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GameboyRMH MegaDork
5/13/24 6:48 p.m.

2024 is turning out to be a E36 M3ty year for a lot of us GRMers, and most recently the reaper came for my 86. Not through engine destruction as you might expect, I crashed it. Into the outside of Moss Corner, or Turn 1 at Shannonville? No, I center-punched a solid concrete column at the base of a lamppost, at an autocross of all things.

It's been a busy couple of days, not long ago I hauled all my equipment home after leaving the car at the shop for a tally of what's broken. The good news is that the mechanic eyeballed it and said it looks like only the tips of the frame "horns" have been compressed, so there shouldn't be any meaningful frame damage. But all of the car's front panels except possibly one fender and most everything ahead of the engine other than the headlights and washer bottle is smashed.

The wreck happened on the 3rd fun run after 6 official runs (where I got the 3rd fastest time, adam525i got 2nd) so I had plenty of experience on the course, which was a pretty simple one. This lot is the one I have the most autocross experience with this car on. I just watched the video of the crash for the first time earlier today and maybe I'll upload it later, but for now I will let you know that it looks dumb as E36 M3, extremely avoidable. One long, smooth slide curving clean into the lamppost that could've been avoided by tightening the slide to the left or extending it to the right. Why didn't I do any of those things? How did a person who dodged zillions of trees in offroad rally manage this? Well I wasn't looking at the lamppost, I was trying to stay on course, countersteering as much as possible without transitioning into a slide the other way, which curved me right toward the post. I never imagined I could hit it. I was looking at the gap to the right of it, on course, where I wanted to go. Until I was about 15-20ft away from the lamppost and sliding toward it unavoidably, I never laid eyes on or thought about the post, and it was just a slightly messed up autocross fun run rather than a desperate struggle to avoid a wreck, which is what it should've become about 20-30ft ago.

Trying to get the car towed turned into its own E36 M3show, at first a club organizer tried to give me one of her full set of annual free CAA tows (a few other competitors stayed late to help me clean up and figure out a towing solution, including adam525i). She slightly upgraded her package to meet some requirement during the call, CAA took a description of the incident and agreed to the destination, sent a tow truck driver, and upon arrival he proceeded to try every paperwork trick he could think of to weasel out of it for some reason, arguing that a police report was needed (for a 1-vehicle wreck on a closed course on private property in a legally sanctioned private event?) and that it could only be towed to the nearest collision reporting centre. Eventually with us on the phone with the CAA and the driver on the phone with his boss, he just started up the truck and drove away. Later a bunch of sketchy dudes with stealthy tow trucks showed up at about the same time, the one we spoke to asked an absurdly high price and tried to use some pressure tactics. I found out that they all showed up because the wreck was mentioned on the local police scanner.

This company closer to the shop I was headed to gave the lowest estimate of the companies I called, ended up undercutting their own estimate by a good margin and did a great job, so I'll give them a plug: https://jimstowingoshawa.ca/

In terms of injuries I've got a sprained rotator cuff and some whiplash. In the video I can see that my helmet hit the airbag which I didn't notice IRL. The doctor recommends physiotherapy.

If I had a real job making decent money at the moment I could probably have the car back out in 2-3 months, but at the rate I can afford to spend I'd be lucky to make it to another event before it's time to put it away for the winter, and next year is a more realistic goal. The plan right now is to do a very basic repair so the car can putter itself around at low speeds on the street, then store the car and save up money, and then take it back to finish repairs once I've saved up enough.

In terms of replacement parts, I have not yet found a stock Toyobaru hood for sale anywhere, even though it appears to be the same part used on all 2.0L models. Maybe they're just too hard to search for among the aftermarket hoods and hood-related parts. From what I can find the only difference between variants for the 2017-2020 models is the front bumper and the headlight internals being different betweem the 86 and BRZ. I have also not found a 2017-2020 86 front bumper for sale anywhere. If I want to convert to a 2013-2016 front bumper, I'd need to swap the headlights as well. Only one headlight got a slight lens crack that I could live with so I'd like to avoid buying more hyper-expensive modern car headlights than necessary.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
5/13/24 7:05 p.m.

Ugh, that sucks. 

AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter)
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
5/13/24 7:07 p.m.

Cars are replaceable, eventually. Your melon is not. Glad you didn't sustain any more serious injuries.

NY Nick
NY Nick SuperDork
5/13/24 7:22 p.m.

That sucks. I'm sorry. I watched a guy put a mustang into a concrete wall at an autocross in college. It makes me cringe. I'm glad you are mostly ok. 

WonkoTheSane UltraDork
5/13/24 8:45 p.m.

Oof, that's rough :(


We all feel for you!

Jesse Ransom
Jesse Ransom MegaDork
5/13/24 8:51 p.m.

Ouch. Sorry 'bout the lameness immediately following The Event, that probably didn't do anything for setting a good mood in coping with it.

Looking at that picture, I'm glad you're as close to okay as you are. Hope the PT goes well! ...And that the car plan goes as smoothly as possible.

Tom1200 PowerDork
5/13/24 9:11 p.m.

If it makes you feel better I've seen more than a few incidents on "fun runs".  It seems that folks hang it out further than they would on regular runs and end up going  deeper than they normally would......easy to do.

moto914 New Reader
5/13/24 9:25 p.m.

Sorry to see this. Good your reasonably ok.

