Hey, Ho, For the Open Road #1

Jack makes it on time yet again – wonders will never cease!

This may be the first of a series of car stories –

There are two times in my life when I came close to death, and one happened in the early 1970s. I owned a mark 1 Triumph Spitfire, an open top convertible sports car with (in my case almost literally) a fatal flaw. The early models, like mine, had an unusual rear suspension – a transverse leaf spring with the rear wheels at either end. There were a few cars with this design including the VW Beetle, and Ralph Nader did research and found out that many crashes had resulted. Later models were redesigned!

I was driving from my home city of Dunfermline to the nearby town of Kirkcaldy by way of a narrow and twisty country road via the hamlet of Puddledub. It was autumn and there were lots of leaves on the road. I entered an s-bend with a banking on the opposite side that had rain water running down from a field.

That’s when the rear wheels lost grip and tucked in. The problem with the transverse spring meant that it was now running on the tire walls instead of the tread!

That’s also when my car slid across and up the banking, then turned over and cartwheeled down the road, completely out of control. It went from front to side to back and side and on and on like that. Remember this is an open top car and could have landed either side up. In these early models the rear view mirror was on top of the dash, so every time the car landed on its front my head hit that mirror – I still have the scar.

Another motorist ahead of me in a Jaguar saw the whole thing in his mirror and came back to check on me. I had blood streaming down my face but the Spitfire had landed the right way up and I was alive, so off he drove.

The car was a write off/totaled so I used the insurance money to buy my first MGB.

3 thoughts on “Hey, Ho, For the Open Road #1

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