Was Zodiac a mechanic/ car buff?

Zodiackiller.com Message Board: General Zodiac Discussion: Was Zodiac a mechanic/ car buff?

By TheBlackJet (Theblackjet) (cache-dr05.proxy.aol.com - on Friday, January 03, 2003 - 05:23 pm:

Graysmith mentions several times in his book that all of the Zodiac crimes involved water, even though the Stine case is a bit of a stretch in that regard. But they did all involve cars. Faraday, Jensen, Ferrin, Mageau were all shot in a car. Stine was killed in his taxi. Johns even rode in Z's car. Finally, the one known time that Z didn't shoot people in an automobile was at Lake B. Yet he still wrote on the door of the Ghia. Perhaps he felt compelled to involve a car in his murder in some way?

You could even carry this a level further. Faraday's tire was shot out by Z, Ferrin's door handle was removed, Johns had her wheel taken off by Z (later he car was also torched), and even Bates had her distributer wire taken out. Also, Z sent a Phillps 66 service station map to the police. So Zodiac definitely knew his cars. He could have been a mcchanic or at least a car buff. Were any of the known suspects?

By Sandy (Sandy) (adsl-63-200-51-193.dsl.snfc21.pacbell.net - on Saturday, January 04, 2003 - 08:26 pm:

The brother of one of my suspects is a mechanic.Kane has lots of cars,RH also.The things that were done to the cars anyone could do.If he were a mechanic I think he would have done something that couldn't be fixed as fast as a coil wire. It took less than 5 min.To replace mine in 1968.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (172.philadelphia06rh.15.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Saturday, January 04, 2003 - 10:01 pm:

I wonder if the police ever checked up on Paul Stine's brother? He worked as a mechanic at a Modesto service station, and at the age of 34 still lived with his 58-year-old mother. He appears to have injected himself into the case following his brother's death, as evidenced by his public dare for Zodiac to "come and get" him.

By Howard Davis (Howard) (host-66-81-19-58.rev.o1.com - on Sunday, January 05, 2003 - 12:02 am:

I have been told by old former members(including Lynette Fromme by letter) that Bruce Davis was a "good mechanic" and that he worked on autos and the dune buggies and converted VWs to buggies.
He could hot wire a car 'very fast' and had stolen several.This was one of the charges against him.

By Douglas Oswell (Dowland) (75.philadelphia03rh.16.pa.dial-access.att.net - on Sunday, January 05, 2003 - 08:29 am:

BlackJet, we don't know that Johns was a Zodiac victim, and even if she was, it hardly requires the aptitude of a mechanic to change a tire. The same can be said of the Bates incident. Additionally, I find it hard to believe that Zodiac was responsible for Darlene Ferrin's door handle, and shooting out a tire or writing on a car door hardly qualifies as mechanical genius.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acbe219f.ipt.aol.com - on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 10:17 pm:

I've often wondered about that door handle. Is it possible that Mageau had his hand on it, and as he was being shot, perhaps reacted in such a way that he pulled it off without realizing it, then wondered what happened to it? Being wracked with what must have been incredible pain, I can see how he might not have felt himself pull it off.

By Howard Davis (Howard) ( - on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 01:22 pm:

When Mageau got in the car and closed the door he would have noted the handle was missing -if it was at that time.If it was missing then did someone(the perp?) remove it so as to prevent a passenger from leaving quiclky?There was a point in time,that night,when the car was parked and this could have been done.
Your post has a good idea as to what may have happened.MM doesn't seem to realize what happened to the door handle as he was trying frantically to grasp it to leave,but found it was missing!When reflecting back he may not have realized fully,that he unconsciously pulled it off, as you say,due to shock and intense pain.
Afterall ,the Corvair was no quality automobile-a little yank or kick(he was kicking as you know during his attempt to get away from the line of fire)could have removed it!
Just thoughts and yours?

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acc033e4.ipt.aol.com - on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 02:10 pm:

If Mageau recoiled away from the door because of the pain, plus the added force from the slugs, if his hand was on the door handle, something would have to give, and it would have been the handle. We had a Corvair many a long year ago (late 1960's), and while I don't remember much about it, what I've read subsequently indicates that it wasn't the best car on the road (at least it wasn't an Edsel!). I don't know how easily the door handle could be removed, but since it was later found and easily replaced, it probably wasn't difficult.

By William Baker (Bill_Baker) (lsanca1-ar6-4-63-088-002.lsanca1.elnk.dsl.genuity.net - on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 03:34 pm:

For what it's worth, I think Ed's explanation for the missing door handle is probably the best and simplest one I've heard. Whether it was his hand, or his shoe, or some other part of his person, Mageau's physical response to the attack almost certainly accounts for the handle coming off. Like with so many of these nagging mysteries, it's amazing that it took so long for such a common-sense answer to demystify it. And that, Ed, is why you are so highly respected on this Board.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acbe80ad.ipt.aol.com - on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 03:54 pm:

Thank you for your kind words, Bill, I do appreciate them. It's something that's puzzled everyone since Graysmith first revealed that fact, and something I've pondered on and off for the last 10 years since I first picked up Zodiac. The idea just popped into my head last night as I read Doug's post, and you're right, I wonder why it hadn't occurred to anyone else before now. If we apply Occam's Razor, maybe that it the correct answer. Any other ideas (let's start a new thread if this aspect of the discussion continues)?

Meanwhile, back to Z the car buff...

By J Eric (J_Eric) (dsl081-238-156.lax1.dsl.speakeasy.net - on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 12:03 pm:

Ed, only a possible idea as to the door handle: Ferrin's car supposedly struck an object, a log I believe, very hard, enough to get stuck in the parking lot. That impact could have jostled off the door handle had it been already loose. Your idea of Mageau thrashing about and detaching it is equally plausible in my mind.

By Tom Voigt (Tom_Voigt) (12-224-139-118.client.attbi.com - on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 01:28 am:

There's nothing in the police report (that I recall) that indicates Ferrin hit a log. Sounds to me like yet more misinformation from a certain author.

By Ed N. (Ed_N) (acc3364b.ipt.aol.com - on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 01:56 pm:

There were probably logs to mark out the parking lot in later years, but wasn't there a wall there in 1969 as indicated in the crime scene sketch?