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Moral Dilemmas of Hot Rodding

Discussion in 'The Hokey Ass Message Board' started by Jive-Bomber, Feb 3, 2015.

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  1. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 3,719


    Seat belts for me-any extra margin of safety can help. Been in a couple of headons and was glad to have belts.
    I remember back in early 60's (I think) when they made us put a seatbelt in the car to run at the drags (not sure of the year now). Sure were a lot of cars around the valley with one Army surplus seat belt.
  2. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    Much of this has been about passive safety features, issues of belts, child seats, containment for when the Honda hits the fan...
    I worry about our active safety systems, the things that gives us a chance to avoid accidents, expiring as modern systems improve...brakes, tires, etc. are the big issues here.
    I think practically all traditional rods can keep up with the flow just fine, and of course many of them can out-accelerate most of what's around them.
    But...braking power and controllability have taken quantum leaps in recent decades. Modern cars can all stop on a dime, and it doesn't matter much how inept the driver might be...a computer will keep things straight. Naturally, drivers, especially the bad ones, have adapted to progress and feel no need to leave space, signal, or think ahead--
    that mighty brake pedal is there to save them. Tradition is short on brakes, and even cars updated to '70's standards like streetrods with disc brakes are beginning to fall behind the capabilities of modern cars. At some point, even hyper-vigilance and attempting to leave some space are not going to cut it any more.
    Tires...again, every decade since the '60's has shown huge improvements in grip. At what point do tires that look good to us simply run out of their time as safe implements in a world in which the cheapest cars can maneuver well beyond our grip limits?
    When I was in college, my '48 Ford was clearly obsolete in just about every way, but it could damn well cope. My brakes were only a little less capable than those of the herd, and a bit of vigilance and my 18 year old reflexes kept me safe. My handling actually seemed better than most of what was around me, wallowing heaps of marshmallow like Galaxies and Impalas that had to slow down for turns to avoid scraping off their door handles or dumping driver and passengers into a heap on the low side. Modern cars actually obstructed me on freeway ramps and most turns, and I was comfy and vertical...
    Now, a 16 year old in a used Civet has levels of lateral traction and braking that race cars with skilled drivers couldn't match back then.
    Will our cars simply become too obsolete in these areas to be taken seriously as drivers, or will we find ways to wrap some modernization into our tradition?
    In front of us is a Honda, piloted by a moron whose only coping method when he notices an inconvenient reality is to smash on his super duper brakes.
    Behind us there is a cell phone zombie approaching at 60 in a 6,000 pound Cadillac Suburban, wholly absorbed in a cat video on the cell phone...
    Texas57, OL 55, tb33anda3rd and 3 others like this.
  3. Zenbone
    Joined: Apr 1, 2014
    Posts: 69


    i would have to say that my moral hotrod dilemma is not having a decent hotrod at this time. i am saving every penny and trolling the local sites in the hopes of soon getting my hands on one, but as of yet nothing. Soon though... hopefully soon!
  4. olscrounger
    Joined: Feb 23, 2008
    Posts: 3,719


    Good points Bruce-lots of distracted drivers out there playing with cell phones ,etc.
  5. I always made sure my wife had a newer car than my OT ride. I sacrificed what I wanted so she and my kids could drive around safely, be it an accident or the car breaking down.

    I will be installing 3-point belts in my Ford. These cars have no crumple zone and you have to be buckled in well and the seats also mounted safely.
  6. My cars have lap belts and no air bags and I think that is sufficient. I am 67 so WTF
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2015
    bonesy likes this.
  7. LOL you are looking at your moral dilemma with a modern mentality, build around the concept of a modern car.

    To start with you were cruising your kids in a tank, compared to the cars that modern laws are written around.

    But just to get you into our world a little better let me give you a little family history. I came home from the hospital in a nail head powered '41 Willys pickup. No seat belts, no padded dash, sitting on Mom's lap. I don't recall ever wearing a seat belt when I wad growing up which wasn't a problem riding with the Ol' Man at gawd knows what speed, but riding with mom was an entirely different story, she didn't drive worth a flip. Fast forward 17 years (yea I was an early bloomer) my daughter came home from the hospital in a '56 Effie with an FE, no belts and you guessed it, riding on mom's lap. There was a federal mandate about seat belts but no law said that you had to wear one, and our old cars were not required to have them.

    When I was little and couldn't sleep the ol man used to stick me on the tank of his Henderson and run me down the coast highway or into North beach to a dive to listen to music while he drank ( maybe even while I was still an infant). When my girl was still in swaddling cloths and she couldn't sleep I would hang her over my shoulder in a sling made from a blanket and blast down the highway with her on my Harley, when she got older she sat on my tank. We are both still here and none the worse for the wear for it.

