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That Was A Bad Week


Looks like we won’t be attending any of the upcoming Mustang birthday bashes. We had planned on helping the Mt. Hood Mustang club beat the world record for the largest Mustang parade. Well, I went and slide my daily driver into a cement pole instead and now the insurance company has deemed it a total loss. Many of you may know that I am in the middle of a move, so this little fender bender really threw a wrench in things.


Luckily, no one got hurt, but what a shame. I loved that Mustang. It was the newest car I had owned in years and it was a lot of fun. Sure the dash rattled and the build quality was mediocre, but the sound of that V8 was music to my ears. I did feel guilty driving it sometimes though. Normally something 30 years or older resides in my parking space, so I felt spoiled with cruise control and air conditioning.


I never did get around to installing that Hurst shifter though, so if anyone is in the market, it is now up on eBay. Now that my Mustang is gone, I will probably go back to my old ways. My wife would prefer that I drive something new and flashy, but old cars that I can actually work on are more appealing to me. We are still getting everything moved over to Idaho, so you may not see me around these parts for another week or so. Hopefully this coming week goes better! Now excuse me, I’m off to craigslist to drown my sorrows…


  1. Lindsey

    Man, that really sucks Jesse! Hopefully the rest of your move goes smoothly.

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  2. ConservativesDefeated

    Sorry Dude. Never Fails!

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  3. cory thatcher

    park it in a barn and maybe our grandkids will find it someday

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  4. David

    Awwww Jesse, that’s a huge shame. Thank God you didn’t get hurt though! I can’t believe that the damage was enough to total it. It really doesn’t look that bad so I guess its really a case of how expensive parts are for those mustangs! Was the frame bent? You should have bought the car from the insurance company and sold it for parts!

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    • Jim-Bob

      It looks to me like it has cowl and firewall damage. That’s enough to total a high end new car in some cases as it is very difficult to repair without doing a cut and shut. Usually, the car would be cut at the middle of the windshield pillars and across the floor. A new front end from an undamaged car is then trimmed and fitted into place and then welded. If done right, the floor and rocker cuts are staggered so that the complete rocker is there, or at least is sectioned further down the car than the floor. If done wrong, the rocker is sectioned along the same straight cut line and can come apart in a future accident.

      Being that this is a 2005 from the looks of it, I am not surprised that it was totaled. The book just isn’t high enough on a 9 year old Mustang to justify the expense of repairing it.

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      • dj

        This could be fixed. I’ve fixed several like this by pulling it out with a frame machine. It takes time and effort. The insurance companies want to take the easy way out and total them. It’s their choice anyway. Glad you didn’t get hurt.

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  5. rusty

    ” Dang ! ” exclaiming with my best American Accent

    but in Aussie…………… ” Stone the Crows ! ”

    all the best with the rest of the move

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  6. Tim

    Sorry to hear Jesse. A few years ago I had a very early production 94 mustang 5.0, black on black, 5 speed, fully loaded, low miles, mint…Loved that car. A Camry and its owner made a left turn on a red light, on a down hill street. You never forget the slide and the crunch.. It’s like a member of the family. So both airbags popped and rad pushed back to the engine. Written off, even though its fixable. The police told me the driver of the ruined toyota had written off another a month before to the day, similar scenario. He’s probably still driving around. I still have the car and a parts car, just need time and space to do the work, usual thing. Maybe you can buy back your car from the insurance company cheap?

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  7. Dolphin Member

    Very sorry to hear about the encounter with the pole. Reminds me of when I had a similar…….

    You’re OK and that’s #1. All the best with the move, Jesse.

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  8. Jimbosidecar

    Likewise, I’m glad to hear you’re not hurt. Now go find a classic for a replacement with all that insurance $$

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  9. dave

    what did you hit a fence post?

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  10. Rich Truesdell

    Jesse, sorry to hear what happened, certainly doesn’t look like a write-off from the photo.

    Here’s an idea for everyone here who enjoys what you do with Barn Finds. Someone can set up a Kickstarter or some such crowdfunding site, and set an amount that can be attained, say $5,000, and if everyone who likes what you do, donates just $1, we all should be able to raise enough to get you a reasonable Mustang with that and the insurance proceeds. If someone sets up the account, I’ll start things off with a $5 donation.

    Or maybe we can raise enough so that you can buy the worlds best Mustang II… just kidding.

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    • jim s

      sounds good to me. great idea. thanks

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    • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

      The damage was worse than it looks in these photos. Your idea is a very generous one Rich!

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    • Dolphin Member

      Insurance companys can be very tough to get the compensation for your loss that you deserve, and running this site is a lot of work and cost$.

      This needs someone who knows their way around Kickstarter…..Anyone?
      I’m in if someone figures out how to do it.

