Letter Re: Advice on Get Out of Dodge Vehicles

I have a question about cars: In making your G.O.O.D. vehicle, which would be considered safer, a modern car with front and side airbags, a modern car with airbags and a roll cage, a modern car with airbags disabled/removed and a roll cage, or an old muscle car without airbags but with roll cage? – SF in Hawaii

JWR Replies: To begin, from what I’ve read, most of the professional drivers in the executive protection business drive with only the driver’s side airbags disabled.

Based on what I’ve heard regarding what models are driven by the winners at demolition derbies, a late 1960s to very early 1970s station wagon with a big block engine would be ideal. They get pitifully low gas mileage, but they have lots of cargo room, and they have clearance for a roll bar behind the bench-type front seat. You can also add a roof rack for relatively lightweight items such as spare tires,.tentage, and camouflage nets.

To my mind, perfection in a G.O.O.D. station wagon would be a flat brown-painted 1970 Buick Estate with a 455 cubic inch four-barrel V8 engine. What a ride: Plenty of power, very tough in collisions, easy to maintain, EMP protection even when near ground zero, and even a touch of class. (They are starting to be considered classics, so your neighbors probably wouldn’t object to one in your driveway.) But I’m not sure how many rust-free 38-year-old vehicles are still available in the tropical climate of Hawaii. 😉 I suppose that you could find one in Arizona or New Mexico through the ads in Hemming’s Motor News, but then subsequently transporting it to Hawaii would probably be prohibitively expensive.