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Arthur Lampitt Had a ’63 Firebird Turn Signal Lever in His Arm for 51 Years

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In July 1963, Arthur Lampitt was involved in a severe accident while driving his new ’63 Ford Thunderbird around in Granite City, Illinois. In fact, the result of the accident was so grisly that the local radio station erroneously reported that Lampitt had died in the collision.

As Lampitt recalled in a conversation with CNN: “After I hit the puddles, I hydroplaned, and I saw the semi truck coming, so I gunned it so I wouldn’t hit the semi truck, so that I would make it to the far side of the road, but I didn’t make it that far, and I had a head-on collision with the truck.”

turn signal lever 1963 Ford Thunderbird Arthur Lampitt

Arthur Lampitt

Lampitt survived, though not without a shattered hip and a handful of broken ribs. He spent 10 days in traction before he was fit enough to undergo the operation that would put him back together and allow him to live in comfort for 51 years.

Only something was just a bit off. Lampitt says that he was walking through a courthouse metal detector in 1998 when it went off. An X-ray later revealed that something was stuck in his arm, a leftover from his accident, but doctors advised him to ignore it unless it caused him any pain.

And then, last year, it did just that when whatever was in his arm began to push its way out of his skin.

“I happened to need to move a couple of concrete blocks, and I picked one of them up with my left hand and moved it 20 feet or so and set it down and carried another one, and that was enough to jolt it loose, and it started protruding through my arm.”

After some research, Lampitt figured out what had been riding along with him for more than half a century: the turn signal lever from his 1963 Ford Thunderbird.

turn signal lever 1963 Ford Thunderbird Arthur Lampitt

Lampitt had the lever removed in a 45-minute operation on New Year’s Eve. Despite his initial intention to turn it into a keychain, he said he plans to give it to his doctor for his curio collection. Does that particular doctor have a curio collection? If he doesn’t, he does now.

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News Sources: KTVI, CNN