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Crash Test Video: 1981 Skoda 120 at 50km/h (31mph)

Kamil Kaluski December 9, 2015 Eastern European Cars 18 Comments

Skoda 105 off set crash

The classic rear-engined Skoda 105, 120, and 125s were manufactured in Czechoslovakia between 1976 and 1990 (thanks a lot, communist leaders) and all look kind of alike, or at least I cannot tell the difference. But that does not matter here. What matters here is how this classic Skoda would perform in a modern off-set crash test. We have seen similar old-car/modern-crash tests before and they never disappoint. This one is no different.

The test is a relatively simple one – a modern off-set crash at 50km/h. What I found interesting is that Euro NCAP does not perform this test – they have a “64km/h with 40 percent overlap into a deformable barrier which represents the oncoming vehicle. The test replicates a crash between two cars of the same weight, both travelling at a speed of 50km/h.” Clearly the barrier in this video isn’t deformable and the video states that the vehicle is moving at 50km/h, not 64km/h. But still, the amount of damage is impressive.

It’s not the results are not predictably bad, it’s that they are worse than bad. I don’t know if these Skodas had any kind of crumple zones, I doubt they did, and they didn’t have an engine in the front, but hey, neither did Porsches, and they do okay, I think.

We all love old cars here, I would love to have a classic Skoda like this, but this, and similar other videos of old cars crashing make my cringe. Those people who say that cars have not evolved much in recent years, that they don’t build them like they used to, only need to remained of it when they walk away from a crash in their crappy CUV.

skoda crash test

Source: Auto.cz

  • mve

    The words “soda can” immediately spring to mind.

    • bigredcavetroll

      A soda can would probably deform less if under the same circumstances.

    • Sjalabais

      *Škoda can.

  • Siemion

    I’ve had the courage to drive my 105S 120km/h, and the floor was “a bit” rusty (the jack crushed the rocker panel instead of lifting the car up). But what would you expect for a 200 PLN (~50$) car.
    The 105S was quite fun to drive. It made me realise how many things are needless in todays cars
    ( rolling rear windows, adjustable back support and steering wheel, headrests, armrests etc.)
    But the best feature was the hood… I mean the trunk lid in the front. The hinges are on the drivers side fender, so the with lid opened it looked like a piano, or a boat with a sail 🙂 There was also a secret compartment behind the rear seats, under which sat the battery (I’ve spent an hour trying to figure out where’s the damn thing).
    Although Skodas 105/120 were rear engined, the radiator was in the front, so the cooling system swallowed something about 13l of coolant. It’s impossible to keep it leak-free.
    Anyway… Skoda made that model for so many years because it was perfect from the beginning, there was nothing to improve 😀

    Shame I have to sell my 105 now, but… I still have a ’77 120L waiting in the garage for better days 🙂

  • Sjalabais

    I don’t think anyone with a solid interest in classic cars, and who’s had that for a while, is in doubt about how old cars perform in crashes. In my mind, it is the #1 reason to not drive a classic every day, and it is why I sold my 40 year old daily driver Volvo in favour of a succession of appliances. Always sort of regret that, but, again, as a car guy, you can find joy in anything with wheels. I just have to watch out for the social implications of minivan jumps and slides…I do that qietly.

    • Alan Cesar

      There are a number of American car enthusiasts who don’t agree. They’ll tell you that an older car “made with lots of steel” is way safer than anything new with air bags and so on. Some people are so enamored with this idea that they crafted conspiracies that 2009 Malibu vs. 1959 Bel Air crash test was staged in some way, or that the Bel Air was critically rusty, or sabotaged to intentionally fail. It’s ridiculous.

      Video in case you haven’t seen it:

      • Alan Cesar

        But what I’d like to see now is a different, similar crash test between a Bel Air or similarly large car, against something like a Toyota Yaris, so we can test the myth that bigger cars are always safer.

        • Sjalabais

          Oh, wow – I’d normally expect them to be very few, and sort people like that under “can’t be helped”. Lots of conspiracies around this one, too:
          However enamoured one is with classic cars, claiming that there’s been no progress over time is just too ridiculous.

        • Rover 1

          How about a Volvo 940 wagon against a Renault Modus?

          And while you’re on You Tube check out the other videos. My daily drivers are MB W124s, I would not like to be in an accident in my Lancia Gamma, Mk1 Espace or Citroen BX or CX.

          But I’ll always keep them driveable.

      • dead_elvis

        Yeah, but a lot of people don’t understand physics, and are Trump supporters otherwise demonstrably stupid.

  • crank_case

    You see having the engine slung out in the rear was a safety feature, ensuring that you headed for the ditch backward when you lost control.

    I’d still have one, there’s a certain degree of risk in everything, driving a Caterham or a motorcycle, just try not to crash..

    • Vairship

      At least in theory, replacing the engine lump with properly designed crushable space might improve crash safety. So the Skoda 120 MIGHT be safer than a front-engined vehicle designed with equal attention to crash safety, as you don’t get a few hundred pounds of cast iron thrown in your lap.

  • Robert Kirchner

    The worst part is that the brakes on these were SO BAD it almost guaranteed that any crash would be at high speeds.

    • Vairship

      Fortunately the engine was so weak, it almost guaranteed that any crash would be at low speeds. 😉

  • Good thing I went with “a British car to beat the world.”


    • Rover 1

      And it appears that the world may have come off second best?

      • It is fair to say that the damage to the other vehicle was more expensive, even though the damage to the Metro was costlier.

        • Rover 1

          That is a lovely distinction.