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Inf

My 240Z has possibly been killed

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    My girlfriend and I were headed down Lake Creek Pkwy in North Austin in light traffic on our way to dinner. There had been on and off again drizzle all day, so the roads were wet and pretty slick. It was dark, and all parties involved (myself included) were driving with their headlights on. We were both wearing our seat belts (both lap and shoulder belts). I was proceeding at what I consider to be a reasonable speed for conditions, with the flow of traffic, at approximately 20-25MPH in a 40MPH zone. As we approached the intersection, the light was clearly green at least 5 seconds before the collision and it was still green immediately after the collision.

    As I entered the intersection, the other driver in a PT Cruiser abruptly turned in front of me to make a left-hand turn, failing to yield. His movement was so sudden, I had no time to react, and by the time I was able to press my brake pedal, we had already collided. There were other cars to the right of and directly behind me in close proximity, so my car was not the only oncoming traffic he should have seen approaching the intersection.

    This scenario is shown in the attached map.

    APD arrived on the scene very quickly and instructed us to move our vehicles out of the intersection. The PT was able to drive off onto the side street just fine. My vehicle had a smashed radiator (antifreeze ran all over the street), and the front bodywork was dragging on the ground and against the front driver's side tire. I managed to drive the car out of the intersection, but the front end was dragging on the ground and the engine most certainly would have overheated had it been run for more than a few moments

    The other driver was cited by APD for failing to yield, and accepted that he was at fault for the accident. About 30-40 minutes after the crash I asked the other driver if he was OK, and he said he felt fine, but was just a little shaken up from the crash. He personally apologized to me for having caused the accident, accepting responsibility. APD then allowed him to leave the scene, and his car was able to drive away under its own power.

    APD called a tow company for me, which brought a flatbed truck. I instructed the operator to use wheel straps, as the 240Z doesn't have tow hooks on the undercarriage. The front airdam, which had been smashed and was dragging under the front of the car, broke off when the tow operator drove it onto the flatbed. He placed the broken-off bodywork in the passenger side of the passenger cabin.

    Behind me in traffic were two witnesses who observed the entire crash and stopped to give me their information. They both told me that the light was definitely green, and that the other driver was most definitely at fault for failing to yield.

    I've attached a crappy picture of the damage. I did not take more pictures because all I had was my iPhone (no flash), and it was too dark to get any useful pictures. I only got this one picture by synchronizing it with the hazard light on the other car.

    The following damage is what I was able to observe at the scene (could not open the hood):

    Hood -- buckled

    Hood hinges -- smashed

    Front bumper -- broken in half

    Front airdam -- destroyed

    Front headlight scoops -- both smashed, passenger side cracked in two, drivers side deformed

    Outer fenders -- both warped and buckled, passenger side possibly damaged beyond repair

    Inner fenders -- warped/crushed at front ends, I imagine (everything around it is)

    Front radiator support -- buckled inward

    Air conditioner condenser -- destroyed

    Radiator -- destroyed

    Front grille -- destroyed

    Front driver's side tire -- damaged by crumpled body work

    Both horns -- destroyed

    Both front turn signal assemblies -- crushed and irrepairable

    Front headlights -- damaged, irrepairable

    Engine -- unknown, couldn't open hood, but the engine sound was very bad when it was driven onto the flatbed.

    Because the whole front end of the frame is damaged, I suspect that the car may be totaled?

    A lot of the damaged and destroyed parts are no longer available, and it is a very difficult task to track down replacements as I'm sure you all know. I had a minor scrape from a careless sorority girl in a parking garage on my fender several years ago, and the best shop in town was very reluctant to work on it because some replacement parts are so hard to find.

    I know the drill, the insurance company will attempt to screw me and give me "blue book" or whatever for the car, which is averaged down by the massive amount of rust buckets changing hands at very low prices. I am also aware that the "I've put this much money into this car" argument will likely fall on deaf ears. I guess my only chance now is to try to find a lot of sales of similarly conditioned cars showing the prices they went for. That's very difficult. I was planning on getting it appraised soon, just not soon enough unfortunately. I'll be checking out the other threads about this kind of tragedy for more information.

    Also, I learned that by going through my own insurance company, I would have to pay out of pocket for a rental car until my Z is either completely repaired or totaled, at which point my insurance would go after the other guy's insurance company for reimbursement. I have a regular comprehensive insurance plan, not a Haggerty-type arrangement. This is my "daily driver" that I drive every 1-3 weeks (I live in a place where I ride the bus and my bicycle all the time, no need for a regular car).

