The end of an era. Here are a few pics of the remains of my '98 Passat from a high speed impact into a cliff face. The car crumpled beautifully - the cabin interior held up well considering that the car flipped and slid on the roof for around 50 feet (a little over 15 meters). This, despite having the sunroof open.
- Airbag burns? Not with this car. For whatever reason, the airbag deployment was powder-free and very, very soft on impact (like hitting a comfortable down pillow).
This may be because I don't drive with the seat crammed up against the steering wheel - with a bit of distance, the airbag can fully deploy in the
space between the driver and steering wheel, rather than forcing the driver backwards during expansion.
- The panasonic made changer is really great. Despite the trauma to the car, the sound system kept playing away happily, with the changer cutting out for a 2 second period.
The rescue crews finally had to just rip off the semi-removable faceplate to kill the sound.
- Engine protection. I assumed the engine would have been severely damaged because of the direct front collision. However, the car crumpled around the engine, leaving it perfectly intact. It could easily have been transplanted to a needy car.
So there it is. The Passat really is as safe a car as I thought it would be - I walked away without a scratch. The EMS crew was in disbelief. :)
Of course my next step was to find another one - a few of the writeups online now are from the current B5, a 2000 1.8t manual.