On the other hand, once you got past the passport guys, there were sections of the wall that were just steel beams. Meixner did his homework: Those beams were only 37.5 inches above the pavement. With the right car, he could just drive under them, right?
Via Roger Wollstadt
Now that we think about it, he should have just ramped that bitch, Dukes of Hazzard style.
Love makes you do crazy things. Meixner rented a tiny Austin-Healey Sprite sports car, took out the windshield, and did some measuring. From tire to top, the car was only 35.5 inches off the ground -- two whole inches to spare under the metal beam! Good enough!
On May 5, 1963, Meixner stuffed his girlfriend and her mother in the backseat floor of the car. Then he covered them with bricks. The bricks, he figured, would conceal them, protect them from gunfire, and give him an excuse for the extra-low car. Plus, when would he get another chance to cover his future mother-in-law with bricks? After making it past the passport check, Meixner was directed to the customs officer. Instead of stopping, he gunned it and ducked. By the time he slowed down on the West side of the wall, there was a 96-foot-long skid mark behind him. Oh, and the tires left a trail, too.
From the lack of flames, we're assuming it never reached 88 miles per hour.
And here's where it gets ridiculous: Three months later, a man named Norbert Konrad was in the same pickle. He lived in West Berlin and had an East German girlfriend and no hope of getting her out. By this point, Meixner's story was news, so Konrad knew it could be done, but he never actually got around to reading the details. So what Konrad didn't know was that when he rented a sports car for the escape, he rented the exact same car Heinz used, with the same plates and all.
He followed the exact same plan. And it worked, again.
Unfortunately, the East Germans had an answer to getting double bamboozled by a midget sports car: Fool us once, shame on you; fool us twice, we'll add welded bars to our steel barriers and you'll never fool us again. To be fair, who would have thought somebody would try something like that twice?
"OK, new plan. First, we turn ourselves into snakes ..."
When not running precariously across international borders, Evan V. Symon is a workshop moderator and can be found on Facebook.
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