Do you feel safe in your classic car?


I don’t feel safe in either my 71 Skylark, or my 2013 4 runner. FAR TOO many people TEXTING while they are going down the 101 at 80MPH. Where are the cops when you NEED them?
This should be remedied by having phones SHUT OFF when they start moving more then THREE MPH (walking).


Depends on the time of day… I have a '64 Corvair Spyder convertible. Driven to work in rush hour traffic, no, I do not feel at ease. It has lab belts but was a relatively small car and you are positioned close to the wheel.
Weekends are OK on less crowded roads but I am still a little nervous. Thinking of moving on to something else.
Had a '72 Mercedes 280 SEL previously, never felt in danger in that car even in traffic. Built like a tank.


I have never seen such sissy answers to a question. I have never felt unsafe in my classic cars, the only time there is ever an issue is when rubber neckers get to close and take pictures while I’m driving. I’ll be bipping down the freeway and people pull along side and cause issues, driving and taking cell phone video’s and pic’s. If you stay aware and keep braking distance safe it’s not an issue. I never worry about air bags and crap, who cares, we own old cars to drive them not stare at them. If it worries you so much, buy a Prius.


I do feel safe in my 69 cougar convertible because I feel i’m more cautious with my driving than I am with my Nissan Altima. I live in North Jersey and it is very congested my son just got his license and he drives a 1974 VW beetle convertible to high school. He is definitely a better and more cautious driver because of that, he has no choice but to use both hands and stays off the phone while driving.


My other ride is a 1974-Pattern surplus M151A2 “Jeep” by AM General Corporation. It has a shoulder belt and a roll cage. No other safety features. I find myself doing shoulder checks and making eyeball contact with other drivers, just like I was on a motorcycle. It took some getting used to being so exposed, but like skydiving there is no substitute for fast moving air! The only concession for the passenger is a side safety strap that clips to an eyebolt on the dash - to keep from falling out!

My other vintage ride is a 1969 Cadillac Gage 7-ton 4x4 armoured car that I demonstrate for a private military vehicle collection. Although I haven’t had any incidents, the other volunteer drivers all have their stories to tell about civilian drivers putting everyone in danger. Like the jackaxe who almost steered into the side of a moving Scorpion light tank because he was taking videos. Or, car that simply ignore small but heavy vehicles which have blind spots and the frantic hand signals from the spotters and crew commander.

My comment at our crew coordination meetings is always this. Nothing is more important than another persons’ life. If I/we have done everything we can to prevent an accident, sometimes that’s call we can do. Secondly, I always stress, no one is bigger than the show. We have temporary custody of these artifacts, and it is our duty to keep them for the next owner(s).


It all depends what you mean by safe. My 1971 Porsche 911T has great brakes for the day and agile steering and handling. But it does weigh only 2200 lbs. and does not have crumple zones, so if someone careless has me I may well be toast. Door or side impact protection leaves much to desire.
But when I think about it, there are plenty of fatal accidents that involve very "safe’ cars. If your time has come, no car will guarantee your survival or an absence of serious injury.

I also have a 1982 Mercedes 380 SL and feel quite safe in it. It has crumple zones, and several other safety features, excellent designs from that time. With a mass of almost 4000 lbs. I feel I have a fighting chance in an accident, unless someone’s going the wrong way on an interstate or going more than 60 mph.

But again, if your number is up, there is no getting away from it.



hI have not felt safe driving anything in the last 15 years. Driver’s licences should be way harder to get. As I have heard many times before, there are far too many loose nuts behind the steering wheel and no amount of technology can fix stupid.


My first new car was a 1964 Corvair. I loved that car and felt it was reasonably safe as long as I understood the handling and acted as though I was invisible in traffic. I still follow that course of action. I recently sold my 1973 MGB of fourteen years, and my wife wouldn’t ride in it because she felt unsafe, but I accepted the risks because of my cautious driving in traffic.Any car is vulnerable if the accident speeds are great enough. I worked as an attorney for a major manufacturer in safety regulation, so I believe I do understand the risks. I currently own a 1997 NSX and a 1993 Alfa Spider Veloce, and as long I stay out of blind spots and drive with the thought of invisibility, I believe I am minimizing my risk.
I have also ridden motorcycles without major incident, by following the invisibility rule.


I think part of the feeling is generational. If you grew up driving vehicles that are now “classic” they are probably not as unsafe feeling. I know when I get into an older car that still has drum brakes and bias ply tires I wonder how anyone survived their youth. They are definitely not as capable as more modern cars but driven appropriately not really less safe.


