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Shop fire - car is toast

alps66

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 7, 2005
Messages
82
Location
Elkins Park, PA
Corvette
1966 milano maroon 427/390
Hello All,
My apologies if this gets a bit lengthy, but I hope you understand. Over the next few months I may be seeking your counsel and consolation for reasons evident from the photos below. My ’66 original numbers BB vert had been undergoing a body-on for several months and throughout the process, my mechanic and I have worked side-by-side. He’d do the stuff I couldn’t and I’d sweat the detail work. We had the engine and tranny rebuilt and gutted and refinished the engine bay. The suspension had been dropped for rebuild, the seats and console removed and I was refinishing much of the trim. I just finished redoing the frame and we were ready to start putting everything back together.
Sunday morning, my wife took a call from my mechanic’s brother-in-law to tell us that there had been an electrical fire at the shop (my mechanic was too despondent to talk). He warned us that the photos are grim, but that most of the heat was concentrated in the loft above the shop. Miraculously, the car didn't seem to be totally demolished – blistered paint, cracked windshield, melted convertible top, heat damaged door panels and dash, and water damaged carpet. The instrument cluster is probably toast as well, but the body remained intact. At the time of the fire, there was also a ’65 hardtop vert and a ’69 XKE in the shop. Although the ’65 suffered significant damage, both were on wheels and were rolled to safety. I was stuck on a lift.
In a conversation with the building owner that evening, I was advised that the building had been condemned, which got me to worrying about how I’d be able to retrieve everything. I took a long walk Sunday night to sort out my thoughts and put things in perspective. Conclusion: It’s only fiberglass and metal. No one was hurt. Forge ahead.
On Monday, I spoke with the local police and the borough engineer, ready to plead for permission to remove the car before the building is razed, but both were sympathetic and put my fears to rest. They indicated that we could have access to the corner of the building where my rebuilt motor (wrapped in plastic), trans, as well as all the new and refurbished parts were being stored. Fortunately, they were all relatively unscathed and we got them out yesterday. Once they shore up what’s left of the roof above my car, we can get the body and frame out of there.
I’m hoping that Hagerty lives up to their great reputation. My contacts so far have been positive. The adjuster should be out to do an assessment in a couple of days. The insurance companies can duke it out from there.
In the meantime, can anyone with some experience with heat damage give me some clues as to what kind of damage I should be looking for, and what problems I might run into when we repaint? I’m also looking for some suggestions on how we can dolly the car out of the shop. There’s very little clearance on either side of the car, but we have access to a forklift. I was figuring we’d use some 4x4’s with the forklift to lift and guide the front end while a bunch of us lift the tail end and walk it out with the forklift to where we have some elbow room. Once we do that, any suggestions for a dolly?
In the meantime, I keep telling myself it’s only a flesh wound…
Much thanks for any input.
Jeff

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zachh

Well-known member
Joined
Aug 1, 2005
Messages
221
Location
virginia beach, va
Corvette
1979 black 'n' silver L82 1978 Trans Am Y88
That sucks.
Good Luck fixin 'er up again.
Best Wishes, both you , and the vette.
zachh
 
Joined
Sep 16, 2003
Messages
525
Location
Newark, OH
Corvette
2003 50th Anniversary Convertible
OMG!! My heart goes out to you. I hope that you are able to fix it up again.

Jim
 
Joined
Oct 25, 2002
Messages
2,634
Location
Lilburn GA
Corvette
2002 Yellow Z06 (sold); 1999 Pewter FRC (sold)
Oh Dear Lord.
I can't imagine how bad you must feel.

Good luck.

Tammy
 

jimbo64

Well-known member
Joined
Sep 28, 2004
Messages
86
Location
tx
Corvette
1964 RED CONVERTIBLE
Good luck, you have a positive attitude and that's commendable under the trying circumstances. Keep us posted on your journey to bring her back. We're all cheering for you Jim
 

firstgear

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 11, 2003
Messages
1,895
Location
Norwalk, Ohio
Corvette
15 Z06, 01 Vert, 63 SWC & 60 ALL RED
and that is why I have Haggerty Insurance......you never know when you need them.....you will be ok as long as you had a high enough value set on the car......I just upped my insurance on the '60, for the very reason....worry about something happening with the car while at a shop outside my control...

sorry about your loss, it is gut wrenching.....good news, no one was hurt!!!
 

alps66

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 7, 2005
Messages
82
Location
Elkins Park, PA
Corvette
1966 milano maroon 427/390
Thank you all for your support. It means a lot! I'm pretty sure we'll be able to bring her back to life. I'll post updates.

My heart goes out to my mechanic. His life and livelihood have been put in a tailspin. When I showed up to help him shovel out yesterday, he broke down and cried like a baby, apologizing profusely for something that was totally out of his control. The project means as much to him as it does to me.

Herb, the dolly you have under the '60 looks simple and effective. It appears to be a platform on wheels with cribbing added in the appropriate places to support the frame. I was thinking of something similar and was at the Big Orange Box today checking out caster wheels. The heaviest duty wheel they had in stock has a load rating of around 250 lbs. If I support the platform with six wheels, I figure I should be good to go.

If anyone has any other ideas, please chime in.
Jeff
 

XLR8

Gone but not forgotten
Joined
Jun 23, 2004
Messages
6,662
Location
Mississippi Gulf Coast
Corvette
2003 AE Convertible, 1998 LCRM Convertible
I can't even begin to imagine how I'd feel if I were in your shoes - but you seem to have the best attitude... which is acceptance, and determination to move forward. And your concern for your mechanic and friend says your heart's in the right place too!

Good luck to you as you work to bring her back. Take pix and please keep us posted.