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  11. Kevin

    Buy it back and use the drivetrain as a great basis for a restomod ;)

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  12. Mark E

    Glad nobody was hurt anyway! And now you have an excuse to buy something practical for the move…like a corvair rampside!! ^_^

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  13. paul

    I hate those moving poles, why I’d even go back there with a die grinder & teach that pole a damn lesson & to think, it smacked you in the hinge pillar.

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  14. James Wallhauser

    Bad news indeed Jesse. Hang in there, you weren’t hurt and there will be plenty of rallies upcoming.

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  15. jim s

    i am glad no one got hurt. sorry the car did but it looks like it did its job and protected the people inside. think what the outcome would have been if you had be driving a lesser car, ( like an midget/sprite for example! ). since you looking for new wheels i know where you can find a real nice looking chevy shortbed pickup with V6/manual ( hint: is on the right side of the screen your looking at ). or maybe try the auction for the GT500. thanks

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  16. Bryan Cohn

    Cars are replaceable, people aren’t. Its a PITA more than anything and in the midst of a move, well having moved far too many times in our lives due to jobs I can’t imagine the added stress of a car accident.

    As many have said now is your chance for a proper classic and a cheap “new-ish” car to duly drive than has all the modern safety features you really need to survive in today’s driving world.

    If you love Mustangs maybe its time for that one you’ve always wanted, whatever year it math be. Except Mustang II’s. Most of us will pretend we don’t know you if your dream car is a 1974 Mustang II notchback in green with a white Landau top. :)

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  17. Russell

    I’m so sorry for your total loss! I once had a rented Mustang convertible from Avis on a freeway in California for a business trip. Two cars ahead skidded to a stop. The car ahead of me skidded to a stop. I slammed on the brakes and skidded to a stop. The car behind me skidded up close. Still safe. Then at the back of the conga line, a massive tow truck with an 18 wheeler in tow started the pile-up. I heard about eight concussions, with four or five hitting my rental. When the dust settled, there was fairly extensive damage to three sides of my car, but it still drove. That was so much fun returning the car to Avis. I’ll send a picture if I can figure how to…

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  18. Charles Gould

    Doesn’t look terribly bad to me. Sure the damage unseen in the lower frame rail and the cowl is probably what caused the total loss as well as the age of the car, but a good body shop should be able to pull that straight without having to cut and splice a new clip in there. Then a few new or used exterior panels and you are back in business.
    Ask the insurance company what the salvage value is. I bet that it is under $700.00. Then tell then that you would like to keep the car. They will simply deduct the salvage value from the total loss check, and you wil have more than enough money to repair the car.
    Typically an insurance company will total an older car if the repair estimate is more than 50% of the total loss value of the car. So, in theory, there should be enough money to repair the car and still have 50% of the value as “additional spending money”. That way, you will make out okay in the settlement and still be able to keep your car.
    Remember that both figures (total loss value AND salvage value) are negotiable. By tugging them up on total loss value, and tugging them down on salvage value, you should be able to make out okay. Remind them that by you keeping the car, they will save a tow cost and a sales or auction fee. They will pay you sales tax on the total loss value if you surrender the car. You will forfeit the sales tax if you keep the salvaged car.
    Legally if you keep the damaged car, you are legally required to re-title it and note that it was a totaled car, which will affect resale value, and if you decide not to do this (as many people do), you could be liable for fraud or misrepresentation when you resell the car.

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    • paul

      I was looking at the damage & from what I see it is a moderate hit to the cowl ( hinge pillar ) not hard enough to break the windshield, the impact being lower down , that is a good thing, of course I didn’t see the driver’s side pics so can’t be sure how the damage translated across the unibody, but still can’t be bad since the glass doesn’t appear to be broken….. I don’t know if this can still be done but in the past you could ask the insurance co to settle with you for under total loss & fix the car yourself, then you wouldn’t have the the salvage/ rebuilt designation, I did this about 10 years ago after being rear ended at a traffic light in my Alfa Romeo… I suspect with the move these fellows are in the midst of they wouldn’t have the cultivated the the “new circle” of friends that can pull this type of repair off, frame machine etc.

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      • Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

        The windshield actually did break and really tweaked the door. It could be fixed, but I doubt it would ever be right.

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      • paul

        No such thing as “doubt it could be fixed right” , everything can be fixed right, but at what cost. Those Corvettes that are being fished out of that hole at Bowling green will be fixed right.

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  19. scot

    ~ lead with your chin, Jesse. things will improve.

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  20. Doug M. Member

    Sorry, Jesse! …looked like a really nice car…. good luck on the moving process….

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  21. Moparman Elliott Member

    My first NEW car was totaled after a H&R accident. The owner of the body shop told me that there was nothing structurally wrong, and that it would be remove and replace. However, the cost for replacing the side curtain/seat airbags and related AB controllers/panels would determine whether or not it was totalled. Interestingly enough, I later found my car for sale on Craigslist (salvage title), AND I drive past it regularly!! If not for the airbags, I would have bought it back!! (c:

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  22. Jesse Mortensen Jesse Staff

    Thanks for all the condolences guys! I thought about buying the car back and parting it out, but decided that wasn’t feasible right now. The accident was unfortunate, but it may have been for the best. Now we get to go shopping for the next BF project and a daily driver for me!

