1982 BMW 323i Baur

1982 BMW 323i Baur
Memorial Day 2010 First Drive 1982 323i BMW Baur Lapisblau M20 5 speed #4154 of 4595 made. The car was imported to California by Dietel Enterprises. I have since changed the wheels, installed the clear turn signal lenses, and I am in the process of installing a new cabriolet roof. I have to do something about those bumpers, too. :) I love this car! To see one of the reasons why, check my post "Score One For the Good Guys" on 6/26/2011.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Time out: Public Service Safety Message Followup

I was stunned to receive this post in bimmerforums today, in response to the safety message that we posted recently in bimmerforums and on this blog. The post is from the father of the young man who was crushed by his car. I present it in it's entirety.

"I am Christian Klorczyk's father
Good Day,

I feel that I must respond to this post for the sake of accuracy, the honor of my son and family name and also to attempt to save other lives.

Lynne and I are the parents of three sons, Frederick III, Christian, Parker and our "adopted sons", his twin brother Jordan, Dimitri and Dan - all "carguys".

As stated in the article....

"The 21-year-old died Friday after a BMW he was working on collapsed on him in the family garage. Fred Klorczyk said that a floor jack likely failed while his son (Christian) was under the car changing the oil."

Jeff Johnson did a great job on the article on our son, brother and friend and I thank him for that. Jeff was a true gentleman who talked to us for hours in our darkest times to get an accurate depiction of our son and family. However, and unfortunately we do not have it on tape, nor is Jeff a "gearhead" and doesn't really understand jacks, jackstands and multiple layers of safety. I never said, nor is it accurate to say "that a floor jack likely failed..."

Christian is an experienced mechanic who started working on cars and following Formula 1 when he was a small child. He and our whole family witnessed Ayrton "Magic" Senna die at Tamburello 15 years ago. Yes, Christian was only six at the time and he would wake all of us up at 6:30AM to watch the pre-race show in Italy on satellite.

Christian is a true car guy as are his brothers and friends. My business is in the most safety conscious market in the world - nuclear boats, nuclear ships and nuclear power plants. That mentality is my life - has been since I was a kid engineer out of school. Ask any of my employees how I feel about safety. They have the right to stop any job and call me at anytime as no one is to ever get injured on our jobsites. This naturally carried over to my homelife. By the way, my father was a large machine mechanic by trade and a "gearhead" by avocation. No one would use the wrong tools - we have them all and all are of quality. No one in my garage or driveway would ever go under a car with only a jack of any kind holding it up. The jack elevates the car, jackstands support at proper points while working underneath and the jack is removed to improve accessibility. Period. Block the wheels if necessary. Emergency brake on. Car in gear. A lift would be better but we just were not at that point in our lives yet.

Christian had the right front tire off so that he could shine his double halogen lights on the work area and see clearly. He also had that tire/wheel under the right front rotor as an extra measure of safety as is a habit of ours when possible. He had four ton Craftsman jackstands in use. Two were just bought at Christmas when I sent him to buy a new jack since ours is getting to be five years old. Hydraulic cylinders and seals degrade over time. He didn't buy the jack since he felt what Sears, etc., had were junk so he bought more four ton stands but without safety pins. I did not realize there were redundant safety stands until... it was too late.

Christian was using my father's creeper for the first time. He found the creeper when cleaning the garage over Christmas. When he applied torque to the ratchet handle to break the plug loose, he experienced the law of physics of "equal and opposite reaction". As the plug broke loose, the creeper did also in a direction opposite to the torque vector Christian applied. Some part of Christian's body, some part of the creeper, the mallet beside him, something - we have no video, just supposition and theory... tripped the right front jackstand lever inadvertantly from the underside and a ton of the BMW E46 3 series xi crushed his chest and his right cheekbone. He never took, or could even attempt to take a second breath. Death was immediate and painless. If I were beside him at the time this occurred I could have done nothing to save him. This has been verified by five friends of mine who are doctors. I used the floorjack Christian used to elevate the car to get the car off of him. It was parallel to the car just as he would place it when he removed it from the jackpoint. I had to engage the cylinder with clockwise rotation which tells me Christian removed it per proper procedure. I had the jack underneath and car off him in seconds. Jackstands were under before I crawled from under the valance while Lynne called 911. Lynne came under with me from the wheelwell and had a pulse on his neck. She said he it was strong. I was doing chest compressions and trying to get a verbal response until the EMTs got there. When I heard LIFESTAR waved off over the EMT radios I had a sick, sick feeling.

