Safety vs. Saaaaaaafety

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Driving a car that has loose lug nuts is always unsafe.

No one in their right mind would knowingly do it.

Driving a car that might not hold up as well as a tank in a crash – if you have one – is not “unsafe.”

You’ve simply accepted a heightened degree of potential risk – a greater chance of injury in the event you do crash – for the sake of a tangible (and certain) reward, such as better fuel economy or visibility.

Like a lot of people over 40, I grew up driving cars that would be libeled as “unsafe” by the government, if anyone tried to make them today. The ’74 Beetle I owned while I was in college and for several years after, for example. It would fail every “safety” standard new cars are obliged to meet. From the absence of any air bags to the car’s 1,600 pound curb weight – which was possible because when it was made, cars were not required to have roofs capable of supporting the weight of the car in the event it rolled onto its back.

If you rolled a car like the Beetle, it was possible the roof might crush.

But one could always see the world outside the passenger compartment – without relying on electronic eyes and proximity sensors – as all modern cars now have. Precisely because the ’74’s designers didn’t have to worry about the car being able to support its own weight when upside down, lying on its roof – a potential risk that actually manifests very rarely.

How many people do you know who have rolled a car onto its roof?

How often do you like to be able to see what’s coming at you?

Rather than focus on designing the ’74 Beetle to survive a possible crash – one made more likely by horrendous visibility problems caused by making it more “crashworthy” – VW designed the car to be less likely to actually crash. By designing it such that the driver had a good view of the world outside.

Particularly to either side – and behind.

The driver was thus less likely to accidentally pull out from a side street and into the path of a car he didn’t see coming – because his view to the right (or left) was not blocked by massive roof supports designed to support the weight of the car if it rolled onto its back.

My ’74 Beetle proved to be a very safe car.

I drove it for years without any harm coming my way. QED, as the expression has it.

That I might have been harmed if I had crashed is certainly true. It is equally true that I might crash the brand-new car I am test driving this week – because of the horrendous blind spots it has as a consequence of being able to support its own weight in the event it rolls onto its roof.

The real difference – ’74 vs. now – is that the cost-benefit (or risk-reward) calculation is no longer ours to make. Back in ’74 – when my old Beetle was new – one had the free to choice to buy it or buy something else. Something larger and heavier – and with air bags, even.

GM and Chrysler both offered them.

But in that better vanished time, no one was forced to buy them. People were still free to choose.

A crazy idea, obviously.

Today, the calculation is made for us – whether we like the result or not – by people we’ve never even met who have somehow obtained the power to decide for us what is “safe” and what is not “safe.”

According to their subjective standards – and with us assuming the actual risks as well as the costs – and being denied the actual rewards (such as lower cost, higher fuel economy, better visibility and a decreased likelihood of actually crashing) which we might otherwise have enjoyed.

We are encouraged not to think of them as just other people, of course. They are The Government – picture something in tights, with a cape – and we must defer to its superior wisdom.

Or else.

In fact, the government is just a warren of busybody bureaucrats – some with guns – who justify forcing us to pay their salaries by claiming they are  “keeping us safe” – which they very often fail to do, leaving aside for the moment whether this business is any of their rightful business at all.

In fact – whether consciously or not – the ululations about saaaaaaaaafety are more about the assertion of power. A pretext in the furtherance of some other object – rather than the object itself.

If this were not the case, that thing in tights and wearing a cape would – to cite a few concrete for-instances – swoop down and remove from the public roads every electric car with a lithium-ion battery, as these are at least twice as likely to catch fire than any tank of gas – and also likely to catch fire again.

He would stand athwart every single car equipped with a defective Takata air bag – and decree their immediate disabling.

There would be no question of allowing autopiloted cars that auto-pilot themselves into bridge abutments or gas trucks on public roads, where they put not only their owners’ safety in objective jeopardy but also the safety of anyone else in the vicinity.

