roboman91324 at aol.com roboman91324 at aol.com
Fri Jun 22 13:46:38 EDT 2018

I just responded to a Facebook post with the typical misinformation about our Corvairs.  If you like, feel free to copy and paste without attribution.  I think my account is accurate but if not feel free to make corrections or additions.
"First, are you aware that Nader owned and drove an early model (EM) Corvair?   
The first chapter in his book Unsafe at Any Speed (UAAS) focused on the Corvair because it was the only example of a totally unique American car that had been designed from the ground up.  In other words, GM couldn't claim that its design features had to rely on existing design technology.
In part due to Nader's book, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) performed extensive tests on a number of cars in the Corvair's classification.  This occurred in 1971.  Chronologically, the test subjects were a '60 Valiant, '62 Falcon, '62 Beetle, '63 Corvair, '63 Renault and '67 Corvair.  The Valiant and Falcon represented the most common configuration of cars at the time.  That was a front engine rear wheel drive configuration.  The others were rear engine; rear wheel drive for direct comparison to the early model (EM) Corvair.  Of the rear engine models, all but the '67 Corvair were manufactured with a swing axle rear suspension.  There were millions of these cars on the roads worldwide the most common of which was the VW/Porsche designs.  UAAS was released in '65 so the Corvair chapter referenced the EMs with the swing axle design.  The '67 Corvair was the LM design with a multi link suspension design.  This was the same as the '63 and later Corvettes.  
The EM design lasted from 1960 through 1964 and the LM design lasted from 1965 through 1969 when production of the Corvair ceased.
Without getting into too much detail, the NHTSA study completely exonerated the Corvair.  The EM was as good or better at handling and safety concerns than any of its peers.  The study included attempts to make the cars roll over.  Due to its rear multi link suspension, the '67 Corvair has superior handling of all the cars tested.
Because the Corvair was the focus of the first chapter of UAAS, the public pretty much focused only on the Corvair as the book's target.  Many of the drawings, etc. contained in the book that were meant to exemplify the dangerous design of the Corvair were incorrect.  As an interesting side note, the book's title was aimed at the '59 Cadillac.  The tail fins on that model year were kind of bizarre.  They were very pointy so, if you stumbled into the back of a parked '59 Cadillac, you could be injured.  In effect, it was unsafe at zero speed.
In any case, Nader's book led people to believe that the Corvair was a death trap.  This was completely unfounded at the time of publication and later refuted by extensive government testing.  A positive result from Nader's book may have been the more active role the federal government took with automotive safety.  Of course, this may have been coincidental given that the feds were already becoming more activist in this arena before the book's publication."

More information about the VirtualVairs mailing list