What if you crash your classic?

Photograph Courtesy Volvo

My brakes weren’t going to stop me from hitting the other vehicle. That much was clear. Still, I kept my foot smashed on the brake pedal as my Honda Fit skidded along and barreled into the SUV. I’m not sure why the other driver decided to make a sudden right turn from the left lane–maybe I was in his blind spot–but that move left the front driver-side area of my hatchback crushed.

Luckily, no one was hurt in the accident. Sheet metal crumpled around me, leaving me secure in the driver’s seat. Despite my car having $6000 in damage, I didn’t even have a bruise from my seat belt.

[Is your favorite classic car properly insured?]

But I wonder how well an older car would have done in the crash. My 2016 Honda Fit has all manner of five-star crash safety ratings. I can’t help but think a classic car would have left me much worse off–maybe even injured.

I spend much of my day working on Classic Motorsports–both the words, the look and the feel–and that’s one of the drawbacks of classic car ownership I often ponder. How well can a classic stand up to an impact with one of the many relatively giant machines roaming the roads? Is driving one worth the risk? Do you tell yourself you’ll only take out your classic in the daytime, when it’s easier to spot? What do you think?

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Comments
JeffLemon
JeffLemon New Reader
12/27/23 11:48 a.m.

I've been driving LBCs since 1974. I do feel less secure now than I did then, partly due to not being 18 and invincible anymore, but also due to the size, particularily height of todays vehicles and the total lack of interest of many drivers in actually driving instead of texting, watching a video or loooking for the closest Starbucks. Back in the day, I got a set of airhorns for my MG and that helped a lot when folks didn't see me. I'm not sure they would cut through the sound insulation and sound system of a modern SUV. A roll bar, high mounted brake light, and brighter LED bulbs help a bit also. My primary convertble is an old Boxster, but I also drive a TR3 and a Tiger on a regular basis. I have no intention of parking my cars, but I do drive more defensively than I used to.

elvacarsdallas
elvacarsdallas New Reader
12/27/23 1:14 p.m.

In reply to JeffLemon :

I agree, but will not stop driving my Elva. Yes it has airhorns,but I am not much of a horn blower. Not much night driving.

Dwight
Dwight New Reader
12/28/23 8:18 a.m.

I crashed my '77 MGB at a hillclimb in 2011...

Not hurt, execept for a sore neck and abrasion on my left hand.

I tried to repair the car, to no avail... [sad]

Built another one, using a '79 LE...

Crashed my '04 Toyota Matrix XRS in September 2020. Lady pulled out in front of me, never had a chance to hit the brakes...

Destoyed a car I really liked.. Air bag did a number on me.. Took weeks to recover.. The 5 point belts in the 'B' did a better job than the air bag... 

Still, safer on a hill or track than the road, where people just aren't  apying attention...

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/31/23 7:56 p.m.

Since I bought my Miata 25 years ago, everything else seems to have gotten bigger....

mapleglen
mapleglen New Reader
4/13/24 2:14 p.m.

Back in 1966 a truck pulled in front of my 544 Volvo. We bounced of the front bumper, and pulled the truck bumper around  90 degrees but the volvo only had a slight tear on the front fender. Built like a tank. Now I drive two Morgans, one at a time. From what I have seen , they do a good job of absorbing the impact. Hope I never find out. I even remover thye ugly air bagged steering wheel  on the +8 and replaced it with a Moto Lita.  The factory wheel was from an XJ 8 and was a two thousand dollar [pound] option. The +4 is RHD. Love to have my wife carry another steering wheel and wave it at passing cars.

mapleglen
mapleglen New Reader
4/13/24 2:15 p.m.

Back in 1966 a truck pulled in front of my 544 Volvo. We bounced of the front bumper, and pulled the truck bumper around  90 degrees but the volvo only had a slight tear on the front fender. Built like a tank. Now I drive two Morgans, one at a time. From what I have seen , they do a good job of absorbing the impact. Hope I never find out. I even remover thye ugly air bagged steering wheel  on the +8 and replaced it with a Moto Lita.  The factory wheel was from an XJ 8 and was a two thousand dollar [pound] option. The +4 is RHD. Love to have my wife carry another steering wheel and wave it at passing cars.

gsarahs
gsarahs New Reader
4/13/24 6:03 p.m.

In the early 2000s, my former spouse was hit in our Volvo T50 wagon resulting in it being totalled. The only injury was a bruise caused by the seat belt. We immediately purchased another Volvo. Plus in early 2009 I purchased my 2008 Volvo C70 hardtop convertible, evidently the safest convertible at that time, that has proved to be the best daily driver ever owned. I also have an 1800ES that probably would do well due to being a Volvo.

I wouldn't want to get hit while driving my Austin-Healey 3000 or Jag E-Type Coupe, so try to be my best as far as defensive driving. You have to expect that some idiot is going to do something stupid, and unfortunately, that happens too often.

 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
4/17/24 12:35 p.m.

In reply to gsarahs :

As a friend once said, drive as if everyone else is trying to kill you. Okay, maybe a little extreme, but be aware and ready. As we learned in motorcycle school, always have an out. 

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