Insane vintage racing video

23 05 2011

When I was little, I used to want to be a race car driver. I even went so far as to claim that “I already am a race car driver, I just don’t have the car.” I’ve never really been able to live that quote down, but in retrospect, it’s probably not a bad attitude to have as far as life goes.

As glamorous as the life of a driver must be, there are, of course, a few occupational hazards. Like the crashes:

Video via Autoblog.

The absolutely insane thing about these early race cars is the lack of what we would consider the most basic safety gear. I’m not talking about side curtain airbags, traction control, or ABS, which really have no place on even a modern race car; these things didn’t always have functional roll cages or lap belts, let alone five- or six-point racing harnesses.

Based on the number of driver ejections, the designers’ safety strategy seemed to have run along the lines of “cross fingers and the hope driver is thrown a safe distance from car following crash (before the fuel ignites).” The video shows drivers seemingly walking off some genuinely horrific crashes after landing yards away from the wreckage of their destroyed vehicles.

It’s easy to praise vintage racers for having the combination of raw talent and crazy machismo required to tame the beastly race cars of yesteryear, but damn, am I glad that safety technology has come so far over the past century.

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