    What a terrible way to start the new year.

    Please let me know what you guys think.

    post-3312-14150813272836_thumb.jpg

    post-3312-14150813273415_thumb.jpg

    Edited by Inf

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    I've got a series one body that you can have the front end on if you want to chop it at the firewall to fix yours.

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    I'm truly sorry. We went through this experience two months ago when my wife's car was hit. No one was hurt, the other driver was cited for the accident, but her "baby" was destroyed.

    Our insurance company took care of the rental car, because it's part of our policy (check yours carefully), although we had a maximum per day and maximum total, which covered about a month's rental of an economy car (we got a Nissan Versa), anything beyond that we'd need to deal with the other insurance company. We were told that once the estimate was agreed upon by us, the other driver's insurance company would reimburse ours for all costs accrued, so it wasn't like our company was going to be out any money.

    We had to tow the car and I demanded it be taken to an OEM body shop, since there was clearly engine mechanical and electrical damage done to it. The insurance adjuster determined, through fairly rigorous means, that the car was totaled. We still owed some on the car loan, and the lien holder (bank) has the final say-so as to what becomes of the vehicle. In most cases they want to total it, since that way they get their money back on what they now consider a "value compromised" vehicle. We loved the car, but since it was a daily driver, and I already have too many projects, we decided to take the settlement and buy another vehicle (and this time, when I insured the new car, I added "Gap Insurance" to my policy!).

    I see your case differently. I believe you should claim this car is a collectible classic, which it is. Demand your insurance company use a qualified antique/classic appraiser to get the value up as high as possible. You should do your own homework on determining your car's value just in case. Kelley Blue Book is not as good as NADA, and use eBay and other auctions to build up your value list. And don't be afraid to threaten court action if they resist you anywhere along the way. Court is something insurance companies are deathly afraid of, since you've paid premiums faithfully all these years under the assumption they'd take care of things like this, were they to ever happen. There's a legal term for that, but I can't remember it. By the way, any improvements you've done to the vehicle within the last 60 days, for which you have receipts, will be reimbursed 100% in the claim, should you decide to total it, or those items were damaged. In our case we'd just installed a set of Pirelli tires one week before the wreck. They paid for the tires, but not the labor.

    If the other driver has insurance, and it's still active (trust me, in our case we were sweating that), then your insurance has no cause to give you any grief regarding the value. Personally, I think they want "reasonable" valuations of totaled vehicles in the event they get into a pissing contest with the other company when the day comes to write the check. IOW, your company may get stuck with any difference if they have to go to court to settle the damages (by then you're out of the picture). Since you probably own the car with no lien against it, you can tell them you're keeping the car and want it fixed. They will hand you cash for the damage done. My recommendation is to find the best, top-notch, rotisserie employing, classic car body shop in the Austin area and demand only they do the work. No Earl Scheib for the 240Z! Since this type of repair may take a month or more, you may have a battle on your hands with the other insurance company over the rental car duration. Sometimes a "friendly" letter from your attorney can make things move a lot smoother for you.

    Good luck!

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    I hope you had an appraisal done, it will help, second get a lawyer. I know I'm not a big fan of them but I think you will make a lot more back that you deserve. Beside I might like insurance companies even less.

    ArnieTX I've seen pictures of his cars and if he gives you a good deal you might be back on the road. My biggest concern is damage past the firewall that's when the body work starts to get really expensive. The other is damage to the block, and transmission like cracking. To bad I never got to buy my car back from when I was hit I know you could be on the road between the two cars, I was rear-ended at 85mph while stopped by a mini-van (theirs nothing mini when you are in a Z).

    Hey I was thinking, about 2 weeks a go a Z was in Cregslist in my area, it was bad I can't believe he is driving it on the road from rust in the floor and rocker panel area. One thing I notice is the car is nearly straight except were it is starting to sag from rust, anyways from the firewall forward was very clean except the battery rust thing, let me know if you need it. I could salvage some parts and maybe cut the front off, and get it shipped.

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    I know it is to late right now, but you might have qualified for JC Tailor's collector car insurance if you had a garage. I recommend applying for collector car insurance even if you don't think you qualify, be honest with them in the application you never know unless you try. If you are denied ask what you would need to qualify. It is one of the best deals you can get in the insurance market I've helped many people get this insurance that never thought they would qualify, up till this year I was getting a gift card from one mans wife for 7 years every Christmas for saving them so much money, he was happy too.

