QotW: How safe do you feel on the road with your JNC?

No doubt, new cars are safer than our beloved JNCs. The latest vehicles have systems to make sure that you, and the car, are in a heightened state of awareness, from automatic braking to lane keeping Assistance. Heck, the highest level of safety on some JNCs are seatbelts, and ABS brakes if you’re lucky. That said, how do you feel driving around in your JNC? Do you wonder about a possible fender bender, damaging your prized possession, or an injury?

How safe do you feel on the road with your JNC?

The most entertaining comment by next Monday will receive a prize. Scroll down to see the winner of last week’s QotW, “What’s your argument for keeping a JNC in a relationship?

Relationships can be tricky when there is something that drives a wedge between it. From last week’s QotW, it sounds like some of you, like Ryan, have the right idea by putting everything on the table as a first impression. Meanwhile, Banpei keeps it low key, no need to rock the boat with oil-stained parts and NOS taillights.

Then there are those like Andrew, who not only gets to have a great JNC, but also a partner that can put up with it (even by accident). P.S. buy flowers every time those drain plugs are used!

I still can’t believe my own levels of cheekiness when shortly after marrying I told my wife, “I think we need to upgrade to a practical, responsible family car. Something with four doors. Something like this 1977 Cedric hardtop!” Somehow she accepted both the existence and the frequent usage of drain plugs on her side of the car surprisingly well!

Omedetou! Your comment has earned you a set of decals from the JNC Shop.

JNC Decal smash

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15 Responses to QotW: How safe do you feel on the road with your JNC?

  1. Taylor said:

    I feel much safer in my 87 300ZX than I did in my ’67 VW Bus, especially in Bay Area traffic.

  2. Banpei said:

    Both my JNCs are from the early 80s, so compared to nowadays standards with little safety in mind. That means that, compared to my daily driving standard, I’m always extra cautious driving them. Both of them have way less grip, lack ABS and their stopping distance is probably double that of my 2014 Honda Civic. That doesn’t mean I drive them like a grandma, so I’m definitely driving more actively and always keep my eyes open for any danger up ahead.

    I must say I was amazed by the safety features though: the 1982 Carina had 3 point seat belts in the rear and the 1983 Trueno featured lap belts. Also these cars were probably the second (or third) generation by Toyota that had their crumple zones designed by CAD: not perfect but way better than the good old fashioned trial-and-error methods used in the 60s. 😉

  3. Guyon said:

    I don’t even think about it really. I have so much more visibility in my AE82 than I do in the FR-S I feel much more aware of my surroundings, even though it’s definitely lacking in the safety department.

  4. bryan kitsune said:

    I’ve never had my current JNC (’67 Datsun Roadster) on the road to have a true opinion – it is currently non-operable. I can say that I am often apprehensive of the day coming when it runs and drives. The steering column is non-collapsible and referred to by some as a “death spear”. The car is pretty small and may just get run over, even by a CR-V. I live in the Hoosier state. Nearly everyone drives a huge farm truck or SUV at about 70+ in 55 zones. I doubt I’d come out in great shape in event of a collision.

    Past JNC’s I have owned (st16X/st18X Celicas, an ae86 and an sw20) I didn’t feel terribly unsafe. Generally I almost feel less safe *or at least more likely to have an accident* in my wife’s 2005 Honda Pilot. Operative word being “feel” – I hate rolling all over the road with the high center of gravity. My daily driver is a 2000 Celica GT-S. I don’t think I feel much safer in it than I did the older Celicas/ae86/MR2. That said, I also don’t feel unsafe when driving it – most of the time.

    Of course, feelings aren’t always logical.

  5. Angelo said:

    Not really that much. As much as I have three-pointers in the front, I don’t have rear seatbelts and any airbags in my daily, which is the base model Sentra you can get back in 1989.

    Also no ABS, so ended up getting a dent on right-side fender.

    Still, safe enough when you don’t drive like a maniac.

  6. Jim Simspson said:

    I do not spend a lot of time worrying about the safety of my JDM’s does not mean I am not careful when I drive them as I am generally watching out for other drivers… my daily driver is a Toyota Sera, and again I am just cautious driving the car but then it has largely been a daily driver for a few years now…
    My Skyline and Cosmo 110S do not get driven that much nor do my other JDM cars…

  7. Yuri said:

    With each of my JNC’s I have a different train of thoughts running through my head, and different plans of attack.

    S30Z: I’ve got a lot of car in front of me, but not much behind me. The doors are flimsy too. I’ve addressed the safety shortcomings of the sides and rear by installing an autopower half cage though, so if I get hit from the side or rear, my head will hit the cage first and probably kill me instantly rather than getting crushed by a lifted bro truck.

