Jim’s Blog: How do you make old cars safer?

A few weeks ago, I blogged about my ’72 K10 pickup as a daily driver, and since gas has been cheap, I’ve been using it more. It’s a decent regular commuter save for one important thing: safety.

 

Some of your comments on that blog post focused on suspension and brake upgrades, both of which are smart changes on a car that sees a lot of use. I’d like to see what else ACC’s readers are thinking with regard to using their cars in the modern world, and that brings me to this month’s ACC question: Do you feel safe in your old car, and if not, what should you change to make it safer?

 

Maybe safety comes in the form of limited and thoughtful use — such as car rallies, or cruise-ins, or early Sunday morning drives before traffic sets in. Maybe it’s in more modern components, like brakes, steering, and a collapsible steering column. Maybe it’s in moving a fuel tank from a vulnerable location. Are newer seatbelts critical? Maybe it’s all about being seen — bright colors and loud exhaust. Or maybe you’re just not worried about it.

 

I read somewhere that the most likely accident is a rear-end collision. My truck has no headrests from the factory, so if I were to be punched from behind while stopped at a light, my head would probably hit the rear glass pretty hard. A good solution, if you’re not worried about strict originality, is a later-model or custom seat with built-in headrests and a set of three-point seatbelts. Some of these seats will more or less just bolt right in. Re-cover them in older-style material, and you’re in business. Or is that damaging to the experience of driving something old?

 

One thing’s for sure: I don’t think most of us are about to let some selfie-texting airhead Prius driver stop us from enjoying our classics, customs, and muscle cars. 

 

Let me know what you think in the comments below or in an email to comments@americancarcollector.com by Friday, March 13. And look for your responses in the next issue of American Car Collector!