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    I know it is to late right now, but you might have qualified for JC Tailor's collector car insurance if you had a garage. I recommend applying for collector car insurance even if you don't think you qualify, be honest with them in the application you never know unless you try. If you are denied ask what you would need to qualify. It is one of the best deals you can get in the insurance market I've helped many people get this insurance that never thought they would qualify, up till this year I was getting a gift card from one mans wife for 7 years every Christmas for saving them so much money, he was happy too.

    Also check out Hagerty, they insure mine for a declaired value of $4000. As the car is upgraded I can add to it's value and the payment is adjusted accordingly at any time, don't have to waite for renewal. and it is really reasonable.

    Sorry to hear about your luck Inf.

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    Thanks guys.

    As I'm sure you can all imagine, I'm pretty broken up over this. I've had her for 8 years this month, and I always treated her like a friend, always putting her welfare over my own convenience. I've paid out the nose on rent just to always have a secure garage to store her in.

    Thanks for suggesting NADA pwd, I looked up my car and I believe mine is near the "high retail" quality based on the description here:

    http://www.nadaguides.com/Classic-Cars/1972/Nissan-Datsun/240Z/2-Door-Coupe/Values

    She was definitely way better than a 20 footer, and aside from the small paint chip I picked up from the door of a careless jerk in a parking lot last week, she was nearly flawless -- way better than any daily driver I've seen. The engine has slightly less than 9,000 miles on a complete rebuild of the original engine with matching numbers. The dash has a half cap, that has been on there ever since I've owned the car, but the interior is in excellent shape otherwise, and has not deteriorated any in the time I've owned it due to my care and constant garaging.

    Maybe the value NADA cites is enough to keep it from being totaled, since the police officer said they typically only total if repairs are more than 70-75% of the vehicle's value.

    Unfortunately, I've driven her so little over the last year that I don't have many pictures of her since I installed the new wheels last spring.

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    Wow! Brings up bad memories for me. The same thing happened to me with my first 240. It was 1981 and I was going to watch the Stones on pay per view at the bowling alley and some drunk in a big pontiac boat took a left in front of me on Military Trail/Palmetto park road in Boca Raton Florida. I was doing the posted speed, 45 mph (or close to it ;-)) and he just decided to take the left. I hit the brakes, put my arms up in front of me to protect my head and took the hit. The car was totaled. I remember the engine was pushing the dash into the center of the cabin, the tranny was lifting the center console and the front end was pushed into the wheel wells. His car was bent in a V slightly so that I could not open his doors to beat the shiite out of him. He was lucky.

    The guy was drunk but, because the accident happened at an intersection the County cops and city cops argued for about 45 minutes over who had to "deal" with the crash. By this time the cops that lost the battle just wanted to get out of there and gave him a ticket and towed the vehicles. I told them he was drunk and they didn't care. Different times back then.

    I was with Allstate back then and I had to argue with them over the value. They wanted to give me 1200 for the car that I purchased just 9 months earlier for 2200. We ended up settling for 2100. We all walked away from the accident.

    I feel for you brother. Fight with them, buy it back from them and repair it best you can. It's worth saving.

    John

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    The ins. co. will try to beat you up on price. The key is to fight back through a few offers then buy the car back from them and salvage as much as you can. Buy another car of the same type, use what you can and sell the rest. It can be a lot of work, but you will come out "ahead" in the long run. Make sure you get the car home, or somewhere safe A.S.A.P. to avoid the impound charges. Don't know how it is in TX., But in MD. the tow companies stick it to you hard, makes it not worth buying the wreckage back.

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    The ins. co. will try to beat you up on price. The key is to fight back through a few offers then buy the car back from them and salvage as much as you can. Buy another car of the same type, use what you can and sell the rest. It can be a lot of work, but you will come out "ahead" in the long run. Make sure you get the car home, or somewhere safe A.S.A.P. to avoid the impound charges. Don't know how it is in TX., But in MD. the tow companies stick it to you hard, makes it not worth buying the wreckage back.

    Thanks for the tip, I actually just called my insurance company to ask about that. I just now arranged for my preferred body shop to pick it up from the tow company. They'll perform an estimate and try to reconcile the cost with my insurance company.

