Just how safe should I feel?

Here you can talk about the joy owning a Volvo 480 brings. Non-technical discussions take place here, like what is the difference between an ES and a S version.

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MisterH
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Just how safe should I feel?

Post by MisterH » Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:02 pm

Good Evening all!


I have been wondering recently just how safe the 480 actually is. Obviously it won't be up to the standards demanded by modern tests, but at the same time I feel that while that is the case, it is not an 'unsafe' or dangerous car, as it has quite a few features that the Rover 100 notoriously didn't have, although the lack of airbags does seem offputting, I am not sure how much difference that would make.

Currently, I feel quite safe in the Volvo, not I would be offput from driving it either way, But If I do have friends in the car I need to consider these things.

The Volvo will not be getting replaced, I just want to set my expectations realistically, because I feel that in the age of massive LED-me-mobiles on our streets, any car of this size will not have an easy time, regardless of age.

After all it does have a safety cage, and other features ahead of its time, but I am no expert, so if anyone can enlighten me, it would be greatly appreciated :D


It does seem to do fairly well here:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2n7qx60pEVA
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jamescarruthers
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Re: Just how safe should I feel?

Post by jamescarruthers » Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:26 pm

I have successfully crash tested one and it saved my life for sure!
1987 Volvo 480 ES, 507274, 217 - Red (Ness)
2001 Volvo C70 2.4T convertible (Olivolvo)
2003 Renault Avantime 3.0 V6 (Big Ren)
2008 Mini Cooper convertible (Mau)

Previous 480's:
J123 CFU -- ES
J449 MNL -- ES auto
D864 CPV -- ES
L691 JFC -- Turbo
F70 MNR -- ES
H858 FGV -- Turbo auto
E981 KHM -- ES (509849)

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jamescarruthers
480 Is my middle name
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Re: Just how safe should I feel?

Post by jamescarruthers » Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:30 pm

1987 Volvo 480 ES, 507274, 217 - Red (Ness)
2001 Volvo C70 2.4T convertible (Olivolvo)
2003 Renault Avantime 3.0 V6 (Big Ren)
2008 Mini Cooper convertible (Mau)

Previous 480's:
J123 CFU -- ES
J449 MNL -- ES auto
D864 CPV -- ES
L691 JFC -- Turbo
F70 MNR -- ES
H858 FGV -- Turbo auto
E981 KHM -- ES (509849)

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MisterH
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Posts: 550
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2018 6:15 pm
Location: Stockbridge

Re: Just how safe should I feel?

Post by MisterH » Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:30 pm

jamescarruthers wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:26 pm
I have successfully crash tested one and it saved my life for sure!
Oh really! Could you please tell me more?

I know that lakes one met the wrong end of a pole (the grey '87) and seemed very salvageable, and seemed the driver walked away
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jamescarruthers
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Re: Just how safe should I feel?

Post by jamescarruthers » Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:34 pm

MisterH wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:30 pm
jamescarruthers wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:26 pm
I have successfully crash tested one and it saved my life for sure!
Oh really! Could you please tell me more?

I know that lakes one met the wrong end of a pole (the grey '87) and seemed very salvageable, and seemed the driver walked away
See link in above post

The worrying thing for the Lake's car was that if it had been carring rear passengers I doubt the seatbelts would have held them in the car if it was a high speed crash. The rear seatbelt mounts are rusted through and when I tried to undo the bolts thbey just went crunch and span around as the metal ound apart.
1987 Volvo 480 ES, 507274, 217 - Red (Ness)
2001 Volvo C70 2.4T convertible (Olivolvo)
2003 Renault Avantime 3.0 V6 (Big Ren)
2008 Mini Cooper convertible (Mau)

Previous 480's:
J123 CFU -- ES
J449 MNL -- ES auto
D864 CPV -- ES
L691 JFC -- Turbo
F70 MNR -- ES
H858 FGV -- Turbo auto
E981 KHM -- ES (509849)

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MisterH
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Re: Just how safe should I feel?

Post by MisterH » Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:39 pm

jamescarruthers wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:30 pm
viewtopic.php?f=19&t=4689
All I can say is wow...

It is such a shame that such a nice one met such an end, but you survived and have saved many more since then, so does that equalise things a little?

Those fencing crashes are some of the worst, a Ferrari F50 took a crash into a row of them and a 14 year old passenger was tragically killed...


