WINSTED, Conn. — There is no theme-park simulation of riding in a Ford Pinto as the gas tank bursts into flames. But there is a snazzy red Chevrolet Corvair, the car that Ralph Nader said had dangerous structural flaws in his 1965 book, “Unsafe at Any Speed.”
A half-century after the book made him famous and propelled his career as consumer-crusader in chief, the 81-year-old Mr. Nader — the auto industry tormentor who does not own a car — admitted that this Corvair, whatever else, was cool-looking.
That 1963 compact is the largest artifact in the new American Museum of Tort Law that Mr. Nader has established here in his hometown in northern Connecticut. During a tour of the museum before its opening on Sunday, he said he hoped the museum would teach a new generation about the vital benefits of personal injury lawsuits and even, dare it be said, plaintiff lawyers. He wants to educate people about the hard-fought history of consumer protections that are now taken for granted — and that he says are under assault.