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For those of you that profess how safe our old cars are.........


Barry Wolk
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A lot of use would "like" to believe our old cars are heavier and more sturdy, but I do hesitate when I take my granddaughters for a ride in my old Nash with out seat belts. But as someone illustrted I am not sure they are any safer without them due to the lack of proper mounting points in my old car. Not sure Does preservation class take off points for belts also?

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I think it's a great demonstration of the advancements in automotive safety, the laws of physics and our tax dollars at work.

As far as the destruction of the '59... Well... Lighten up. It's not like they lit the Mona Lisa on fire to show the flammability of old paint.

For an encore I'd like to see a '09 Malibu vs a three foot diameter oak tree.

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Sounds like the bottom line is to use caution, like a motorcyclist. I drive very defensively but don't let the risk factor ruin my enjoyment. We have had some close calls - like the husband who was pointing excitedly at the car and his wife, driving, assumed he was directing her to make a hard turn - right at us! You have to expect anything.

That said, touring in an antique car is still, in my opinion, a pretty low risk activity. Certainly less than skydiving, for example...

Glad CT law does not call for retro fitting seatbelts, I agree if the car was not initially designed for them they are in fact, pretty dangerous.

Hope everyone stays safe out there.

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Never mind the all steel '59 Chevy..I can't even imagine what a head on collision with a modern car would look like hitting a car like mine ('29 Chrysler) with a wooden frame?!! Staged or not, it's safe to say there would be no survival. Makes you really think.

Dan

I hope you meant wooden body structure and not wooden frame.

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Makes you really think.

Dan

And that is why the sad loss of a 1959 Chevy may be worth it. There are plenty of people who think of their antiques as more-or-less invulnerable tanks among the more modern iron they share the road with. A cursory scan of any safety related thread on this forum will find any number of posts fron such people.

It cannot be measured, but if this film causes one antique driver on his/her way home tonight to be a little more cautious at an intersection, preventing a life-ending or life-altering tragedy, it may have been worth one Bel Air sedan.

The intended audience for this film was not us. It was for buyers of modern cars to help convince them that they're actually getting something for all the money this research and engineering has cost. Our cautioning is merely a side benefit, one that that was enough for me not to decry the loss of this Chevy.

===========

Also, I've never heard any authoritative source say that properly installed seat belts in antique cars were a mistake. Obviously they would not have helped anyone sitting in the Chevy in this film. But in almost any other angle, any lower speed, or any higher speed where a roll-over occurred, they certainly would have helped.

No, installing them in 50+ year old cars is not as good as having them in a car that was designed with reinforced mounting points engineered in. But in almost any case where a thoughtful installation was accomplished, they would be better than nothing.

There's a very good reason why there's no point deduction in most systems for seat belt and safety glass installation.:)

Edited by Dave@Moon
dumb typo (see edit history)
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<object width="425" height="344"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3ygYUYia9I&hl=en&fs=1&"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3ygYUYia9I&hl=en&fs=1&" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="425" height="344"></embed></object>

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The Renault/Volvo crash test is actually more indicative of the advancements make in occupant safety simply because the two vehicles are much closer in vintage. That is why the 59 Chevy vs 09 Chevy test is of questionable significance. What would have happened if they crashed that 59 Chevy into (19)09 Ford?

I hope IIHS has saved an "unrestored, original" 2009 Malibu so they can crash it into a new car 50 years from now. Wonder who will "win?"

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It cannot be measured, but if this film causes one antique driver on his/her way home tonight to be a little more cautious at an intersection, preventing a life-ending or life-altering tragedy, it may have been worth one Bel Air sedan.

So, Mr. Moon, is the onus now on all of us who regularly drive our old cars to be more vigilant to prevent a life-ending/altering tragedy? That "crash-test" was a load of hooey to make the IIHS feel good about what they get paid for.

Like the 5-MPH bumpers dictated for 1973. Thank you IIHS. They were mandated 'cause the previous bumpers acted like battering rams, with no real benefit in a crash. So they said, and successfully lobbied for safety reforms.

