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How Frank Winchell defended the Chevrolet Corvair, in his own words

Published in blog.hemmings.com

Image via OldCarBrochures.

[Editor’s note: While speaking with Nick Gigante regarding his upcoming Corvair Vindication Day event, Nick forwarded us a transcript of the speech that Frank Winchell, his grandfather, gave to 900 or so members of the Corvair Society of America at the club’s annual convention in 1979 in Detroit. We excerpted a few sentences in that story, but thought it worth reprinting here, if for nothing else than for the technical arguments Winchell made in defense of the Corvair.]

Introduction by unknown speaker: I would like to introduce our speaker tonight, Vice President of General Motors Corporations and Director of Engineering Staff, Mr. Frank Winchell.

Mr. Winchell speaking: 

Good evening ladies and gentlemen. It is indeed a pleasure to be here this evening. Everybody always says that… I’ve said it myself. But tonight is different… I mean it!

Image via Nick Gigante.

First, we are here to celebrate a nice little car that we both admire and, second while I have had many occasions to speak on the Corvair, this is the first to a friendly audience.

As a matter of fact, I have addressed very few friendly audiences… period. I don’t address anyone if I don’t have to. I don’t like speaking. I’m not very good at it, it makes me nervous, nobody pays attention and I’m inclined to be a little profane. In fact, I don’t hardly like anyone anymore, anyway—if you want to know… I’m mad.

I keep thinking about Dick the Butcher in Shakespeare’s Henry the 6th. He’s the guy said, a long time ago that said, “The first think we have to do is to kill all the lawyers.”

The real reason that I’m here is that I have written a fairy story, I’ve got to believe you’re a nice bunch of folks and I’d like to read it to you. It goes like this….

Once upon a time, there was a bad little car. It got into more damn trouble than you can shake a stick at.  It was so bad that, in the course of its passing, it left in its wake….

* 294 Lawsuits totally claims of over 100 million dollars.

* A bill by a Michigan Senator to ban the Corvair from the Michigan Highways

* A Congressional investigation of its parent’s conduct in a misguided attempt to find out what motivated the unwarranted charges by one of its severest critics.

* An investigation by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) on the safety of the car.

* A Senate Committee investigation of General Motors’s conduct in its defense

* Its vilification, as well as its unheralded vindication

* And of course, the ascension of one of the nation’s most immaculate heroes.

* And to me, at least, it marked the beginning of one of the most subtle, yet incredible, eras in the history of the homosapiens. 

The basic charges against the car were:

* The location of the engine, and 

* The design of the rear suspension

It was alleged that the design was defective. That the car would, “Suddenly, unexpectedly and for no apparent reason, go out of control.” It was not a criticism of a Corvair, but of all Corvairs. It explained not an accident, but all accidents.

The charges against General Motors were:

* That we were negligent in choosing the design

* That we knew it was unsafe, but

* We chose it because it was low cost and more profitable.

In the beginning, this seemed so bizarre, even for the ’60s, that I, for one, did not take it seriously. What they were really saying was that the defect was fundamental, that the car would actually, for no apparent reason, become uncontrollable, that we knew this to be inherent in the design but that, for profit, elected to maim and kill or customers. 

You’d think that someone, even in the ’60s, maybe even the inquiring press, would have asked; “If inherent, why is it that only a few, suddenly, unexpectedly and, for no apparent reason, go out of control?” or “If they are really that hairy, what the heck are those G.M. people doing in them?” or “How can a corporation in business for over 50 years be so inhuman and so stupid as to even harbor a thought that there was profit in killing customers?”

I don’t recall that anyone rallied around us. I do recall that when the news media finished with a subsequent series of events, most of the civilized world was persuaded that we had been “caught in the act” of this awful deed; that the industry and, particularly, G.M. had, actually, been selling unsafe cars for profit.

To say that I never understood all this would be the understatement of the age. Logic and reason just could not have been considerations. I think it was and still is a Good Guy—Bad Guy situation, straight out of the old time melodrama: Broad shoulders and wavy hair vs. high silk hat and stringy mustache. Seems like that’s the way it is.

The characters never change. The Bad Buys never do anything good and the Good Guys never do anything bad. The plot never varies. Little Red Riding Hood, the Lone Ranger, Starsky and Hutch, and the rest. America has been brought up or, at least, seems to believe, that at the root of every problem, lies some evil and calculating force; that the solution lies in seeking it out and destroying it; that then we shall live happily ever after. 

