An old friend came to our farm, he was driving a brand new Tesla electric, we went for a ride and the acceleration was terrific, it was quiet and smooth. He had come about 80 miles to visit, wanted to take me lunch in a town 15 miles away, I suggested we use my '36 Ford sedan for this, he and the friend he had along both liked the chance to ride in a nice restored Ford V8 again. On the way back I stepped it a bit, cruising at about 75, his friend looked nervous, no seat belts no electronics. Finally he said, “This is a death car”. I thought a second and then answered, “Every car is a death car pal, it all depends on driver talent to avoid it being a death car”:. Later when ready to leave he said, “I apologize for demeaning your fine '36 Ford, wasn’t thinking.”
@centuryfarm92 - I like the way you put the response to your friend. Any car is dangerous in the wrong hands.
I’m 84, started driving at ten years old, have never bumped a fender or had an accident. We take cars for granted, I told one guy that his driving was an accident waiting to happen, he said, “It’s not a problem, I have insurance”. I’m not sure if he’s killed himself or somebody else yet or not, in any case it’s a little ‘iffy’.
Also, I’ll never allow diodes to do my driving for me, too many of them fail, computers have left me stalled on the road twice and this doesn’t bode well, I don’t see much reason to depend on them to keep me safe.
Well, l’m comfortably into my sixties myself. But I don’t think folks should brag about never being in an accident. In my professional experience those that do probably caused more than their share.
I grew up in the age of points and carbs too and will take the reliability of modern EFI and ECUs any day when I HAVE to get somewhere.
I also have an antique car that my wife and I take out often. But I’m not fooling myself, or trying to fool anyone else, that it’s un-padded steel dash, lack of restraints, lack of energy absorbing construction, drum brakes, skinny biased tires, heavy weight, slow steering would be anything BUT a “death car” in a major collision. So to answer the question posed in the thread title…NO, old cars are NOT safe. At least not compared to modern cars. And especially when driven as described by Warren. His passenger was right to be concerned.
Personally I do what I can to midigate it…stay to open relatively low speed roads that allow others to easily pass and drive with more than an abundance of caution. But there’s undeniable risk in these old cars…even when driven responsibly.
Hi… I flew airplanes in the Army Air Forces in Germany, came home and bought my own. Meantime a friend wanted to make a dragster out of the Model A he had, so we did. We souped that 205 cid Ford 4 cyl’ with every piece of speed equipment there was, full cam, two carbs and much more, even the famous Cragar OHV head, running on alcohol and nitro, we took MN state trophy on the drag strip in '55 at over 126 mph in the quarter. Nothing now but was FAST back then.
My favorite travel car, our '54 Ford Crestline has been to Kentucky, WV, NY, Ct, PA, also west to Montana, Wyoming, ND, SD at full highway speeds, ALL original and 6V, I do use radials, P205-75-15.
Rides like million, smooth and quiet.
We’ve had our all original '36 Ford on some long trips also, handles nice at 65 and you can drive it anywhere. I was a year old when Bonnie & Clyde died in a '34, I restored one like it in 1980.
Back in my high school days I drove a Model A, supped to the gills, cops clocked me at 92 one night, they wanted to see how fast it would go, it pushed a lot of air with that boxy tudor body at that speed. Nobody ever beat me from a stoplight or a drag race, it was fast.
I grew up with cars they now call old, was with my folks to California in our '41 Ford, my wedding car in '56 was a '49 Studebaker Commander 6, we put over 150K on that one.
My personal pickup today is a '68 Ford F-100, it’s like brand new. No electronics, the way I like it, I can fix it, I hire nobody. Cars are what you want them to be, people die in new ones too so keep in mind that all the nuts are not on the steering wheel.
Keep it between the ditches … keep motoring,
We have an all original 55 Cadillac, a restored to mostly stock 66 Charger, and a 61 Cadillac. We are in the process of building a 64 Grand Prix. We also have a 79 Chevy pick up that we use as a daily driver. We also have a 2011 Cadillac. They all have at least lap belts
We love our classics. We drive them where and when we want. We feel that any car can be dangerous if not treated with respect. That means that you must be aware of what the vehicle can and cannot do. It means that the car must be maintained. It also means that one must drive keeping in mind that you are not the only person on the road.
Yes, newer cars have more safety features, but they are still dangerous.
Safety is truly in the hands of the driver! I do and we all get anxious driving our classics down the road. I’m not sure that equates with feeling any more or less safe than when we drive the kids to soccer? I would put the steel front end of a 57 Chevy up against a plastic Tesla any day. Safety feature are just that concentrate on driving conditions and watch out for all the texting drivers out there and enjoy the fresh air.
