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Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
2/11/22 11:12 a.m.
Tony Sestito said:

It's funny, what most of us consider "Classic" (myself included) and what many kids consider "Classic" might be starkly different. 

Let's take my 19 year old gearhead nephew. Last year, he set on a quest to buy a "Classic".  He wanted something he could buy, tinker on, and cruise in reliably and safely. I started sending him a menagerie of interesting old vehicles, some of which he looked at and passed on for various reasons. After months and months of this, he called me and told me he bought something. His "Classic":



A 1995 Mercedes 300D. I mean, I remember when W124's were new or slightly used. I started driving myself around in 1998, so these were basically new cars the rich people in town drove around. But guess what? This was built 27 years ago! The last of its breed, and the first with the OM606 diesel mill. It's older than him (he was born in 2002) and when driving it today, it really feels like something from a bygone era, but modern enough to be safe. And it's old enough that parts are relatively cheap and the buy-in was very affordable. 

And you know what? Yup, it's a "Classic".

I think the Germans call these "Youngtimers". And as for the "modern enough to be safe", refer to the Nissan vs Nissan video. It's amazing how far crash protection has come. We think of it as having plateaued, but it hasn't. Still a far cry from the safety levels of what we think a "classic" is.

I think your nephew chose pretty well :) It's the equivalent to me buying an early MGB for my first car, and that sure would have been a classic at the time.

stuart in mn
stuart in mn MegaDork
2/11/22 3:20 p.m.
flat4_5spd said:
DrBoost said:

The thing about the old Impala video is you can see rust from (probably) the frame just pouring down at the impact. No doubt that can isn't as age as todays, but a rusty frame is going to make a difference. 

I see what you're talking about. I guess there have been other comments, the IIHS says this: 

David Zuby, the senior vice president at the institute’s crash-test center in Virginia. He explained that when the institute went looking for a 1959 Bel Air to crash-test there was one thing the organization didn’t want and some things it did.

“We didn’t want to crash a museum piece,” Mr. Zuby said. “We were not looking for one that had been restored for museum or show quality.” But the vehicle had to have a solid structure, although a little surface rust would be acceptable.

They found what they wanted in Indiana. “The frame was sound and all the body panels were sound,” he said. It had a 3.9-liter 6-cylinder engine and was in driving condition.

The car was bought for about $8,500 and had about 74,000 miles on the odometer, which was broken. It was trucked to the test center in Virginia.

Mr. Zuby said the cloud that shows in the crash video wasn’t rust. “Most of that is road dirt that accumulates in nooks and crannies that you can’t get it,” he said.

It would be interesting to see a cut section of the frame to see what kind of shape it was in post crash, but I don't have a hard time believing that an X-frame car offers poor crash protection. 

Shortly after that video first came out, the guy who they bought the car from was interviewed.  He confirmed it was a very nice rust free car, and he was pretty pissed about what they did with it...he didn't know it was going to be used in a crash test.

thedoc
thedoc HalfDork
2/11/22 4:01 p.m.

In reply to Aaron_King :

You just made me think of my bug eyed sprite and midget days.  I look at those cars now and cannot believe I ever commuted in them.  I remember one trip in the winter where I drove while inside a sleeping bag.  Granted I was super young, but I think if I saw my kids in something like that, there would be free decent beater purchased, asap.  Maybe I'm a hypocrite, my son is dailying my 2004 f150 heritage while he waits for his 2002 subaru to be done.

flat4_5spd
flat4_5spd Reader
2/11/22 4:05 p.m.
stuart in mn said:
flat4_5spd said:
DrBoost said:

The thing about the old Impala video is you can see rust from (probably) the frame just pouring down at the impact. No doubt that can isn't as age as todays, but a rusty frame is going to make a difference. 

I see what you're talking about. I guess there have been other comments, the IIHS says this: 

David Zuby, the senior vice president at the institute’s crash-test center in Virginia. He explained that when the institute went looking for a 1959 Bel Air to crash-test there was one thing the organization didn’t want and some things it did.

“We didn’t want to crash a museum piece,” Mr. Zuby said. “We were not looking for one that had been restored for museum or show quality.” But the vehicle had to have a solid structure, although a little surface rust would be acceptable.

They found what they wanted in Indiana. “The frame was sound and all the body panels were sound,” he said. It had a 3.9-liter 6-cylinder engine and was in driving condition.

The car was bought for about $8,500 and had about 74,000 miles on the odometer, which was broken. It was trucked to the test center in Virginia.

Mr. Zuby said the cloud that shows in the crash video wasn’t rust. “Most of that is road dirt that accumulates in nooks and crannies that you can’t get it,” he said.

It would be interesting to see a cut section of the frame to see what kind of shape it was in post crash, but I don't have a hard time believing that an X-frame car offers poor crash protection. 

Shortly after that video first came out, the guy who they bought the car from was interviewed.  He confirmed it was a very nice rust free car, and he was pretty pissed about what they did with it...he didn't know it was going to be used in a crash test.

Reminds me of the guy who sold his Corvette to Mythbusters and then discovered that they were doing an experiment to see if the "Sports car rendered unsellable due to a foul stench" urban legend was real or not. He was really pissed.   IIRC, they ended up putting a pig carcass inside it, let it sit for months, tried to clean it and and with some difficulty they were able to be sell it as a parts car. 