Maybe an over-simplification, but somehow we seem disposed to easily accept that to be big and successful is to be evil, but killing just ordinary folks for money seems incredibly evil, even for someone as big and rich as General Motors. I suppose they imagine a Board Room exchange between the clean cut, but ragged-assed, golden-haired engineer and the Chairman in his high silk hat and stringy moustache that went something like this:

“But, Sir, if you put the engine in the back, it will suddenly….”

“Yeah, I know, but who needs customers? What we want is money! What’s good for General Motors is all that counts. Sit down and shut up! Ed—fire that SOB.”

It got so bad, I told my brother one time when we were going to visit a favorite Aunt; I said, Jack don’t tell Aunt Edith I’m a General Motors Vice President, I told her I was playing a banjo in a bawdy house!

You’d think you could trust a wine maker who drank his own wine. In the course of its defense, the ownership record of the Corvair by General Motors engineers and decision-makers was compiled as evidence that, at least, we thought it was OK. For example: Ed Cole, its father, had two; I had four and Chairman Murphy’s mother drove one from May 26, 1961 to Sept 8, 1970. Mrs. Murphy was 77 when it was broadsided in a parking lot and expired…. Struck down, no doubt, by another defective product. (Someone shouts “Probably a Ford!”) Right on brother.

But even if you assume that we, our families, our friends and Mr. Murphy’s mother were all expert drivers capable of coping with a car with a proclivity to bolt for the ditch; how can you rationalize the fact that we chose to develop a larger, more costly, more stable, more controllable, more comfortable, more beautiful rear engine rear drive than the VW Beetle?  The Beetle was the oldest, the most widely accepted single vehicle configuration in the world – and became the highest volume vehicle in history. A vehicle proven on the roads of every civilized country in the world over a period of some 35 years. A car then making serious inroads in the American market.

The facts are that the Corvair was a departure from the norm. It came on the eve of a surge in personal injury litigation. It was an opportunity for opportunists. Nader, a figure in this surge, was later to say to a National Association of Claimants Attorneys “No organization in this country is more uniquely endowed to storm the ramparts of this greatest of liability frontiers”. Storm it they did.

In 1960, the stage was set: There was the departure from the norm; an inevitable tragedy; a poor and innocent victim; a rich and impersonal giant and the good guys waiting in the wings.

In the late ’50s, the public began to hear about the second collision. There was an obsession with crashworthiness and a number of curious cars paraded before the press. Books and articles on the impact of the automobile, its damage to people and the environment, were multiplying. We began to see books like, “The Insolent Chariots” by Keats and, “The Highway and The City” by Mumford. The Moynihan articles appeared in “The Reporter.” All were critical of the automobile and the industry. He wrote, “Epidemic on the Highway,” “The War Against the Automobile”. Nader wrote, “The Safe Car You Can’t Buy.” He roused his fellow lawyers to, “take up the challenge and become the properly sever task-master for greater product integrity.” He put it pretty subtly to an Association of Plaintiffs’ Attorneys (A.T.L.A.), “The automobile has become the great American meat grinder. Its stylists have run amuck. Let A.T.L.A. lead the way in bringing this senseless carnage, this deeply tragic blot on our collective compassion within the rubric of objectivity and morality so that hard-headed programs can be initiated and relentlessly implemented; programs having no place for commercialism and sordid public relations that dupe the American public and sap their critical capacity and suppress the knowledge that will lead to the production of safer automobiles.” Nine rah’s and a whistle for ole Ralph.

By the way, A.T.L.A., The Ambiguous “American Trial Lawyers Association” is an association of plaintiffs’ attorneys specializing in the contingent fee product liability litigation against the likes of GM.

Bear this in mind, at time of Nader’s call to arms, the fatality rate in America was 5.5 per hundred million vehicle miles, less than half of any other major industrial nation in the world, for example, it was 11.7 in Great Britain, 16.4 in France, 18.2 in West Germany, 25.6 in Italy. I don’t know what the hell it was in Mexico. The first figure I could find for Japan was 20.9 in 1968. Besides, how could the carnage be explained by the meat-grinders alone when the fatality rate in Nevada was .3 and in Rhode Island 1.9, and when interstate highways were half of non-interstates?

