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Back in 1976, Editor-Publisher Richard Kratz was sitting in the front passenger seat of a 1970 Chevelle driving on the famous Mulholland Drive along the top of the Santa Monica Mountains in Los Angeles. Going around a sharp left hand curve with a sheer top on the right, something failed in the right front suspension of the Chevy (he should have been in a Mopar) and the car went flying off the right side edge of the road. The small block Chevy was very nose heavy and immediately pitched nose down. Richard says he remembers being startled to see not a steep drop to certain doom, but rather a building's roof rushing up towards them. In a weird sort of luck, the car went off the road above where a house was built on a graded lot well below the highway. The roof belonged to the house's garage and below that roof was a brand new car. The roof and the new car helped dissipate a lot of the energy of the crash, but the impact was still extremely violent.
The 1970 Chevelle was equipped with seatbelts, although they were only lap belts. The driver was severely injured by the steering wheel and Richard broke vertebrae in his lower back. But far more serious injury in the absence of the lap belt was highly likely.