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
2/11/22 5:31 p.m.

That's the thing about selling cars, they're not yours anymore. I've got at least three where I was basically approved for adoption by the seller because they didn't want the cars degraded. But still, once they're sold...

The Targa Miata was originally a 1994 R that had been carefully preserved by a previous owner. The fellow he sold it to turbocharged and tracked and autoxed it before stripping it to a wheel and selling it to me, whereas I proceeded to do terrible, terrible things. 

Noddaz
Noddaz UberDork
2/11/22 7:01 p.m.

My daughter's "classic" car is a 1998 B14 Sentra.

Which she found out the other day is NOT invisible to radar.  (Despite what I said...)

CrustyRedXpress
CrustyRedXpress HalfDork
2/11/22 7:27 p.m.

So where is the sweet spot for classic cars?

IOW, what innovations are pretty desirable to have, or what years represent a big step forward in safety?

 

Keith Tanner
Keith Tanner MegaDork
2/11/22 8:22 p.m.

I think that's a rolling number of about 20 years ago :)

ddavidv
ddavidv UltimaDork
2/12/22 7:27 a.m.

Some cars that have airbags are now 25-30 years old.  Are those airbags still dependable?  Do you really believe first generation, high speed deployment airbags are even a safety item? I had an elderly woman customer that was killed by an airbag in a low-speed collision because of the force of those old things.

I'd still rather put my kid in a Volvo 240 than a Scion XB having seen both after numerous crashes.

There is no one answer.

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
2/12/22 9:10 a.m.

Back in the early days of the Honda Civic  ( late 1970's ) I sold a new Civic to a college professor and his wife.  A few weeks later they were T-Boned by a semi and flew 150!yards into a potato field.  
 A couple of scrapes is all they got.  They ordered another one seeing the survive-ability  of their new Honda and gave me a lot of referrals.  
  I've seen old 50'svera sports cars survive horrible accidents and new cars with death.  
 

Noddaz
Noddaz UberDork
2/12/22 11:44 a.m.

A bit of irony here.

When I was a teenager my car was A 1972 standard VW Beetle.  My mother was upset.  The car is a death trap.  It is so small and too dangerous.  Fast forward a bunch of years.  My teenage daughter gets her drivers license at 19 and wants an air-cooled Beetle.  "No way "I say, "too small too slow too dangerous..."  Mom was right.

 

ddavidv
ddavidv UltimaDork
2/13/22 7:00 a.m.

@frenchyd, thanks for the reminder of this Civic I had a claim on quite a few years ago. (Can't get the photo to load, so here's a direct link) http://mongrelmotorsports.purpleflyingmonkey.com/pages/files/civic.jpg

The driver walked away with only a few scratches. Only useable part left on it was one tail light. So, is this a safe car because he made it out alive, or is it not because it has turned to mulch?

I'm not saying it's either. Just a question to ponder.

frenchyd
frenchyd UltimaDork
2/13/22 8:30 a.m.

In reply to ddavidv :

Obvious! the car gave protection to the occupant.  If it was a cast iron tank and the occupant died it would be worthless.  People are always more important than things. 

SKJSS (formerly Klayfish)
SKJSS (formerly Klayfish) PowerDork
2/13/22 9:38 a.m.
ddavidv said:

@frenchyd, thanks for the reminder of this Civic I had a claim on quite a few years ago. (Can't get the photo to load, so here's a direct link) http://mongrelmotorsports.purpleflyingmonkey.com/pages/files/civic.jpg

The driver walked away with only a few scratches. Only useable part left on it was one tail light. So, is this a safe car because he made it out alive, or is it not because it has turned to mulch?

I'm not saying it's either. Just a question to ponder.

So how often do you use that photo when you have a very low impact claim where attorney is claiming "significant" injuries?  LOL

ddavidv
ddavidv UltimaDork
2/14/22 7:22 a.m.

LOL, the bliss of my position is that as soon as someone says "attorney" I get to kick it to someone else. 

Racebrick
Racebrick New Reader
2/14/22 9:10 a.m.

I drive a Volvo 240 regularly, and often get people making comments about how safe they are, and I think they really believe it too. 

llysgennad
llysgennad Reader
2/18/22 4:04 p.m.

My 16 yo daughter wants this. I just passed on a $200 pile of rusty mangled dreams, but maybe the right one will cross our path.

ddavidv
ddavidv UltimaDork
2/19/22 7:07 a.m.

You can still buy her one. Then she can join us in the monthly build thread.

wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L)
wheelsmithy (Joe-with-an-L) PowerDork
2/19/22 9:31 a.m.

Conversationally off topic, but I've got a buddy who loves Volvo 240s. Got himself a nice last year wagon with the 5 speed. Later cajoled his wife into selling her 200x Sentra that was functionally perfect and get another 240 wagon because his research says the Volvo is safer. Compared to an early ought Sentra, that might be true, but I doubt it would fare well in a collision with say, a 5k lb. Tesla. I'd be interested to see data. Of course, I'd never pass that on to my buddy. It's nice to see old cars being lovingly kept on the road by non wrenching types. 

Our cars are within a couple of years of the millenia, and that's very unlikely to change. Whatcha gonna do?

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