3) General Motors, 1971, 6.7 million vehicles
Models affected: Chevrolet Bel Air, Brookwood, Camaro, Caprice, Chevy II, G-Series vans, Impala, Kingswood, Nova, P-Series, C-Series and Townsman.
Cause: Separating motor mounts that could force full-throttle acceleration.
Number of incidents: 172 incidents; 63 accidents; 18 injuries
Number of alleged deaths: None reported.
The defective motor mounts on several Chevy models could cause serious problems with a car—including unintended, full-throttle acceleration—but due to lax investigative procedures at the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, no action was taken until Ralph Nader and his Center for Auto Safety applied pressure to the group, aided by Detroit News writer Robert Irvin’s pursuit of the story. Eventually, GM went forward with the recall—which remains, almost 40 years later, among the biggest in U.S. history.