Nobody Told Us: Projectile Car Ramps

Courtesy of Dragzine. Bernd’s car was white like this one but lifted higher in the back. The Chevy Nova of the time also looked a lot like the Chevy II, so it’s hard to be sure if this is actually the Chevy II.

Years and years and years ago, when Bernd and I were first going together, he owned a Chevy II. It was a boxy thing and lifted on leaf springs in the back.

It didn’t have power steering and the steering wheel was huge and took a lot of muscle to turn. The brake pedal was hard to depress too. Ordinarily, it was a bitch to drive. As short and small as I am, it was a real difficulty for me.

Bernd got this job putting up directional signs to housing developments. They had to be up by 4:00 p.m. on Fridays and taken down no sooner than 4:00 p.m. on Sundays. It was difficult work in that he had to get out of the car at each position, get the sign (if it was a staked position he pounded it into the ground with the sign already stapled to the stake, or staple it to whatever was handy … like a telephone pole), put it in place, get back in the car and drive to the next position.

Wasn’t long before he figured I should drive his car while he planted the signs. And then not long after that I was also driving while he took the signs down.

We streamlined the whole procedure by putting the signs in the back seat instead of in the trunk. We did it all pretty quickly and efficiently.

Around this same time, in an effort to be further efficient and save some money, Bernd decided to do his own oil changes. He invested in some ramps, figuring he’d be doing oil changes on into the future.

Came the day he wanted to change the oil and his dad was at work and his mom was off doing something so there were no cars in the garage. We set up the ramps.

They were nice ramps, with a dip at the top to cradle the tire. But I had my misgivings. They were unformulated misgivings. Mores the shame.

I didn’t want to stand in front of the car and direct him as he drove up onto the ramps (I make no claim to having a sixth sense, but sometimes I wonder). So we painstakingly got the car all lined up with the ramps. We had the ramps as straight as we could get them by eyeballing them. Then Bernd proceeded to drive up on them.

Boy was I glad I was behind the car.

One of the ramps shot forward like a bullet and slammed into the back wall of the garage. It missed the washer and dryer and the spare refrigerator by just a hair.

The other ramp shifted and got wedged underneath the car. We had a hell of a time getting the car off the ramp.

We did get the oil changed that day with a jack and jack stands.

Later, when we were married and Bernd had tired of the whole jack and jack stands routine, he bought another set of ramps. This set was more expensive with a longer run-up to the top and the top depression was larger.

We used a masonry bit and drilled holes in the garage floor. We drilled holes in the base of the ramps.   And we secured the ramps in place, front and rear, with very long and heavy bolts dropped into the holes in the garage floor.

Worked like a charm.

But nobody ever said to us that we should secure those first ramps. Now maybe that seems like a no-brainer to some of you. But it wasn’t to us. Luckily, the damage to the garage wasn’t that extensive. And we learned something about physics that we never forgot.

Courtesy of Calm Sage

Published by Dianne Lehmann

I'm a writer. But I'm also a wife and a mom to a couple of fur babies. You could call me a cook (but never a chef, I'm not that good) and provisioner as well. Laundress? Yeah. Probably. I design jewelry and I crochet. But mostly I love to write. I love words and how they sound. I love their meanings and origins. I love stringing them together. And of course, I love to read. Thinking about it just now, I realize that what I love most is life and the people around me with a special place set aside for my wonderful husband, our adorable dog and our inscrutable cat. It's the world and the people in it that fuels my writing. So thanks to you all for being the amazing beings that you are.

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