Monday, February 23, 2004

Unhinged at Any Speed 


DETROIT, MI (Ant Farmer's Almanac Newswire) — General Motors is resurrecting the Chevrolet Corvair, made infamous by Ralph Nader's 1965 book "Unsafe at Any Speed."

It was Nader's exposé of the auto industry's willful and callous disregard for passenger safety, and the design and engineering flaws of the Corvair in particular, that made him a household name and Chevy's rear-engine compact a thing of the past.

The announcement that Nader will again run for the presidency is believed to have sparked the plan.

"If Ralph Nader can be so clueless and irresponsible as to make another pointless, Quixotic run at the presidency," said a spokesman for GM, "Then, we contend that it's probable he's been wrong about pretty much everything else he's ever done, including his harsh — and, we believe, terribly unfair — criticism of the Corvair."

Sporting an air-cooled, rear-mounted engine and styled to evoke the original — in hopes of competing with the retro look Volkswagen Beetle, Chrysler PT Cruiser and Ford Thunderbird — the New Corvair will go other nostalgia-mobiles one better.

"In the interest of period authenticity, we're dispensing with air bags, shoulder and seat belts, ABS brakes, safety glass, padded dash and steering wheel, crumple zones and reinforced passenger compartment as well as power steering, power brakes, power windows — pretty much power anything, really." said GM's spokesman. "All of this will enhance the retro driving experience," he continued, "Also, we're considering leaving off several nuts and bolts and over-inflating the tires."

The introductory limited edition New Corvair's standard features will include an 8-track tape player, a metal dashboard with sharp, pointy chrome knobs, asbestos brake pads, and be offered in six "metal-flake" colors — in lead paint — not available since the late sixties.

GM also announced that it will roll back the safety features of all its 2006 vehicles to 1965 standards.

A spokesman for his campaign dismissed any link between Nader's presidential run and the New Corvair, saying, "This is a cynical grab for free publicity by a desperate car maker scraping the bottom of the Baby Boomer nostalgia barrel."

GM's spokesman retorted, "If Nader was really all that concerned with the American public's well-being, would he be screwing up another presidential election? We don't think so."

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