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Kids in E30?

Discussion in 'E30 (1984-1993)' started by Guerc, Nov 16, 2008.

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    Guerc

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    Can anyone comment on the safety of an E30? I get nervous driving my small kids (3 & 5) around, even on occasional trips around town. I drive safely, they use car seats, and the car is in excellent shape. Given the number of idiots in SUV's blowing through red lights, I get concerned about something even if it isn't my fault.

    I imagine an E30 can't be worse than any modern small car. It lacks airbags, but these are downright dangerous to small kids anyway. The gas tank is well inside the car's structure, another safety point. Nonetheless, a 20-year old car probably didn't benefit from the same kind of computer-designed crash analysis of newer cars.

    Any pros or cons about the inherent design of these cars? Stories about how they held up to accidents? Does anyone have a particular kiddie setup they want to share?

    I sold my 64 Mustang because it was downright unsafe on many levels. Those of you who have kids will understand this paranoia. Those who don't, won't.
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    Brian A

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    I've been through the same struggle about what's safe and what is not. It really comes down to a personal judgment call. Yeah, every year cars get safer but most of us can't replace cars every time they are upgraded.

    Having said that, E30s ARE modern cars. They are a passenger "safety cell" design. They have crumple zones front and back. They have bracing in the doors and latches that transfer force to the rest of the car's frame. However, if your 2,600 lb 318i is broadsided by a 6,800 lb Chevy Tahoe, there could to be massive intrusion in to the passenger cell if the speed is high enough.

    I travel a lot. If you read the U.S. State Department advice for most of the places I go, they recommend never adventuring beyond staying at home and sitting in the middle of an interior room filled with packing peanuts. They also say wear a helmet while doing so. Sometimes you just gotta go out and do it.
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    Guerc

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    BMW E30 vs old Mustang

    Yeah, thanks. That is pretty much how I thought about it. I figure an E30 was sold well into the '90's. When kept up in good condition, I figure it is a reasonable compromise around town.

    I used to own a 64 Mustang. It was absolutely devoid of safety features, even as a secondary consideration. Steel dashboard, non-collapsible steering wheel, window lever knobs designed to "kneecap" you in an accident, erratic drum brakes, unprotected gas tank, all combined with a 300hp engine. Add the normal wear and tear of 40+yrs of service(electricals failing, gasoline odors under the hood, collapsing seatbacks).

    I could accept that Mustang as an adult, but couldn't drive a kid around in that car with a good conscience.

    BIMMIR guest

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    You know, an E30 BMW is probably every bit as safe as a late model (90's) domestic or Japanese import.
    Yes, it may lack some more modern safety features, but is probably built much better with regard to quality, handling, collision avoidance and how it will stand up to a collision.
    Hell, other than air bags, I bet it's safer than a brand new aveo, colbalt, etc...
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    Brian A

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    Crash standards are always improving, so I would expect that a modern car is safer than an older one. Part of the perpetual weight gain of each generation of car is putting bigger and better impact protection into the cars (things such as stronger heavier metal beams inside the doors). It might be now that a SmartCar holds up better than an E30. Dunno.

    It is a difficult, subjective question about what car is 'safe enough?" For me, an E30 is easily above the "safe enough" threshold, but everyone has a different threshold.
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    az3579

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    I'm willing to bet that an E30 isn't as safe as we would think. I can guarantee that a newer car of the late nineties would be safer without a doubt.

    Hell, an E36 had a 4-star rating for frontal impact (saw a video). Do you really think an E30 will be the same? Every generation that passes is safer than the previous, and I doubt that a boxy looking car such as an E30 would handle a moderate impact.
    But then again, this is based on common sense information. It may or may not do better than I thought, but I couldn't find any crash test information on an E30 anywhere on the internet to prove/disprove its safeness.

    desertVert guest

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    Impact example

    Last fall, I had taken my mom out for coffee, and on our way back we got sideswiped by a raised F350, which pushed us over a curb and off the highway. The top was down, and I was almost hit in the head by their passenger rear view mirror. My driver's side front fender and door were a mangled mess, but with the exception of having coffee thrown all over the place the interior was perfectly intact.