    The insurance rep said they would perform a "local market search" of "similar vehicles" to establish a cost. This scares me because A) there are hardly any of this car around central Texas, and B) the ones that ARE for sale are almost always derelict cars in some field somewhere. I keep a constant watch on Craigslist using Google Alerts for Datsuns, and I've seen it all. There's nothing comparable being sold around here, at least not through CL.

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    I feel for you brother. Fight with them' date=' buy it back from them and repair it best you can. It's worth saving.

    [/quote']

    Thanks, I'm hoping the guys at the body shop make it all right. They have done great work for me in the past, and did all of the dealing with the insurance companies once I handed my car over to them last time. I hope this experience is similarly positive.

    If it's repairable, hopefully I won't have to do anything, but if not, I will need to get involved and try to establish value...

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    Sorry to see this. This is all too common. I hope they make it right for you. Even if you have to shell some cash out of pocket yourself, get her fixed. Almost anything can be fixed. Then, get classic insurance with an agreed value policy. Make sure the agreed value is accurate and has some wiggle room. I went through this last Summer. My damage was much less than yours. Still, it became very close to a total, and I lost nights of sleep over it. Even with $8,000 agreed value with Hagerty I was looking at a total loss because I chose an expensive restoration shop. I have since upped it to $15,000 agreed value.

    Hagerty haggled with the restoration shop for me to get the repair cost down below the totaling threshold, which was around $6000 for my $8000 agreed value. Now that is service!

    Edited by cygnusx1

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    I work for an insurance company and I'm mildly amused by certain comments by fellow posters, but depite the popular misconceptions people may have about insurance processes I want to let you know that you'll be well taken care of if you do have the appropriate coverage; if you don't then that's your problem for not buying the right coverage. Plus, everything an insurer does is regulated according to the state you live in and anyway it's right there in the policy--which is a contract that cannot be deviated from. This is not the wild west where anything goes and please don't pin all your hopes on yer rootin' tootin' law-yah, because if you're not injured he's not making money with your case (attorneys don't make much if anything at all on property damage cases). So please, calm yourself, make sensible choices, mitigate and minimize your losses, speak with your claim rep and insurance agent if necessary and there's always your state's department of insurance regulation there for you if you feel you've been somehow ripped off or wrongly denied.

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    I work for an insurance company and I'm mildly amused by certain comments by fellow posters, but depite the popular misconceptions people may have about insurance processes I want to let you know that you'll be well taken care of if you do have the appropriate coverage; if you don't then that's your problem for not buying the right coverage. Plus, everything an insurer does is regulated according to the state you live in and anyway it's right there in the policy--which is a contract that cannot be deviated from. This is not the wild west where anything goes and please don't pin all your hopes on yer rootin' tootin' law-yah, because if you're not injured he's not making money with your case (attorneys don't make much if anything at all on property damage cases). So please, calm yourself, make sensible choices, mitigate and minimize your losses, speak with your claim rep and insurance agent if necessary and there's always your state's department of insurance regulation there for you if you feel you've been somehow ripped off or wrongly denied.

    Yes, it's all contracted EXCEPT for the fuzzy logic surrounding the value of the car. In a classic car that is not widely popular, it's a major piece of the equation that can be used by the insurance company to "make" the equations work.

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    I work for an insurance company and I'm mildly amused by certain comments by fellow posters, but depite the popular misconceptions people may have about insurance processes I want to let you know that you'll be well taken care of if you do have the appropriate coverage; if you don't then that's your problem for not buying the right coverage. Plus, everything an insurer does is regulated according to the state you live in and anyway it's right there in the policy--which is a contract that cannot be deviated from. This is not the wild west where anything goes and please don't pin all your hopes on yer rootin' tootin' law-yah, because if you're not injured he's not making money with your case (attorneys don't make much if anything at all on property damage cases). So please, calm yourself, make sensible choices, mitigate and minimize your losses, speak with your claim rep and insurance agent if necessary and there's always your state's department of insurance regulation there for you if you feel you've been somehow ripped off or wrongly denied.

    Yeah, I am sincerely hoping things work out for the best. If the car is not totaled, I think things may be OK because I am confident my body shop will come through for me.

    I admit that most of my negative conceptions about what insurance companies will and will not do are based on hearsay where I don't know the whole story. Luckily, I've only had to deal with this sort of problem once before, and it was for relatively minor damage.

    I'm most worried about the car being totaled and not getting a settlement good enough for me to get a replacement vehicle that isn't a complete lemon/beater. I'm a poor self-supporting graduate student, so I really have zero margin aside from what the insurance company would give me. I'm hoping that the fact that it was the other guy's fault, and he has liability insurance (req. in Texas) will work in my favor. I've always been so careful with my car, it's such a shame to have it end like this.

