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Carl's Curve on Mulholland Drive

Carl’s Curve on Mulholland Drive

July 20, 1982: Headlights streak around Carl’s Curve on Mulholland Drive, reportedly named after a racer who went down the embankment multiple times. In the background are the lights of the San Fernando Valley.

Mulholland Drive, originally opened in 1924, has always been a favorite road for drivers — and illegal racing.  This photo, by Los Angeles Times staff photographer Rick Corrales, was used to illustrate a 1982 story about dangerous night racing on Mulholland between Laurel Canyon and Coldwater Canyon boulevards.

For the July 25, 1982, story, “Night Racers,” L.A. Times staff writer Robert W. Stewart reported:

Between Jan. 1, 1980 and July 14 of this year, Los Angeles police recorded 135 major traffic accidents — resulting in four deaths and 140 injuries — on the 2.7-mile stretch between Laurel Canyon and Coldwater Canyon boulevards.

More than 20 crumpled wrecks lie at the bottom of one particular sharp jog in the road, known by the racers as Carl’s Turn. Legend has it that a young man named Carl plummeted from the spot seven times before he finally gave up racing. The latest car landed on the pile last month.

This story, with the above photo as lead art, ran in the Westside and San Fernando Valley editions of the Times. This photo was also published in the the book  “Imagining Los Angeles: Photographs of a 20th Century City,” published by the Los Angeles Times in 2000.

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