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!
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:
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!