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Events and Discoveries of the Week
October 17, 1960
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October 17, 1960

Events And Discoveries Of The Week

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As the score mounted in last Thursday's 16-3 Yankee victory, the most nervous man in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was Herbert Levin, manager of The Syndicate, a clothing store. Levin had advertised that he would cut prices on suits, topcoats, sport coats and slacks in proportion to the total runs scored in each Series game. The cuts were to be $1 per run on suits and topcoats, 75� per run on sport coats and 50� per run on slacks.

Fans began to mob the store after the eighth inning. The Syndicate had to put on five extra clerks, lock its doors and admit only 12 to 15 customers at a time. At one point there was a block-long line outside the store. And 100 more eager buyers were lined up when the store opened Friday morning. Said Levin: "It was the most phenomenal day in our 86-year history." He didn't seem very happy about it.


A courageous man faced reporters in the Beverly Hills Hotel last week and tried to explain what had gone wrong. Sir Donald Campbell apologized for his impaired hearing and his bloodshot eyes (leftovers from a hairline skull fracture) and said, "It was not the fault of the machine."

This was Campbell's first public appearance since his $4.5 million car rocketed off the runway at Bonneville Salt Flats in an acceleration test that was to have preceded an attempt at a new world land speed record. Campbell believes he knows exactly what happened: at 365 mph, the car was sideswiped by cross-ripping winds, with the result that the right wheels were biting into loose salt while the left wheels were grabbing air. "It was like losing the tread of a tank. One instantly blacked out," said Campbell, who has an aversion to the personal pronoun.

The machine was airborne for 300 yards, then rolled three times in the air, came back to earth, took off again and slid for 80 more yards. "Then there was a period of gray-out in which one can remember being thrown across the cockpit. Later, one was pulled out of it. We have survived certainly the fastest road vehicle crash in history," Campbell said. Through it all, he added, the machine showed remarkable stability. "Not one single tire burst," he said, "despite two wheels off. The brakes were incredibly powerful."

Campbell attributed his survival to the fighter-plane harness he wore, plus his helmet. His g-meter showed that he withstood acceleration forces of 16 g's—his head actually traveled only about three inches before fracturing against the cockpit.

Ironically, Campbell arrived at the hospital at the same time as two elderly women who, he recalls, "came to grief at a mere 45 mph on the highway near by. One dear old thing broke her leg, her pelvis and her shoulder, all as a result of her car encountering a soft shoulder in the road."

The moral, Campbell said, is this: "One can prove that if man can survive a 365-mph crash, broken bodies are quite unnecessary at lesser highway speeds." To test this and other premises, Sir Donald and his rebuilt car will give it another brave whirl next year.

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