Long ago, Peter Brock was the best Australian race car driver. He was very popular and his name could sell anything.
That was when some sleazy marketer type showed up with a wheelbarrow of money and asked him to promote some crystals which were supposed to improve fuel economy... god knows how. It made him a laughing stock for many years. You only have to mention "Brockie's Crystals" to get a chuckle or two out of most automotive buff Australians.
We are seeing a lot of those same inventions these days with stuff like "The TORNADO!". And hopefully they see the same death.
Here is an interview where he is asked about the subject:
ANDREW DENTON: I will move on to what was the low point in your career, which was the Energy Polarizer, which you brought out in the...
PETER BROCK: Yeah, that was an interesting thing, actually, because...
ANDREW DENTON: Can I just explain to those that don't know what it was, it was just a, it was a box...with magnets and crystals, which you said would turn even a dog of a car into a sweet-running one. And basically, the press turned on you as some kind of New-Age crank.
PETER BROCK: They did, but I must tell you that the only portion of crystal in that was a sliver of crystal, not unlike what you have in a wristwatch. So I wasn't exactly, you know, sleeping under pyramids and stuff like that.
ANDREW DENTON: Why did they turn on you?
PETER BROCK: I didn't have the ability to give them a suitable explanation as to why it worked.
ANDREW DENTON: And why not?
PETER BROCK: Too difficult, really. I mean, it was gonna cost me 750,000 dollars to get a scientific validation of it. And I didn't have it. I said, "Look, can you just trust the fact that it does work?" And most of the journalists said, "Yeah, this works good."
ANDREW DENTON: Up until that time, you were known as Peter Perfect. This is the first time, really, that you've been seriously questioned. Did you question yourself at the time?
PETER BROCK: I suppose I did, in the sense that, er...I made a judgment call on the...I can usually read the press pretty well and the public pretty well. And...I didn't.
ANDREW DENTON: Mm-hmm.
PETER BROCK: But you know, I learnt a very important lesson. That is, "Don't paint yourself into a corner." Don't say anything that you might regret later on. Just let it all settle down and it'll all work out. So, eventually, it did work out and quite a few people came along to me at different times and said, "What about that? Tell us about it."
ANDREW DENTON: What became of it?
PETER BROCK: We just parked it. I just left it. Just said, "OK, move on." It's, er...someone, somewhere might pick up the idea and run with it. In fact, I've seen a few similar products...operating as water purifiers and stuff like that. You know.
ANDREW DENTON: Over the course of your career, you sort of became, you know, the non-smoking, non-drinking vegetarian guy interested in the energy fields of crystals.
PETER BROCK: Bo-o-o-r-i-i-ing.
ANDREW DENTON: Well, not necessarily. Did this cost you mates amongst the blokes at the track? Did people think you were a bit weird?
PETER BROCK: Well, it's...probabl...I don't know. I don't know, because they... I, I...thought I was still fairly normal in my conversations with them. They probably thought I was a bit weird. Probably do think I'm a bit weird. (Laughs) But you know, I've always marched to a different drumbeat and that's just me. I don't think you should just try and fit in because you want, you know, peer approval. I mean, too many of us live in fear of the disapproval of those around us, so I've always worked very hard at just being comfortable with who I am. Look...it'd be fair to say a few of them, to this day, probably think, "Peter Brock - he's OK but..." (Makes loony noise) And I don't mind that.