Saturday, September 01, 2007

Tagged: Dangerous
Life span: 1960-69

The rear-engined Corvair, designed to compete against sporty European models then gaining popularity, earned a special place in automotive history. It was the subject of a chapter in Ralph Nader's book "Unsafe at Any Speed," which detailed the U.S. auto industry's overall reluctance to take safety seriously. The Corvair's alleged problems stemmed from its unusual rear-engined lay-out and the suspension that held it up. That design led to unstable emergency handling, according to Nader.

It's hard to say whether the Corvair was much more dangerous than other cars of its time. This was the early 1960s when safety was still, as Nader's book pointed out, a barely acknowledged afterthought. (Try to find anyone wearing a seatbelt in a 1960s car ad. For that matter, try to find a seatbelt.) You could probably name any number of cars that were, arguably, just as dangerous for a variety of reasons, including a few models that are remembered fondly today.

But the Corvair got top billing as a death trap and General Motors did its part to ensure a lasting impression. Instead of just improving the Corvair's rear suspension, which it did, GM also hired private investigators to dig up dirt on Nader. The private eyes didn't get any dirt, but they did succeed in forever typecasting GM as America's favorite auto industry bad guy and the Corvair as a killer.

GM and the Corvair, by being such an easy target, ultimately helped bring about the creation of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and things like crash tests and safety standards. There can be no question that our automobiles are much safer today as a result.

Before all the bad press finally clobbered sales, despite the improved rear suspension, the Corvair was produced in a surprising variety of body styles including a van, a station wagon, and a pickup truck with a side ramp. In all, about 1.8 million were made.


Hey! Corvairs are not dangerous! Ralph Nader is!

I have owned close to a hundred cars and trucks over the years of which twelve were Corvairs.
They are not dangerous, they did however do their share of oil dripping. Like miniature Exxon Valdez's, they would leak oil constantly. With the application of improved oil seals they would stop the dripping and were wonderful little cars to buzz around in.

Ralph was a huge election spoiler similar to Perot and as minority party candidates robbed vote that could have defeated repugs, in the 2000 election, when he took more than 97,000 votes in Florida. Bush won Florida by just 537 votes. The win gave Bush the election. Nader, an independent candidate, who also ran in 1992 and 1996, is on the ballot in 33 states, including Florida, Ohio, Wisconsin, and New Mexico—tough battleground states. Kerry stood a chance of losing those vital states if Nader siphoned away the votes of Democrats.

Now I ask you what is the greatest threat to humanity? Someone that would help the chimp get elected or a fun car to drive?

Scroll thru all the cars, there's some bad ones like the Yugo and a Pacer.

Oh yea, and anyone looking for a Corvair Station Wagon to restore, drop me an e-mail and I'll send pics.



micki said...

Den -- one of my brothers-in-law was a captain for American Airlines. He and his buddies all drove Corvairs (most of them were dreadful drivers, but good pilots). They used to sit around (and drink) and yak up the merits of their Corvairs, and talk about the "good ole days" when they could buy gasoline for 29 cents a gallon, fill their tanks for under $3 and have enough left over to give the "service station attendant" a tip for washing their windows, checking the oil, and inflating their tires, if they needed it.

Oh, and they'd also bitch to high heaven about Nader.

micki said...

...oh, and one more thing about Idaho...

micki said...

Idaho must be wishing it was famous only for its potatoes!

So, a hypocritical gay-bashing GOP senator from Idaho gets caught with his pants down.

Now, "Mr. Tight Jeans" Governor Butch Otter is poised to select Craig's replacement. Mr. Tight Jeans has a drunk-driving conviction under his Wrangler's belt, but Idahoans gave him a pass on that.

How many ordinary guys with the nickname Butch win a tight jeans contest at the Rockin' Rodeo Bar and on his drive home gets nailed by the troopers for DUI and then gets elected governor?

These guys give a whole new definition to Mr. Potato Head!

DEN said...

11:52 AM MDT on Friday, August 31, 2007


BOISE - Idaho Democratic Party Executive Director John Foster is calling on the governor to “leave politics out” of his decision to replace Sen. Larry Craig, should he resign.

"We would hope Governor Otter… appoints a statesman who can serve Idaho for the next year and a half, and allow the people to elect their next senator," Foster told NewsChannel 7. "That way the people can decide who their next senator should be."

Foster said his party suggests someone like former Republican Senator Jim McClure, former Republican Governor Phil Batt, or former Democratic Governor Cecil Andrus.

The Associated Press is quoting GOP leaders as saying Otter would appoint Lt. Gov. James E. Risch to the seat, however a spokesperson for Otter denies the report.
Pool-O-Taters to choose from.

Gerald said...

We know that Liberty U. has a law school. I have heard that the law school is not accredited. Here may be a reason. How many students at Regent Law School does it take to screw in a light bulb?

One, but the student will receive three credits!

Gerald said...

Why do they throw manure at a Liberty U. wedding?

To keep the flies away from the bride!

Alan said...

At "Crooks..."

...Craig was somewhat humbled, yet remained defiant to the end. It should be noted that someone brilliantly chose to hold the presser at the historic Boise Train Station — we sincerely hope the Senator used his bathroom at home before leaving to make his announcement.


David B. Benson said...

Last night we had quite a T-storm. Little rain but lots of wind. I, along with about 3200 other people around here, had no power.

It took the power company 6 hours and 40 minutes to repair the damage. Hardly what one calls swift, hmm?

Gerald said...

Is Hitler Bush driving you crazy?

Carey said...

Never argue with a corvair/car lover about Nader. That's my rule. I was married to one. I do understand that corvairs are engineering wonders. Den told me. So did Ken.

I'm the one who when it gets this hot and humid, I'm an absolute goner. Instant bad mood and total fatigue. Seriously. You all sound nice and cool except for David, who lost his power. Glad things are back on track. For Carol too.

Lawrence Korb was a Reaganite. He just came out with a capital plan to withdraw or "redeploy" the troops. For the life of me, I cannot remember where I read this to give you more detail. Oh yeah, the radio. The most striking thing about Korb's plan? It's superb and I noticed it's also Kucinich's plan. They are virtually one.

Let's get this mother done.

David B. Benson said...

Carey --- I do't have an air conditioner. Instead, my house is on a north slope and surrounded by trees with leaves in the summer. It is quite rare for me to have to open the windows at night. And I never take down the storm windows.

So the only effect of no power was going to bed early. Of course the furnance couldn't turn itself on until power was restored, but this time of year ordinarily the furnance only comes on briefly around 10--11 am.

•c•arol said...

Doctor B, you need a furnace in the mornings? How cold does it get at night?

Our weather is cooling down. I shut the windows at night now or OUR furnace would come on. It's usually 67° in here in the morning. Shortly after I get up I'm opening all the windows again. I think it's about 80° now. That's late summer for ya in Michigan.

David B. Benson said...

Carol --- This time of year the furance only comes on briefly in the late morning, no other time.

David B. Benson said...

Overnight lows around 35--40 F this time of year.

micki said...

Our heat comes on in early November.

I hate running the furnace.