Death and injury, consequent to automobile accidents is, to say, the least, tragic. The relationships accounting for these tragedies are, however, very complex. The cause is not some evil and calculating force. The solution is not the destruction of the industry, even given that we are Big, Mean as we see, to be.

Inevitably, a son of a California attorney was tragically killed in a Corvair accident. The father, Drummond, and his partner Harney, were successful medical malpractice attorneys. In July of 1961, Harney filed suit against General Motors alleging defective design of the Corvair.

In 1952, several law magazines published an ad intended to organize a network of plaintiff attorneys for the purpose of sharing information pertinent to the successful litigation against the Corvair.

Harney soon teamed up with a Detroit lawyer by the name of Philo. Philo was President of the Detroit Metropolitan Chapter of this Association of Plaintiffs’ Attorneys. Philo came up with a Detroit professor by the name of Manos, a professional witness engaged to conduct tests to support the claims against the Corvair. Harney came up with an obscure and unlettered driver of racing cars by the name of O’Shea whom he engaged to undertake the hazardous task of driving the Corvair for trial evidence.

Harney brought his first case, Pierini, to trial in June of ’64. At that time, Harney’s firm alone had filed 30 Corvair cases against General Motors. Mrs. Pierini, recently released from a mental hospital, had, from an alleged speed of 30 to 35 miles per hour in the course of 230 feet, failed to bring her Corvair under control following a minor off-road excursion of no more than a few inches. The vehicle eventually struck a small embankment on the opposite side of the road and overturned. Mrs. Pierini’s arm was severed in the accident. Harney alleged negligence in the design and claimed damages of $300,000.

After three days of trial, our attorneys concluded that we were insufficiently prepared to continue and the case was settled for $70,000.

In direct violation of the Bar’s Canons of Ethics, Harney appeared on local TV that evening announcing the settlement of the lawsuit as a victory in the first of 30 Corvair cases against GM. While not offered in evidence, Harney showed a film in which O’Shea was alleged to have inadvertently rolled a Corvair. 

I’m sure it was no surprise to Harney that the wire services picked up the story and gave it visibility in a number of newspapers around the country. In 1965 the tabloid midnight published an article headlined: “G.M. cars are deathtraps…hushed up evidence revealed in court…woman awarded $70,000 for loss of arm in defective Corvair”. The article showed the injury and quoted claims from 13 of Harney’s law suits.

Technically and actually, a settlement is not an admission of guilt, but only lawyers seem to know that…following the media treatment of the Pierini case, we were literally deluged with suits against the Corvair and we finally faced that fact that the charge that it was unsafe—that we knew it all along—and that for profit, we sold it to our friends and neighbors—was, in fact, believable.

But back to the ranch and the inception of the Corvair.

As with any new product program, the decision-making process is always fraught with controversy. Hopefully, the process brings out all the pluses and minuses of the various considerations. 

Now, there are only a few places you can put an engine in a car—like the front, the rear and the middle. With four wheels, you can only drive the front, the rear or all four. As long as I can remember, there have been advocates of everything… including a rear engine front drive. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, especially the rear engine, front drive. One of just about everything has been available to the public since the beginning. Like hammers, saws, stairways and bathtubs, fire, water, electricity and nuclear energy, they are all dangerous—in some degree, in some way, to someone, under some circumstances.

Image via OldCarBrochures.

In 1957, not all those dyed-in-the-wool front engine rear drive advocates in General Motors were easily converted to Mr. Cole’s and Mr. Olley’s conviction that the American public was expressing an interest in the small rear engine rear drive car. Consequently, the Corvair configuration was exposed to the most thorough test and development program in my experience. In the course of these tests, vehicles were deliberately and inadvertently crashed and overturned. Not everyone interpreted these results the same way. The residue of this inevitable internal controversy is the stuff that writers, critics and the litigants thrive on. Out of context, some of the records appeared to be incriminating. In the legal process of discovery, from disgruntled employs, from spies and our own naivety, eventually it all hung out.  In the process, some big guys and little guys did some dumb things in a well-intentioned effort to protect the Corporation from its enemies.

While allegations against the car and G.M. were nothing short of unbelievable, all this, the Pierini settlement and an extremely hostile environment made refutation a very formidable and agonizing task.