Where are those bumpers now, when a mere parking lot tap results in thousands of dollars in damage? And who pays for the damage? We do, collectively, in the form of higher insurance premiums, across the board. Thanks again, IIHS.

I will take my '57 Roadmaster with it's made-in America bolts (though they're now 52 years old) any day over a new plasticene Malibu with its hot glue and styrofoam construction. Admittedly, it's not that practical to park these days...

We are in a new Golden Era of Autodom, with too many new safety, power, and maneuverability wonders to count, but please, do not confuse stub-framed unit-body crumple zones with solid body-on-frame construction. I can't honestly say which is better, but one suspect crash-test isn't going to sway me to the former.

I'd love to do the PC thing and drive a Prius (or a moped), and I really mean it, but neither could handle our 24-foot enclosed trailer pulling the frame-off restored '56 Lincoln Premiere convertible that just came home after an 18-month redo.

For that, I use a Chevy Silverado 3500 Duramax Diesel Crew Cab with an Allison tranny; regardless of what I'm driving, it's always done defensively, worried more about the other guy.

So, let's save all the hand-wringing for the worry-worts, and support SEMA, and other like-minded groups who lobby for what we love. Old cars.

TG

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A 2009 Prius is more fuel effecient than old Cadillacs and Lincolns, therefore all new cars get better mileage than all old cars.

Not true, Metropolitans get great mileage and new Hummers do not.

New Corvettes are faster than Metropolitans, therefore all new cars are faster than all old cars.

Not true, new Toyota Echos are not fast and old Corvettes and Hemi 'Cudas are not slow.

A 2009 Malibu is better than a 1959 Chevy with a rusty and poorly designed X frame. Therefore ALL new cars are better than ALL old cars in an accident.

That is just as ridiculous as either of the other two comments. I have been in two accidents with Lincoln Mark V's vs. newer cars. In both accidents I was very glad I was in the Mark V. I am not dead, the steering column did not impale me. In fact I felt absolutely nothing other than a small bump when I was in the car. I could not believe the amount of damage when I got out of the car. In the one accident, the occupants of the newer car were taken to the hospital. I didn't have a scratch.

Is this how they test new cars? The 2009 Malibu does well in a test, so there is absolutely no need to test any other new cars? We will just assume that all new cars are wonderful because the Malibu tested well. But obviously all old cars are bad because a 50 year old 1959 Chevy did not do well.

Not to mention that testing a anything, not just car, but anything 50 years old against something brand new is obviously not a fair test. The 50 year old item has 50 years of age, wear and tear on it whereas the new item has zero. How well will a Malibu perform when it is 50 years old? After 5, 10, or 20 years of salty winter streets, is it going to perform just as well as when it was brand new?

How a car is going to perform in an accident depends on its design, age, size, condition, what it hits, etc. Not just whether it is a new car or old car.

Edited by LINC400 (see edit history)
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Last night I watched the video again. They added three little dialogue boxes at the very beginning that didn't show up the first 2 times I watched it. I think they are new, at least I never saw them before. If you blink you'll miss them. They come on @ 14 seconds into the video, and appear to have been hastily typed.

#1 states flatly that the car is in no way modified or missing any components. #2 reiterates the speed of impact. #3 states that the '59 Chevy driver would've been compressed in the accident so much that even if belted he would have had no chance of survival.

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Dave, The dialoge boxes were there when I first saw the video posted here.

Barry, Regarding your latest post, I never said it did not have an engine. Feel free to read my earlier comments. I also do not quite buy their explanation of the rust colored dust cloud.

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Take a look at this clip, also from the IIHS...

Some good explanation of crash-physics here, and no vintage cars were sacrificed.

YouTube - MINICARS MICROCARS CRASH TEST FAIL CAR CARS AUTOS New Crash

Very interesting. It does give credence to the fact that bigger modern cars are safer than smaller modern cars, no question.

It also clearly states that the crumple zones of the larger, longer, new cars is responsible for their safety, not simply the mass of them as has been misrepresented.