But Superman remains placidly Clark Kent – even when he hears the cries of the imperiled – when to act would run counter to the real objective.

. . .

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  1. “roofs capable of supporting the weight of the car in the event it rolled onto its back” I rolled a 72 VW bug, at about 65mph – flipped about 7 times – spun around on the hood – two front seat passengers no problem. Drove it home. BUT had anyone been in the back seat – they would be dead 🙂

  2. Slightly off the subject of rolled autos. I live in Virginia where we are required to have a yearly inspection. I was surprised to learn we are one of only 13 states still requiring these. Our family has one male and two female drivers and we have to have three cars. The male (me) gets the tasks such as car inspections and maintenance trips.

    It took me about four hours waiting in lines for the recent Toyota inspection. A brake light was out and the tailgate latch broke so that required ordering the latch, replacing it, so the brake light could be accessed. Fixed it all then revisited the inspector but found myself seventh in line. I timed the first car’s inspection at 20 minutes and decided I couldn’t spare two and a half hours waiting in line. Came back the next morning 15 minutes before the station opened and I was first in line. It still took an hour. That’s one of three cars this year. I generally tend to turn signals and lights but can’t notice the brake lights unless someone is with me. Maybe the inspections are designed for careless idiots like me.

    New Jersey eliminated their annual inspection and studies showed no increase in accidents or injuries due to careless people who drive on bald tires and with failed brakes. I know the inspection stations would fight bitterly any political move to end these time wasting inspections. It seems to be a cushy business where customers have to wait in lines for hours to purchase one’s legally mandated service. I will call my local representative, not that such calls have ever helped me in the past. Any Virginians who are tired of these mandated inspections, please call the local state rep.

    • I’m required by law to inspect my truck before hitting the road…..every day. Since I always seem to leave in the dark I do a walk-around with the lights on. Then I use each turn signal and you can see the turn signals working via the light they send off and then the brakes which I always pull the trailer brake on enough so that I can see all brake lights working on the walk-around. Of course you’ll see the license plate light. That leaves brights and dims, easy to see and backup light, easy enough to see. I’m all set in about a minute on a big rig. I combine this with bumping tires, something I would never leave without doing. So that minute accomplished many things concurrently and I’m off…..slowly. It’s always wise to give everything time to gradually lube and then warm up. All this is even easier to do with my pickup. I don’t have to bump the tires.

      • I suppose your professional daily inspection makes sense and an amateur like me should follow a similar regime, even for passenger cars.

      • Yeah, I had to do that when driving school bus (40 years ago). Usually in the dark so it was a bit easier to check the lights without walking around several times. I would flip on the master and crack the door so the big red stop lights came on, and then walk back down the aisle and open the rear door to check the back ones, which also verified the emergency exit open door buzzer.

        Of course these days about all I do is make sure all four tires appear to have at least some air in them – ha!

  3. Just start watching car crash videos and note how many appear to be caused by lack of vision from within the vehicle. of course some of them are caused by sheer stupidity and selfishness. My 06 T&C has oversized pillars in case I roll it, like that’s gonna happen and at times a car will actually disappear behind them.

    ….more snow today.

  4. The small amount of glass also saves weight. Especially when considering the amount of glass necessary to hold up a car. I’ve noticed that windshields don’t last anywhere near as long as they used to because they’re so thin. And since most insurance agents get glass replacement added on to the policy for “only a few bucks” it encourages manufacturers to go ever thinner. And now ever more expensive too, with special logos and even heat tape in the glass. Even if you don’t get a chip or crack, all the dirt from backsplash will eventually sandblast it badly enough to need replacement.

    Imagine today’s windshields with the long hoods and trunks of the 1970s. And the courteous drivers who installed mud flaps. Probably be fine. But with cab forward, pushed out rear wheels and no way to even hang mud flaps, that gallon jug of windshield washer fluid goes pretty quick.

