Classic cars aren’t exactly the best when it comes to
safety. They don’t have modern safety features, even basic ones like airbags,
and they haven’t had tireless years of refinement and research to benefit from.
The old VW Bugs have a great habit of having their steering shaft turn into a spear
that goes right through the driver in a head on collision – a problem that
modern Bugs certainly don’t have!
Here are some safety tips for your vintage car that can do
during a restoration to help it protect you in a crash. We’ll forgo my first
tip, don’t drive a Bug, and get right to:
It wasn’t always compulsory to
have seat belts in cars. Many classics that are restored to stock won’t have
seat belts in them, especially cars from the 50’s and earlier. Even cars that
do have seat belts in later model vintage cars only have lap belts.
You can vastly improve the
safety of your vintage car by installing 3 point belts over the shoulder of the
passengers and driver. If you’re looking to make a high performance car that
you may take to the local drag strip, a 4 point harness is a must. Having a
perfectly restored car that is to stock is fun, not having to restore you face
after a collision is even funner…
Getting a set of disc brakes,
and replacing your drum brakes, that run on a dual master cylinder rather than
a single, can greatly increase your stopping power. Be sure that your car has
disc brakes in the front too, this wasn’t always the case!
You may have to get a different
master cylinder, a new proportioning valve and replace the brakes themselves.
Most domestic vintage cars have kits available for them and there’s really no
valid reason to not have great brakes — unless you’re one of those ‘stock or
nothing’ purists with dented up bumpers.
This is one of those situations
where you can keep the original braking system in your garage and change it out
if the next owner wants to go stock. Your safety improves and you don’t lose
This may seem like a handling
thing alone — and it is. Being able to handle your car better allows you to
avoid accidents better. They’re a
pretty minor addition if you do them and they can easily be converted to stock
again, as long as you don’t do too much cutting or welding.
Modern windshield glass is much
more shatter resistant than the glass of old. Have a glass shop take a look at
all of the glass in your car to check to see how shatter resistant it is. No
one wants a big face full of glass, and changing it out is something that no
stock purist will be able to identify.
Old vinyl seats are terrible for
keeping drivers from sliding around. When you’re in an emergency situation the
last thing you want is to be struggling to just sit. A cover that can be taken
off once you’re at the car show can help you stay stable and in your seat when
you really need to be there.