Like many classic car owners, I have a number of boxes of miscellaneous parts around in sheds and closets. It's not the best way to store parts by a long shot. But I think it may be better than having them crammed into my arm, like Arthur Lampitt did for 51 years with a Thunderbird turn-signal stalk.
This wasn't really Mr.Lampitt's genius way of making sure he'd always have a supply of hard-to-get trim bits for his classic. The turn indicator stalk, all seven chromy inches of it, was jammed in there after a wreck he had with the '63 Thunderbird and truck 51 years ago.
The accident broke Lampitt's pelvis, which was a much bigger deal and prevented more scrutiny to his injured, but unbroken, arm. Eventually, he healed without realizing part of his car's dash controls was embedded inside him.
A metal detector found something in his arm about a decade ago, but since the stalk wasn't causing pain or any issues, he ignored it. It wasn't until a recent bout of concrete-block moving that any issues became apparent, with the arm swelling and hurting.
Lampitt did a bit of super-sleuthing next:
He unearthed a collection of old photos of the mangled Thunderbird taken by a friend at the scene. He noticed the metal blinker lever was missing from the left side of the steering column. He figured that was it, and surgery at City Place Surgery Center in Creve Coeur, Missouri, confirmed it.
And, by "confirmed" I mean a doctor cut open his arm and found some vintage car parts:
"We see all kinds of foreign objects like nails or pellets, but usually not this large, usually not a turn signal from a 1963 T-Bird."
Yeah, usually not a T-Bird indicator stalk. I bet doctors are much more used to removing turn signal stalks from mid-2000s Corollas and stuff.
The doctors said a "protective pocket" grew around the rod, which sounds both amazing and disgusting all at the same time.
Lampitt is considering making a key chain out of the indicator stalk, but I think he should have it fitted to his current car. Or at least sell it to someone restoring a '63 Thunderbird, just so they can tell everyone at car shows that the indicator stalk spend the past five decades in a pocket in some dude's arm. That's the kind of detail that wins shows.