Trivia 39 – The Smart Kid – Chapter 17

In chapter 17, Charleen borrows the secretary’s car, a green Ford Pinto, so that she won’t be noticed when she drives away from the school.

The Ford Pinto has a checkered history. From Wikipedia:

In 1977 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration determined that the Pinto fuel system was defective and had resulted in fatalities and injuries. 1.5 million Ford Pintos were recalled, the largest recall in automotive history at that time, to install a modification to reduce the risk of fire. A number of lawsuits were brought against Ford, including a $127 million jury award in 1978, the largest product liability and negligence award in history at that time. This was reduced on appeal to $6 million. Ford was indicted on criminal charges of reckless homicide in 1980, the first time a corporation faced criminal charges for a defective product, and the first time a corporation was charged with murder.


Although the car was blamed for a number of deaths, ‘A subsequent analysis of the Pinto’s overall safety indicated its safety was comparable to other cars of its class.’

It’s interesting to note that this is still such a controversial issue that, as of this writing, the Wikipedia page is locked against further changes until editing disputes are resolved.

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