  5. I rolled my first car, a 1974 Subaru DL. I was driving too fast in slushy conditions, the Sube lost traction, and being only 19 at the time, I lacked the experience to correct for the slide. I hit the brakes and…well…it was all over. I remember the sensation of the slow-motion roll, glass shattering, and the sudden stop staring up at the sky. The car had landed with the front end propped up against a light pole. I called a tow truck to pull me down, sat with a state trooper as he filled out an accident report, then hopped in the Sube and drove the rest of the way to work. The relatively thin pillars were bent but not crushed, probably because the car only weighed about 1800 lbs (as I recall). Got the car fixed and drove it for another couple of years.

    Today I own a VW Jetta. Love the car…hate the car. Backing out of a parking space, or changing lanes, is an exercise in blind faith. The visibility just sucks. I much prefer my ’98 Tahoe with the awesome greenhouse view. Never been blindsided in that thing.

  6. Excellent commentary on the trade-off between safety and freedom, Eric, and also for pointing out whether it’s Big Brother’s job to force us to be “safe.”

    And let me whine a bit: We’re having the worst winter in 20 years here; living on a small gravel road off another gravel road in the middle of nowhere has left us stuck in the ditch several times and kept us fighting endless drifting snow everywhere. Yesterday, e.g., 30-40 mph winds while at or below zero continuously, ditto today. Even we natives of this area are slowly being ground down by temps averaging 20 or more degrees colder than normal (which are cold enough around here!) and constant shoveling.

    So to watch your snow-free driving showing Subaru’s swiveling headlights brought a tear to my eye. Count your blessings.

    • Thanks, Ross!

      We’ve been having almost constant rain for months; something on the order of 60 inches in the past 12. It makes me wan to start wearing flannel, grow my hair out and found a grunge rock band!

      • eric, we went for 9 months without any rain last year. Not many Texans I know couldn’t use a couple months of rain right now. I get it, it’s a drag doing a lot of things. It would really be a drag for me right now since we’re trying to rebuild and repair roads but then again, 3 graders are sitting while the roads get rougher every day and we can’t do anything until it rains. In 1983 we had 67″ I caught in a little over a month. It was heaven and has never been repeated. Living a mile and a half into a pasture with a low spot that became a swamp, I dealt with stuck vehicles nearly daily. Couldn’t even ride my bike….and that sucked.

        • I rolled my ’69 Toyota 3 door wagon when I hit a section of road with water running over it. The roof didn’t collapse. That car had excellent visibility from the driver’s seat, so I didn’t have the problem of failing to spot a car coming at me when I was at a stop sign.

          Nowadays, I have cars pulling out in front of me though I routinely drive with headlights on. The drivers probably don’t even see me coming from inside their culvert of safety which is what today’s new car cockpits have become.

          • Culvert of safety, damn, I gotta remember that. It’s exactly what I felt like a few years ago when I rented a car to go 400 miles to see and old friend.

            I had just exited a 379 Peterbilt I operated 6-700 miles every day. No cat in a room full of rocking chairs has ever been more paranoid than I was. Couldn’t see out the back. Couldn’t see out the sides….and the windshield was so small it was like….well….looking out of a culvert. I was a nervous wreck.

            • 8, I’m just waiting for the fuckers to put out a car with a section of 36″ concrete culvert for the humanoid’s compartment. You’d have to crawl in and out at one end or the other.

              Now that would be safe as all hell. ‘Course it would only get about 2 mpg because the engine would have to be a 1.6L 4cylinder……

              • A concrete culvert with airbags….perfect. Let Temple Grandin build one that would act as a squeeze chute so the autistic would feel safe. Glad that helps some people since squeezing me has just the opposite effect.

                Don’t get me wrong, a nice set of woman legs(I would have said “female legs” but these days that could mean anything) squeezing for all she’s worth ain’t bad at all but don’t think it would calm me so I could sleep like that. Maybe after it was over I’d sleep. Seems like I’ve been accused of that. Oh yes sweetie, I’ll snuggle with you…..snore snore snore….for a few hours…….damn, I’m hungry……

  7. > How many people do you know who have rolled a car onto its roof?

