Here's A Fun Activity: Look Up Crash Test Videos For Your Old Car

Old cars are the best! They’re so mechanical and analog and involved and wonderful... until you hit something, and then you start to see the value of things like airbags, stability control and automatic braking systems.


Because I hate myself and I enjoy self-punishment, out of curiosity I went looking for crash test videos for the E30 I picked up on Craigslist not too long ago. Here’s one featuring a 318i from 1985, same model year as mine:

All of that just at 35 mph. That is not encouraging! And the 3 Series of that era was considered a safe car for its time. But shit, that video. That’s the strongest advertisement for safe driving I’ve ever seen.


Some people drive old cars exclusively by choice. Some are more like me, with an old car for fun and wrenching more than anything else. I love driving my ‘80s BMW. But I always have that tiny nagging voice in the back of my head that says “You know if you wreck this thing, you’re screwed, right?” It’s one of the tradeoffs you have to consider if you go vintage. Maybe you feel that way too; maybe you say the hell with it and embrace whatever happens.

Does your old car have a crash test video? How did it do, or would you prefer not to know that?

Editor-in-Chief at Jalopnik. 2002 Toyota 4Runner.

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I’d love to see a crash test video of an air-cooled 911, but can’t ever seem to find anything. My 964 feels like a solidly built car, but would be nice to know what the reality is.

Closest I’ve found is a photo of what appears to be a head-on test. Results don’t look too bad. I assume these cars would do a lot worse with the small-overlap tests.