I am sorry for your loss of car, even after all these years, nowadays insurers would probably care a little more, but I am glad you have been able to restore your project one with the funds they paid out
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MisterH
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Re: Just how safe should I feel?

Post by MisterH » Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:40 pm

jamescarruthers wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:34 pm
MisterH wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:30 pm
jamescarruthers wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 6:26 pm
I have successfully crash tested one and it saved my life for sure!
Oh really! Could you please tell me more?

I know that lakes one met the wrong end of a pole (the grey '87) and seemed very salvageable, and seemed the driver walked away
See link in above post

The worrying thing for the Lake's car was that if it had been carring rear passengers I doubt the seatbelts would have held them in the car if it was a high speed crash. The rear seatbelt mounts are rusted through and when I tried to undo the bolts thbey just went crunch and span around as the metal ound apart.
Thankfully mine are fine with that, all the mounting points are solid as it the rest of the car, though I do get annoyed when the front belts are permanently twisted...
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jamescarruthers
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Re: Just how safe should I feel?

Post by jamescarruthers » Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:15 pm

Thanks man. Can't believe that was 17 years ago! It fels like recent and also like a different lifetime.

I think they are incredibly tough and always feel safe in one. The only thing I think that is a dangerous omission is the lack of ABS and rear head rests on early cars.
1987 Volvo 480 ES, 507274, 217 - Red (Ness)
2001 Volvo C70 2.4T convertible (Olivolvo)
2003 Renault Avantime 3.0 V6 (Big Ren)
2008 Mini Cooper convertible (Mau)

Previous 480's:
J123 CFU -- ES
J449 MNL -- ES auto
D864 CPV -- ES
L691 JFC -- Turbo
F70 MNR -- ES
H858 FGV -- Turbo auto
E981 KHM -- ES (509849)

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MisterH
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Posts: 550
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2018 6:15 pm
Location: Stockbridge

Re: Just how safe should I feel?

Post by MisterH » Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:24 pm

jamescarruthers wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:15 pm
Thanks man. Can't believe that was 17 years ago! It fels like recent and also like a different lifetime.

I think they are incredibly tough and always feel safe in one. The only thing I think that is a dangerous omission is the lack of ABS and rear head rests on early cars.
Yes those are things that I really find are a bit sketchy, in the case of the headrests, is it possible to fit an early cover to a later seat (so with the blue piping?)

hypothetically of course, I like the view out of the back
Current Jobs to do (12/9/20):
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jamescarruthers
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Re: Just how safe should I feel?

Post by jamescarruthers » Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:36 pm

MisterH wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:24 pm
jamescarruthers wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:15 pm
Thanks man. Can't believe that was 17 years ago! It fels like recent and also like a different lifetime.

I think they are incredibly tough and always feel safe in one. The only thing I think that is a dangerous omission is the lack of ABS and rear head rests on early cars.
Yes those are things that I really find are a bit sketchy, in the case of the headrests, is it possible to fit an early cover to a later seat (so with the blue piping?)

hypothetically of course, I like the view out of the back
I think that would be very doable, just the material of the headrests would not match as they are only available in later material. I'd quite like to do this little mod too... mabe one day if I come across some spare early seat material to recover the later head rests
1987 Volvo 480 ES, 507274, 217 - Red (Ness)
2001 Volvo C70 2.4T convertible (Olivolvo)
2003 Renault Avantime 3.0 V6 (Big Ren)
2008 Mini Cooper convertible (Mau)

Previous 480's:
J123 CFU -- ES
J449 MNL -- ES auto
D864 CPV -- ES
L691 JFC -- Turbo
F70 MNR -- ES
H858 FGV -- Turbo auto
E981 KHM -- ES (509849)

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MisterH
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Posts: 550
Joined: Sat Nov 24, 2018 6:15 pm
Location: Stockbridge

Re: Just how safe should I feel?

Post by MisterH » Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:41 pm

jamescarruthers wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:36 pm
MisterH wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:24 pm
jamescarruthers wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:15 pm
Thanks man. Can't believe that was 17 years ago! It fels like recent and also like a different lifetime.