    Today kids are "safer" in the back seat, but that is because of the air bags which will kill them. Not because the back seat is safer and in the back seat you can't reach across and catch them before they hit the dash board like when we used to carry our kids in the front.

    The thing with your kids is a new millennium morality and it is bull. If I were you I would not succumb to the propaganda. Live your own life, when the time of reckoning comes you are the only one that will pay the price, not the propagandists.

    Now as for your wife's car, you need to man up friend. Go to the dealer and get her a dependable car, that is what credit is for.
  8. bcarlson
    Joined: Jul 21, 2005
    Posts: 935


    To each their own. I know for myself, if my son was ever injured due to my neglect, I'd be heartbroken. So, bearclaw latches, 3-point seat belts, etc. are a must for my cars. I won't go so far as to retrofit airbags, but it'd cross my mind if they were available... (they aren't are they? ;) )

    Gary Reynolds likes this.
  9. That was rigged, the Malibu is front drive not rear drive and it has crumple zones. The Mailbu would not have survived the crash.
    Gary Reynolds likes this.
  10. vonpahrkur
    Joined: Apr 21, 2005
    Posts: 912


    I think seat belts, even if it's just lap belts, are a good idea. Shoulder belts might increase safety but like anything there is a trade-off; visual appeal for safety. These are decisions an individual ultimately has to make for themselves, not necessarily a universal answer. If you're hauling kids in an older car on a daily basis, then it might be worth it to figure out how to make it as safe as possible without going overboard. I think you have to decide what the purpose of the car in question is, is it something you built to be a period perfect hotrod/custom and drive occasionally or is it something you want to have for your family to enjoy on a regular basis. Some safety measures don't have to be permanent or can be hidden.

    As far as your wife not having a new car to drive everyday and the idea that you could sell one of your cars and buy her something new is more a matter of wise money management and whether it is within your budget or if it makes financial sense for you and your family. You could also mortgage your house to buy a new car or borrow money from the bank, but would those be wise moves, again there's a trade-off. Would you cash out a retirement investment to buy a new car? It's kind of the same thing-trading off something that will appreciate in value for something that will depreciate in value. Of course, if she's driving daily on a narrow two-lane highway where she could be in danger if the car breaks down, then maybe time to figure something else out. It's really up to you and your wife and what you agree or have agreed on. I could understand how you might feel guilty about her driving a worn-out car-when you have three cars in the garage and could sell one, but a better plan would be to start setting money aside to go toward a new car in a couple years or something. Having old cars, often times means having to drive old cars, for better or worse. :)
  11. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    "...I always made sure my wife had a newer car than my..."
    I thought that was why people got married...wives come with a modern car, right?
  12. Ben bring it up here I'll retro fit bags for ya. Is your boy taller then 5'3" that is the breaking point as to whether an air bag will kill him or not. I disabled the driver airbag in the wife's pickup because she used to be 5'3" but she is not that tall any more.

    Anyway I can retrofit passenger air bags to anything you own. or you could just get him one of the airbags that they have for motorcycles now, he wears it and it is hooked to a tether, when you crash it will inflate around his head. Maybe a hauns (sp?) device would be a good idea as well.
  13. To quote Ben; Quote "To each their own. I know for myself, if my son was ever injured due to my neglect, I'd be heartbroken. " End quote.
    I believe every parent feels the same way. We'll do the best we can. If you think the government is the best source to rely on, I have news for you, just ask a Native American.
    The Wizzard
    hipster likes this.
  14. It's a tough call on some of this, but I personally think seat belts should be a minimum. The two high-school classmates of mine (class of '68) that died in car accidents would have survived had they been wearing seatbelts. And both were killed in 'hot rods'....

    And using anecdotal cases ('my mom grabbed me in a accident') don't tell the whole story. My parents and I were in an accident in 1958; a head-on, with us in a '52 F1 truck and hit by a '53 Studebaker. We were stopped when hit, my mother grabbed me before impact, and the result was I bashed the windshield out with my head (ok, so maybe she kept me from flying out) and she shattered her kneecap on the all-steel dash (and nearly lost her leg). My father had the steering wheel to hold onto, he was uninjured. I'd guess if we had been wearing seatbelts, no one would have been hurt. Now in those days, seatbelts were still a 'gimmick' but we know better now....

