When it comes to the sixties, people usually refer to Volvo and Mercedes-Benz as the pioneers of car safety. But BMW wasn’t far behind.

You have to understand that while Béla Barényi could use all the resources of the vast empire known as Mercedes-Benz, BMW was a tiny player back in 1960, putting all its money made on the rear-engined post-Isetta cars into what became known as the New Class, the start of what grew into the 3 Series.

BMW took the 1800's safety features seriously. The car’s suspension system had to deal with the continuous punishment of dirt roads and potholes, the doors had to open after multiple rollovers and a tire blow at high speeds wasn’t supposed to stop a New Class either.

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It was all sehr gut, apart from the fact that based on what happened to their dummies, humans most certainly died later on anyway.

Old cars are very fragile, and I drive a 1,500 pound Autobianchi. If only I had a 2002!


Contact the author at mate@jalopnik.com.