<VV> Some Corvair Legal History

paulsiano at yahoo.com paulsiano at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 3 23:02:38 EST 2017

A person, Nick Gigante, made the following comment on the Youtube video about my Crown conversion.  I thought it might be of interest to some of us in the Corvair community.  With his permission here it is:  

My grandfather, Frank J. Winchell, was GM’s expert witness in the defense of the Corvair. In total there were 294 cases brought against GM, totaling claims of over 100 million dollars. Of these, 10 were tried to jury convictions. Of these, 8 verdicts were in favor of GM. Of the 2 loses; "Chart v GM," where 2 of the 5 occupants testified in court that the driver had a quarrel with his girlfriend and that after a 2 1/2 hour stop at Bronco’s Beer Bar, where the driver was chug-a-luging his beer, and later they warned the him that he was driving recklessly and at an excessive speed, that he failed to make a right hand turn, locked up his brakes and struck a telephone pole. In what is know as a comparative negligence verdict, the jury found the driver 75% responsible, the girlfriend 3%, the state highway 5%, the county highway 5% and GM 12%. The other lose was "Canthos v GM," where the jury found in favor of the plaintiff, however, the judge set the jury’s verdict aside stating “There is not a scintilla of quotient evidence to support the claims against the handling characteristics of the 1960-63 Corvair.(paraphrasing)” He went on to describe the testimony of the plaintiff’s expert witness as “perhaps the most incomprehensible gibberish that this court has ever heard.” A Untied Sates Senate Committee spent 2 1/2 year investigating the safety of the Corvair, the DOT as well as many other institutions, even Nader’s own NHTSA came to the same conclusions as everyone else, that the Corvair was not defectively designed nor a defective product. In fact, it performed as good, or better than all cars on american roads at that time.

More information about the VirtualVairs mailing list