Other Players

Eddie Cochran 1960 UK Tour

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The photo shows the vertical crease of the impact with the concrete lamp post to the right of the red arrow. Orange arrows indicate the secondary forces from transferred energy acting on the structure of the car. Note how the rear passenger door, so frequently described as being smashed, is in fact intact and swinging on its hinges. It has clearly opened when the sill/wheelhouse split and before the roof and B pillar deformation occurred.

The rear screen glass is completely gone, having been unseated and thrown clear when the rear portion of the car was torn back and to the right.

Also visible is the high loading sill for the boot/trunk which shows distortion but hasn't been completely crushed. After absorbing some of the initial impact, the remaining crash energy was forced forwards into the sill/wheelhouse/roof C pillar area.

152

In this photograph of the wreck, the rear wheel has a '59-'60 model year vented aluminium trim ring, perhaps an attempt to keep the 2-3 year old car looking current, absent from the front wheel which also has a fresher blackwall tyre than the rear wheel. This could indicate that the wheel was changed to assist in towing/removal. The wrecking crew put the hubcap back on. Very tidy. Why leave out the trim ring? It can only be removed by taking the hub cap off. Perhaps it was too distorted to be reused- indicating that the wheel rim of the 'accident' wheel was also bent out of shape. I believe this observation further supports the wheel-dig 'swivel' impact theory.

Also visible is the bent window frame of the front passenger door, indicating that it stayed closed when the roof and B pillar were pulled back, down and to the right when the car split at the left rear sill area.

The rear bench seat, comprised of a separate squab and backrest is in disarray.

The spare wheel was stowed vertically in the right side of the luggage compartment.

The petrol tank with a 7 1/2 gallon capacity was under the trunk floor and accessed via a sprung bottom-hinged number/licence plate flap.

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A third and final photo of the wreck. There have been many theories posited over the years stating that the car went backwards into the lamp post and other scenarios that just don't match the specifics of the location, the police report or the extant photographs.

I first visited the area in the 1980s when the splendid David Lassman who ran the Eddie Cochran Appreciation Society took me to the location. He is one of the people you meet in life who exceed your every expectation and leave an indelible positive impression. I could hardly believe that such a benign road with a soft bend and the gentle rise up Rowden Hill could be the place of this tragedy. I've tried to piece the events together with all the available evidence and as much detective skill as I can muster to clarify this awful road traffic accident.


Special Thanks and appreciation to Noggsly who translated my Crayola scribblings into the beautiful and detailed illustrations that accompany the text of today's posts.

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Thank you Ade, it was incredibly interesting to spend the time analysing what might have happened.

Looking at the pics of the car again I hadn’t noticed that the boot/trunk lid has been caught by the deforming rear left wing. ie. Car hits lamppost, force acts from left on rear of car, latch releases the boot lid as load sill concertinas and moves the latch plate inwards/right. As bootlid is opening it is trapped by the left wing moving across, allowing the rear left light cluster to end up underneath it. All of that also seems to support the car hitting the lamppost in a sideways/arcing motion.

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Incredible thread, thank you very much, ade and noggsly. Biiig thumbs up!

156

What a great thread, thank you so much for taking the time to post this. Lots of great pics and clips I haven't seen before. I admit I haven't read all of it yet but I will soon.

157

Thoroughly enjoyable thread sir,thanks again.

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Thanks JC, Mike and Defender for dropping by and taking the time to remember Eddie Cochran on the 60th anniversary of his death with a message here and to all the contributors (and maybe some quiet readers too) who have hopefully found something of interest in this thread.

The UK tour was such a big breakthrough for Eddie yet he probably never realised the enormous and enduring impact he had. Today, reflecting on this tour, perhaps the best words were the ones his mother spoke on the 1982 Arena documentary-

"Eddie was not very impressed with himself. I think he under-rated himself, but he was determined that he was going to be a star someday and I think he made it, in England".


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