    I like to think this little thing's a tank, and hopefully I'm never proven wrong.

    BIMMIR guest

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    There you go -
    I'm glad you and your mom were OK. Though you're certainly saddened by the loss of or damage to your car, she did her job in protecting you, and your mom.
    I still feel, particularly if the older bimmers had air bags, they'd be as good, or better than anything domestic built today in terms of safety to passengers and driver.

    cj morgan guest

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    I know my E30 has a driver's side airbag....better than nothing

    desertVert guest

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    I actually swapped in an MTech steering wheel to remove the airbag. The prospect of having a 20 year old airbag go off in my face scared me more than the idea of getting beaten with the steering wheel. ;)

    ecvchamp guest

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    My mother had a 84 318 and rolled it 4 times at 60mph. It came to rest upside down in a ditch. Broken wheels, control arms, hood, and trunk. All the side glass and the winsheild were still unbroken. The rear glass exploded as it should. But the passengers compartment faired very well. She had bumps and brusies but was fine by the way.

    bmwdave37 guest

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    When it comes your kids, nothing will ever be safe-enough.

    There is something to say about those big bumper E30s, I was tagged 7 months pregnant by someone running a stop sign (who of course didn't stop). I popped the rubber bumper back together and was on my way. I can only imagine the damage this would have caused to the 2004 Sentra Spec-V I traded for the E30.

    missmelyssa guest

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    I think you're ok.
    My dad and his wife both had e30's (and they still have one).
    During his weekends he would pick me and my sister up in them, we were about 5 and 8.
    And aren't these older vehicles made more out of metal as opposed to mostly plastic?

    I'm a mom of a 2.5yr old and I would feel fine having my son ride in one.
    But I'm also not as paranoid, if that's the case.
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    mooseheadm5

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    A friend of mine rolled his into a river and came out just fine. This is in spite of the fact that in a previous car accident (drove an Audi off a mountain) he had broken his C6 vertebra. In fact, he had it repaired and drove it for about a decade after that until it sold for over $3k a year and a half ago. Amazing little cars.

    missmelyssa guest

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    All this talk about the e30's and now I want one.
    Who am I kidding? I'd get one if I had room to park it.
    Hmmm....do I really need that patch of grass in my front yard?
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    az3579

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    No.

    Hearing all these stories, it kind of gets me mad when people say "I don't want an E30 because they're not safe.". :mad:

    desertVert guest

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    I lol'd. :eek:
    • Member

    az3579

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    Well seriously, who here wouldn't sacrifice a small patch of grass (if that's all you have) for an E30? :eek:

    330189 guest

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    The last time I had to go to traffic school, they showed us a video of roof strength tests done on domestic vs foreign cars. I got the distinct impression that the European (esp German) cars were superior in roll overs. In fact, after seeing the roofs flatten like paper in the domestic cars I doubt that I will ever consider owning one. During break I asked the instuctor if this great German engineering applied to the older BMW's, specifically my E30. His opinion was that I had a sturdy little car with a long history of safe relatives.

    MIKEGTR guest

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    FWIW, i flew my 325e SCCA IT-A car off a hill during my first test drive after finishing the cage and suspension... it wasn't on the track i was just testing it out late at night and lost it when my two right tires fell in an open manhole cover... car started to roll over but landed back on its tires, hit a tree about ten feet down the slope. me and my passenger had no bruises... i just had a sore neck

    there are always going to be crash angles or speeds that will not be "safe" but this happens to all cars... unless the government starts testing 360 of the same car in 1 degree increments u will never know for sure.
    The good thing is that E30s are well designed cars and since they're older cars, there is a wealth of information regarding crash experiences that might give you a good indicator as to how they perform in these types of situations... that being said, remember that each crash is unique and may not be similar to one that may happen to someone else

    sorry for the long post,

    Mike

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