Home » Technically The Safest Car Ever Tested In Its Day: Comment Of The Day

Technically The Safest Car Ever Tested In Its Day: Comment Of The Day

Cotd Carr
ADVERTISEMENT

For over 43 years, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has been living every car kid’s dream. The organization gets to watch cars get obliterated by walls, just like kids do with toy cars. This is for science and safety, of course. It had to start somewhere, and that means a really funny situation if you think about it.

Earlier today, Jason wrote about how the first NHTSA crash test–performed on May 21, 1979–involved a 1979 Plymouth Champ. This Mitsubishi Mirage doing business in America as a Chrysler and as a Dodge Colt performed better than you’d expect. Sure, the kid isn’t going to make it to school and the front seat passenger found a new way to open the glovebox, but it’s not so bad!

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Searching the NHTSA database, the organization performed 139 crash tests in 1979. Since the Champ was the very first, the car technically had a silly distinction, pointed out by car comic and reader Sid Bridge:

As an eternal optimist, I’m excited to see that the Plymouth Champ held the title of SAFEST CAR EVER CRASH TESTED until the NHTSA tested a second vehicle.

I mean, technically correct is the best kind of correct! If you’re curious, on the very next day, NHTSA tested a 1979 Mercury Bobcat, which came out of the other end looking like this:

Screenshot (207)
NHTSA

According to the report, the dummies came out of the other end more or less similar to the Champ’s dummies. Congratulations Sid Bridge on another one that got us laughing!

ADVERTISEMENT
Share on facebook
Facebook
Share on whatsapp
WhatsApp
Share on twitter
Twitter
Share on linkedin
LinkedIn
Share on reddit
Reddit
Subscribe
Notify of
14 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Adrian Clarke
Adrian Clarke
1 year ago

When did the first ever automobile race take place?
Right after the second ever automobile was built.

Dsa Lkjh
Dsa Lkjh
1 year ago

“I mean, technically correct is the best kind of correct!”

Technically correct is also the only kind of correct.

Regards,

A joyless engineer.

Harvey Park
Harvey Park
1 year ago

> Sure, the kid isn’t going to make it to school and the front seat passenger found a new way to open the glovebox, but it’s not so bad!

COCOTD

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
1 year ago

The Champ, and it’s off spring, cousins, etc. all were great cars. I beat the crap out of many of them. The Pinto? Well I also beat the crap out of those too. But it was FORD crap. The gap cars kicked ass over our stuff then by a mile or two…

Col Lingus
Col Lingus
1 year ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

JAPANESE cars! Stupid auto correct. Is the term JAP now considered non correct? Asking for a friend.

Harvey Park
Harvey Park
1 year ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

Huh? Where have you been these past 60 years?

Thomas Metcalf
Thomas Metcalf
1 year ago
Reply to  Col Lingus

If you are talking about J.A.P. motorcycle engines made by John A. Prestwitch Industries, then it is correct.

RootWyrm
RootWyrm
1 year ago

Oh how quick you young noobs are to damn the Champ.
Let me explain something. Without that car? You have none of the good cars. Because the Colt is the origin of (deep breath) the 4G Sirius YES THAT ONE, the Astron 2.6 Hemi (Starion,) everything ever labeled as Lancer, the hilariously cool Twin-Stick transmission, and the lunacy that is the Eagle Vista Wagon with 4G63 (install the turbo and giggle like a schoolgirl.)

Now go find a 1978 Mitsubishi Lancer/Plymouth Colt and drop a Chrysler 360 in it as god intended.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
1 year ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

I did enjoy the Eagle Vista/Plymouth Colt Wagon.

Citrus
Citrus
1 year ago
Reply to  RootWyrm

Here’s a question, and the answer might actually be Mitsubishi Colt: What’s the most secretly influential car? A model that has made a huge impact without actually having a huge cultural footprint.

Phuzz
Phuzz
1 year ago
Reply to  Citrus

In the UK I’d go for the Austin A30, mostly because it was the more conventional predecessor to the Mini, and it was the first car to use the A-Series engine, which was used in practically every small British car, from Sprites to Allegros, and was still in production until 2000.

Mr. Fusion
Mr. Fusion
1 year ago
Reply to  Citrus

The James May series called “The People’s Car” concluded that the most successful car in history was the Fiat 124. Launched in 1966, it was made as a Fiat nameplate for 8 years, but it was licensed around the world to local manufacturers such as SEAT and perhaps most [in]famously, VAZ, which produced the car we know as the Lada until 1987.

I would suggest that the Fiat 128 is a better answer to your question, because it pioneered the front-engine/front-drive layout that has been used by every manufacturer since, it was made as a Fiat nameplate for 16 years, and it too was licensed around the world. In terms of sheer numbers produced, it may not beat the 124, but I think it was more impactful.

Eric Busch
Eric Busch
1 year ago

As a fan of captive imports from that time, my dad bought me a 78 Plymouth Arrow (GT, no less!) to beat on so I wouldn’t kill his nice cars.

I rear ended a courier van and bounced my noggin on the windshield. We fixed it, I paid to fix the van out of my pocket. The courier company let me do that in installments.

First snowfall after I got my license (PNW, not a lot of snow there in the metros in those days) me doing happy donuts in a parking lot that day. Next day, things warmed up and I put the thing in a ditch almost taking out a row of mailboxes. Dad just so happens to check our mail as I’m walking home. “Where’s the car?” he says.

The tow truck did more damage pulling it out of the ditch than I did putting it in there.

I loved that car. Many life lessons there that inform my driving habits today.

RIP Dad.

Man With A Reliable Jeep
Man With A Reliable Jeep
1 year ago

Damning with faint praise. I drove a Plymouth Champ once and I’ll be damned if I praise it.

14
0
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x
()
x