car was entered in a major Boston area auto show, and my “Caponemobile” won first in it’s class. My grandson was one of the judges, but did not judge my car.

To complete the story, both my Grandson and I sustained serious injuries in the collision of the AA. I think I have pretty well recovered, but my grandson had additional problems, and the important price for him was that he is no longer a potential hockey player for the Boston Bruins. Final point, neither of us got rich from the accident.

I still follow the AA list, but at 86 I doubt if I will own another AA. But they are great!
John Losch