I think they are incredibly tough and always feel safe in one. The only thing I think that is a dangerous omission is the lack of ABS and rear head rests on early cars.
Yes those are things that I really find are a bit sketchy, in the case of the headrests, is it possible to fit an early cover to a later seat (so with the blue piping?)

hypothetically of course, I like the view out of the back
I think that would be very doable, just the material of the headrests would not match as they are only available in later material. I'd quite like to do this little mod too... mabe one day if I come across some spare early seat material to recover the later head rests
What about early front headrests? Are the fronts different from the backs?
Current Jobs to do (12/9/20):
Fix Central Locking
Bodywork
Suspension creaking below 40mph

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jamescarruthers
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Re: Just how safe should I feel?

Post by jamescarruthers » Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:56 pm

MisterH wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:41 pm
jamescarruthers wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:36 pm
MisterH wrote:
Sat Sep 12, 2020 7:24 pm


Yes those are things that I really find are a bit sketchy, in the case of the headrests, is it possible to fit an early cover to a later seat (so with the blue piping?)

hypothetically of course, I like the view out of the back
I think that would be very doable, just the material of the headrests would not match as they are only available in later material. I'd quite like to do this little mod too... mabe one day if I come across some spare early seat material to recover the later head rests
What about early front headrests? Are the fronts different from the backs?
Yes, the headrests on the rear are much slimmer. Roughly the same width but half the height approx.
1987 Volvo 480 ES, 507274, 217 - Red (Ness)
2001 Volvo C70 2.4T convertible (Olivolvo)
2003 Renault Avantime 3.0 V6 (Big Ren)
2008 Mini Cooper convertible (Mau)

Previous 480's:
J123 CFU -- ES
J449 MNL -- ES auto
D864 CPV -- ES
L691 JFC -- Turbo
F70 MNR -- ES
H858 FGV -- Turbo auto
E981 KHM -- ES (509849)

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Jay-Kay-Em
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Re: Just how safe should I feel?

Post by Jay-Kay-Em » Sat Sep 12, 2020 10:23 pm

I examine about 100 crashed cars a year, many fatal and have done for 14+ years now.

Safety is relative to the time period the car was made. A 90’s car is more safer than an 80’s car, but not as safe as something constructed in 2010 for example.

Equally, with a deformable steering column and crumple zones, your 480 is much more safe than a car from the 1960’s.

Where your comfort zone exists on that sliding scale is your choice.

Our unit keeps some vintage photographs and there are some roadside pictures of an Austin Healey 3000.... where a steering column is literally a spear. So yes, in comparison your 480 is very safe.... but it’s where you set your benchmark.

There is of course the argument the more dangerous a car is, the safer you drive, but that’s a whole different discussion!

It certainly doesn’t detract from my love of classic cars, but on the flip side, there’s a certain amount of “oh well” flippancy to what will be bad news if the worse happens.

One of the biggest aggravating factors for the older cars I examine is corrosion.... and not necessarily that which is visible. The internals of box section sills for example. They crumple like paper in zones that should be the rigid passenger cell.

Today’s ultra modern cars literally amaze me. Horrific impacts and a 2020 Audi (as an example) will still have a drivers door that opens and closes just like normal.

You will notice cars are getting bigger. I saw a new Renault Clio the other day and couldn’t believe how massive it was. Same with the latest generation of Vauxhall Corsa. This is not by chance, it’s a simple arms race, triggered by NCAP over the last 20 years, to put more metal (deformation structure) in between you and the crash source.

With my 480 currently as a bodyshell, you realise just how flimsy they are. But that’s why I love my 980kg kerb weight!

With this in mind you’d never get in an 80’s car ever again... but our passion is a balance of risk.

All hobbies are a balance of risk. That’s why people jump out of aeroplanes! :bla:

I just took the family out in the Mk2 this afternoon and was proud to have rear seatbelts :lol:

dcwalker
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Re: Just how safe should I feel?

Post by dcwalker » Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:05 am

Between James and Jay they've pretty much answered your question Ben, I think anyway.

There have been quite a few classic car articles on the 480 recently which all tend to observe that they are very safe "for an old car". And that's the point. When new they had everything Volvo knew about safety put into their design and build - subject of course to quality and what was physically possible. James's is a good example of how that works - definitely the reason I still have a good friend here today!