    AE86: Any thoughts about my personal safety are overtaken by the fact the most expensive parts on the whole car are the first things to be taken out in an accident. If I get hit in the front, I’m losing a JDM bumper and zenki lip spoiler. If I get hit in the side, I’m losing the JDM GT-APEX side skirts. And heaven forbid I get hit in the rear, where I’d lose the JDM zenki rear bumper, zenki Trueno coupe taillights, rear garnish, and JDM trunk spoiler.

    S13: I’ve seen enough of these crash to know to be extremely careful where my feet go, since often times the front wheel will intrude into the passenger compartment flattening the footwell into the pedal assemble. And then the automatic seatbelt will find a way to choke you anyway.

    MA70 Supra: It has ABS and an airbag, but really that doesn’t matter, because it’s built of two tons of Japanese steel so thick, you’d swear Toyota had master swordsmiths folding and hammering the fenders like katana of old. It’s a car you feel safe in traffic in because in world of box-like crossovers, you’re piloting a Shinkansen forged from depleted uranium. Sure it has a soft urethane nose, but it’s like taping a cotton ball over Mjolnir, Thor’s own hammer.
    All this mass is propelled by a massive chunk of iron, the 7MGE, 200hp of potential headgasket failure.
    In a streetscape of modern cars that use layers of protection, the MkIII Supra takes the “If you’re riding inside an armor piercing round, what gets split apart around you can’t hurt you” approach.

  8. Sammy B said:

    I’m definitely very cautious in my 84 Toyota Van. I don’t go on the highway and just stick around town. The kids are at least in the backseat now. The front passenger spot was the only 3 point belt, so I would actually put my now 12 year old up there when he was younger. Dangerous, yes. But on the bright side a few years ago he pointed to the window crank and ask “what’s that?” 🙂

  9. I know I won’t win anything since I work for JNC but frankly I feel more safe in my Cressida than I do in my girlfriend’s Sienna. I know the Cressida won’t have traction control that get’s in the way of me trying to get out of my own way on a snowy day, my nose gives me more of a blindspot than the pillars do and I don’t have a Takada grapeshot cannon pointed at my face at all times.

  10. Joe Musashi said:

    Driving a NA Miata between two semis at highway speeds is something else. I can only hope I get seen by other drivers.

  11. Ian N said:

    I drive a “JNC” the same way I drove waaay back when (before they were known as that) – carefully, confidently – and defensively. If I worried in advance about getting squashed between two semis or how thin the metal is… I’d go nowhere. I get seen by other drivers, because I don’t place myself in their blind spots (plus the JNC I’m driving painted in a bright colour always helps). I make sure my brakes are good (yes, non-ABS – and in some cases, drums all around, along with correct foot pressure can still stop you effectively) and I continually “think ahead”, no texting or seeing who just called me on my smart phone whilst driving. My JNC car is worth more – both in $ value and in excitement and pleasure value) than my 6 year old daily driver with all its safety features, so it’s not hard to do the maths!

  12. Long Beach Mike said:

    My 79 Accord coupe isn’t really fast enough to get into any serious trouble on its own. And the excellent 360 degree visibility helps me keep tabs on surrounding traffic, although a passenger side rear view mirror WOULD be nice. Honda safety features were state of the art for the era, as well, and the bumpers LOOK like they could withstand a direct hit from a wrecking ball. The silver hatchback styling is just plain enough to keep danger from gawkers and paparazzi to a minimum.

  13. Lupus said:

    My good’old Daihastu’s steelwork is so thin that i’m awere of the fact, that in a head on collision at speed, or during a roll-over i’m gonna die. Amen.
    That’s why i don’t take passangers in anymore. If I face my end in that cursed machine – that’s fine. It will be the end of story for us both. But i don’t want to risk the health or life of someone else, especially some pretty gal that sits beside me.

  14. Ruined9s said:

    Right now my ed7 is parked and not in commission. However, people are really distracted and in some cases classic cars get crashed by distracted drivers. So living in Los Angeles it’s a real toss up. Hopefully you all dont get your cars crashed or jacked.

  15. Jayrdee said:

    I have full confidence in my AE86 Levin when I drive around town. Mechanically solid, visibility is great, and being able to hear/feel everything definitely helps me feel in control.

    … But being on the road with other drivers? N O P E

    Even then, its not necessarily the “safety” part that bothers me, but the aftermath with the wreckage. I had a lady lock her brakes in front of me and my immediate thought was “NOOOO!! NOT MY FRONT BUMPER!!”

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