tom m 1974 Porsche 914 1.8 2dr Targa

Corvair adventure

I was 16 and had my drivers license for just about a year. Since I was a farm boy I had been driving an old 47 Studebaker pickup and tractors on field roads since I was 10 or 11. Anyway, my dad had just purchased a 2 nd car which was a 1963 Corvair Monza 4 speed. It was Feb. of 1965 and I was on my way to visit my girl friend but first deliver my younger brother and his friend to a birthday party. It was in the evening, dark, I and my two passengers were all sitting in the front seats (two bucket seats), I was driving on an ice and snow covered gravel road in the Minnesota countryside. This road went straight to my destination with no turns or intersections, so I thought with all the knowledge and experience of a 16 year old kid. However, there was a "T" intersection that I saw too late, tried to turn left only to slide into the ditch, hit the edge of a plowed field and rolled the car on to it's top. I remember looking up at the dash from my new position on the car's roof, the car was running, I reached up and turned the ignition off. My brother's friend blurted out - "what if we're trapped." I told him we aren't trapped and asked my passengers if they were ok. They were. We opened the doors with the door handles and got out of the car. I walked to a neighbor's farm nearby and got help. He drove his tractor to the car, I hooked up the chain and we turned it right side up and out of the ditch. He told me to check the oil, which was fine. I turned the key and started it up. Then with my back on the seat bottom and my feet on the roof I pushed it out. I drove home parked, went in the house and announced to my dad what I had done. The windshield had a crack in it and the roof was dented, but I think it was repaired for about $350. I spend the next summer working to pay my dad back. The Corvair continued to run fine.

This was an example of a car that turned over due to driver error - I hadn't learned the finer points of turning into a slide at that point. It was not and example of an unsafe car at any speed!

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