In the early days of automobiles, there were little to no laws or restrictions on vehicles, and many people wound up driving literal death traps on roads built not for cars, but horses and carriages. It wasn’t until 1955 when lap belts became standard feature on all domestic automobiles. Collapsible steering columns came a couple years later, and padded dashboards soon followed.
We snagged this image over at Moparts that sent chills down our spine. This grainy black-and-white photograph shows the dreaded before-and-after of a 100mph head-on crash between a ’69 Dodge Charger and a reinforced concrete wall. We’ve published a rash of vintage videos showing how yesterday’s classics squared up against today’s sedate sedans and the evidence is compelling.
While there were few laws dictating safety standards in yesterday’s automobiles, the last 40 years of standards have gotten much, much stricter providing us significantly safer cars. Sorry folks, but the argument that yesterday’s cars were made out of steel versus today’s “plastic cars” don’t add up.
Recently, we relayed that Red Letter Dodge reported that the redesigned ’11 Dodge Charger was recently given a 5-Star crash test rating by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety and received a Top Safety Pick from the organization.
It wasn’t always that way though. There was a time when no car underwent safety tests save a few internal tests. This picture of a 1969 Charger before and after a Chrysler crash test show a collision at high speed in these cars would certainly be fatal for all the occupants of the aforementioned muscle car. Makes us glad we live in a day and age of high-power HEMI’s and advanced safety devices.