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Petra Verkaik, a 22-year-old native Californian, celebrated the signing of her Playmate contract in an unusual fashion: by running herself over with her own van. The venerable '76 Volkswagen has a habit of not starting, so Petra's accustomed to climbing under the chassis, armed with a screwdriver, to get things going. This time, in her excitement about becoming a Playmate, she neglected to check whether or not the transmission was in gear. When the motor turned over, the van lurched onto her chest and perched there for about 30 seconds. "A very long thirty seconds," she says. "I thought I was going to die." With a mighty effort -- "I'm not Hercules or anything, but it's a light car" - Petra managed to free herself, sort of. "I pushed it up and slid under it. Then it landed on my hair, pinning me." Fortunately, the episode took place in the parking lot next to Playboy's West Coast offices, and rescue was soon at hand. Cassie Gould, a Playboy publicist, was the first to happen by and see two legs sticking out from beneath the dilapidated van. Her call for help was answered by two security who quickly got the van off the Playmate; paramedics and sheriff's officers arrived seconds later. At the hospital, Petra was X-rayed and got the good news that she could go home immediately. The bad news was that now that Petra was obviously out of danger, everybody was cracking jokes about the accident. When a Playmate, particularly a well-endowed Playmate, is saved from serious injury by her breasts, people smile. It's not unlike the story of a preacher's being saved from a stray bullet by his Bible. And Petra is by nature a rather shy person. "God, I was so embarrassed," she recalls. Still, when she heard that West Coast Photo Editor Marilyn Grabowski had dubbed her the "the retread Playmate," Petra good-naturedly responded, "Well, I did have tread marks on my shirt. What else can I do but laugh?" Petra and her misbehaving van go way back. "My mom bought it new, and we used it to camp at the Grand Canyon and everywhere." Last year, her mother gave Petra the van. Since then, its trips have most often been to the mechanic. Still, it has provided reliable-enough transportation to get Petra to modeling assignments (she recently did some promotional work for Pepsi). She currently shares a house near L.A. with three others, including her boyfriend, with whom she pots fantasy travel plans (first stop: Bali, her mother's birthplace; her father comes from Holland). Her next move, however, may be to try out for a spot in Playboy's Girls of Rock & Roll review, currently in Las Vegas and Lake Tahoe. "Playboy has helped me a lot," says Petra. "It has given me self-confidence. Now I love meeting people." There's another plus: With her Playmate earnings, she'll be able to buy a new car. "Something light," she says, smiling. "Like a Honda CRX."



Birthdate: November 04, 1966

Birthplace: Los Angeles CA USA

Height:  5'8"

Weight: 120 lbs

Measurements: 37DD-24-35


Petra Verkaik started off her Playboy career with a bang—literally. After signing her Playboy contract, the five-foot, eight-inch brunette went to start her 1976 Volkswagen jalopy, which did not want to cooperate; Petra, unperturbed, began to collect her tools from the backseat. It may surprise you to know that a glamour model would put up with an old car’s antics, but Petra is attached to the ol’ girl—even though she has to perform CPR on her van almost every time she wants to drive it. This time, however, Petra’s van didn’t cooperate. Having forgotten the transmission was left in gear, brown-eyed Petra was trapped under the van as it rolled onto her chest in the Playboy office parking lot. “It was a very long thirty seconds. I thought I was going to die,” remembers Miss Verkaik. “I pushed it up and slid under it. Then it landed on my hair, pinning me.” Security guards were called who heroically lifted the van and saved our Playmate of the Month— but not without making a few jokes about the incident, which spread around the Playboy offices. Being crushed by a van is no laughing matter, but Petra sustained no injuries, all thanks to one reason—well, two reasons. The van balanced itself on her all-natural DD-cup breasts—her true heroes. “God, I was so embarrassed,” laughs our Miss December 1989. “Well, I did have tread marks on my shirt. What else can I do but laugh?” Though she’ll never forget her dramatic entry into the Playboy family, she’s learned to love the memorable beginning, because it does mean everyone knows who she is. When she became our Playmate of the Month in December 1989, Petra hoped her new title would erase the nickname she was given by former Playboy editor Marilyn Grabowski. Known within the Playboy offices as “the retread Playmate”, Petra says she’s learned to take things with a grain of salt and just enjoy everything life hands—or rather, rolls— her way. “Playboy has helped me a lot. It has given me self-confidence,” admits our Miss December 1989. “Now I love meeting people.” Petra went on to become the most published woman in all of Playboy history—after she posed for the centerfold, she appeared in more than twenty pictorials, and swept a reader’s choice poll to become Special Editions Model of the Year 1997. The Indonesian-Dutch beauty has not only gained confidence thanks to her career with Playboy, but she also made a good deal of money, which she put towards a new set of wheels. “Something light,” quipped Petra with a silly smile.





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