New crash tests used to rank "muscle cars"

Study: Muscle cars not as strong in safety ca... 01:57

Last Updated May 24, 2016 9:23 PM EDT

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Cars that travel at high speeds can also crash at high speeds.

New crash tests out Tuesday contain important news for drivers of these so-called "muscle cars" -- symbols of freedom and open roads as American as apple pie.

"I love the sound of the roar you get when you're driving it, when you're riding inside or when it's riding past you, it's something you're always going to notice - every time," said De'Angelo Smith, who has a Dodge Challenger.

For the first time, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is demonstrating just how dangerous a crash could be.

IIHS President Adrian Lund said these fast cars haven't been tested before because "we haven't thought that the population is necessarily interested in safety, but they should be."

While none of the cars received the institute's highest ranking, the Ford Mustang scored a good rating, thanks to optional collision avoidance technology. But there is room to improve in small overlap front crashes -- where 25 percent of the front end hits a simulated pole at 40 miles an hour.

The Chevy Camero also earned a good ranking but lacks crash avoidance technology and struggled some on roof strength -- key to preventing injuries in a rollover crash.

The Dodge Challenger managed only an acceptable score -- earning lower marks for roof strength and its performance in the small overlap test. In that crash, the dash pushed back, trapping the test dummy.

"The damage in the foot well was bad enough that "this would have been serious leg injuries for a real person," Lund said.

Crash tests were done on muscle cars like this one. CBS News

"No single test determines overall vehicle safety. FCA US vehicles meet or exceed all applicable government safety requirements. FCA US urges all motorists to follow all applicable traffic laws and maintain control of their vehicles accordingly," FCA US LLC said in a statement to CBS News.

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    Kris Van Cleave is a congressional correspondent for CBS News based in Washington, D.C.