    I was a passenger in one. It was a bright-green Opel back in 1984 or 85. My roommate & I decided it was a good idea to drive to Cologne in the middle of a snowstorm, and the road had iced over and we slid across the oncoming lane out into a field and sloooowly rolled onto the roof.

    This taught me the value of both seatbelts and triceps exercises. Did you know that supporting your weight by one non-locked arm as you release the seatbelt with the other is nigh impossible? You will almost certainly fall on your head — onto the pile of loose objects that will end up on the headliner (including crusty old french-fries, M&Ms, & change that fell down between the seats long ago).

    Also collecting on the roof was a puddle of gasoline because Opel designed the gas tank vent to open into the trunk, so it started trickling into the cabin shortly after inverting the car.

    Fun times.

    • “(including crusty old french-fries, M&Ms, & change that fell down between the seats long ago).“

      Reminds me of when I got my Cessna. It was MINE so I didn’t have to contend with rental agreements. (And fuck Uncle’s rules!)

      I did my first solo roll knowing the carb wouldn’t work upside down and as soon as the engine quit all the stuff accumulated over twenty some years came raining down from the floor.

      It sort of freaked me out, but it was awesome.

      When I cleaned her out I found one of those M&Ms, a few coins (one was a real silver dime), a spare key, and a gold Cross pen.

      Then I asked Uncle for permission to install $800 shoulder straps. LOL

      After all, I was a good citizen.

      • Well, at least with a plane you had the option of staying in positive G’s. 😉

        Good thing you got all that debris out before it jammed a cable

        • Chiph,

          Let’s just say that it is much easier to do on the simulator.

          My altitude was +/- 650, heading +/- 35 degrees. No G meter but my holy shit meter told me to definitely get a shoulder strap.

          A few years later I got some actual aerobatic training in a glider (Blanik) but the expense of the safety rules (parachute) was too much bullshit.

          Government takes the fun out of everything.

          Back in the day I could take the old lady out to dinner in Ontario and avoid Customs in both countries by doing a couple of touch and gos. Today they send up a fighter plane to shoot your ass down or the fucking SWAT team is waiting for you on Grosse Ile.

  8. Back in the early 80s I had a ’64 chevy shortbed. Cool truck. It had a 283, turbo 400 (both from god knows what) baby moon wheels, and chrome side pipes. The thing was nearly 100% steel. Until this day I have a soft spot for those trucks.

    I was watching a 20/20 show then pointing out the danger should one of these trucks, with the gas tank behind the driver seat, roll. They ran that thing at like 40-50 miles an hour into a ramp on one side to get it to flip. And even then, it only landed on it’s side. They showed the miniscule dribble of gas this wreck was supposed to have made.

    I thought it the dumbest thing I’d ever seen. There was little in this world, other than maybe a forklift, that was going to make that thing flip over. Most newer cars on the road then would’ve crumpled had they hit one.

    Never mind that pickups had been made that way for what, 30 years? was there a rash of fires? I don’t recall any. Given the amount of steel in that truck, the wreck would have had to be epic.

    As I recall they doubled down after that claiming that later trucks would explode on impact to the side. tanks. They hit the thing repeatedly, and no boom. So they had to use explosives.

    BTW, I know a couple people that rolled bugs. Usually by playing in the snow. If I recall one of them was out on the snowy roads, hit an icy patch , the tires grabbed and it flipped. They spun it around on it’s roof, like a turtle, for fun. Then flipped it right side up and drove away.

    • Fake News isn’t new.

      50+ years driving or riding in trucks with in-cab or outside frame tanks, and never a problem (except 20 gallons doesn’t go too far sometimes).