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
5/13/24 9:35 p.m.

Ugh. That's a bad day. 

OHSCrifle UberDork
5/13/24 9:47 p.m.

Glad you weren't hurt worse. Is something like this excluded from insurance claims?

adam525i SuperDork
5/13/24 9:55 p.m.
Tom1200 said:

If it makes you feel better I've seen more than a few incidents on "fun runs".  It seems that folks hang it out further than they would on regular runs and end up going  deeper than they normally would......easy to do.

As alluded to I was there and helped organize the event. I led a second drivers meeting ahead of the fun runs just for this reason, we had a few new drivers that were having a lot of fun already in a Hemi Charger and SRT Challenger and I could see this happening to them. I ended it with "these are fun runs, but if you crash, the fun will be over"

It was tough to watch GameboyRMH hit that light waiting in line to go for a run, our hearts all went out to him because we all push ourselves as that is part of the fun, it could happen to anyone. I've seen him carry a slide and hustle that car around the course for a few years now without an issue. I've been in a situation on a rallycross course where my mind had to switch from "stay on course, get a time" to "drive the car out of this crash", that happened very quick but even then I had a lot more time as speeds were lower and there was a lot more space (but WAY less grip as I was finding out).

I know I'd be super focused on solving the problem at hand and finding every part right now but you have time on your side. You'll find the bits and pieces you need and the more patient you are the better it will turn out. Just remember, right now out there somewhere is a kid in way over his head in an FRS/BRZ/86 about to put the thing through a fence backwards and that car will be perfect to fix up yours. Heal up and when you're ready go for a bike ride. 

Floating Doc (Forum Supporter)
Floating Doc (Forum Supporter) UltimaDork
5/13/24 10:06 p.m.

I'm so, so sorry to see this, and so very relieved that you weren't badly injured. 

dj06482 (Forum Supporter)
dj06482 (Forum Supporter) UberDork
5/13/24 10:26 p.m.

I'm sorry to hear about the crash, that stinks, I'm glad that you seem to be in OK shape physically, hopefully the PT gets you back to 100% soon. As someone who's crashed a car, mistakes happen so try not to beat yourself up too much about it.  Hoping you can get things patched up well enough to get it driving around town aoon. 

j_tso Dork
5/13/24 11:15 p.m.

OUCH! that's terrible!

the tow shenanigans would've blown my fuse after experiencing that

glueguy (Forum Supporter)
glueguy (Forum Supporter) Dork
5/13/24 11:21 p.m.

I feel very empty.  "Sorry" just doesn't seem to be enough to capture the way I feel.  I hate to see this and hope for speedy healing for you and the car.

Tom1200 PowerDork
5/13/24 11:58 p.m.

I should have added I've ended a day with a wrecked car (shared race car) knowing I didn't have the money to fix it right away.

It's a daunting experience.......

Rodan UltraDork
5/14/24 8:24 a.m.

Crap... so sorry to see that.  Glad you're OK!

It makes me cringe whenever I see lamp posts or other solid objects at autocross venues.  It's easy to rationalize that they're 'far enough' from the course, but physics has a way of ruining your day.

Jerry PowerDork
5/14/24 8:39 a.m.

Glad you're ok.  We had a very seasoned driver slide the backend into a similar hard object at an airport parking lot, well outside the course.  He managed to drive it home and immediately remove all the racing decals and say he lost control on the way home (insurance purposes).

I will also never forget the driver at a rallycross that manged to slide into a tree 75' off course.  The only tree in the entire field.  That involved a tow truck too.

I'm not sure where you are, but I just talked to someone on MP with two 86's being parted out, asking if the seats were heated. 

¯\_(ツ)_/¯ is parting out one as we speak.

dyintorace UltimaDork
5/14/24 8:43 a.m.

Super bummed to see this. :(

Super happy to hear that you are mostly okay!

Fueled by Caffeine
Fueled by Caffeine MegaDork
5/14/24 8:55 a.m.
AngryCorvair (Forum Supporter) said:

Cars are replaceable, eventually. Your melon is not. Glad you didn't sustain any more serious injuries.

Once again. 

Toyman! MegaDork
5/14/24 9:41 a.m.

That sucks.

Sorry you are having to deal with it. 


wae UltimaDork
5/14/24 9:54 a.m.

Ugh, really glad you didn't sustain any serious damage but that still sucks bad.  Here's hoping that the eyeball-inspection of the damage to the car isn't far off the mark!

maschinenbau PowerDork
5/14/24 9:54 a.m.

Nooooooooooo sad Having just gone through a similar experience, I wouldn't wish it on anyone, especially another GRM'er. I never thought I'd be the guy at a track day whose car gets towed away, until it happened. Take care of your injuries and have a smooth recovery. I'm still not over my wreck mentally.

Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos)
Brett_Murphy (Agent of Chaos) MegaDork
5/14/24 10:29 a.m.

Oooh, that sucks. Glad you're mostly OK.

Duke MegaDork
5/14/24 10:39 a.m.

Wow, I am really really sorry to hear about this.  I know things haven't been easy for you and that AX was a good outlet.

Very glad to hear you're not badly injured - I hope the physiotherapy does well for you.  It generally does; it's a weird science, but it works.

The good news is you've got a great support network here and we'll all keep our eyes and ears open for parts.  It's hard to be patient but if you have a spot that will hold the car, time is on your side.

Let us know how we can help.


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