I bought a new Riviera in the fall of 1979. I was going to use it mostly for road trips. It drove so good and looked even better, that I found it hard to park it and get back in a pickup.
One day I picked up Kenny so we could make a run around town and see how everything looked. We did that pretty often back in those days. We drove through a subdivision we were building out on RM 2222, overlooking Lake Austin. All the utilities had been completed on that project and we dressing up the sub grade getting ready to dump flex base.
I was driving a little faster than the conditions called for, about 40 mph. Suddenly we went from 40 to zero in less than a blink of an eye. A manhole cover was left sticking up about 2” higher than the clearance that Riviera would allow for. When the front cross member struck the manhole cover it caused the rear of the car to raise up off the ground, then it slammed back down. This was before anyone thought about wearing seat belts.
I did pretty well due to having the steering wheel in front of me. Kenny didn’t have anything in front of him. His head went right into the roof of the car, right above the windshield. When it was all over we thought how fortunate it was that his head didn’t hit the windshield. When he flipped the sunvisor down the vanity mirror crumpled into his lap.
We got out to look underneath. With it being a front wheel car, we were concerned that the engine, transmission and the whole transaxle assembly had been shoved backwards. Everything looked okay so we took off and it it drove just fine.
A few days later I took it to get the alignment checked. It was still in perfect alignment. The front crossmember had a perfect semicircle impression in it. It was so well centered, that it almost looked like it was made that way.
I drove that car for a couple of years before it was time to send it on down the road without me.