    • “Cool truck. It had a 283, turbo 400 (both from god knows what)”

      TD, I just bought a ’92 GMC Sierra from a body shop guy. It has the old style LB4 4.3L V6 and, get this, a TH 400 from God knows what. The clutch pedal is still there, too. Talk about a bulletproof transmission, the 400 is just that. ‘Course by ’92 the amount of steel in it is less than my ’71 GMC had, but it’s still a steel body all the way. And, yeah, it would take a forklift to make it turn turtle, I’m pretty sure.

      • A business associate and friend climbed into my 82 Chevy 3/4T 4WD 454 TH 400 pickup one day as we went to look at a field. He asked how many miles it had. I didn’t have a clue, enough to require a rubber floor mat after the carpet was gone and a one ton rear full floater rear-end.
        After that it was fairly bullet-proof and it WAS once of the pickups 20/20 rigged to explode because of it’s side tanks. I beat hell out of that pickup and bent shit out of the tanks going over big rocks and trees in the pasture.

        It showed nearly none of this abuse body-wise. That friend drove Fords and was amazed that my truck had the “forever” engine and the “forever” transmission.

        My best friend and I used it many times to go fishing at Lake Fork. Two other friends went along in their 1/2 T Chevy and another couple friends went in a much newer Powerstroke. The roads were terrible pavement, rough as a cob.

        My old 4 shock front end Chevy dealt with it every day. They’d all given me hell for that old truck but the Powerstroke had a fuel/water separator crack and stopped half a mile from the nice house we’d rented right on the lake.

        The Chevy made it and as the friend cut it off, it made this ting, ting sound as the engine stopped. His water pump had just given up and nearly taken the radiator.

        No fishing for those four guys next morning since I had to drag the Powerstroke and fishing boat to the house. I left the keys and keys to the side boxes full of tools, enough tools to do an engine rebuild if necessary.

        Next morning finds me and my friend launching the old Ranger and then giving the rest the keys to my truck so they could go to the nearest town, buy the parts they needed and fix their trucks before they could launch a boat. My best buddy and I were catching fish and eating home made BBQ and other delights laughing about those New, great vehicles our friends had driven.

        What was really funny was their bringing it all up that evening while we never mentioned it. A few days later and we all leave. I get to I 30 and catch some truckers getting it hard. We averaged about 95 on the way home. The others without Passport radar detectors lagged back and got home late. Well, what ever floats your boat….so to speak.

        • Did it have the cast iron gear driven transfer case? Original?

          My understanding is that 1981++ all have the aluminum chain drive transfer case except for the one tons?

          I bought a 1980 K-10 350/4 speed(SM465) brand new and sold it within a couple years because I needed the money. I never dreamed that the NP205 was going away. Damn!

    • NBC ran a “hit piece” on GMC and Chevy pickups in the early 90s wherein they rigged the filmed “crash” with “squibs” (small explosive charges used in the film industry for explosive effects) to ensure the subject truck would actually “light up”. Naturally, GM was incensed, and rightly so, and upon examining this ‘wreck’, found that not only had the gas tank NOT ruptured, it was fitted with the wrong cap, and the squibs had been used to start the fire…which actually burned for all of FIFTEEN seconds! That’s right, this awful conflagration went out BY ITSELF.

