Michael Mageau stated "Dea turned the lights and motor off and had the radio playing. They were there just a very short time, a few minutes, and three cars pulled into the parking lot where they were. They were apparently young kids and they heard some laughing and carrying on and a few firecrackers were set off, then the three vehicles left within a short time. This was just a short space of time, a few minutes. Shortly after this and about 5 minutes before the shooting occurred, a vehicle pulled into the lot, coming from the direction of Springs Road and Vallejo. The driver turned the lights off on the car and pulled around to the left or east side of their car, approximately 6 or 8 feet away and sat there for a minute. He asked Dea if she knew who it was and she stated 'Oh, never mind'. " He added "He could not see the car too clearly, however the shape of the car looked similar to the car that Dea owns, a Corvair. He could not see the color or anything as it was too dark out there".
The next statement he gave puts it into context "The car then drove off at a fairly fast rate of speed. Five minutes later the vehicle pulled up approximately 10 feet behind and to the right side of Dea's car. The vehicle's lights were left on and the subject got out and walked toward the car. He had a large high-powered flashlight, the kind you carry with a handle." The assailant's vehicle was directly behind, facing the Corvair, in an extremely dark parking lot, and Michael Mageau had both the headlights from the other vehicle and a high-powered flashlight in his eyes. There is absolutely no way he could determine with confidence what vehicle was parked behind them. If he couldn't determine the "color or anything" of the vehicle parked 6-8 feet to the left 5 minutes earlier, when his vision was unobstructed, he had no chance here.
After the assailant had shot the couple he drove away. Michael again described the vehicle "He only saw the rear portion of it, this rear part appearing to be a vehicle similar to or the same type as Dea's car, a Corvair. Also a very similar color, possibly a little bit lighter brown." These descriptions are less than convincing. The first page of the police report details the assailant's vehicle as a Corvair or Mustang. In a later newspaper article Michael Mageau described the vehicle as a "1958 or 1959 Falcon. The color was brown or bronze." It is apparent he was simply unsure of what vehicle he observed that night, which under the circumstances is totally understandable. But did Michael Mageau get the color correct. The answer could possibly be yes, but he was incorrect. By that I mean, his eyes saw brown, when in fact the color was closer to white.
The factory specifications of a 1959 or 1960 Chevrolet Impala show the vehicle was manufactured with a set range of colors.
One of which was 'Ermine White'. This color has a distinctive off white appearance.
It can be clearly seen that it has a distinct brown hue, although it is classified as white. In the image below I have created a night setting closer to that experienced by Michael Mageau. The 'Ermine White' vehicle takes on a distinctly more medium brown or bronze color, similar to the Corvair driven by Darlene Ferrin. This could easily account for the discrepancies in identification between Robert Connelly, Bingo Wesner and Michael Mageau. particularly considering the circumstances Michael Mageau faced that night.
Because of Michael Mageau's uncertainty, it is certainly possible the vehicle he encountered that night could have been the same vehicle observed at Lake Herman Road, a 1959 or 1960 white Chevrolet Impala, and go a long way in linking both these crimes together.
But was the vehicle that pulled alongside Darlene Ferin's Corvair only 6-8 feet to the left, the same vehicle that returned 5 minutes later and parked 10 feet behind. The answer is yet to be determined, but the curious behavior of the first sighting in an empty parking lot just prior to the shooting seems to suggest the two may very well be connected.
Raymond Grant- The White Chevrolet Impala.
In the 'Debut of Zodiac' letter received by the San Francisco Examiner on August 4th 1969, the Zodiac Killer stated;
"The man who told police that my car was brown was a negro about 40-45 rather shabbly dressed. I was in this phone booth having some fun with the Vallejo cop when he was walking by. When I hung the phone up the damn thing began to ring & that drew his attention to me + my car." This negro male was never traced and did not feature in the police report.
The details of his age range and what he was wearing, on the face of it appear unnecessary, unless of course the Zodiac Killer was deliberately creating a fictional character who just so happened to observe his brown car. Bearing in mind Zodiac had likely read newspaper reports of Michael Mageau detailing a brown car in the parking lot of Blue Rock Springs, what better way to corroborate his sighting by further implanting the seed of a brown car into the minds of investigators, by the hand of this fictional eyewitness. If Zodiac's vehicle was 'Ermine White' then clearly this is to his advantage. Voluntarily offering the color of his vehicle as brown, if in fact it was brown, must be viewed with suspicion.