• Aug 1, 2005

In an extremely unfortunate incident, a mechanic who recently restored a $1.5M 1929 Duesenberg was out for a cruise with the rest of his family near Ann Arbor, MI when a 2001 Volvo ran a stop sign and collided with the classic car. All five occupants were ejected from the Duesenberg as it rolled several times; they were not wearing seatbelts as the vehicle had none. Three were killed, while the Volvo owner walked away unhurt. Police say that seat belts would have made for a much different outcome. Such an incident might lead to stricter regulations for vehicles that are currently exempt from safety laws. At the very least, it should cause owners of historical vehicles to ponder the question of what's more important - historical accuracy, or safety?



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  • 80 Comments
      • 9 Years Ago
      The only reason we're hearing about this is because it was a $1.5M duesenburg. These kind of accidents happen everyday with new cars. We have laws against speeding, driving drunk, running stop signs, and not wearing seat belts. A dual-cowl phaeton weighs an absurd amount, probably over 6000 lbs, more than any SUV. It may not have seat belts but it's built like a tank. To flip a vehicle that heavy means the volvo was flying, and ran that stop sign at a very high (illegal) speed. This was going to be a very bad accident regardless of what he hit. Side impacts are always worse than head-ons. Large crumple zones around the engine and air bags help tremendously. Because of their value, these classic cars are driven very rarely and very carefully. Usually in parades with police escorts. Many of these cars are kept in museums and are only driven to the winner's circle at the local concours. Forcing them to have seat belts would force them off the road. Their value is due to their historical accuracy, and the owners would not sacrifice their value for modern saftey devices. They'd just stop driving them altogether. The number of accidents in classic cars is very very low. Unfortunately, idiots like that volvo driver are not rare at all.
      • 9 Years Ago
      "BIG liberal government" You realize that government has expanded by 30-40% over the past few years, while it actually shrunk in real terms in the 90s. Just some facts to chew on for you.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Come on. It's an all but established fact that H2 and status-motivated BMW drivers are the worst drivers on the roads. Except for teenages. And women talking on cell phones while trying to manuever their Tahoes/Expeditions. And anybody driving ten or more miles per hour beneath the speed limit.
      • 9 Years Ago
      My dad put 3-point seat belts in his 67 Jag. However, he also put air conditioning, a new head unit and speakers, an upgraded carbureator, and an F1 suspension.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Pretty sad accident. It's also pretty sad to see such a nice historic vehicle get destroyed. I always wonder about people who still drive their classics...it's cool that they still run, but there are too many things that can happen. Today a guy in a Corolla ran me mostly off of the road (thankfully there's a bicycle lane on that street)...you can't account for absolute idiots. This is after I held down my horn as he was veering into my lane at which point he looked over at me and waved me off while proceeding to merge over instead of sticking to his lane. That circa '88 Corolla won't save him for long. Speed doesn't necessarily kill/injure...shitty driving can do that even at slow speeds.
      • 9 Years Ago
      As usual the safety folks are focused on hardware. Seat belts, helmets, air bags, crash bars and such. What lacks is more focus on the real problem: The driver. If we were really interested in safety we would pay more attention to what qualifies a driver to operate a motor vehicle in the first place. Not only do many people operating a half ton of steel marginally skilled to do this but many also lack the basic self discipline, courtesy and a sense of the social contract to safely operate this type of equipment.
      • 9 Years Ago
      David, it doesn't need a speeding car to roll over another car when hit from the side. The accident occurred in a 40MPH zone and the Volvo wasn't speeding and the driver wasn't drunk either. That's what I heard on the radio from the police report. They also said that the Duesenberg rolled over several times and ejected all occupants. Father, mother and 8 year old son where killed the two younger sisters survived the accident just awe full.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Sorry... I don't get the data... I gotta ride to catch. Elvis and I are gonna drop some pills and drive his '57 Caddi convert to Vegas. We'd wear our SEAT BELTS, but I think they dropped down the bench seat crack. Man, I hope some tree huggin communist doesn't get us in his sites with his VOLVO.
      • 9 Years Ago
      Thanks, Tom. Bottom line is someone broke the law, was careless and people died as a result. Road signs are put there for a reason, and it's time we all started to pay attention.
      • 9 Years Ago
      " that US drivers should be better trained. You have no reasonable retort for that" Retort? I already stated how that would be nice. Now just show me how it's going to work politically - you know, the government forcing everyone to be better drivers - and show me where the money is going to come from for all this new enforcement of lane rules, signaling, etc. Sure as hell not going to be Republicans standing for that, and if Democrats tried to make such policy, there would be ceaseless condemnation of their "big brother" tactics to coerce "freedom loving Amuhricans" into doing something. So, your point is completely moot. Now prattle on some more and misrepresent my opinions and facts some more. Oh, and btw, fatalities increased as the new speed limits came about in the mid 90s. Since safety technology has kept getting better and drunk driving laws more stringent, speed is the only reasonable explanation as the changed variable which made that happen. In your nutty world, the faster you go, the safer you are. Get a grip, Rip.
      • 9 Years Ago
      It would be kinda neat to have "Died in a Duesenberg" on your tombstone.
      • 9 Years Ago
      They need to come up with another name for this incident. It shouldn't be called an accident, because the MORON in the Volvo ran the stop sign on purpose, not accidentally. He should be locked up for life, for the lives he took. As I understand it, in Norway, if you get caught driving drunk, you loose your licence for a year. The second time, you loose it for life. This country has to get tough on law breakers, instead of making excusses for them.
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