By Judy Gigante
I had a Corvair Monza. It was dark hunter green. I am not sure of the year of the accident, but the style Monza I had looks a lot like the 1965 models. I have a picture of it in my college photo album. I would have been in my early 20s.
I believe the accident happened after my graduation in 1965 and while I was renting a home on Williams Lake with my friend CJ Johnson. She was in the car with me when the accident occurred.
We had gone up north to ski and always stayed at a B&B in Boyne Falls. That Saturday, we had decided to ski Boyne Highlands. After a day of skiing, we headed back to Boyne Falls. I was probably driving just over the speed limit (which was 55 or 60) and passed a big Chevy Impala with 2 older couples in the car. Shortly after I passed them, the road made a wide curve to the left. As we entered the curve another Corvair was coming from the opposite direction.
At some point in the curve, that Corvair crossed over the center line and hit us. The impact was almost head on. I remember the impact and then the car suddenly spinning. With a death grip on the steering wheel, I remember telling CJ that we were going to be OK cause I had the car under control with this death grip.
All the tires had been ripped off the car….. not literally, but none of them were in a vertical position anymore. The windshield, driver and passenger windows had been shattered. The car had spun at least 180 degrees and then skidded down the road backwards for several yards before coming to rest about ¼ mile from the other Corvair.
The first car to stop was the Impala I had just passed. Those people were terrific and terrified. I can remember the driver saying that if I hadn’t passed them they would have hit that Corviar and he was sure that the boys in that car would have been killed. Fortunately all of us had survived.
Amazingly our skis also survived. They were in a rack on the roof and were still there after all that. We took the skis off the car and asked the people in the Impala to put them in their car.
CJ and I both had minor cuts from the shattered glass and I had a shard in one of my eyes, which was minor and easily removed. The people in the Impala took CJ and I, along with our skis and other belongings, to the hospital so we could be checked out . They stayed with us till we were released and then drove us to our B&B in Boyne Falls.
I don’t remember talking to the police, but I believe they came to the hospital. At some point I was told that the boys it he car were teenagers and had been arrested for excessive speed and driving under the influence. Both cars had been totaled.
Since CJ and I were OK and so were our skis, we hitched a ride with some friends and skied that Sunday. We did not want to tell our folks about the accident until we were home and they could see that we were OK. Friends agave us a ride back home and then went to see Mom and Dad.
At some point, I am not sure how long after I told them about the accident; I learned that Dad had requested that GM buy both of the cars for research purposes in the Corvair cases.
Whatever happened to the cars or if they had any impact on any of the trials, I never knew.
PS. I would like to emphasize on the fact that the other Corvair was traveling at an excess of 60 mph and my mom’s at over 55 mph and everyone walked away from the accident with only minor injuries. If this accident had involved front engine automobiles, everyone would have most likely been turned to hamburger and I would not be here to tell my grandfather’s story.