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  23. Gary Fogg

    My best friend has an 05 Mustang GT that was rebuilt and although it looks great, it is not 100%. Random water leaks, tracking issues, handling issues, etc. It was hit in front but drove it back with damage in the same area. So probably best you did not opt for having it repaired. I also own a 1968 Mustang GT/CS that was hit in 1980 or so with good damage to the passenger side cowl area, and the previous owner [ a body shop owner no less ] could never get it “just right” so it was never finished. I have had it inside for 15 years or more and every body man that looks at it says the same thing “rip it back open, do major corrective surgery”. When they are hit there it is not an easy fix, no matter what generation of Mustang you have. Any thoughts as to what kind of car you will be looking for next ? Maybe we can start the nationwide search ! Glad your not injured, best of luck with the move.

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  24. Bert

    Love your page…Happy that all is well…

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  25. Horse Radish

    That reminds me of an accident I had in the 80ies on snow slick roads in Germany.
    I slid in a long left turn over-corrected and slid head on into a guard rail.
    The first car to come by after the incident was a Police patrol and they wrote me up for denting the guard rail !!
    No seat belt to talk about, but the nose of the 1967 BMW 2000CS absorbed most of the impact and I was able to drive away to my destination, Emden, Germany, where all Volkswagens et.al. get loaded to be shipped to the US.
    I bought that car to be sent back to CA. It now was a dented car going there.
    But I drove it as was for another couple of years until the clutch started slipping.
    I still have it, but it’s seen better days..

    I am glad you’re o.k. and that it happened to a newer throw-away car, the ones you can’t repair yourself anymore….

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  26. That Guy

    My stepdaughter was rear-ended twice in the 2001 Civic she “appropriated” from my ex-wife. The first time, the car was an insurance total but still drove fine. My ex kept the car, and still got a check from the insurance company for about $6000 as I recall. Cheap & dirty repairs for $1500 go it back on the road and looking decent at 20 feet, though with a salvage title. A couple of years later she was rear-ended again, much harder, and pushed into the car in front. It still drove, sort of, but this time it was a real mess. It went off to the junkyard, and my ex got about $8000 from the insurance company despite the fact it was already a salvaged car. She damn near made a profit on that car, which was only about $17000 new.

    But I think I can see why your Mustang was a writeoff. This damage needs to be repaired right or the car will never drive properly or be structurally sound. It’s doable but expensive, and just not economic at this point.

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  27. bowtiecarguy

    Sorry about the wreck and the timing–though there’s never a good time to total your ride.
    When life hands you lemons, make lemonade–or in this case limeade–did you see the 924 on Bring a Trailer this am? And in Boulder, not too far away. Just saying, if you could just get WAF (wife approval factor). . .

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  28. geomechs geomechs Member

    So sorry to hear about your bad luck, Jesse. It’s never a good thing to lose a treasured driver car. Of course it’s even worse if you lose a family member. Take care. I hope the rest of your move goes OK.

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  29. Joe Howell

    Sorry about your Mustang. Glad you are OK.

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  30. rusty

    hi posters.. to save josh answering while in the middle of the move could someone on here tell me what year model this mustang is..being an Aussie I have no idea..although I have by coincidence before this posting been looking at how dear modern mustangs are here in Oz.

    Josh if reading I hope the move is zooming along

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  31. Barzini

    Add my voice to the choir expressing sorrow for the loss and relief that no one was hurt.

    Jessie – I have enjoyed your writing and look forward to reading about what ever car you select to replace the Mustang. Best wishes.

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  32. Charles

    Jessie, the insurance company probably did you a favor by totaling the car. Damage in that area is difficult to straighten out. With a unitized body car like a Mustang, the complications are compounded. We owned an 87 Silverado G-30 Crew Cab Dually that was sent to Choo-Choo Customs prior to the dealer selling it to us new. The truck suffered a hit in the same spot when it was less then a year-old. it was no where close to a total, and was still driveable. The truck was repaired by a reputable body shop, however it suffered continued problems. The frame was straightened without difficulty, and the truck drove perfectly. The cab was another story. The front passenger door never fit right after the accident, and was difficult to get it closed. The truck suffered from water leaks, squeaks and rattles beyond belief. Finally I stumbled accross a good straight cab from a wrecking yard that came from a theft recovered truck. I bought the cab and swapped it out for the damaged one. The new cab was the same color, so all that had to be painted was the exterior. The truck was finally good again but it cost a lot of money and a lot of time. With a unitized body like a Mustang, I doubt if it could be made right again.

    Since you enjoyed your late model Mustang so much, why not replace it with another one?

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  33. Don Andreina

    Reminds me of a similar accident during my stupid driving days. The only consolation I can think of is that it means you get to try yet another car. Glad you’re unhurt.

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