I love the classics, starting with my first car; 1930 Buick Special, then '34 Ford 2dr, Model A, MG-TC, and so forth, currently (purchased Labor Day 2017)topped off with a 1997 Lincoln Town Car, Cartier Limited Edition. I intend driving it the rest of my life. (I’m 85.) As far as safety issues are concerned I’m happy with ‘tonnage!’ BTW, it came with ALL the paperwork since new, including the original window sticker proclaiming: $ 48,940. in 1997. --and it’s “Bristol”. …twenty years old.
Hey ‘Century’, what airplane did you buy? --I was a Marine fighter pilot during the 50’s, then a lot of time in the civilian sector. (favorite airplane; 60’s Beech Debonair)
Mine is a '51 Chevy pickup. I feel safe driving it, subject to meeting texters and cell phone jabberers. I have modern two-chamber brakes, seat belts and turn signals, items not available options when it was new. All steering and suspension components are new. The glass has been replaced with newer product. It is slightly lowered and runs on radial tires and 7" wide wheels, significantly improving driveability and handling. The entire drivetrain is upgraded to newer items. One of the main things to me is driving it like what it is. I seldom go above 60 MPH, and prefer to travel older roads.
It can be no revelation that a fifty or sixty old car will probably suffer a loss in an accident. Can’t be as safe either, and it is interesting that earlier commentaries said passengers call them a “Death Trap”. Most of my cars are just that. The key is to stay out of harms way as much as possible. I don’t drive mine at night for instance.
That said, there is no satisfaction better than driving a 50s/60s sports car on back roads. …Jim Liberty
Driving a 67 Karmann Ghia with a very similar suspension set up to the Corvair has never given me pause to working about my rear end suddenly swapping places with the front. I live in A large metropolitan area. Outer belts and interstates are the means of travel. Distracted driving is leaving us all in danger regardless of weather we drive new or old cars. Increased congestion is starting to make me think twice. I never thought I would own a trailer but the thought has lately become more appealing.
Having owned, restored and driven over 18 antique automobiles over the years I can honestly say that the myriad of gadgets and distractions in modern vehicles are much more dangerous than even the worst ‘old’ car…Sure, the seat may buzz your butt when you wander in a new car, but that is what your EYES used to do… keep you in the lane. Drive attentively, drive at the speed limit and keep your hands on the wheel not the touch screen or your cell phone. You will be amazed at how safely you can drive a real automobile. Play your video games at home on the couch! I feel perfectly safe in my antique cars, just not on the same roads as these new capsules of ‘safety’ careening along with distracted drivers emboldened by technology.
Watch this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fPF4fBGNK0U
My parents owned a '59 Chevy–a convertible! No seat belts, no airbags, no ABS, no disc brakes, and, of course, NO ROOF! Even though we felt safe in it, it was a death trap! The only thing that made the car safe was the absence of 2009 Chevrolet Malibu’s on the road back in the 1960’s. Yes, I wish that car was still around today, but wear-and-tear and rust took their toll on it. It just wore out.
I own a '70 Chevelle, a '66 C-10 and a 1932 Plymouth Model PA. The truck and the Plymouth I just keep around town but the Chevelle is a go anywhere everyday driver. I personally feel safe in the cars, but my biggest worry is other people and their driving. Even with the disc brakes on the Chevelle I’m still worried about someone pulling out in front of me or changing lanes on me at 75mph on the Interstate. That’s just my 2 cents.
EXACTLY. Just saw a real wreck, a pair of newer modern cars, somebody made a big mistake, texting or who knows… people in the hospital with maybe lives changed forever, their ‘safe’ modern cars didn’t save them or protect them, those cars were death traps.
“Both hands on the wheel, both eyes on the road, that’s the skillful driver’s code” (Burma Shave, 1946)
And it’s just as mindful as it was then, people need to quit the phones, the texts and the crap, the driver IS the key to safety, I maintain plenty of room between me and the guy in front of me, following too close is a dead ringer for a real bad accident. I never take my eyes off, dart from side to side, watching what’s behind at the same time, I’ve avoided many many accidents by driving defensively and eyes on the road.
Drive your old cars, enjoy 'em at any speed, some of these guys are hung on political correctness melted into driving and cars, there is no place for PC in the driving world.
I’ve driven well over a million miles, NO accident every but I’ve seen plenty, the worst was a '49 Ford cut in two by a train in S. Carolina one night, horrible sight … they thought they could make it. One guy with legs cut off lived to be pushed into an ambulance …once the came, we did what we could for him. Everybody should see stuff like this, they’d leave the damm phones at HOME.
Well, just be careful, no phones no texts, eyes on the road and leave plenty of space behind that guy, he hits somebody you can stop or avoid.
The key to safety is YOU. Also me. A modern car is also a death trap, they all are, never think a car is going to save you or ‘prevent something’, it’s all up to you and how you drive and pay attention.
Flew the L-19 directing 105mm fire in Germany during the cold war, the Russians were ready but … just didn’t quite dare cross over.
Opps… forgot …
I bought a 1940 Cub, no brakes, 65 Lycoming, got my civilian license in that plane, had it 'till I got married later on.