A critical factor, in my professional engineering opinion, is that the creeper raised his body 3.5" higher than it would have been if he would have been working on the concrete as he was used to. It also raised his head 4.5" higher as there is a foam pillow headrest. Both creeper caster wheels at the head position were sheared from the creeper. I can only wonder that if Christian did not use the creeper would he have had the jackstands that high, would the energy at 9.8 m/sec squared have been decreased to a minimum so that if the freak accident happened he would have been injured less, would the extra measure of the tire under the rotor have saved his life without the extra creeper height, would he be alive today? Only God knows.

Christian is a fine, fine man who was known for his smile, intelligence, passion and willingness to help anyone at anytime... just like all of his brothers and "adopted brothers". The five of them and myself were his pall bearers. He would have it no other way. We were that close.

Also, to my fellow "carguys" and "gearheads", please learn from this tragedy. Scrap your cheapo jackstands... do your research, find the best jackstands there are, use the secondary and tertiary safety factors, do not fall to the temptation of human nature and operator error - use the extra safety factors! It may save your life, or maybe the life of you son. Had I would have known such Christian would be with us today.

Lastly, if you want to drive fast please do not do it on the road. Racetracks are readily available for that adrenaline rush we all crave. Track days with instructors are cheap and you are protected far more than

Godspeed Christian! May you be driving God's Veyron for him.

Please feel free to cut and past this article anywhere you think it may prove valuable to fellow "carguys". I pray that none of you ever suffer such a tragedy. May God Bless you all.

Frederick J. Klorczyk, Jr.
Waterford, CT
Last edited by FJKII; Today at 05:17 PM.. Reason: typo"

This was my response:

As the father of two grown sons, I can only imagine the sorrow and pain you and your family have experienced the past two weeks. Words fail to capture the depth of sadness we feel at your loss. Please accept my sincere and heartfelt condolences. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us in your beautiful letter.
I posted my original post in several other forums, and, based on some of the responses received, I know Christian's story has been read around the world. Many people now know what a great kid he was, and he may have even saved a life. I know that can in no way make up for his loss, but I hope it is some small consolation to you.
God be with you.



  1. Tom,

    Thank you for remembering Christian, his love for BMWs and our desire to not let such happen to anyone else. I have posted on his and my FaceBook pages as reminders to all of our friends who are guys and some are still using junk tools and living on the edge. All I can say about that is that my son does not live on the edge or here with us on earth any longer because of a crap design of a tool. Research, spend the extra buck or take it to a pro. Some stuff we can handle ourselves easily but some should go to a pro, even a dealer. I know that New London BMW has done a fair amount on the work on our cars (we have ish's 325ix yet, my wife has a 535i xdrive and we have a new 335 xdrive (all manuals of course)) in the BMW stable.

    Please work safe and live to see tomorrow. By the way the saying of "the first year is the hardest" is BS. It is everyday is the hardest without the one you love and there is no "healing path".

    Let's watch each other's backs. When a buddy is doing some work and you have better tools let's get them to his house, or better do it at yours, so we can all be safer.

    Thank you again Tom.

    Frederick, Lynne, Frederick III, eternally Christian and Parker Klorczyk

  2. Frederick,

    Thank YOU for sharing all your research into jack stand safety That information is a great benefit to our entire community of car enthusiasts. We are in your debt.