      And BTW, just because one’s in a tank doesn’t mean that fire isn’t a risk, as any old-time tanker that served in a Sherman, aka the “Ronson”, knew full well. Even the mighty “Konigstiger” (King Tiger) had a weakness in that if the rear of the turret, where 16 88mm rounds were stored, were penetrated (and the American 76mm, the British 17 pounder, and the Soviet D5T 85mm guns would, using HVAP or the first “sabot” rounds, could penetrate the side and rear turret armor at average combat ranges), the shells stored there would likely cook off and the tank commander, gunner, and loader were certainly goners. The Germans took out the turret shells and stored crew provisions (like their food and/or sleeping bags) in their place; they could only find room for 8 of the displaced shells in the hull but this was considered acceptable. The Americans dealt with the problem of combustibility of their M4 Shermans in a novel approach: “Wet” stowage. That is, the rounds for the 75mm or 76mm gun (the latter being for the M4A3E8, or “Easy Eight” version, a “Panzerjager” in its own right) were in sheet metal tubes surround by WATER (with glycerine mixed in as a cheap antifreeze). In the movie “Fury”, the young, brash “Loo-tennant”, after ditching his blazing tank but still being burned alive, shoots himself in the head rather than continue suffering. Certainly the Panzerschrek round, fired by that German kid at point-blank, would easily take out the Sherman, but the wet stowage should have stopped it. Wouldn’t make a gut-wrenching scene, though. The M1 Abrams has MOST of its 120mm rounds in the turret bustle; but also has a sliding fireproof door and “Blow-Out” panels, so if the turret bustle is penetrated and the rounds ignite, they will blow out and away; leaving the crew alive and the rest of the tank intact. There have been several cases of where an Abrams took such a hit, burned, at least in the turret bustle, and either the crew ditched and later DROVE it off; or even waited it out!

  9. Eric,,, Thanks for the information. I was really wondering just why the newer cars have such small windows. Thought it was just a trend.

    The problem with all government and/or government contract workers is they have nothing really worthwhile to do so they dream up these regulations (fatwa’s) in an attempt to justify their unnecessary jobs. These fatwa’s jump up the cost of the product which is governments plan A to get the price of a ICE high enough to allow the EV to compete. Notice the EV’s are not required to comply. If plan A fails then plan B will be implemented,,, they will simply do the light bulb thing and outlaw most ICE passenger vehicles. Most Americans being well indoctrinated by government skools and controlled media,,, especially the younger crowd,,, will sadly comply To them, liberty is whatever the government allows.

    • “they will simply do the light bulb thing”

      Notice the poison light bulbs were replaced rather quickly with non mandated LEDs.

      Just sayin’.

    • Nissan did something similar when they brought out their 240SX. It was a sporty car, a 2+2 hatchback. To placate the insurance nazis, they limited it to 110 mph.

  10. “How many people do you know who have rolled a car onto its roof?”

    At least two personally, just off the top of my head.

    VW Beetle actually holds up pretty well to being rolled off a cliff, though a bit worse for wear and she survived with a few bruises despite no seat belt. VW Bugs are sort of like an eggshell, thin but strong for the weight. The glass popped out away from the car and so was no hazard to the occupants. After HP left, we rolled it back onto its wheels, changed out a flat tire, added some oil, and I crawled in through the window and started it and drove it home. Everything worked fine but it was a bit breezy. I took off the doors and remaining glass and we used it for a “dune buggy” on USFS roads the rest of the summer. It was just a bit squished sideways and got a lot of strange looks.

    Another young gal rolled a ~1980 borrowed Oldsmobile upside down into the river and very fortunately got out okay. Again, our friends who owned the car patched it up and drove it around for a while until they got something else. They were proud to own a “Rolls” – LOL

    So I don’t go along with old cars being so unsafe in a crash/rollover. In fact, it seems to be like the newer cars are more likely to roll over even in a relatively minor crash – maybe because of all that weight in the roof? Older cars didn’t seem to roll that often, except when a couple wheels are running on nothing but fresh air!

    • Indeed. A friend rolled his VW bus, it rolled over completely, back onto it’s wheels! And it was still running. He planted himself back in the driver’s seat, gathered his wits, and drove off. Lots of small buckles in the sheet metal but only two windows popped out.

      I also had a VW bus and people asked me why I wasn’t concerned about collisions. I said that a full awareness of the risks made me a better driver, and I never did get into an accident with it. It was nimble, and as Eric said, external visibility was excellent.

