Are old cars safe


I’ve got 1.6 million miles under me’belt officer, no accidents ever, not even a scratched fender. I’ve seen plenty on the road as you have but trust me, no car is fool proof, just because it’s new and has all this electronic junk it’s no safer than anything else when the driver is on the damm phone, texting, arguing with a daughter (mom hit me from behind at the stand-still stoplight), drunk or on drugs, lack of sleep and the rest of what causes most of this mayhem.

It ain’t the car… it’s the driver, the one that knows what’s coming up on all sides and what’s behind him, it’s a job, not a lark.

Best to you,



Yep Glen, you’re right, many ‘drivers’ are an accident waiting to happen, I’m 84, have 1.6 million miles under my belt and have seen it all, one time or other.

Driving is a JOB, you pay attention 100%, you know what’s coming up on both sides and what’s behind … at ALL times.



All cars are death traps, don’t kid yourself. It’s the driver not the car, I see all manner of new cars smashed, people killed on TV most every night, just because we take these cars for granted doesn’t mean you can relax and be stupid.

Stupid is as stupid does … you can’t fix STUPID.



What keeps yours and my classics in one piece is the driver pure and simple. So many really stupid drivers around, I see them all the time, I avoid them, I leave plenty of room in front, I watch the idiots behind, I stay away from them and I do NOT trust any of them.



The driver HAS to use his brain and not for the next text message or a look at something off to the side, or the numbers on his stupid phone. I carry no phone when I drive, they want me they can wait.

I do not text, don’t drink, don’t fool with smokes, no drugs no booze, this is how the strong survive and the weak die and it makes no different what car you’re in, YOU are the driver so pay attention and the rest will fall into place, you’ll be fine.



No I dont feel safe driving my 68’ Corvette. With minimal safety features the thought is always in the back of my mind that if I got in an accident there are no air bags, anti lock brakes, etc. to provide protection, just a pair of seat belts. Reading some posts on this topic some say its your driving ability that prevents a wreck or your awareness. Though these may prevent some accidents I have seen way to many accidents caused by the other guy rear ending at lights, blowing through intersections etc… An acquaintance was hit by a drunk driver head on, he didnt even see it coming. Yes its a concern.


Well said Warren. …Jim.


I have had a 1964 Morgan for forty-six years, a new Morgan 3 Wheeler for four, and had a 1928 Morgan Aero for nearly twenty. The only close calls I’ve had have been on interstate highways and have worked hard to stay off of them! As has been mentioned, safety is more problematic recently as people who should not be behind the wheel are legion. It seems that many have forgotten (Or were never taught) that driving needs one’s primary focus. There are times when I feel that the loss of driving expertise began when the first advertising of cars that protect one in a crash appeared (Though this is likely cynicism that has grown with age). I also use the same wisdom that was drilled into me when I first hopped on a motorbike in the mid-1960s (Thank you again, Ray Thomas!), “Ride (and drive) like you are invisible, the car at the STOP sign will pull out in front of you, the car making the left in front of you, will, and so on.” I must also admit that when I had the Aero (Comfortable cruising speed of about 45 mph, I spent nearly as much time looking in my rear view mirror as looking forward, being very aware that below speed limit driving can result in anger. If I had more than a couple of cars behind me for more than a mile or so, I’d find a safe place to pull over (After all, at 45 mph I wasn’t going anywhere in a hurry!). The bottom line for me is that I feel as safe in my collector cars as in a new car because my concentration is on the road ahead, behind, and to the sides.


I agree with my fellow ROADSTER owner. I drive a 1980 Toyota Pickup that my wife calls the Deathmobile and a Birkin (replica of 1960s Lotus Seven). Before the Birkin, I had a first gen Miata. In both, I have avoided accidents, due to nimble handling. I drive the Birkin almost like a motorcycle. Assume all other drivers are stupid and blind. Stay away from them, and when you do pass, do it briskly. I drive a Prius for a company car, and other newer family cars. I love the purity of the Birkin and with my tall roll bar and 3 point belts, feel cozy and safe, even if the side only comes just above my hip and my elbow is in the breeze. You are as safe as you drive. PS. I am a federally certified Safety professional and can still rationalize it.


I know my 1957 Pontiac Chieftain is not as safe as my 2012 Honda Pilot. However, at age 77, I have driven many cars over the years that were less safe than my current Pilot. This includes a '57 Pontiac Chieftain I had before enlisting in the US Army in 1961 and a different one when I got out in 1964. I have lots of miles under my belt and consider myself to be an observant driver. I was very observant on the Autobahn in Germany this past September, especially when I had the 2017 VW Sharan up to 118 mph for a short while. Yes, it is nice to have many of the safety features we have nowadays, but being an observant driver who pays attention to his/her driving is extremely important when it comes to vehicular safety. When I am in my Pontiac, I am very conscious of the brakes not being as good as modern brakes and drive accordingly.