But things continually evolve, so it's all about risks and balance - just like pretty much everything you do in life. So, if you want to feel at your safest buy the latest models - but remember that in 2, 5, 10 years' time they may be falling behind on the latest safety features. Even with the 480 - my 1994 GT has a driver's airbag, pre-tensioners, rear headrests and ABS, all of which your 1989 ES doesn't have. Equally remember that how you drive and react to situations is as big a factor as what the car can do - it's so easy these days to fall into the trap of thinking we don't have to worry about how we drive because the car will do it for us. There's a good argument that driving an older car could force you to be a better driver, because you have to be.

Also important not to lose sight of the standard points that apply to every car and can assist or totally defeat any safety systems - are you driving on good quality tyres with plenty of tread? Is your braking system in tip-top condition? Are your lights clean and bright? Are your wipers in good condition and doing their job properly? The latest safety system-packed car won't do half of what it could do if it's running on well worn, budget tyres. Personally, these are the things I focus on - best quality tyres I can afford, always changed well before they are at minimum tread; I change brake components while they still have plenty of life in them, wipers at least once a year; in many ways those things give me more confidence than systems built into the car...

Then there is the further factor that it depends what actually happens - if a huge HGV is what ploughs into you and you're boxed in, for example, no amount of modern safety features are likely to ensure you personally are not redesigned to some extent! Or you may survive and then fall down the stairs when you get home and break your neck anyway. Never under-estimate that point I made earlier: life is risks, and something has to take us all eventually. Up to you therefore how far you concentrate on trying to avoid that eventuality!

As for the older car like the 480, the safety features will all still work as intended - provided, of course, the car is in good condition. Whether you need more is a matter of where you balance risk/cost/driving enjoyment/how good and perceptive a driver you are (or believe you are).

I am away at the moment and we are in the 480 - I have no concerns at all that if the worse happens she will look after us if she can to the best of her abilities in those particular circumstances. But that is, in truth, all you could definitely say for whatever car you were in.

So, overall I'd say decide what level of risk you are willing (and can afford) to take or not take, and just bash on...

David
Current: 1994 480 GT (plus 2004 C70 Collection & 1995 440 ES)
Previous: Celebration 467 (returned to Martin Mc); Celebration 346 (re-homed with Alan480); Celebration 269 (scrapped abandoned project), Celebration 73 (sold on after 6 years), 1992 ES, 1988 ES - and numerous other non-480 Volvos!

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jamescarruthers
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Re: Just how safe should I feel?

Post by jamescarruthers » Sun Sep 13, 2020 8:57 am

Oh, and on the note of having good grippy tyres, I spun my old E-reg 480 on a roundabout at very normal speeds when it was new to me a few years ago. It had very old tyres on it all round. Thankfully it was a big two lane roundabout with no traffic around at that moment and it simply rotated 180 degrees without hitting the kerb or anything. I suspect I went through some spilt diesel from a lorry and am not sure wheter newer tyres would have saved me but they would have increased my chances by a huge amount! I did however go straight out and buy 4x Continentals the very next day and this is a lesson learnt by me for sure!
1987 Volvo 480 ES, 507274, 217 - Red (Ness)
2001 Volvo C70 2.4T convertible (Olivolvo)
2003 Renault Avantime 3.0 V6 (Big Ren)
2008 Mini Cooper convertible (Mau)

Previous 480's:
J123 CFU -- ES
J449 MNL -- ES auto
D864 CPV -- ES
L691 JFC -- Turbo
F70 MNR -- ES
H858 FGV -- Turbo auto
E981 KHM -- ES (509849)

arthuy
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Re: Just how safe should I feel?

Post by arthuy » Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:02 am

Interesting video of the 480 crash tests.

Reminded me of the Volvo 340 advert. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nf2ATS44osA

I wouldnt feel unsafe in a 480 or any of my older cars (oldest 1960). But I really did in my dads morris minor, maybe false sense of bigger, stronger equals safer.

Good driving skills and judgement are probably the best form of road safety, accidents happen but what I see more and more of is driver distraction and reliance on driver aids. In my old Audi A4 (1996 2.8 v6 quattro) handbook they actually stated something like the quattro 4 wheel drive and abs didnt make the car safer and the driver should drive to their abilities and road conditions.

With regards to friends in the car, one thing that surprised me was the gross vehicle weight. The kerb weight is around and 1000kg depending on the model and max weight is 1440kg so you need to make sure you don't have big mates and a load of kit.

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MisterH
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Re: Just how safe should I feel?

Post by MisterH » Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:55 am

Thank you so much for your information.