      • Hi Tom,

        I had a Thing once… my idiot friends thought it would be funny to turn it upside down. We rolled it back right-side up and it was fine.

        Of course, it had a roll bar!

        • Ahhh, that reminds me of the cover of an auto magazine, it might have been Car and Driver that featured two guys in a Thing wearing old German WWII uniforms, one was an officer.
          Oh, the stink it raised….”anti Semitic!

          • Hi John,

            I can’t abide the pretended umbrage; it’s all part of the virtue signaling fatuity of Our Times.

            It really makes me want to obtain an actual Kubelwagen – and dress it in the colors of the Afrika Korps.

            Or – to really upset the peanut gallery – paint it late ’44 European theater cammo with the key symbol of the Leibstandarte on the fender…

            • Even a Beetle, especially if you got an old split rear window job, would do the trick, as many served as staff cars. If you do that route, get one in Luftwaffe livery, with Stalag 13 as its unit designation.

          • The “Thing” was simply the Kubelwagen, which Porsche had designed not only for the army but also the German state railroads (Rollbahn) and their forestry service as service vehicles well before WWII broke out.

            Unless the “re-enacters” were giving stiff-armed Nazi salutes, I fail to see how this piece of history would be “anti-Semitic”

            • There are people out there who have no idea.
              There is a real truth about Semites and Semitism.
              I have brought this up at other websites and nearly got roasted.
              It’s all a game played by a certain group used as a weapon.

  11. Did not know the current regs require a car to support it’s own weight. Now all the designs make ‘sense’, not.

    Oh hey, screaming clover sighting yesterday, two lane secondary road opens up to an uphill passing lane. First car, slow goes into right hand lane, as suppose to do. Wow. Second car, the clover, stayed in the left passing lane, in a subbie impressa. No interest in moving over. Once a safe gap between cars 1 and 2 opened up, i went into right lane to pass. No problem beacuse i traded our 238 ft pds of torque tdi passat back to vw some time ago, and now have 406 ft pds of torque in a Treg3. As i pulled along side the clover, they had both hands ‘safely’ positioned at 10 oclock and 2 oclock on the wheel exuding smugness. The wink of my high beams nor the toot of my horn was enough for this bernie sanders bootlicker to get out of the way. Sigh.

  12. I’ve seen about a dozen Beetles that have been rolled, none had the roof crushed in. In fact, because of their light weight, they usually rolled off the roof on to one side, most with the all the glass still in the window frames, and most were repairable. They were a lot tougher than one might think. Today’s cars crush vital engine, steering, and suspension parts even if they bump into another car at 10-15 mph, folding major frame structures and rendering the car nearly totaled. If airbags deploy, you might as well kiss it goodbye.

      • There are several examples on Youtube of vintage footage of amateurs rolling their Beetles at the Nurnburgring. Full half of them roll and land upright on all 4 wheels, with the occupants all scrambling out very much alive. Hell, the heater in the VW Thing was an open-flame burner that ran off of the gas tank fumes, never heard of the first fire in one of those, ever.

        • Hi Graves!

          The main fire-prone issue with old VWs was a gas fire through the backfiring Solex carb… if you ran with a “high performance” open element air cleaner rather than the factory air cleaner. I had this happen once – and putting it out was easy… if you had some dirt and a makeshift shovel at hand. Which I did!

          The harness was roasted, but so simple to replace I had the car running again the next day – for next to nothing!

          • If you ever restore a Bug or a Kubelwagen to PRE-1945 livery, be sure to write, in Gothic script, no less, the phrase, “Arbeit Macht Frei!”

            • Here in the U.S. you might get arrested. In Canada you will definitely get arrested. In Germany you will be sent to prison.
              Ernst Zundel was kidnapped from the U.S. and sent to Germany for the crime of Holocaust denial. He spent several years in prison.
              Don’t expect any form of real justice or freedom anymore.

          • they have competitions where they remove the engine of a VW in about 90 seconds. There is a kubelwagen in the camp maybry military museum in Austin.

