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On a recent junkyard trip Sean and I came across this monstrosity in a Ford. Sean’s comment: “Wanna take one guess as to how this guy crashed?” Known most commonly as a “spinner knob” (or alternatively as a “suicide knob”), more sturdy and functional versions of this thing made cranking a whopping huge steering wheel around three or four full revolutions lock-to-lock easier. But with the advent of modern power steering — and a strong desire among most state motor vehicle departments to discourage the inaccurate steering inputs that lead to over-control — spinners are actually illegal in some places around the U.S.

But a non-spinning version made from nylon tape and a golf ball? That’s just an accident waiting to happen.

It’s also pretty desperate, considering that one can easily score a full-on-styled chrome skull knob for just $17. Toss in another $2 and you can have an 8-ball, cue ball, or even a purple 4 ball [What’s This?]. For the truly budget-minded, JC Whitney’ll sell you a plain-Jane model for $11.

Kidding aside, though, unless you’re driving something from the ’50s or have a medical need to drive single handed, why not just keep both hands on the wheel — and your car out of the junkyard?

PS: We also saw another head-scratcher on this pick-n-pull trip in the form of a car that looked for all the world like it’d been through a crusher. But on closer examination we found little circles all over the car — almost exactly the same size as a five-pound sledgehammer. Damn.


14 Responses to One Guess How This Guy Crashed?

  1. kg2v says:

    The forklift I used to dive years ago had one – I can see one there, but in a car? Right…

  2. KaiserM715 says:

    That is either a Ranger or a Bronco II. Had a ’90 Bronco II with the same color interior (well, what used to be the same color in this case).

  3. David Bryan says:

    Do any of you guys ever back up?

  4. Jim says:

    Would you change your position if your were informed the driver was missing an arm or hand?

  5. Newguytoo says:

    They used to sell them with “Vargas Girl” type pictures on them. They were referred to as “necker nobs,” as in no seat belts, bench seats, and one arm free to drap around your girl.

  6. Jim K. says:

    Had one on my ’69 Rambler back in the day. With 4 revolutions to turn corner it was pretty handy. I can’t see the advantage of this homebrewed version though. Without the ability to spin it sort of defeats the purpose.

  7. Eeyore says:

    If anybody wants one of these but would prefer to buy it from a brick and mortar store rather than order it and pay shipping, the only retailer I’ve found it in (and I tried a bunch) was Target.

  8. Eeyore says:

    Dang, wrong window. I blush.

  9. george says:

    course i have one cuz i’m a paraplegic and use hand controls. but the one i have is very strong and well made. yes, i can see why they are banned otherwise.

  10. Brice says:

    I helped a buddy install one in his skylark back in high school. He broke his collar bone and was in a sling for six months. He always hated the thing because it was always catching his backpack strap as he slung it towards the passenger seat. He was very happy to get rid of it.

  11. Cameron Watt says:

    I knew an old fellow who had a suicide knob on his deuce and a half. While delivering material to a construction site he hit a rock and got some nasty bump-steer. The fellow weighs 90 lbs soaking wet and when that knob caught his jacket and pulled him with it, he nearly crashed.

    They’re nice on machinery, that’s for sure, but I’d never put one on a road-going vehicle.

  12. Travis says:

    Regarding that other head-scratcher – I’ve seen charity fundraiser events where they have some clunker (likely donated) and for $1 a swing you get to whack the car with a sledgehammer. Usually this sort of event is aimed at a high-school-age crowd.

    But my point is that what you found may not have been the work of just one individual.

  13. Jim says:

    Looks like my mother in laws car. She has a bolt on and now complains that it chewed a hole in the rim of the steering wheel. Go figure…

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