About five years ago Nice Cars bought a 1996 Passat TDI from the original owner in Los Angeles. Such a GREAT car, only 61,000 miles, shiny original paint- gorgeous!
We got the car all tuned up and dialed in (didn't need much with 61K) and offered it for sale. A local couple came out to look at/drive the car. Bob decided he'd go with them. The couple got in the front and Bob got in the back seat. The large rear seating area these B4s are known for was soon to be all but eliminated.
They all go for about a 5 mile drive. The couple love the car (who wouldn't with 61K?). Our shop is on a secondary highway that goes from Bellingham up to Canada, lots of traffic (40K+ cars a day). The driver stops the Passat on this highway and is about to make a left turn across traffic into Nice Cars' driveway, when a woman talking on her cell phone drove a large Chevy Truck into the rear of the Passat at 50 miles per hour. The Passat was knocked 63 feet down the road. The two people on the front got banged around and were put in the first ambulance. Since Bob was in the back seat he wasn't so lucky. He was squashed in the back and had to wait for the paramedics to come and cut him out. Three cheers for the guy that invented the Jaws of Life!
The initial crash knocked him out. When the paramedics arrived, he came to. As a result from the impact, he was squashed in the car and only able to move his left arm until he was cut out. The first paramedic came in the car and introduced himself, asked Bob’s name, told him to hold perfectly still and said that the two of them were going to be real good friends for awhile. He put a suction tube in Bob’s nose and mouth to suck out the blood which was good as Bob was having trouble breathing through the blood, which was coming from his ruptured stomach and left lung. The paramedic also put a brace around his neck, an oxygen cup over his mouth, and covered him with a heavy canvas blanket. He explained the blanket would keep pieces of the car off of them when they cut the car apart. They got him out of the car and he went to a local hospital to be prepared for a helicopter ride to a high trauma hospital in Seattle, Harborview Medical center.
His right leg had been shoved up into his hip, breaking the hip and the leg. He had a broken back and his neck was broken in two places, three teeth were knocked out, gall bladder got knocked loose, ruptured stomach, left lung collapsed, other internal injuries, and he had a big bump on his head. But he survived! Those GREAT doctors did one superb job of putting him all together again. Today he is packing some iron, with 13 stainless steel screws holding his hip and leg together.
That happened five years ago when Bob was 64. The doctors told us it would be at least a year before he could walk again. But 4 months and surgeries later he showed up at Nice Cars with his neck in a brace and using a walker to hold himself up. First thing he did was complain about his beloved geraniums not getting enough water. Bob retired in September of 2010 but he stops by occasionally, mostly to hang out in out in the greenhouse.
REASONS BOB SURVIVED THE WRECK
There are 3 reasons Bob pulled out of that as good as he did...
He was in really good shape for a guy his age. He’s a Boy Scout Master and was able to keep up with teenage boys in the mountains on hikes.
Lots of answered prayers. The Lord decided to help him out with a speedy recovery.
There is no doubt whatsoever that the superior German design and superb construction of the B4 Passat helped save his life. When Bob was being loaded into the Ambulance one of the Highway Patrolmen said, "It's a good thing you were in a German car. I see a lot of wrecks and most people survive if they are in a German car".
So yeah, Bob can personally vouch for how tough 96 Passat TDIs are. If you or your family gets tangled up in a wreck you’ll have a good chance of coming home.
That’s part of the reason Bob drives a B4, his wife drives one and his daughter drives one, and everyone else in his family drives German cars.