John Ryan saw this car in flames around 3 p.m. on 93 north in Stoneham.
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I hope everyone got out okay.
My Godfather restores some really old cars and he has been known to install fire suppression systems in the pricer ones due to this sort of problem/risk. He always has extinguishers handy, too.
We always have nostalgia for the way things used to be built, but fuel lines and electrical systems are far more reliable these days than in the days of yore.
There is no reason why old fuel lines can't be made reliable in an old car. Old cars with carburetors typically had rubber hoses for fuel and they rot with age. These can be replaced with braided stainless steel lines as used on race cars. Both should be periodically replaced. Fuel injection systems under higher pressure indeed are typically metal lines less likely to fail. Brake lines are similar. Rubber sections where flexibility is needed, and they fail over time. Replaced with stainless steel braided lines in racing where failure would be really bad.
Unless you are willing to run down every wire in the harness ... there is still a risk.
Also, even if everything is new, some fuel handling designs were intrinsically less fire-resistant than more modern designs.
Consider as well that older cars sometimes contain flammable materials in the body and interior.
Put simply: old cars have a lot less intrinsically safe systems in them, and car-b-ques are infrequent, but not uncommon.
something out of Stephen King book or movie.
repair and repaint itself overnight.
To our esteemed host: I would expect from your writing desk a bit more than "Old car..." Perhaps I've no reason to expect such, as you are no doubt rather busy, but there you have it.
It's a '58 Ford. And I'm in tears. I do hope everyone is OK!
Ambulance, police and fire vehicles regularly carry fire extinguishers. Boats have them. Back when involved in car racing (mainly as a safety worker at track events) I carried a 10 lb extinguisher in my car. If I had a classic old car like that pictured, I would again carry one on board.
I was worried that you weren't going to blame the victim in this case.
That is tragic. Poor Tbird.
I feel bad for the owner. I'm sure that was "more than just a car" to him.
On the other hand, that's a great photo. It would make a nice album cover.
Ugh, what a beautiful car that was....
These old cars are cool-looking, but they're not very safe at all! Here's hoping that the people in the car got out okay and survived, but I'm glad that better and safer cars are being made nowadays.
I am the owner of that once beautiful '58 Ford Retractable Hardtop. Thanks to everyone who left kind comments. A little background; a few years ago our U.S. Government, the EPA mandated all gasolines be oxygenated. In other words a gallon of gas is cut 10% with Ethenol alcohol. Good news for corn farmers bad news for older cars and small engines. For newer computer controlled cars, no problem. For classic and antiques big problems. The gasahol attacks and destroys rubber parts and gaskets, fuel lines, carburetors and fuel pumps. The alcohol attracts moisture and causes rust in fuel tanks and fuel systems. Another "benefit" of the new gas is a gallon of gas is only 90% gasoline. It is more expensive and uses more energy to produce, costing more at the pump than real gas and oh yes, your new car gets LESS MPG. More money at the pump and lower gas mileage. There is much more to be said but I'll let it rest for now. I always have a fire extinguisher at my right hand under the front seat.
Sounds like you got out OK, at least.
I was really hoping it wasn't a Skyliner. What a sad outcome -- but glad you're safe.
On Mother’s Day while driving to New Hampshire we witnessed this classic engulfed in flames... All I could think was that this nice day was their first day out in the nice weather and now the car is a total loss… Our show was looking to find the owner and help them out please spread the word if you are a classic car owner and wish to help by spreading the word, and getting the owner of this car in touch with me. Being a mechanic since 1983 I can tell you that since the introduction of corn based ethanol I have witnessed fuel system problems from anything older than the mid 80′s, and some people are unaware of the changes that need to be made to their cars, boats, and simple lawn equipment before a disaster like this happens.
Ethanol has a lower energy density than gasoline, thus lower MPG. Diesel fuel has a higher energy density than gasoline, thus automatically greater MPG. Ethanol use has also raised food prices. Yes, ethanol is hydrophilic, thus the recommendation for people to keep their gas tank more full.
Back when I bought a rough 1967 Jag series 1 E-type roadster, the EPA had already mandated replacement of tetraethyl lead with MBTE. The negative consequences then was accelerated valve seat wear and knocking. Engines in classic cars all needed replacement with hardened valve seats.
Very sorry for your loss. Perhaps you can donate the remains to the Conservation Law Foundation to show your appreciation for what they do.
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