9 June 2015

Losses and Lessons: Trailered Nova II fights gravity, then sees the light (pole)

VEHICLE COVERED1966 Chevrolet Nova II custom

WHAT WENT WRONG: Even pampered classics can have a bad day once in a while. The owner of a 1966 Chevy Nova II custom trailered his car to a show, strapping it down and placing it in neutral before hitting the road. After arriving at the show, he unstrapped the car and prepared to ease it off the trailer, not realizing that he hadn’t put the car back in gear. The Nova II rolled backwards off the trailer and crashed into a light post.

DAMAGE/LOSS: The accident caused $4,500 in damages to the rear of the show car, which Hagerty paid. The good news is no one was standing behind the car when it rolled off the trailer; someone could have been severely injured.

LESSON: The owner of the Nova II did the right thing by placing the car in neutral while it rode in the trailer; the transmission could have been damaged had he left it in gear. The lesson: never unstrap a car you’re trailering until you put it in gear. To be doubly safe, use a set of wheel chocks (in front and behind a tire), and don’t remove them until the car is in gear.

10 Reader Comments

  • 1
    Art Michigan June 10, 2015 at 22:30
    First I disagree with leaving it outa gear when hauling it. Auto put it in park then apply emergency brake...if stick put it in first gear than apply emergency brake. He should have been inside the car when he back it out or winched it off. I been doing this for over 40 years with no problem and on my drag car once my rear slick went flat on the way home and the tie downs were loose. I have a dovetail trailer and also had a rope tied to the front frame just in case so it could not rolls off. It was a auto trans and I didn't have a emergency brake on it as it was a drag car. I had front stops so when you drove the car up on trailer it would stop in the same place each time so it hauled the same way and balanced right. I always was inside when loading it and unloading it. Never ever hurt the tranny and if I did that's a lot cheaper than what this guy did
  • 2
    David Mumm minneapolis,mn June 10, 2015 at 11:30
    Hi Please explain how the transmission could get damaged if left in gear while trailering? The way this was written, it implies it is a manual transmission, as you wrote "he hadn't put the car back in gear". Are there concerns about transmission damage for an Automatic transmission car trailered in park? Secondly, if you recommend putting the transmission in neutral, then you should also strongly recommend setting the emergency brake.
  • 3
    Bruce C CO June 10, 2015 at 12:35
    In what way can leaving a car in gear while strapped to a trailer damage the transmission? I always leave the car in 1st gear and the parking brake set when trailering it. The tranny is not made of tinfoil.
  • 4
    NewtyNewt 3rd rock from the Sun June 13, 2015 at 11:20
    There is no way this claim should have been paid and the owner should have been dropped by the company! Accidents happen I know, but this was just plain carelessness by the owner. Hopefully they drive it now instead of trailering it, since they are not bright enough to secure this Nova properly.
  • 5
    Thomas Leik Portland, MI June 15, 2015 at 17:25
    Very harsh NewtyNewt. You have never made a mistake?
  • 6
    J.C. Clement Caledonia, MI June 17, 2015 at 11:31
    I always put my cars in park, or engage the parking brake when I trailer them, which is ONLY to the track (in case I break) or if they are not running. Goes to show that trailer queen show cars get damaged as well.
  • 7
    Bob Bend, Oregon July 5, 2015 at 13:13
    Really? I always trailer my cars in gear. If strapped down properly it shouldn't hurt a thing and it is an extra precaution in case something does go wrong and also will help prevent what happen to this Nova.
  • 8
    Peter Valentin Danbury CT December 2, 2015 at 15:34
    I can imagine that the force of the car accelerating and decelerating all while in park can't be good for an automatic. Imagine pushing against a car in Park while it was off and parked somewhere. That's why it is good to make sure the tie downs are tight enough to mitigate the force from the deceleration and acceleration.
  • 9
    John Grand Rapids, MI December 2, 2015 at 16:24
    Yes. Tow manual gearbox cars or bikes out of gear and in neutral. We left a race car in gear for a 14 hour tow and damaged the gear box. The slight rocking back and forth in gear is not natural and can cause problems. On the other hand, it's your vehicle and you can take your chances...
  • 10
    dick miller live oak, florida December 2, 2015 at 17:27
    know it alls, most generally don't ... 3 chutes for 4 people tells it all ...... good 'ol hagerty ... best investment ever needed ... even if we never need them ......... dm ..... good storys anyway.............

Join the Discussion