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One of the things that really got my attention was the way the "compact car" punted the Smart Car back away from the point of impact...

So now, not only do the engineers have to be concerned with the vehicle and occupants surviving the initial impact, but also secondary / collateral impacts...

Many factors to consider.

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Ok, well, the 2 last years of the 1950's were not good on GM, lets not forget the 1958 Chevy? Lets compare the '09 malibu to a 1940's car, with 10 tons of bumper, and see what happens

Weight is hardly the deciding factor, but if you must...

4 DOOR SEDAN CURB WEIGHTS:

2009 Chevy Malibu: 3415 lbs.

1959 Chevy BelAir: 3600 lbs.

1948 Chevy Stylemaster: 3115 lbs.

1941 Chevy Master Deluxe: 3090 lbs.

1938 Chevy Master 6: 2840 lbs.

1928 Chevy National: 2090 lbs.

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The problem I have with this video is that it implies that all new cars are safer than all old cars. This is not the case. It is not new or old that makes you safe. However, that is considering both cars when new. Obviously rust, corrosion, dry rot and brittle and cracked things that happen as a normal part of a vehicles aging are of course going to make it weaker than when it was new. There are 3 things that make you safe.

1. Safety equipment. Seat belts, air bags, anti-lock brakes, crumple zones. With two identical cars, the one equipped with these items will be safer than one that is not.

2. Size and weight of the vehicle. A large vehicle is going to do better against a small vehicle. All the safety equipment you can think of is not going to help your 2009 Malibu if you hit a freight train.

3. Design of the vehicle. A vehicle with a bad design, such as an X frame, is going to do worse than a box frame or other better designed vehicle. Sharp objects on the interior are indeed going to hurt more than flat plastic or rubber objects.

So it is not just whether it is old or new. It is the combination of 1-3 in the vehicle vs. the combo in the vehicle it hits. Plus there are still unforseen circumstances. Such as an SUV doing well in an initial impact, but then injuring people when it flips over after the impact.

In the 1959 vs. 2009 video, the '59 had no safety equipment, a bad design, and at 3600 lbs. no weight advantage over the 2009 Malibu. So is it really a surprise that with #1 and 3 advantages the Malibu won?

However, if they were to take a 1959 Imperial at 4800 lbs. and a frame and body design that has caused it be crowned king of the demo derby and even banned in most, and equip it with seat belts that were optional on it, there might be some different results against a 2009 Malibu at 3450 lbs. or even 2009 Chrysler 300 at 3600 lbs. Use the 1959 Imperial against a 2009 Smart Car, and I definitely think you will not be getting the results that newer is better.

I have been in two accidents with 1978-79 Lincoln Mark V's vs. newer cars. I am not dead, injured, in fact I felt nothing except a small bump in both accidents. The occupants of the newer car were taken to the hospital.

The fact that they say they were specifically looking for a 1959 Bel Air to crash leads me to believe that they were specifically looking for a 1959 Bel Air as opposed to any 50 year old car. I believe they knew its weaknesses and wanted to use them to their advantage.

Also what has the IIHS actually done to improve vehicle safety? I would say that seat belts would make the biggest difference in safety. Ford and Packard offered them as options in 1956. Maybe others offered them earlier. IIHS came along in 1959, so what did they have to do with them? In fact I believe that the automakers are the ones that came up with the all the safety innovations, not IIHS. GM had airbags in 1974.

Now if the IIHS could compile a list of what innovations they have come up with, or what specific contributions they have actually made, not just crashing cars and reporting results, then show how this safety innovation saves lives as compared to a vehicle not equipped with it, then I would be impressed.

To simply take an old rusty, poorly designed car with no safety features and crash it, and then imply that this it what happens when any old car hits any new car, and it is all because of them, is B.S. Just because a car is old or new does not mean it is safe or unsafe.

