Fender benders & motoring mishaps

There’s something intriquing about seeing an automobile post-crash, especially a vintage automobile and the pictures themselves are vintage. Here’s another round of photos, circa the 1950s, from the Old Cars Weekly archives.

When cows meet a Mercury, only bad things can happen. In 1956, reader Ellis Ulrich was driving his slightly customized 1950 Mercury along a two-lane, secondary road, and upon cresting a hill, came upon a herd of black angus cattle. “Three [cows] were hit and the Mercury was seriously wounded,” Ulrich wrote. The damage was repaired with a ’49 Merc front clip scrounged from a local salvage yard “and the car was good to go after an alignment and new paint job,” according to Ulrich. “Shortly thereafter, the Navy called me to active duty and the Merc was sold, never to be seen again. One can only hope that someone along the way was able to keep it active through the years.”

Damage to this late-1940s International stake bed hauler appears to be mainly cosmetic, but the wrecker service of brothers Robert and Donald Gilder of North Ridgeville, Ohio, was called to tow away the truck from the accident scene. The crash occurred on the final day, New Year’s Eve, of 1949. The Gilder brothers photographed the vehicles at accident scenes they were called to from the 1950s to the ’70s, and now generously share those images with the readers of Old Cars Weekly.

Julius Alexander of Bloomington, Ill., writes: “My third car was this 1955 Chevrolet that I purchased in ’56. It was originally driven by the car dealer’s wife, so it was still like new. I was so proud of it, having added dual exhaust and shaving the deck and hood. I also installed Packard taillights and a station wagon bumper center section for attaching the license plate. Six months after buying the Chevy, I was driving along about 25 mph when a ’52 Oldsmobile crossed the center line, coming directly at me. I locked up the brakes and slid the car to the curb, but was hit in the front at an angle, which pushed back the Chevy a car length. The driver of the Olds had suffered a stroke and never slowed.” Alexander said he was lucky as the angle of the impact allowed him to miss getting speared by the steering wheel, although he did receive facial injuries. Unfortunately, the driver of the Olds did not survive the stroke.

According to the billboard, a boy could slam more homers if he ate Kilpatrick Bread. But no one felt like a home run hitter when this 1955 Buick Super Riviera hardtop slammed into a tiny 1948 Studebaker Champion Regal Deluxe coupe. Considering the relative size and weight of the two machines, one might expect the Studebaker to look much worse than the Buick, but both cars came out pretty even overall.  (From “Crash” by John Gunnell, KP Books. Photo from the Rodman Bingham Collection)

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