    As to the 'traditional' aspect of it, if you have a fenderless car or a lightweight pre-36 fender car, a 'upgrade' to late '40 brakes are probably adequate to give decent braking to compete with new cars and these cars are generally pretty nimble given their low weight, but I don't think that's the case with heavier 36-up cars, particularly late 40s and up. You actually didn't see that much change in 'average' car performance starting in the early 50s through the late 80s, it wasn't until the 90s that change accelerated, leading to the cars of today that will run circles around our 'classics'; sometimes even with an idiot behind the wheel.

    As an adult, I'm free to make my own decisions. Same goes for adult passengers. But if you carry minors, it's a different ballgame. I've seen more than a few cases in the news in the last dozen years where adults were charged under child endangerment laws when children weren't properly restrained in a vehicle leading to injuries. Whether you agree with the 'big brother' aspect of that or not, it's a reality.
  15. The video proves that crumple zones do indeed work. Most bridge and construction barriers are now made in a simular design. However the test dummy in the 59 did not die, he is alive and well working as a mannequin for JC Penny.
    OL 55 and lewk like this.
  16. I live in a county that is surrounded on 3 sides with water, and the state wants me to belt myself into a heavy metal box that sinks way faster than I do.

    That country is in a state that does not require use of motorcycle helmets.

    I have a friend who will ride 14 lb. aluminum bicycles wearing a plastic helmet and spandex shorts so thin and tight you can tell what religion he is, but will refuse to ride in a car without should belts.

    How moral is it tell people into thinking it's safe to be in a car as long as you wear a shoulder belt or scaring people into thinking they will die if they don't wear one?
  17. FTF
    Joined: Nov 13, 2002
    Posts: 99


    Here are my dilemmas,
    You have the money to buy a car I built that is more than you can handle or understand and just might make you graveyard dead. However, your of age and have been warned.

    Welding is my background. Should I inform you that the MIG (Maybe it's good) that you have used to glue the dirty steel etc. of the car or motorcycle you just started really might not be the best idea or safest.
  18. Steve,
    It works both ways, I lost two when I was in high school they were twins in a caddy convertible, they were belted in, hit a bridge, the accident investigator said that they may have been thrown free if they wee not belted in.

    I had an English teacher who rolled her Mercedes into a ball, she was thrown into the floor board because she was not wearing a belt. She did get a concussion and scraped her knee.

    There is nothing that is going to keep you safe, only thongs that will increase your odds of staying alive. Should we have consternation over morality because someone said that we are safer with this gizmo or that? One should be intelligent enough to realize that those things that are keeping us safer are not because someone is concerned about our well being. Those things that keep us safer are money driven, no one is concerned about your safety that is your job.

    I know that most consider me to be an **ingrate, I no doubt have earned that. I have decided one thing that has always been constant in my life, no one for whatever reason will push their morality off on me. Anyone on here that is a man should establish the same in their own lives. if you feel guilty about running your kids around in your hot rod make sure that the guilt is your own decision, not because someone else has told you that you are doing bad.

    ** as described in the urban dictionary.
  19. Back when I was in high school, I had 4 friends die in a car accident. SUV got sideways on a curve, they were T-boned, SUV rolled multiple times, and all 5 (didn't know the 5th) died. 3 of them were ejected from the car, as they were not wearing seatbelts. This was a fairly modern SUV with airbags and ABS brakes, 3 point seatbelts, radial tires, etc.
    Would they all have died if they were all wearing seatbelts? Probably not. But 2 of them that died, died despite wearing seatbelts. When it's your time, you're going to go no matter how much safety equipment is around you.

    I put lap belts in my 60 F100. The only safety feature they add, is that I stay behind the wheel when making a turn, instead of sliding along the bench seat. Will they save my life in a wreck? Probably not. Will they help me avoid a wreck by keeping me in front of the controls? Potentially.

    I've never let fear of the possibility stop me from living my life now. It's possible I might die driving an old car. It's also possible that I might choke to death on an olive. But I drive old cars, and I love eating olives. ;)
  20. chrisp
    Joined: Jan 27, 2007
    Posts: 812