Following the Pierini settlement, we really went to work. A good 1/3 of the Chevrolet Research and Development (R&D) personal were full time on the project. A major task was to convince and to educate the many local attorneys representing our insurance companies who were to try the cases. Elaborate models were made to demonstrate to counsel, and the court, the elementary laws of physics and how they applied to the dynamics of an automobile; why and how they contradicted intuition and folk lore. There were simple models showing how the balance of forces and moments act on a free body and a car at the limit of control. There were models to show how slip angles develop in tires; how they affect the path and attitude of the car; how roll steer and compliance steer were utilized; the difference between oversteer, understeer, stability, instability, response, damping, etc.

To give them and the court a feeling for handling and lateral acceleration, Corvairs and other reference cars were equipped with a gyro-mounted movie camera looking over the driver’s right shoulder photographing the steering wheel, the driver’s hands, the front of the car, the roadway and a set of instruments mounted on the hood showing car speed, throttle position and lateral acceleration. A wide angle lens was used to project the sensation of being in the car. (Lateral acceleration incidentally, is a measure of the severity of turning or cornering.) It is simply the ration of the side forces consequent to moving in a circular path divided by the weight. If you were going around a curve at a speed that caused you to press against the side of the car with half your weight, you would be doing one-half or .5g lateral acceleration). 

On the Proving Ground’s skid pad, this instrumentation was used to show the manner in which the Corvair and the reference cars had to be driven to result in loss of control, and to demonstrate oversteer and understeer. By following normal traffic on streets and highways, we could show the lateral accelerations produced in normal driving at and above the speed limit. We used this equipment on a duplicate of the accident car at the actual scene at the claimed speed to show that the lateral acceleration was well below the limit of control. We also showed how fast the car had to be driven to produce lateral accelerations resulting in loss of control. We also mounted a camera behind the rear wheel to show the action of the rear suspension at various speeds and lateral accelerations including loss of control and incipient roll-over.

We even invented and patented a simple method of reconstructing an accident scene such that skid marks, the path, the final position of the car, etc., could be reproduced on a three-dimensional scale model from a photograph taken at the time of the accident.

The next time we went to trial, we were really ready. The first one came in 1965, eight years after the car’s inception and five years after its introduction…. The allegations and the defense of the Corvair were fundamentally the same in all the early trials, for the most part. The witnesses were also the same.

Among others, they put up Manos and O’Shea. We put up Chevrolet engineers and championship drivers. Stirling Moss, Juan Manuel, Fangio, Carol Shelby, Phil Hill, Graham Hill, Mark Donohue and Jim Hall offered and were prepared to testify. Moss and Fangio, considered by sandy to be the greatest drivers of all time, actually did take the stand. And they were damn good.

The plaintiff’s experts said that even the primitive Indians knew that the weight of an arrow had to be forward for true and unerring flight.

We showed that nobody ties those big rocks on arrows anymore; that the C.G. of the modern arrow is in the middle; that it is the feathers that account for its unerring path; that an arrow with weight and feathers rearward will fly straight and true, but one with the weight and feathers forward will suddenly, unexpectedly and for no apparent reason go out of control.

Funny story about those arrows. They wouldn’t let me shoot that thing in the courtroom. I wasn’t too good a shot anyway. But we had a big seminar out at the desert proving grounds must have had 100 of those fellas Dick the Butcher talked about. And on the spur of the moment I let that arrow with the weight in front go up in the air…… It left this earth in an unpredictable manner, but when it started down, everybody realized that nobody knew where it was going. We were out in the middle of the desert there in Mesa, Arizona and they took for every bush there was. Fortunately or unfortunately… I missed. Anyway, as I said, they wouldn’t let me shoot them in the courtroom, particularly the one with the arrows in the front. But we had a guy at Engineering Staff by the name of Ted Solomon, who made me a crossbow with a telescopic sight and a bench rest… I could split a gnat on a poppy seed roll at a 100 yards.

We showed that there were millions of rear engine cars; that they weren’t putting the engines in front of a lot of airplanes any more. Ducks and Geese, among others, are not front loaded either.

They said the heavy end must break away first.

We showed that the Corvair violated neither Newton’s nor Galileo’s predictions; that the restraining force was proportional to the weight so that, at the limit of friction, the forces were essentially in balance; that neither end was destined to let go first.

Manos said that the Corvair was very well behaved up to .6g lateral acceleration.

To his amazement, we agreed, but we showed that; .6g was equal to or better than the limit of control for all American cars at that date. That standards for road design at posted speeds called for no more than .3g at 15 mph and .11g at 80 mph. Highway authorities state that 95 percent of all driver habits are below these standards, a fact demonstrated to the court by our camera and instrumentation in following normal traffic. By our own experience, few motorists have the capacity to control a car on public roads at much above .3g at 30 mph and .2g at 60 mph.

