The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #96951 Message #4118353
Posted By: GerryM
30-Aug-21 - 11:12 PM
Thread Name: Origins: The Red Corvette (John McCutcheon)
Subject: RE: Origins: The Red Corvette (John McCutcheon)
Yes, it's in Jan Harold Brunvand, The Vanishing Hitchhiker, starting on page 22.
"The Philanderer's Porsche" End Brunvand
Since "The Death Car" itself never seems to turn up for sale – and the smell of death seems quite tolerable to the would-be sports car owner – may we not trust in the slightly less astonishing but still fully believable tale, "The Philanderer's Porsche"? Ann Landers published this hoary story in 1979, sent in to her by a faithful reader who claimed to have read it in the Chicago Tribune:
A man in California saw an ad in the paper for an "almost new" Porsche, in excellent condition – price $50. He was certain the printers had made a typographical error, but even at $5,000 it would have been a bargain, so he hurried to the address to look at the car.
A nice-looking woman appeared at the front door. Yes, she had placed the ad. The price was indeed $50. "The car," she said, "is in the garage. Come and look at it."
The fellow was overwhelmed. It was a beautiful Porsche, and, as the ad promised, "nearly new." He asked if he could drive the car around the block. The woman said, "Of course," and went with him.
The Porsche drove like a dream. The young man peeled off $50 and handed it over, somewhat sheepishly. The woman gave him the necessary papers, and the car was his.
Finally, the new owner couldn't stand it any longer. He had to know why the woman was selling the Porsche at such a ridiculously low price. Her reply was simple: With a half-smile on her face, she said, "My husband ran off with his secretary a few days ago and left a note instructing me to sell the car and the house, and send him the money."
Ann Landers, always trusting in human nature and in her research contacts, accepted the story as a true one and asked the Tribune managing editor about it.: "He, too, had read the story and thought it was hilarious," Ann reported, "but his researchers could not find it in their paper. However, the incident did happen as reported and was a news story somewhere."
Now think about it: would a man who was going off with his secretary not do it in his Porsche (possibly one reason she fell for him to start with), and would he really trust his poor abandoned wife to dispose of his property fairly? Not surprisingly, we find that essentially the same story sometimes concludes in other versions with the wife saying that she was merely carrying out her late husband's instructions in his will that she sell the car and give the proceeds to his mistress. This form of the story has been known in England since 1948 and was reprinted in the press there as recently as 1969. Both treatments of the theme – philanderer's expensive car sold cheaply by irate wife (or widow) – dramatize the undeniable pleasure of "getting even."
OK, so the story, in one form or another, goes back way before the Red Corvette song. But it's possible that it was John McCutcheon who put it to music.