    If they total it, it will definitely not be my last Z. I should have a "real" job in a few years, and a new Z and complete restoration would definitely be priorities. Having worked my way through grad school so far, I haven't accumulated much debt, thank goodness.

    Edited by Inf

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    Andrew, that's awful. At least you and your passenger were not injured. Hopefully the same was true of the other driver too. Good luck, because traffic accidents and insurance claims ARE the Wild, Wild West. The other driver might miraculously produce a friend/witness who just happened to be driving along behind him and saw the whole thing -- and saw unambiguously that YOU proceeded through the intersection when the minivan had a green arrow. And because the accident was YOUR fault (according to them), you would be liable for the pain and suffering from the horrible neck and back injuries the guy received and for loss of income as the guy had to quit his job. This scenario played out for a neighbor of mine. Unfortunately I think many, and perhaps even MOST, people will trump up a personal injury case if they are able.

    In any collision situation, you need to round up witnesses, and you need to scan the area of the intersection for any surveillance cameras, so that you'll know whether you're able to subpoena surveillance tapes in your defense. Oddly, the car might be the least of your worries.

    And yes, when dealing with claims agents, you WILL be low-balled. Most of us in antique car circles know this is the norm, as there is no blue book value to establish the worth of our cars. You really need an appraisal (which has just landed on my new year's resolution list). FAIW, I think some appraisers will do after-the-accident, forensic sorts of appraisals.

    Good luck!

    Edited by FastWoman

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    I'm glad you and your girlfriend and the other party escaped physical injury. I found this news very disturbing, knowing how you feel about your Z. You will know more after the damage has been fully assessed but from my first impressions from looking at the pic and your initial observations of the damage, I would say it can be fixed. If it was me, I would at least explore the possibility of a "buyback", if a write off and cash settlement can be reached. Maybe chaztg can offer some guideance but I would think it would also be in the best interest of the insurance companies involved, to reach a quick cash settlement thus eliminating costly rental cars and the increased case load.

    Just thinking out loud. Good luck Andrew.

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    Chaztg:

    While your post may be accurate as to insurance companies purported behavior, your bedside manner is deplorable.

    Don't be conned by your self-interest, if an insurance company can find a way to mitigate it's loses, it will employ a batallion of lawyers to ensure it.

    E

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    Andrew,

    If you need parts, headlight buckets, etc, let me know I have most of what you need if you get to repair your car (mutiple cars parted out). Let me know if you need something. If I have it, I will work something out for you for the cost of the freight only. I also have the heavier pieces (engines and trannies laying) around if you need something.

    As for insurance companies, I have dealt with my fair share. They like to pay as little as possible. That helps with their profits. It might be all spelled out in the fine print of your contract, but it takes a legal degree to decipher it. I took two semesters of business law in college, and a contract is only good if both sides play by the rules. I have threatened legal action aginst insurance companies before. The other option is going up the food chain. One time my wife got all the way to a VP at Allstate before we got an acceptable settlement for a totaled vehicle. Kee us in the loop.

    Charles

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    Chaztg,

    One thing I learned from my recent "total" is that insurance companies are compartmentalized and the guy processing the claim initially has no clue about what goes on in the appraisal, or total department. I got handed off to at least 4 different people during the process, including an independent insurance investigator who had to get audio testimony from my wife and the other driver in the event the other driver were to file a lawsuit up to 2 years later, claiming injury or financial loss (yes, in Texas that's the law, even if the other party got the citation!).

    So while I appreciate that you work in the insurance business, I have no problem offering my recent personal experience to Inf, who resides in the same State as myself, and is under the same policy umbrella.

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    Whatever you do don't let them keep your car. Keep it yourself, there is still a lot u can recover and reuse.

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    The insurance company would go after people if they found out you did this, if people put their cars up for sale at a higher price in the area than normal they would find him a higher price for his car.

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    The insurance company would go after people if they found out you did this, if people put their cars up for sale at a higher price in the area than normal they would find him a higher price for his car.

    I think they would go by car's sale prices if anything, not asking prices. :ermm: Whatever the case, they will take the lower number, I assure you. The only time I had an official overestimate the value of my car was when I was to pay taxes on it. Insurance says $8k for total and DMV says $12k for taxation calculations. Go figure!

    Edited by cygnusx1

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