They said that loss of control was due to tuck-under of the outside rear wheel due to the swing axle rear suspension.

We showed with the rear wheel camera and instrumentation that the rear suspension was not in rebound or tuck-under. That it actually was still in compression at .6g and, therefore, had no influence on the limit of control.

They said that tuck-under caused the car to oversteer.

We showed that it oversteered, but not because of tuck-under.

They equated instability and controllability.

We showed that they were not equitable; that man and God made things that are unstable, but controllable. We could not walk if it were not for our unstable proportions. We also showed them uncontrollable stability.

They said oversteer is bad and understeer is good.

We showed that too much of either is bad; that loss of control was just that; loss of control. The inability to keep the car on the intended path is a bad deal. Either understeer or oversteer can lead you off the road or into the oncoming traffic, depending on whether you’re in a right turn or left turn — there are a lot of old wives’ tales about understeer and oversteer. Finding yourself unable to keep the car on the intended part on the skid pad in an understeering car is uneventful. It just plows out; the more you try to steer it back, the more it plows. The oversteer car, on the other hand, at the limit of control, tends to spin, which can be disconcerting. However, while the natural response to understeer at the limit is wrong, for oversteer it is right. A skillful driver in an oversteer car has a chance to steer it off either side of the road.  A slight amount of understeer below the limit of control is generally desirable, and the Corvair had that. 

I asked Chaparral’s Jim Hall once – which he preferred at the limit of control. He said oversteer at low speeds, understeer at high speed. I said….what’s low speed? He said…anything under 120. I never would have known if I hadn’t asked….

They said the Corvair is easy to turn over. They showed a movie of the eminent O’Shea in the process of getting upside down. It was alleged that it was inadvertent, that a driver of even his prowess was unable to keep it upright.

In rebuttal, we did a stop-action frame-by-frame analysis of his own film that clearly showed he made no attempt to prevent it from going over. In fact, he continued to crank in more steer, while it was up on two wheels.

Further, we acquired the rest of the film and showed the jury that O’Shea had tried everything in the book many, many times before he finally got it over.

Manos claimed that tuck-under caused the rim to dig in and trip the car. In rebuttal, his own film showed that this was not a fact.

We never denied that the Corvair could be rolled or that it was possible to do so on a smooth pavement if the coefficient of friction was high enough. There were many cars with wide tracks that were harder to turn over. There were also many narrower cars that were easier to overturn.

That’s the way it went for the three trials in which I was witness – Collins, Anderson and Drummond. All decisions for General Motors. The judge and jury were different, but the allegations and the defense and the witnesses were essentially the same …. But they had lost and the ramparts were in shambles.

Judge Jefferson’s decision in the Drummond Case, summed it up very well.

It is the court’s conclusion that the Corvair automobile of the 1960 through 1963 variety is not defectively designed nor a defective product; that no negligence was involved in the manufacturer’s adoption of the Corvair design.

This about did it for Harney. Before the end of the year we were negotiating the disposal of the rest of his cases.

At this point, they had lost, but the ordeal was not over. The great cause was not to be abandoned, as evidenced by the following sequence of events.

On November 30 of ’65, 7 months after the verdict for the Corvair in Collins and Anderson, Nader’s book, “Unsafe at Any Speed,” hit the street. He devoted one whole chapter to the 1960 to 1963 Corvair, elaborating on the $70,000 Pierini settlement and the same unsupported claims. He dispensed with the Collins and Anderson verdicts in 1-1/2 lines which read, “In two other cases, jury verdicts were in favor of the Company’s argument that the drivers were careless”.

In February of ’66, three months later, Senator Craig of Michigan introduced his bill to ban all cars having a limit of control of less than .75g,—which would have gotten the Corvair and everything else. You think that’s funny, there was one of those guys in Indiana that put for a bill to round off pi to make it an even 3.

A month earlier Harney’s associate, Philo, President of the Detroit Association of Plaintiffs Counsels, appeared before the Senate Committee asserting that the 1960 to 1963 Corvairs are defectively designed and should be banned from the Michigan roads. 

You may remember that Philo engaged Manos who found that the Corvair could do only .6g and thought that conventional cars could do at least .8g. A .75g limit must have looked about right on to those guys.