In light of what you have said, I do feel safe in the Volvo as obviously it isn't up to modern standards, but it isn't lethal. I know the car is solid structurally, the tyres are new this year, the wipers are good and the lights are as well. While I am not the worlds best driver due to lack of experience, I do feel very cautious, and feel my driving improves under pressure.

When I did an early driving experience at my local circuit, Thruxton, I gained an appreciation for when a car is too easy to drive, the Skoda Fabia they gave me could be operated with one finger and one toe, and when I see SUVs with L-Plates on, I cannot help a sense of foreboding.

One of the reasons why I wanted to learn in a classic is because I feel they make you a better driver, and because I know the car well I am more confident in that sense. While I enjoy driving with a touch of vigour every now and then, I am no boy-racer, far too cautious for that.

I have never driven a modern car on the road, although by my standards, where modern actually starts varies from 1975-1998, but in general I refer to new and 'fashionable' cars. It is true I am fond of the Pug 508, but If I get one of those it will be in 20 years time probably when they are unloved.

I feel this has made me very perceptive to sympathetic driving, caution and the like even if my risk awareness still needs to build.

Overall, the fact of the matter is the 480 was a safe car when new, and hasn't got any less safe, it's just the world has moved on a bit and the bar has been raised. But as several of you have pointed out, modern safety features have opened up a new deficiency in driver safety, whether it be the infuriating use of mobile phones at the wheel that I see regularly, or just feeling that modern cars mitigate everything so you don't have to put as much effort in.

Either way, James' unfortunate crash and fortunate survival has given me confidence that the Wedge will protect me and my friends if the worst happens, but also to treat the car and the laws of physics with respect, and I feel this conversation has already made me a better driver than yesterday :hopping:

I think in an ideal world, every new or learner driver should have a conversation like this, where we came from and how safety has evolved, and how to not be caught out. All the safety features in the world will probably not save you from a 70 mile per hour crash into a lorry sandwich, so I guess that is the great equaliser on a grim note...


While there are only two years between them, the 480 is definitely safer than our WR quattro, but I don't feel unsafe in that either, as 4WD puts a different spin on things (or lack of in that case :lol: , provided you don't mistreat it)
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arthuy
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Re: Just how safe should I feel?

Post by arthuy » Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:13 am

MisterH wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:55 am


While there are only two years between them, the 480 is definitely safer than our WR quattro, but I don't feel unsafe in that either, as 4WD puts a different spin on things (or lack of in that case :lol: , provided you don't mistreat it)
Funny you should say that. Image

Bit of oil on a country road at 40mph :cry:

Not something you will be able to do for a while yet but I have done the Institute of Advance Motorist (IAM). Not everyones cup of tea but you will learn good skills and improve your driving skills. I don't take risks when driving but still make good forward progress.

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MisterH
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Re: Just how safe should I feel?

Post by MisterH » Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:19 am

arthuy wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:13 am
MisterH wrote:
Sun Sep 13, 2020 10:55 am


While there are only two years between them, the 480 is definitely safer than our WR quattro, but I don't feel unsafe in that either, as 4WD puts a different spin on things (or lack of in that case :lol: , provided you don't mistreat it)
Funny you should say that. Image

Bit of oil on a country road at 40mph :cry:

Not something you will be able to do for a while yet but I have done the Institute of Advance Motorist (IAM). Not everyones cup of tea but you will learn good skills and improve your driving skills. I don't take risks when driving but still make good forward progress.
I need to tell the story of our quattro, it has had a life...


I am very interested in that IAM course, is there a minimum age limit or can I just go for it?
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arthuy
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Re: Just how safe should I feel?

Post by arthuy » Sun Sep 13, 2020 11:45 am

The set up is there are local groups and the parent group. There will be a local group near to you so you just go along and build up your skills until you are ready for your test. The examiner is usually a retired police class one driver but really there is nothing to worry about.

So long as you have a drivers licence you can do the advanced test. There are people who turn 17 pass their test then do the IAM test very soon after.

IAM rebranded to Road Smart a few years ago but the skills are the same.
https://www.iamroadsmart.com/

This is an example of a drive with commentary.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rM_qc4mRhT4

ROSPA is similar but do gold silver and bronze standards.

Recently I did a professional off road driving qualification with ROSPA, They were more about using the driver aids than the pure ability of vehicle.

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