Def Leppard Drummer Relives Fateful Corvette Accident

·2 min read

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There’s something to be learned from his tragedy…

Our older readers likely know all about Rick Allen and the accident he experienced while behind the wheel of his C4 Corvette back in 1984. Our younger readers might just know the guy as “the drummer from Def Leppard’s only got one arm.” While knowledge of the guy and his early career might expose a generation gap, his recounting of the tragic incident and what led up to it should be a solemn lesson for all enthusiasts.

See an incredible 1970 Chevelle SS left on a garage lift since 1978 here.

In a recent interview with Forbes, Allen described how he was going for a drive in a rural part of his native England using his left-hand-drive C4 Corvette. We don’t know how he imported the car and what the laws were like back then. That’s not the important part, because the lesson is in what he did leading up to the accident.

Allen said he was driving on those rolling, turn-filled roads which are likely far older than the invention of the automobile when he came across a guy driving an Alfa Romeo. The other driver blasted past him as they were navigating one of the many corners and he was astounded at the recklessness of it. Then the Alfa Romeo slowed down to let him catch up, then when Allen tried to pass him the Alfa driver would drop the hammer.

We’re thinking this was a contest where the guy in the Italian car was showing the guy in the American sports car his ride wasn’t so hot. These sorts of roadway contests happen all the time, we’ve been the target of them plenty of times. The smart thing is to just blow it off and let it go.

Instead, Allen admits he “lost (his) cool and put (his) foot down.” That was the wrong response. Speeding on this winding country road, sitting on the left side of the Corvette while driving on the left side of the road, he missed seeing how severe a turn was until it was too late.

Losing control of the car, it rolled. The seatbelt came undone and caught his left arm, holding it in the cabin while the rest of him flew out the sunroof. We can’t imagine going through that and we have immense respect for the guy not only not giving up on life but learning how to play the drums with the best of them while missing an arm.

The thing you should absolutely take away from Rick Allen’s accident is that getting into some pissing contest with another driver is a bad idea. You don’t have anything to prove to some random guy on the road, but you do have a lot to lose. Drive safe, everyone.

Read the Forbes interview here.

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