… The 80’s saw the phasing out of leaded gasoline. For most of them you could buy both unleaded and leaded gas, which is why cars started coming with smaller inlets that had flaps over them to prevent people from putting leaded gas in their unleaded car. That’s because using leaded gas in a car with a catalytic converter completely negates the benefits of the converter (ie: more pollution).
… I know you’ll find this hard to believe, but I had 2 Mustangs during the 80’s. One was Christine,my beloved ‘83 convertible, and the other one was ‘Stang, which I bought for parts for the convertible. Being a parts car (body parts, so it still ran), I decided to save a little money and mess with the fuel filler so that I could put leaded gas in it. After all, I only needed it to last until I got Christine all repainted and ready to go.
… I figured that if I bent the little metal flap back out of the way, then the gas would flow easily into the tank, even though the leaded gas pump wouldn’t go inside the hole. I grabbed a screwdriver and tried to bend it inward, but it just flipped right back in place when I removed the screwdriver. Then I tried with a pair of pliers, again to no avail. Last try, let’s see if I can bend it back with one of my fingers. Great idea, was working until my finger slipped in between the two metal strips holding the flap on. I don’t know if you can tell by looking at it, but it’s kind of like those little finger-handcuffs, in that the more you pull on it the tighter it gets. I was stuck good, and just over an hour before I had to go to work (Little Caesars at the time).
… So, that’s how I got into the predicament, but the getting out is a lot funnier. Fortunately my foster brother was home at the time and I just yelled for him. We tried oil, we tried soap, we even tried jamming the screwdriver behind my finger to push the flap loose. Nutin. Getting close to working time, so I have my foster brother call my boss to tell her I was going to be a little late, maybe a lot. She, of course, asked why and was told “Because Steve has his finger caught in the gas tank of his car.” Yeah, right, what’s the real reason. Foster bro told me that it took a few times before she believed him, and then she dropped the phone laughing.
STRIKE 1 – You’re going to be laughing stock of the pizza parlor (and that’s no easy feat, if ya know what I mean), when you finally get there.
… Foster brother comes out to tell me all the fun he had telling my co-workers that I was stupid enough to get my finger caught in a gas filler, with a cigarette in his mouth.
“Kenny, the cigarette!”“What, you want one?”
… No, what I want is for you to get it the hell away from this tank full of gas that I’m stuck to, that’s what I want.
.. Now it’s been about an hour, I need to start getting ready for work, and worse, my finger is beginning to go numb. I’m picturing it turning all black and getting ready to fall off, though that’s just my phobia. So, I decided it’s time to call in the professionals and get my foster brother to call the paramedics. 10 minutes later there is a fire engine and a paramedic truck out in front of my house. Even better, it’s right around 3:00 on a weekday, and we lived right around the corner from Canyon Rim Elementary.
STRIKE 2 – The neighborhood kids walk by, see the fire and paramedic trucks and see you leaning up against a car like, best case scenario, you have your finger stuck in the gas filler.
… The paramedics try unbolting the filler and wiggling it out of the tank itself, so at least I’m away from the car. Nope, that ain’t gonna work. They try more oil, more soap, other tools to push that stupid flap back to get my finger out. Still no luck. One of the firemen asks if we have a hacksaw.
“We’ll just hack this pipe right here (pointing inside the trunk)”“Um, uh, won’t that make sparks, gas, boom?”“Heh, heh, yeah, and you can’t even run away.” Chuckle, chuckle.
STRIKE 3 – You get a fireman that thinks your imminent death by an exploding gas tank you got yourself stuck to is amusing.
… We compromised. Foster brother got the hose, turned it on full force and let it run down the filler pipe while they were sawing it. Which got me out of there in one piece, but made the car completely un-drivable until the spring thaw, since the water in the gas tank froze into one huge ice cube before I could pull the tank out and drain it. Which defeated the entire reason I stuck my finger in there in the first place, since Christine was on the road before spring.Anyway, my finger was a little disfigured, but still completely alive, so I got to keep it. I got a standing ovation when I finally made it to work and a good story out of it.
And, yes, I do still have that part. That last picture was taken today, where it sits on a sill on the chimney.