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Oldsmobile produced a short test run of experimantal air bag equipped 88's in 1953. When SRS systems started making their entry into production autos. I-CAR or Tech-Cor, I forget which, found one of the original SRS Oldsmobiles in a chicken coop in Nevada. They got it in running condition and promptly ran it in a barrier test to see if it still worked after all the years. I know the film is out there somewhere and still does exist. The test film was similar to the 2009/1959 video.

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The problem I have with this video is that it implies that all new cars are safer than all old cars. This is not the case. It is not new or old that makes you safe. However, that is considering both cars when new. Obviously rust, corrosion, dry rot and brittle and cracked things that happen as a normal part of a vehicles aging are of course going to make it weaker than when it was new. There are 3 things that make you safe.

1. Safety equipment. Seat belts, air bags, anti-lock brakes, crumple zones. With two identical cars, the one equipped with these items will be safer than one that is not.

2. Size and weight of the vehicle. A large vehicle is going to do better against a small vehicle. All the safety equipment you can think of is not going to help your 2009 Malibu if you hit a freight train.

3. Design of the vehicle. A vehicle with a bad design, such as an X frame, is going to do worse than a box frame or other better designed vehicle. Sharp objects on the interior are indeed going to hurt more than flat plastic or rubber objects.

So it is not just whether it is old or new. It is the combination of 1-3 in the vehicle vs. the combo in the vehicle it hits. Plus there are still unforseen circumstances. Such as an SUV doing well in an initial impact, but then injuring people when it flips over after the impact.

In the 1959 vs. 2009 video, the '59 had no safety equipment, a bad design, and at 3600 lbs. no weight advantage over the 2009 Malibu. So is it really a surprise that with #1 and 3 advantages the Malibu won?

However, if they were to take a 1959 Imperial at 4800 lbs. and a frame and body design that has caused it be crowned king of the demo derby and even banned in most, and equip it with seat belts that were optional on it, there might be some different results against a 2009 Malibu at 3450 lbs. or even 2009 Chrysler 300 at 3600 lbs. Use the 1959 Imperial against a 2009 Smart Car, and I definitely think you will not be getting the results that newer is better.

I have been in two accidents with 1978-79 Lincoln Mark V's vs. newer cars. I am not dead, injured, in fact I felt nothing except a small bump in both accidents. The occupants of the newer car were taken to the hospital.

The fact that they say they were specifically looking for a 1959 Bel Air to crash leads me to believe that they were specifically looking for a 1959 Bel Air as opposed to any 50 year old car. I believe they knew its weaknesses and wanted to use them to their advantage.

Also what has the IIHS actually done to improve vehicle safety? I would say that seat belts would make the biggest difference in safety. Ford and Packard offered them as options in 1956. Maybe others offered them earlier. IIHS came along in 1959, so what did they have to do with them? In fact I believe that the automakers are the ones that came up with the all the safety innovations, not IIHS. GM had airbags in 1974.

Now if the IIHS could compile a list of what innovations they have come up with, or what specific contributions they have actually made, not just crashing cars and reporting results, then show how this safety innovation saves lives as compared to a vehicle not equipped with it, then I would be impressed.

To simply take an old rusty, poorly designed car with no safety features and crash it, and then imply that this it what happens when any old car hits any new car, and it is all because of them, is B.S. Just because a car is old or new does not mean it is safe or unsafe.

Blar, blar, blar, didn't we go through this already? (there's no icon for "tired")

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Interesting that GM conducted its 1968 crash tests using early 1960's Chrysler products and a few Fords.

None of these tests used seat belts which should have been optional at least on all these cars. They can be retrofitted now if the car doesn't have them. My point #1 from the previous post

Do you think sawing big holes in or sawing off the roof and removing the doors might affect the structural integrity of the cars?

How well would Smart Cars or Focuses do in these same tests with doors removed and roofs cut off?

As seen in the other videos with S-Class Mercedes vs. Smart Cars and other small vs. large, size and weight do make a difference. These cars are all the same size and weight. Point#2

The only thing that this video seems to prove, is that Chrysler might have had a problem with its door latches in the early 1960's.

Edited by LINC400 (see edit history)
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