My last three classic cars have been 1969 models. Two by happenstance, and the last one because of safety. I’ve had a '69 Chevy Impala, a '69 Lincoln with the suicide doors, and now a '69 Olds 98 Holiday Coupe that I went up to Illinois in July of '16 to buy at Country Classic Cars in Staunton, IL. It was in the same barn that just burned this summer, so I am glad I rescued my Maxine. Anyway, I had narrowed down my choice to two cars. a '68 Cadillac Sedan de Ville that needed a ton of work, and Maxine, who was a pampered car that looked brand new. The Cadillac was cheaper to buy by $3,000. What tipped the scales for me was that Maxine had headrests and 3 point seat belts. Granted both cars are tanks and I would feel sorry for anyone stupid enough to run into either one in a modern plasticrap car, but I am a spinal cord injury survivor, and not having a headrest or a 3 point seat belt in a rear end collision could mean the difference between life and death for me. At the very least a horrible case of whiplash or possible paralysis. As a kid, my mom got rear ended at 40 mph by a '74 Pontiac Grand Prix in our '65 Ford Galaxie at 40 mph. With just a lap belt in the front seat of that car, mom got a horrible case of whiplash and slammed her head into the steering wheel. She was very lucky she wasn’t hurt worse. The frame got bent badly in that wreck. I vividly remember the goose egg on her forehead and how sore she was and could barely turn her head for a very long time after that.

So after this long winded tale, yes I feel safe in my classic car because I bought one that is enormous and has the basic safety features. I grew up in the era where we played in the back of the station wagon and seat belts weren’t thought of that much. Our '56 Ford Customline, dubbed “The Sherman Tank” (preceding the '65 Galaxie and outlived it as it turned out) for its unrelenting strength of 18 gauge steel in more than one accident where it barely got a scratch and totaled the other cars involved only had seat belts up front. I always felt safe in that car. I don’t like airbags, and especially the Takata ones. One of my friends has a 2008 Ford Ranger under recall for those things and after waiting a year the company is now bankrupt. I hate riding in it because I have the fear of exploding shrapnel flying in my face, chest and piercing my jugular vein. I’d much rather deal with flying glass in Maxine. I always wear sunglasses when I drive so I hopefully won’t get any in my eyes should I have a wreck. The other reason I hate airbags is that one is still usually moving at the point of impact, and when those suckers explode, immediately you can’t see anything…like an 18 wheeler in the oncoming lane that your car just got rammed into by the idiot that just ran that red light and T boned you. No chance to regain control of the car or stomp on the gas to hit the ditch to avoid a secondary collision, or worse yet get squashed by something no one wants to tangle with.

As I have read many comments on here, I agree distracted driving causes the majority of accidents. Whether people are on their cell phone or trying to figure out which button on those dang touch screens to push to get the heat turned on. Good luck finding the fan speed button! I traded off my daily driver last summer that had a billion buttons on the dash because I had to take my eyes off the road too long to do anything to the temperature or the audio system. I got a simple Honda Fit instead with just a few buttons and old school knobs for everything. That is what I love most about Maxine. The old buttons and knobs that run the functions of the car can be operated by feel from their distinctive shapes without having to take your eyes off the road to do anything.

I’ll say one more thing then end this. I promise! ha ha! Self driving cars…if you don’t want the responsibility of driving, take a train, bus or cab where you are going. No way in hell do I want to hurtle down the highway in a motor vehicle I can’t control. I think they are the worst idea anyone has come up and will probably cause a lot more serious injuries and deaths than an idiot on his cell phone going 75 down the Interstate.


Let me start by saying that I am a certified trainer in advanced safe driving techniques and have trained more than 500 people to use the same.
It is an indisputable fact that somewhere between 35 and 50,000 people die in this country each year in motor vehicle accidents and that number has been very consistent since the 1930’s, in fact the number has risen for the last 6 years straight from 2011 to 2017.

We can debate the changes of safety features in cars during that period all we want, but it does not change the fact that the ultimate safety feature is the driver of any vehicle. I would argue that many of the safety features that are present in modern vehicles have made people LESS safe drivers. For example, we have cars that can parallel park themselves because people can’t be bothered to learn how to do it themselves.(driving skill lost) We have lane departure warnings to tell the distracted driver (on the phone or changing their kids DVD) when they are out of their lane, thereby emboldening them in their distracted driving. We have cars that will emergency brake for us now because drivers are too distracted to pay attention to whats going on ahead of them, not to mention the fact that they are all following each other so closely that they couldn’t possibly react in time if the car in front of them makes a panic stop.
And of course my favorite, infotainment systems that require total attention to such an extent that a recent study conducted at the University of Utah for AAA concludes that “When driving conditions and time on task were controlled for, the impairments associated with using a cell phone while driving can be as profound as those associated with driving while drunk.”

