Automotive Safety Features

Automotive Safety Features
A Look at some Automotive Safety Features.
Published by: All Car Central Publishing
Date published: 07/03/2014


Its fashionable today to discuss the safety features of the modern automobile, in fact several manufacturers sell their product totally on the safety features of their vehicles.

In the past it was a different story: American buyers looked for performance and comfort...Design and of course service costs.

As most families had one car the choice also included a vehicle that both the husband and wife could use. It was assumed that the family car was also safe especially after seatbelts became available even if they were considered an extra feature, not included in the package deal. It is interesting to note that the post war car usually featured a radio but a set of seat belts were an optional purchase.

MHOS Ostentatienne Opera Sedan 1967

However, there was one manufacturer in the mid 1960's that offered a safety package that included just about everything. The company was the MOHS Seaplane Company based in Wisconsin.

The car known as the MOHS Opera Sedan (Ostentatienne Opera Sedan) was, by any standards an extraordinary vehicle. Cantilever roof beams combined with roll bars. No side doors, the passengers entered from the rear, this allowed full length arm rests that concealed safety side rails as protection should the car have a side collision. Bucket seats swung laterally when the car turned and the seats pivoted horizontally in the event of a head on crash. The special tires were filled with nitrogen with the claim that they would last 100,000 miles without damage. A built in refrigerator was standard in company with a walnut grain dash, and velvet upholstery.

The cost off the showroom floor was $19,600 or $25,000 depending on engine size. Not quite the family wagon for shopping and/or taking the kids to school but certainly a car to be respected even if it cost the price of a family home. How many were sold is not recorded but they were still in production as late as 1979.


At the other end of the scale around the same time a Russian import was available, the LADA priced to sell as they say. The Russians needed foreign currency so each car was fully subsided to sell both here and in Weston Europe. In reality the car was the obsolete Fiat 124.

The Italian company funded the production plant in Russia with an eye to developing a market within Eastern Europe. In reality nothing came of this arrangement although the LADA was still in production well into the 1980's.

Some of you may recall the YUGO, again produced in East Europe and made available in the US in company with the LADA. I can speak with personal experience about the YUGO having purchased one around 1988 or close. I will not go into the delights of driving this car in the snow, in Up State New York, that of course was when it was running which was not that often. It spent most of its life back in the dealership until one cold January evening it stopped on the highway, refusing to move yet again. I caught a taxi to the dealership, handed in the keys and informed the owner where it was and what he could do with it...I leave the rest of the story to your imagination but I will add that it never darkened my garage again.

As a replacement I purchased a Ford Pinto that gave excellent service for over 80,000 miles. The moral to this experience is simple, Buy American.
Geoff Wheatley

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