Thank goodness for safety rules and requirements. Over the years, we’ve had some doozies of vehicles on the road that should never have been. Owning one of these cars would probably send your car insurance deductible sky high. It’s hard to imagine driving something so unsafe!
1905 Darracq 200HP
The history of dangerous cars goes back as far as the early 1900s when the Darracq 200HP, which had no protection from the outside world, set speed records in Europe. The passenger’s seat – really more of a bucket – was positioned behind the driver so that the passenger could hold onto the driver when flying around corners at breakneck speeds. Maybe an ejection seat and parachute would have been useful!
Small did not equal safe in 1966 when the Peel Trident had its year of glory. This car was available for only one year: 1966. It was a very small two-seater that didn't provide any safe resistance in the event of an accident.
To say Chinese safety standards aren’t quite up to par with the Western World’s would be an understatement. The Chery brand is basically China’s answer to GM, and the Amulet shown here is already being sold within China, Russia, and many other countries throughout Asia, despite the fact that it received less than a 1-star rating by EuroNCAP testing standards when reviewed by the Russian car magazine Autoreview. They reported that the test dummy actually had to be dismantled in order to remove it from the car.
Chery’s larger model, the Brilliance, is attempting to enter American markets, but, not surprisingly, it’s having a little difficulty with the U.S. safety standards. Incidentally, that crash test is at 40 mph.
1985 Yugo GV
This car was built so light that even a gust of wind could blow it off the road. It was also poorly built with bad materials and had the tendency to simply topple over at times and spent much of the time rattling around on the road. It was definitely not a vehicle you would want to take out with today’s semitrucks on the highway!
This car was Ford's answer to the entry-level cars released by American Motors (the Gremlin) and General Motors (Chevrolet Vega). The car was available from 1971 through 1980. Its downfall was due to a design flaw that put the gas tank in the rear of the car near the bumper. Due to the location, the tank would often blow up as a result of a simple fender bender.
None of these vehicles was safe enough to make it worth driving them, but they were on the roads for a time. Today, manufacturers have stringent restrictions and rules to keep vehicles safe, in part due to the unsafe cars that existed previously. Without having seen where things could go terribly wrong, these rules might not exist now.