I have 1973 Sonnett Iii, two motorcycles, a plane, a '84 convertible and a Cooper Clubman. The most critical aspect of driving/piloting is continously being aware of your surroundings. The toughest thing to avoid, and this has only occurred to me on two lane semi country roads is the rocks that get kicked up by trucks! Not that the future does not hold a cell phone incident but I certsinky will do all I can to avoid it!


With 3 Corvairs in my stable, I may not feel as safe in them as I do my Daily Driver (2016 Hyundai Sonata Sport Sedan) But the smile on my face makes up for it! :grinning:


We have an 82 MB 500 SL (delivered in Europe). It has three point safety belts and is very heavy (~3500lbs). My daily ride is a 2015 F-150. In both vehicles I fear the distracted driver. While the F-150 has airbags, I don’t want to see them. The anti lock brakes on the F-150 make me feel better in the NH winter, but the MB isn’t coming out during that time anyway. Where we live people don’t challenge the classic, but the F-150 is another and people will drive crazy just to be one spot ahead on the highway or around town. So I fell safe in my classic, and I wish everyone would just chill out a little.


This is what I drive in Baja and sometime I wish I could use it here on the highway:)
I am selling my 2cv Citroen because of all the very good point made by all. Distracted drivers scare the living light out of me. As I am getting older I will sell or donate my eclectic collection for safety reason.


I drive classics that are 4200 & 5400# with power drum brakes. Other cars are from the 70’s & 80’s, but all have seatbelts. My biggest problem had been chuckle heads making left turns at an intersection with their “smart” phones to their left ear blocking their view of me. One soccer mom was almost sent into orbit by my 66 Imp Vert, she gave me the ‘look’ when I narrowly averted her. I have other classics with disc/drums. The drum brake cars require I different mindset and require a roll then brake mindset.

I drive all my cars like I am on my Harley always on the lookout. I feel safe in my cars because I know they are maintained for daily or occasional use and I drive defensively and always keep my head on a swivel.

If I didn’t live in PA I would rotate a classic every day 365 and smoke the whole time.


Smile the whole time :wink:


We have a 1981 Mercedes 240D, 1975 Mercedes 450SL and a 1965 Rolls-Royce Phantom V. I feel very safe in the two MB’s, but I do think about the not so nice outcome if I were in a wreck with the Rolls. With no seatbelts and a hard enough impact, it would probably not end well. That said however, I feel very safe and don’t think twice about hoping in any of our classics and going for a drive.


I feel perfectly safe in my classic…

Of course it’s a 1971 Volvo 164. These cars are absolute tanks! They used to stack 7 of them one on top of the other for advertising, and the doors on the bottom car could be opened normally.

The 140 / 160 series cars came with fantastic 4-wheeel disc brakes. The 164s came with a 4-inch longer front clip with a unique front end, and an inline-6 rather than the 4-cyl in every other Volvo. Steering is slow but precise, and the 4-speed gearbox is heavy, but it’s an amazingly competent car. There are hardly any of these left in the US.

I am VERY concerned about distracted drivers texting…


I live in a rather rural area so I do feel safe. However, lap belts do not give me a feeling of security. I put shoulder belts in my 1968 GMC and that feels better to drive. As for my 1966 Corvette, there is no way to readily put in shoulder belts so I settle for the lap belt. And the standard disc brakes really feel like they take a lot of foot pressure to get the car slowed down in a hurry. So I leave plenty of room and not problem. But the feeling of driving a roadster with a big block on a beautiful fall day in the country…priceless!!!


Is that photo in Perry MI? I saw your car or a very similar one there.


I have two classic cars that I feel safe in. The first is my 1968 Plymouth Fury VIP. It has power drum brakes. Eventually, I’d like to convert to front disc brakes, but the original setup has 11 inch drums and have always stopped quite well for drum brakes. The VIP is the third 67-68 Fury we’ve had in the family so I grew up with these cars and the VIP has been in the family for at least 40 years. The second car is my 1979 Dodge St. Regis. It has power front disc brakes with 11 inch rotors. This car has been in the family for 32 years which I’ve owned and driven since 1995. I’ve never not felt safe because of the cars and I’m not afraid to drive them. I can’t do anything about idiots rolling along in their iPods on wheels but I leave the cellphone turned off and pay attention to my surroundings.