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Old 09-20-2009, 09:17 PM   #21 (permalink)
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I think it had an engine, look at how it sits. Cars w/o engine sit a lot higher.

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Old 09-20-2009, 09:28 PM   #22 (permalink)
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LOL, still a fun job at times That WAS their (IIHS) 50th birthday party celebration.
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Old 09-20-2009, 11:13 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dcb View Post
Was looking for confirmation that the bel-air it still hand an engine in it, would have expected a better showing from a v8...
Other reports say it was an inline 6, which was IIRC the most common engine in that model. And it did leave LOTS of room in the engine compartment: when working on our old one (when I was a kid), I'd sometimes climb in beside the engine rather than trying to reach things leaning over the fenders.
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Old 09-21-2009, 12:18 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MadisonMPG View Post
I think it had an engine, look at how it sits. Cars w/o engine sit a lot higher.
It's probably in the front seat after the collision. The Malibu allowed the engine to be pushed downward, absorbing the impact. Whether a '59 Caddy was used, Physics will likely still win.

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Old 09-21-2009, 01:09 AM   #25 (permalink)
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I'd love to see them test a 59 truck against a current model. Would be interesting at least.

I interviewed for a position with a crash test outfit in Michigan 8 years ago. I always thought that would be a really cool job. Of course, I'd rather be covering intentional crashes, than bloody ones. I've seen WAY too many of those.
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Old 09-21-2009, 09:54 AM   #26 (permalink)
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Separate body and frame construction versus uni body with progressively collapsible structure.

Computer design and crash testing have come a long way, but the major component is the separation of the frame and body structure.

I spent 10 years working in auto body repair, and saw literally tens of thousands of wrecks.

One I remember was a 64 Malibu and a 70 Barracuda, in an offset head on collision (about the same as the one in this post). The differences were almost unbelievable. The Malibu (separate frame and body) literally disintegrated, while the Barracuda (uni body with a very strong front cross-member) just folded up in a very controlled manner.

Another thing to consider would be the deterioration of the fasteners in the old Chevy.

That being said the 59 Chevy only had 8 to 10 fasteners holding the whole front end on the car. Two under the radiator support and either two or one at the top and bottom of the fenders in the rear. You could literally remove the whole front end in a few minutes.

Now if you want to go to the extreme, consider the 73 era large Plymouth Fury, used by state troopers in Virginia. I have seen those cars cut a telephone pole in half, and while the damage was bad, it would be nothing compared to a modern vehicle hitting a telephone pole.

The ultimate 60S era tank was the Chrysler Imperial that was uni-body with all exterior panels welded together, except the bumpers and doors, hood and trunk lid. That thing would absolutely crush a modern car.

Chrysler started using uni-body in 1957. The first model I remember using uni-body was the Citroen Traction avant in the 30s.

No trying to be critical of the improvements in collision energy absorption, but I do believe we have gone beyond the point where minor bumper impacts can cost thousands in repairs.

Pops 74 Dodge dart at under 3000 pounds was a tank with those bumpers and the big rubber guards. You could literally bounce that thing off a wall at 5 MPH and break nothing.

In Insurance Institute tested a mid 80s Ford Tempo against a modern plastic bumper car and reached the same conclusion, concerning the high cost of relatively minor low speed impacts.

When I was young and crazy I drove a 63 Valiant Convertible over a slight rise with railroad tracks. The approach side was two feet of elevation while the down slope was at least 6 feet high. I hit it at 55 MPH, and the car flew about 60 feet in the air. When it landed sparks flew out of both sides of the car where the cross-member hit the pavement.

It didn't even knock the front end out of alignment. I had it checked by a friend the next day at the Chrysler dealer where I worked at the time.

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Old 09-21-2009, 02:39 PM   #27 (permalink)
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While there was a lot of sheetmetal on the front of the 59, its evident there is no STRUCTURE. Which is why, it was destroyed and likely killed the driver in a 40 MPH crash.

Earlier, someone mentioned this should put the bigger vehicle being safer question to rest. I disagree. It only resolves whether the old TANKS of yesteryear really were safer or not. No, they aren't and I never considered them to be. Then again, if my Neon were in that crash instead of the Malibu, I MIGHT fare better than the 59's driver...
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Old 09-22-2009, 08:15 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by zjrog View Post
While there was a lot of sheetmetal on the front of the 59, its evident there is no STRUCTURE. Which is why, it was destroyed and likely killed the driver in a 40 MPH crash.

Earlier, someone mentioned this should put the bigger vehicle being safer question to rest. I disagree. It only resolves whether the old TANKS of yesteryear really were safer or not. No, they aren't and I never considered them to be. Then again, if my Neon were in that crash instead of the Malibu, I MIGHT fare better than the 59's driver...
as a fellow neon owner I'd have to say Doubt it! although the 2nd gen is slightly better off than the 1st gen that I used to own. I would NOT want to get hit in either!!!

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Old 09-22-2009, 06:51 PM   #29 (permalink)
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Meh, the 2nd gen isn't too bad.
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Old 09-22-2009, 07:52 PM   #30 (permalink)
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The New York Times writeup includes results of the crash test.

The 1959 BelAir was given Poor ratings across the board, and the driver would have been killed on impact. The steering column was driven into his chest, and the passenger cell failed.

The 2009 Malibu driver would have survived, with a chance of lower leg injury. Good across the board, except Acceptable in the driver's leg category.

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