    My first and only bad crash was in a '79 free hand me down POS, head on to avoid a truck that cut me off, I was wearing the 3 point belt, I came out from the burning car with a cracked skull, the left front tire was actually halfway inside and got my left foot stuck under the clutch pedal for what I thought was an eternity (especially when you see flame coming out from the ripped open trans tunnel).
    Still, I drive old cars without belts. I grew up in cars without belts. I am torn into putting some chromed 3 points in the one I'm finishing now because I don't want to put my daughter at unnecessary risk even though I did in the past, I know she's gonna ride more often in this one and the more you drive the riskier it gets.
  21. mohr hp
    Joined: Nov 18, 2009
    Posts: 222

    mohr hp
    from Georgia

    All the guys saying "they didn't have safety stuff back in the day, so who needs it?" miss the point that all the modern cars we drive with TODAY can out stop us all. It's kinda funny, I got into building my own hot rods back in the 80's because new cars were so lousy. Now the average family car can beat my old 454 Chevelle. So while back then when I was a hooligan, I was on everyone's rear bumper and out accellerating everyone. Today, I drive slower than everyone and hang back so as to protect my now so valuable vintage tin. By the way, both my old rides have 3 point belts, & properly adjusted headrests. Just added discs on the front and third brake light to the Willys. Am I paranoid? Not anymore!
  22. 3wLarry
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 12,804

    Member Emeritus
    from Owasso, Ok

    After reading all the replies here, I went out today and purchased a new hot rod

  23. Bruce Lancaster
    Joined: Oct 9, 2001
    Posts: 21,682

    Bruce Lancaster
    Member Emeritus

    Now you're 3-Shutter Larry!
    The communication devices up top must make it easy to get the attention of the cell phone people...
    3wLarry likes this.
  24. Kevin Lee
    Joined: Nov 12, 2001
    Posts: 7,406

    Kevin Lee
    Super Moderator
    Staff Member

    Dilemma? I just want a nice cup holder in the F1 once it's back on the road.
    HEMI32 likes this.
  25. jcmarz
    Joined: Jan 10, 2010
    Posts: 4,636

    from Chino, Ca

    I agree, 101 percent!
  26. This is pretty much the same internal debate you'll have if you ride motorcycles; how much of your personal safety are you willing to sacrifice to do something you enjoy? Now there are some differences; if you ride a powerful street bike, your ability to 'get out of the way' is much greater, but the consequences if you fail to do so can be worse. I've ridden bikes since the mid-60s, street bikes exclusively since the early 70s, and have found that I don't ride as much anymore. As Bruce pointed out, there's a lot of morons out there who count on their vehicles safety systems to bail them out or distracted drivers who are oblivious to their surroundings. I'm a lot more selective about when and where I ride now. It's much the same if driving a vintage car.
  27. 3wLarry
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 12,804

    Member Emeritus
    from Owasso, Ok

    I read somewhere that a roll of duct tape makes a nice cup holder :)
  28. So who died and left you in charge.

    I am over 60, I have killed because my government wanted me to do that. I live with it everyday. I can say without a doubt that I have neither killed nor harmed a child in my life. Maybe you can say that as well, I have not lived your life so I don't know, or maybe you can't. Either way I probably would not judge you for it. At least not like you have judged me.

    Do I live on the edge, you bet your pansy ass I do. Is that any of your business, you can bet your pansy ass that it is not. The only thing in my life that I do that you have any business sticking your nose into are those things that I do that directly affect your life. That is pretty much nothing that I do.

    Here lies the rub, I don't have the right to expect anyone to live by my rules, nor does anyone else have the right to expect me to live by theirs.

    There should be no moral dilemma when we climb into our cars if we have assessed the risk and are willing to live with it. if any one of us is doing something that causes us to have a moral dilemma we need to assess what we know to be true and make whatever changes we deem fit. I am going to be honest for most of us that is going to mean loosing our hot rods and buying a late model or not allowing our children to share in our lives.
  29. KoolKat-57
    Joined: Feb 22, 2010
    Posts: 2,930

    from Dublin, OH

    I have lap belts in the '57. I used to race autocross and there was no way they would let you on the course if you weren't belted in. When I drag raced it was the same thing.
    Newer cars are generally safer than our old rides, but the drivers today are a lot more dangerous. I don't have any statistics, but I would bet that distracted drivers are high on the list of causes of accidents.
    When I am out in the '57 I am always wearing my lap belt. Will it safe my life in an accident, only God knows.
    I will continue to ere on the side of caution and wear my seatbelt.
    Our OT cars are modern late model highly rated for safety, do I feel safer in these cars maybe! I try to drive defensively regardless of what I am driving, it's the other drivers that make me nervous!
    Would I take my Grandkids out in the '57 probably not until they are a lot older, if anything ever happened to them because they were not properly secured in the backseat I wouldn't be able to live with my self.
    That's my take on it, KK
    Gary Reynolds likes this.
  30. 3wLarry
    Joined: Mar 11, 2005
    Posts: 12,804

    Member Emeritus
    from Owasso, Ok

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