This is the story of a special car that was built in 1973 for the Great One, Jackie Gleason. The car was purchased in 1999 by a couple in Ohio. In June of 2003 as the car was leaving a repair facility in Florida it was struck broadside by a cement truck traveling 45 miles per hour.
We received a call from an insurance estimator to get an appraisal on the car and approximate costs to repair it if possible. Through photos sent to us we were able to give them some numbers for what we were able to determine. Through that the insurance company was contacted and the insurance appraiser recommended that the car return to the place it was built for the repairs.
We had the car picked up and returned to Wisconsin to determine the total extent of damages, and cost to make it right. To our surprise the chassis had only one small dent in it. The body and balance of the fiberglass and the interior as well as the running gear however were badly damaged. The trailing arm had been torn loose and bent in half and some how stuffed into the tire. Differential was moved to the driver side and other parts of the rear end took the brunt of damage and the jolt created misalignment in the entire car. After seeing the damage to the car I called the insurance company and asked what the damage to cement truck was? To my surprise we were told that the truck was total loss. The collision tore off the front suspension of the truck. I recall that when we were building these cars we used to joke that you could probably run into a train and knock it off the track with these chassis they were so over designed and heavy, I guess it was far more true than we thought.
We determined that the repairs needed from the damage would be close to everything the car needed to make it almost a complete restoration. We talked to the owners’ representative and it was decided to go ahead and do the other things to make the car nearly new again.
The photos you see here are what we started with and what we ended up with.