:w Jane Ann
 

IH2LOSE

Well-known member
Joined
May 24, 2001
Messages
3,908
Location
We Will All Meet Again
Corvette
1966,and a 1962 thats almost complete
Sorry

You should try and contact a rigging company. Or a crane service. I do heating and A/C and when installing a unit on a roof. some times the crane company brings what we call a moon buggy. Its a big dolly with like ATV wheels on it and will roll over justabout anything, Just get 4 guys lift the car up by the wheel wells and roll the buggy under it.then roll it out.

I cut up my body dolly but some where on this web site was plans for a wooden one that you could use to transport it home
 
Joined
May 29, 2002
Messages
8,669
Location
Missoura Ozarks
Corvette
2012 💯 4LT GS Roadster
WOW - Major League Bummer...

Glad to hear the Firemen were able to control the fire before your Roadster was consumed.

Later - D
 

firstgear

Well-known member
Joined
Oct 11, 2003
Messages
1,895
Location
Norwalk, Ohio
Corvette
15 Z06, 01 Vert, 63 SWC & 60 ALL RED
Thank you all for your support. It means a lot! I'm pretty sure we'll be able to bring her back to life. I'll post updates.

My heart goes out to my mechanic. His life and livelihood have been put in a tailspin. When I showed up to help him shovel out yesterday, he broke down and cried like a baby, apologizing profusely for something that was totally out of his control. The project means as much to him as it does to me.

Herb, the dolly you have under the '60 looks simple and effective. It appears to be a platform on wheels with cribbing added in the appropriate places to support the frame. I was thinking of something similar and was at the Big Orange Box today checking out caster wheels. The heaviest duty wheel they had in stock has a load rating of around 250 lbs. If I support the platform with six wheels, I figure I should be good to go.

If anyone has any other ideas, please chime in.
Jeff
I got my dolly plans from Noland Adams body lift book. It worked quite nicely. The wheels at 250 lbs should work just fine, it is not like you will be rolling around all over the place all the time. So you should be good there.

if you need other photos or anything I would be happy to provide them....

Herb

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Kid_Again

Well-known member
Joined
Jul 6, 2004
Messages
1,171
Location
NJ - Which exit you from?
Corvette
65 SB Roadster, 66 BB Coupe
Oh Dear Lord.

At least no one was injured.

Good luck with the restoration.
 

Rob Musquetier

Active member
Joined
Apr 3, 2006
Messages
41
Location
Netherlands
Corvette
1959, 1963 SWC, 1969 Conv, 1999 Coupe
This is one of my worst nightmares (maybe with an exception for losing my wife and daugther), I can't even imagine how you feel.

The good news is that what happened seems to be recoverable. Just a couple of hunderd hours more of pleasurable car restoration time...

My thoughts are with you,
Rob Musquetier
Tulip & Cheese Country
 
Joined
Nov 11, 2001
Messages
5,979
Location
SouthCentral Ontario
Corvette
www.67HEAVEN.com
Jeff,

On the positive side, your attitude is a good one. But, I can only imagine how it's eating you up.

I am so sorry to see this happen to any of us who love these cars so much. To many motorists, a car-fire is mainly an inconvenience. To us, it's taken to an entirely different level. We bleed Corvette, and it hurts to see anyone's Corvette damaged in any way.

We are all pulling for you. Please keep us in the loop.

Bob
:w
 

Ghost

Well-known member
Joined
May 15, 2006
Messages
113
Location
Singer Island, FL
Corvette
2012 Supersonic Blue Grand Sport
Glad to hear the Firemen were able to control the fire before your Roadster was consumed.

Later - D

My thoughts exactly... Great stop on that fire before everything was gone. I'd be bringing some pizzas or something down to the station...

Can't help ya with your questions, but I'm glad things weren't a total loss for you.
 
Joined
Jul 28, 2003
Messages
1,765
Location
Frankfurt/Germany
Corvette
1982 Collector Edition
Real sorry to hear this happen to you. I have to commend you on you r good attitude, i 'm not sure i would be.

:w
-Stefan
 

JoBu

Active member
Joined
Nov 3, 2006
Messages
26
Location
Space Coast, FL
Corvette
1985 Silver Coupe
First off...I'm so glad no one was injured.

But, I feel so bad for you. I'm very, very sorry. Those pics are heart-breaking.

Edited to add that my thoughts go out to your mechanic as well. I do hope that everyone involved is able to recover with as little pain as possible. Best of luck to you all...
 

Viet Nam Vett

Well-known member
Joined
May 28, 2004
Messages
2,410
Location
Egg Harbor Township NJ
Corvette
65 BB 502 Cp /MSD ATOMIC EFI/ 2009-HUMMER H2
Wow..Very sorry to see this happen to you. There is nothing I can say that will take that Hole out of your stomach. But I can say that you have the support of everyone here on the forum and any help you might need I'm sure.

Good luck with the restoration... and after it's all said and done and your back on the road..a good name for your Corvette should be the..Phoenix".

I'm sure it will rise again.

Best of Luck..Mark

:beer
 

Evolution1980

Well-known member
Administrator
Joined
Feb 25, 2002
Messages
4,302
Location
Cleveland, Ohio
Corvette
ZZ4, 700R4, Steeroids rack & pinion, VB&P Brakes
Ditto to what everyone has expressed above. Glad to hear that a lot of the stuff, such as engine, trans, and other stuff was able to be salvaged. Other than the car itself, that was probably some of the most expensive pieces.
This will certainly be a good test for Haggerty to see how they are. My best wishes to you on that front.

As for your mechanic / shop owner...man, that's devastating. Ya never fully know what ya have until you don't have it anymore.

At least the worst is over! :)

Best of luck with your baby, Jeff! We're all here for ya!
:CAC
 

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