QOTD: The Greatest Killer of All Time?
Earlier this week, I told you about the fellow who was convinced the Dodge Demon was unsafe at any speed. I did not agree, of course; the Demon has been carefully designed to present considerably less risk to its occupants than, say, a swing-axle Beetle in high-wind conditions.
Which leads to a question: if the Demon is not the deadliest car of recent times, what is?
Former TTAC contributor Doug DeMuro said that the Carrera GT was the most dangerous car on the road. A few years later, somebody actually let him drive a Carrera GT, at which point he changed his mind and said that it was the greatest car ever made. I think we can safely discount both of these opinions.
My personal vote for deadliest car of the modern era: the second-gen Ford Explorer, when the tires were (under)inflated to the factory spec of 26psi against Firestone’s preferred pressure of 35psi. The way I always think of the old Ford Explorers is as 1988 Ford Rangers that were loaded way past their original design specs thanks to the additional glass, metal, seating, and people — then driven in traffic like they were Corvettes on Hoosier slicks by their mostly female owner base.
That last point is significant, because very few cars are dangerous when they are driven in a sensible manner by people who are alert and aware of their peculiarities. The old VW Beetles could and did exit the road ass-first under heavy wind but most people who owned them knew to keep the speeds low in those conditions, the same way you would if you were riding a sportbike. The same is true of 3/4-ton pickups on load-rated tires.
What’s your vote for today’s four-wheeled “widowmaker”?
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