[TriLUG] Re: Customers are idiots - Blatantly OT
scottchilcote at earthlink.net
Mon Sep 29 09:33:41 EDT 2003
Chip Davis wrote:
> The Chevrolet Corvair was far from unsafe, and in fact both of my cars
> had seatbelts. Its design was a significant departure for American
> carmakers, but old news in Stuttgart and Modena.
> Corvairs came to the attention of an ambitious young lawyer named
> Ralph Nader because they were being driven by idiot customers (see,
> this isn't totally OT) clueless to the fact that they handled more
> like a Porsche than a Pontiac.
It wasn't the Corvair engine that was responsible for the substantial
number of fatal accidents it accrued; it was the design of the rear
suspension. Both of the rear axles were vertically opposed swingarms;
if you lifted the car off the ground, the rear wheels would both swing
down on either side of the differential.
This was not unusual, but unlike other designs, the wheel's camber was
not adjusted when the axle moved. The wheel stayed perpendicular to the
axle instead of the ground. There were no sway bars, which GM omitted
for a savings of $4 per vehicle. The car's weight was greater in back
than in front, adding to the impact of these uncontrolled variables when
avoidance maneouvers were required. Anyone interested in the details
can find them quickly with google.
I'm not rabidly pro-Nader and didn't vote for him, but I do admire his
willingness to take a stand. He was a product of his time, when
automobiles came into full popularity in this country with almost no
concern for safety or the environment. I personally know four people
who died in car accidents, and several more who have been grievously
injured. It's not something I ever want to take for granted.
Apologies for this diversion folks. Extra apologies if this snowballs!
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