Needless to say, the Bill was defeated.

The following month, Nader advised the press that he was being harassed by General Motors investigators. 

A few dark days later, the Chairman of General Motors appeared before the US Senate Committee and apologized for the alleged harassment.

A month later, in April, President Johnson proclaimed National Highway Safety Week. The Detroit Free Press showed him shaking hands with Mr. Roche… The Free Press and the New York Times read as follows: “Looking at the industry leaders, he said in one adlib remark; ‘Some of you may have to quench your thirst for a little blood.'” I still cannot believe that the President of the United States actually accused us of a thirst for blood.

In any event, it certainly did not help our diminishing credibility.

Vindicated by the courts, in the fall of 1970, the Department of Transportation began its investigation of Nader’s allegation of defective design of the 1960 to 1963 Corvair. It took nearly two years, but the car was exonerated. The report “Evaluation of the 1960 to 1963 Corvair Handling and Stability” was published in July of 1972.

Also, in the fall of 1970, Senator Ribicoff’s sub-committee began its investigation of Nader’s allegations that G.M. had misled the committee concerning the safety of the Corvair. It took 2-1/2 years to prove that we were innocent of the charge. The report “Staff Investigation Report on the Corvair Stability Controversy” was published in March of ‘73

In total, there were 294 cases filed alleging defective design of the 1960 to 1963 Corvair. Of these, 10 were tried to a verdict, eight resulted in verdicts for G.M. 

One of the losses was the Cantos case where, after four weeks of trial the jury found against G.M. However, before we appealed, the judge set the verdict aside. In his decision he said of the plaintiff’s case… “There is not a scintilla of cogent evidence to support this theory or the contention that the alleged oversteering characteristics of the car proximately caused the accident in this case”. He described the testimony of the plaintiff’s expert witness as… “Perhaps the most incomprehensible gibberish that this court has ever heard.”

Talking about incomprehensible gibberish, this fellow O’Shea, this unwashed driver of racing cars…. I don’t know if you know it, but in product liability cases, the name of the game is to discredit the other guy’s expert witnesses. Harney represented O’Shea as an expert automotive engineer. Our guy, John Costanzo asked him with the four cycles of a four cycle engine. Believe me this guy was sweating it out. You can also believe me that he said “intake, compression, power… and after some hesitation…. miscellaneous.” It’s the testimony… in the transcript. Those guys will say anything if the money is good.

The other loss was Chart, a 1974 trial in Wisconsin involving an 18-year-old quadriplegic girl. Following a 2-1/2-hour stop, five young people left Bronco’s Beer Bar in a 1963 Corvair convertible. At the trial, two of the five occupants testified that the driver had had a quarrel with his fiancée. That he was angry and had been chug-a-lugging his beer. That they had warned him that he was driving recklessly and at excessive speed. That failing to make a right turn at an intersection he locked up the brakes and struck a telephone pole. In what is known as a comparative negligence verdict, the jury found the driver 75 percent responsible, the state highway department 5 percent, the county highway 5 percent, the girl 3 percent and G.M. 12 percent. Since the State law limited the exposure of the Highway Department and the driver had no liquid assets, we were required to pick up nearly 90 percent of the $823,592 judgement. We appealed and lost.

As a matter of interest another case, Priver, was settled after three days of trail for one dollar. It turned out that Priver and his wife continued to drive their hairy Corvair for three years following the accident.

In the end the car was exonerated, but did not survive the ordeal. We didn’t win. The plaintiff didn’t win, and it cost a lot of money. I suppose everybody knows where it came from and where it went. 

Well, that about brings us back to August 25 in the 79th year of the 20th century.

Let’s thank the Lord for watching over you and Mrs. Murphy through those troublesome years.

So, we are gathered here this evening in this, the armpit of the land of the free and the brave, to celebrate a humble and maligned little car. Yeah, but it’s more than a car. It is a stake in the ground. A notch in the bark of a tree. A mark of the changing in the way.

Maybe, as someone recently said, “The goose that laid the golden egg is about to become an endangered species”.

For now…I know who I am…I know who the pious heroes are…and I know who you are. All of you out there, strapped to the trestle and skipping around on the broken ice…. Your Little Eva.

I hope you get the hang of it soon.

And don’t despair. Remember Dick The Butcher! A man with a dream…an ancient dream, a voice in the night.

Thank you