I’ve gone on for long enough, but to the question “are old cars safe”, they and NEW cars are only as safe as their drivers. I drive a '58 MGA and an '83 BMW as my “old” cars and an '03 Acura and '16 Mazda as my daily’s and only feel safe in any of them based on my own driving habits. Any wheeled vehicle that has the capability to fly along at speed has the capability to be a killer based entirely on who’s behind the wheel.
As for autonomous cars, I think they would be a great idea for anyone who is proven to be the cause of a serious accident in their own vehicles, in fact they should be forced to only be driven in autonomous cars and never have a drivers license again.
Enough said.


OH yea’… self driving cars … this must be the ultimate answer to all our problems. Biggest problem is this: The human mind is many times faster than the biggest and fastest computer made by man, you think I’m letting some tiny diodes drive MY CAR ??? You got to be stoned out of your mind, ain’t gonna’ happen with me.

In '85 my wife left for work, we’re on a farm. It had rained that early morning and was glare wet ice. She’s driving our ‘35 Ford V8, all restored and NICE, she saw a school bus coming toward the narrow steel bridge over a smaller river, applied brakes to try to slow down, she only going 25 mph. She went off the road just before this bridge, went end over end, then the car slammed down sideways in the bottom of this fairly steep ditch. The bus came thru’ the bridge, stopped to help, called an ambulance, she had a slight compression fracture in her back, on the way to town the ambulance went in the ditch, they called for another, it came. I went down there, had to crawl to the car since it was so slippery, shut the radio off. A guy came with a huge tractor, pulled the Ford upright and then out of the ditch, I started it up and drove it home, only damage was a broken hood ornament and a few minor dents along the edges of the top. The cops were there, said the car saved her life, it being strong enough to stand this. No seat belts in the car.

I fixed the car easily later, she come home from the hospital and was OK and still is.

So … maybe the old cars aren’t so unsafe after all, that car was sold much later, still going strong. A seat belt might have helped in this situation, it’s hard to say, we know they are a really good idea.



EXACTLY CORRECT, and said by somebody that knows this and is in the ‘business’. It is the driver, NOT the dang CAR !!

I’ve got 1.6 million miles under my belt, I’m 84 and have been driving since I was 9 actually, on the farm of course.

Never had an accident and don’t care to. My eyes are glued to my surrounding ALL the time, I watch what’s coming ahead and on both sides, I watch behind also, I trust nobody, I leave plenty of room always and have avoided being wrecked many times doing this. They want to pass me and crowd up, go ahead idiot, you’re just another accident waiting to happen.

Happy motoring !!! (old or new car, who cares)



I’m 84, 1.6 million miles, been driving since 9. You are right, any car is only as safe as it’s driver, modern does not mean you’re ‘safe’, this is a facade, just more of this taking things for granted that you shouldn’t. That Pontiac was one heck of a nice car, smooth, quiet and fast, rode like a million.



“DEATHMOBILE”… that’a a good one, I have to remember that one, your wife is a sharp cookie, hang onto her.

Yea, any car new or old in exactly that when the driver is not up to par, it’s that simple.



I don’t know it all, nobody does but … common sense goes a LONG way.



Yeah…I know you claim to never had an accident Warren. I think we all know know that’s your claim.
And no one here is blaming accidents on the cars…though there are catastrophic failures.
Your thread question was “are old cars safe?” Which objectively they are not. The thread wasn’t asking “ do I feel safe?” (That’s another thread) nor “Am I a good driver?”…which you claim to be and then proceed to boast about reckless antics you’ve done.


Truth is, I’ve driven old cars since 1943, there were no modern cars then, I never saw any problem, less accidents and death than now…

We in those cars were not on the phone, we weren’t texting while driving, drugs were all but unknown and we had a lot more common sense than we see now. I drove a souped up Model A thru’ HS and college, then my military service flying L-19’s in Germany at the height of the cold war, then home. Next came a like new ‘53 Ford convert’, got married in a '49 Studebaker, restored a '35 Ford in '73 and drove that to the top of Pike’s Peak and much more, we used that car full time for 6 years. In '98 I bought a '50 Ford, restored that, we drove that full time for 5 years. My personal vehicle now is a '68 Ford pickup, like new, it does have seat belts.

I’ve got 1.6 million miles under my belt thus far, am 84, have never so much as scratched a fender let alone an accident, did get a ticket out in ND once when speed limit was 55 everywhere (1970’s) but that’s about it.

Don’t ever get the idea that you are ‘safe’ in a modern car, ‘safe’ is all up to you, your habits and talents. I’m a professional driver, to me a car is a car, just a means to travel to different points, done in a sane manner and with craftiness. You do that and the car means little or nothing.

These ‘threads’ always get led off base, that’s human nature.



I am the owner of 5 classic cars, '60 and '64 Corvette’s and '66, '87 and '89 Porsche 911’s. I feel uncomfortable each time I take them out for drives, But that doesn’t stop me from driving them! My discomfort is tied to the fact that so many other drivers are totally distracted and generally drive like idiots. I attempt to take the back roads in the Texas Hill Country, that are mostly wide open, but each time I encounter a F-350 driving down the middle of the road I think it would be a quick end if a head-on crash happened…therefore I drive VERY defensively…and enjoy the ride.