          • Eric,
            One of the main reasons for VW fires is that the brass tube for the fuel hose that is pressed into the carb and/or fuel pump becomes loose in the castings then pops out shooting fuel all over the distributor. Always use the later model fuel pumps which don’t have the tube that can pop out (unless you have a show car and wish to keep it original) Check your apprentices car for the better fuel pump, I can’t remember what you had on there.

      • More like an eggshell with four wheels, but yes, the Beetle was tougher than it looked. It’s also fairly easy, since the beastie actually isn’t the soda-pop can gauge sheetmetal like modern cars, but some honest-to-“Gott” “stau” (steel), to remove panels to replace or even just hammer them back into shape! The VW was truly a “People’s Car”…IDK about it’s original designation, “KdF”-wagen (literally, Strength through Joy ‘car’), but supposedly only Hitler ever called it that; Germans commonly referred to it as “das Kafer” (The Beetle). Cheap, reliable, very easy to fix, and a teenaged boy could learn basic mechanic skills by keeping one running…which Hitler and the rest of the Nazis, before they went on their 1939-1945 “World Tour”, stated as one of the reasons for the project! Maybe the guy with the funny toothbrush mustache KNEW something about boys and the need for vocational education?

    • For some reason I have a hankerin’ for a VW beetle. Don’t know why but maybe it’s because I’ve been watching Darren Mustie/Mustie1 website as he tears into VW engines and gets them running again.
      I love that karman Ghia re brought back to life.
      If you have never been to his website, check it out. He has a lot of subs and I learned a lot about small engines just watching his Youtube channel.
      In 1977 just after I finished school for my Associate degree in electronics, I bought a VW Dasher. I considered the Rabbit but…..I had guitars, amplifiers and such to haul around to gigs so I needed the extra room. It did have great visibility compared to today’s Uncle regulated demands. It wasn’t the greatest car in the world but pretty reliable.
      when wifey decided her feminist/ hormonal uptake was getting the best of her, she left and took it with her. It lasted a couple months before she wrecked it.
      Today I drive an older (2006 T&C) which is beginning to rot away from all the road salt they use up here on Michigan roads in the winter. being a an old Vanner from way back, my first was a 1967 Chevy window van with 283 and posi trac.

      • Hi John,

        I’ve also been having VW Thoughts. I’ve owned two Beetles already and loved them both. I dig how real they are. And how accessible. They are drafty and underpowered but very fun to drive and so easy to fix, even a caveman could do it (note that those commercials have disappeared to appease the SJWs).

        My wife also left, but left the truck – which I am happy about. She bought a near-new car and has payments to make on the thing – and is having problems with the thing (recall notice over defective CVT controller). She had a husband who could handle such things for her; not anymore.

        • Ahh…but are YOU, in effect, making those payments FOR her, at least by dint of paying ALIMONY? Shoot, for what I have to shell out to my ex, she could finance a BENTLEY…IF she hadn’t already crapped her credit!

    • Hi Tuanorea!

      Yup – and the Olds actually survived the wreck pretty much intact; if it had been a crash on land, Teddy would not have gone to Hell with a murder collar hanging around his turkey-wattled neck!

      • The local doctor who examined Mary-Jo’s bod at the scene suspected she did not drown either, but asphyxiated over the course of several hours trying to breathe in a small air pocket in the rear seat area. But she definitely survived the plunge into the pond. The diver that retrieved her body said he could have had her out within 25 minutes of the wreck, and she would have survived. TK just left the scene and hid himself for the next 12 or more hours trying to decide how to save his “ca-REAR”. Not the first piece of “safety” equipment can save us from homicidal recklessness and irresponsibility.

    • Wasn’t there a commercial where astronauts were driving a Beetle on the moon or some planet?
      And I recall watching Woody Allen’s “Sleeper” where he dug up a beetle and drove it away.


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