I've settled with the insurance company. I've decided to make the repairs myself. The Phoenix will rise again.
As a caution to anyone with a round-bar weight distributing hitch. Since this accident I have found numerous stories of similar occurances. The overall design makes mechanical sense, but suffers, in my opinion, from a failure to be idiot-proof. There are just too many things that could happen that would allow the round bar to drop out.
However, I take some responsibility in the crash. There is a trailer towing dynamic that I was unaware of. Everyone talks about tongue weight as the most critical measurement in towing. I now believe that inertia is much more critical.
I loaded the Porsche in the trailer right over the center of the three axles. That created too much tongue weight. The rear of the F-450 sat down about 4". That produced an obvious overload. I moved the Porsche back in the 21' space within 2 feet of the back end. This produced about a 2" drop in the tow vehicle. As a rule of thumb, a 2" drop on an F-450 is plenty of tongue weight.
What I hadn't accounted for was mass. The Porsche is rear-engined. While the car has excellent weight distribution, most of the mass is at the rear. In fact, the Porsche engine sits aft of the transaxle, so all of the mechanicals are at the rear of the car. I had a 13 foot car in the rear of a 36 foot trailer. I has effectively set up a pendulum.
The pendulum effect was thoroughly masked by the new weight distributing hitch until one of the round bars somehow disengaged. When it fell off it changed the towing dynamics so dramatically that we started to spin.
The extreme "wags" of the trailer was apparently due to the position of the car, at the end of a 36-foot trailer. Once it started, the mass of the car kept it going as a body in motion tends to stay in motion. The side to side skid marks on the floor was evidence of extreme side forces which played further into the mishap.
I've entertained two schools of thought about the actual detachment of the round bar. The first would be that the cumulative manufacturing errors contributed to the bar falling out of its socket. The other school of thought is that the chain tensioner came up over the edge of the frame rail and disengaged the tension on the round bar. The torsion bar could have rotated sideways 90° and then fallen out as the pin can not hold the bar past 90°. It is my opinion that the tensioner should have been welded in place but the unit is clearly marked that welding would void the warranty.
THE "55 PORSCHE CONTINENTAL
The Porsche suffered extensive body damage on the passenger side. It also suffered some severe suspension damage on the same side. Both side wheels are bent, as are the extremely rare aluminum brake drums. The front spindle is bent and both hubcaps are ruined. The rear axle appears to be bent and the transmission may have suffered some internal damage.
The car is too rare not to repair. It was insured for a bit more than the anticipated damages and the insurance company hasn't balked at anything.
The front suspension has been repaired but the engine and transaxle need to come out for repair by another specialist. While the transaxle is being repaired the car will be disassembled for a complete paint job. The windshield, top windows and interior will be removed and reassembled after the bodywork and paint are done at Autometrics, in Pontiac, MI. I should get it back better than new.
Was pretty banged up. The inner wall was pushed out about 4 inches. 4 wood studs broke and two aluminum supports on either side of the rear door were badly bent.
The door is bent at the same angle as the trailer wall. The door was trapped closed by the guardrail when the Porsche hit the wall from the inside. I couldn't figure it out at first.
The passenger side got the worst of it, just like the Porsche. You can see how the guardrail left its mark.
The driver's side took a smack that did some superficial damage but made a kink in the rear opening.
The inertia of the impact wracked the ramp system. I should be able to bend this back into shape.
The door frame took the brunt of the damage.
My first step will be to remove the FRP lining and remove damaged wood and foam.