August 11, 2008

Sheet Metal Rhapsody

You might remember a few months ago we published an item called "How Germans learned to Drift: Natural Selection at the Nürburgring circa 1970".

Here is the complete original film which I would like to preserve and offer at least as a cultural-historical artifact... Check it out after the jump.

"Es sprach so mancher weise mann: autofahren soll nur der, der es kann"


Ron Simons of RSR Nurburg said that the accidents at the 'Ring used to be different in the pre-GranTurismo era mainly because people went off because they did not know which way the road went around the next corner. This is well illustrated here where it's essentially the same accident over and over again, coming into the famous Adenauer-Forst corners way too fast.

Cars were so light back then that you can see how in many of the less severe incidents, what little speed they had is scrubbed in almost no space. On the other hand, tall skinny tires and soft suspensions made for easy flips and if there ever was a good case to be made for why manufacturers of econoboxes moved to more forgiving front wheel drive, look no further. The vast majority of the spinners are in cars with the engine behind the rear wheels (and probably swing axles): VW Beetles, NSU Pritz, Fiat 850, Renault R8, 911. Film makes a decent case for seat belts too!

So once again and in exaustive form, I give you "Natural Selection at the 'Ring, circa 1970. The Director's Cut." Enjoy, it's kind of hypnotizing!


  1. Notice how people used to park their cars right on the side of the track?

  2. Hypnotic indeed. Scary to see how those cars crumple and how the roof pillars fold like they are made of cardboard when they tumble (and no seat-belts in a lot of them I bet, even more scary!). They certainly didn't design cars with safety in case of a crash in mind back then... Yes you see a lot of 911 spinning but unlike the bugs, at least they don't end up on the roof ;)


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