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Petersen to Restore the Corwin Getaway, a Visionary Car of Black L.A.

Cliff Hall was the Elon Musk of his time, except that he was black and sane and didn't have Twitter. Hall was a photojournalist for the Los Angeles Sentinel and Muhammad Ali's official photographer. He envisioned an economy car "fuel efficient enough to be sold anywhere in the world, beginning with poorer areas of the United States." He got so far as to create a prototype, the Corwin Getaway. In ruinous condition, it was acquired by the Petersen Automotive Museum in 1994. It's never been shown. The Petersen has launched a $32,000 IndieGoGo campaign to restore it and put it on view.

So far the campaign is not doing so well. With 10 days left, the Petersen has raised only $2150, or 6 percent of the goal.

Hall came from a family of tinkerers. One of his early sketches looks like a rocket. The car is named for Louis Corwin, a Beverly Hills-based Panasonic importer who advanced Hall $100,000. Hall used that to construct a fiberglass-body subcompact a foot shorter tha…

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