Friday, July 10, 2009

Death Cars Of The Stars: The Austin Mini 1275 GT & UK Pop Superstar Marc Bolan

Marc Bolan, the British superstar founder of the great UK pop and rock act, T.Rex, was killed on the early morning of September 16, 1977 when his girlfriend, backup singer Gloria Jones lost control of the purple Austin Mini 1275 GT at about 4am in the morning and hit a tree. Jones was unconscious but survived the accident, but Bolan suffered multiple serious injuries and was killed instantly in the crash.

Interestingly, the little Austin Mini 1275 GT cars were not equipped with seatbelts in most cases, and the front seats often had no locks on them, only allowing a passenger to go head first into the windshield during a crash in these little cars. Coupled with the small size, the little Austin Mini 1275 Gt cars were a perfect deathtrap in the event of a serious accident, probably only exceeded by motorcycles for risk potential.

Reportedly, Bolan likely slammed head first into the windshield and then was knocked clear into the back of the car by the crash, suffering substantial crash injuries to the front and back of the head both, neck and body.

If anything, the serious safety issues with the 1960's vintage Austin Mini cars prove the real value of basic modern safety devices such as seatbelts, locking seats, airbags and protective bumpers and crash zones. The accident might well have survivable if these basic safety devices had been installed in British cars of that era.