Parlor Spider...Step In, Little Fly

Insightful thoughts and/or rants from atop the soapbox from one who wishes to share the "right" opinion with everyone.

Monday, November 19, 2012

A Case For Divine Intervention

One might think that the 1971 Pinto was the worst car of all time built in this country or anywhere else. One would be wrong! Oh, sure, it blew up in a napalm-like fireball when struck from behind since there was no protection for the fuel tank, but that was only until Ford stopped making them...and began paying out millions in settlements to survivors.
Still, if one ever owned a Chevy Vega, a Saturn Ion, or a Pontiac Aztek (to say nothing of the horrendous Yugo), it would be hard to say that the Pinto is at the head of the class of automotive infamy when it comes to ideas that got some automobile engineer fired for being totally harebrained. But at least I didn't get fired, literally.
See, I actually owned one of these Pintos back in the day, and I was sitting inside it during a rear-end collision...and I was not engulfed in flames, amazingly enough. In fact, my survival of the whole episode was rather amazing.
Just about this time in 1972, I was going to pick up an aunt in Wichita, Kansas, to take her home for the Thanksgiving festivities. Since it was something resembling rush hour, I had to stop for a stop light in front of an aircraft manufacturing plant. The screech of tires alerted me that all was not going well since traffic should have been at a standstill, and it was except for the Chevy Caprice that had just screamed out of the parking lot headed toward me at a speed that would defy braking in the distance allotted.
Of course, it didn't stop and slammed into the rear end of my somewhat new Ford Pinto, slingshotting me forward (while still in the car, of course) to subsequently smack the rear end of the big Buick in front of e in queue at the light. I had to turn around to see what had crunched my car since the rearview mirror was gone...courtesy of my head which was bleeding a bit. Seatbelt? Only sissies wore them back in the day!
Lawrence Welk would have loved the accordion shape my Pinto ultimately resembled as I pinballed between the two automotive behemoths that had sustained very minor damage: so minor, in fact, that they both drove away while I waited for the police to report the accident...still, no fire, no explosion, no death benefits for my family from Ford Motor Company.
It was a miracle, really. One that I attribute to the aunt I was going to pick up.
She was a nun.
That's the only reason I can figure I wasn't bacon crispy forty years ago this week.
So, while I would never set foot (or butt) in a Ford Pinto again, I would not vote it the worst car ever made in this country, either.
Ride on, Pinto Boy!


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