The Smallest Minority on earth is the individual. Those who deny individual rights cannot claim to be defenders of minorities. - Ayn Rand
Well, THAT was eye-opening!
Hm. Kind of makes me reconsider a '60s or '70s era muscle car...
The Malibu's passenger compartment certainly came through better than the Bel Air's, but I have one thought with respect to the "driver of the Bel Air would have been killed instantly:" I assume there were no seat belts in the Bel Air; from what I found, even front-seat-only lap belts didn't become widespread in the U.S. until 1964 (I remember Dad's '64 Impala -- giddy up 409! -- had lap belts).
I think much, but not all, of the gain in crash survival can be attributed to the seat belt/shoulder harness.
Ken: Watch again. The entire drivers seat is pushed in with the dash, steering wheel, and frame. Icky squishy.
I'd attribute no small portion of the '59's catastrophic collapse to the presence of a helluva lot of corrosion in the frame and hidden in the body panels.
Watch it again, and watch for the bursts of rust-red powder coming from the '59's rocker panels, inner fenderwells, etc.
Not to say that it would have done even 10% better with "as new", full strength steel. But we all know (and have likely owned) cars with panels rusted completely through. Not much strength there, right?
Same with the frame, and those GM "X-frame" cars were hideously weak structures to begin with.
For a real test though, you'd have to use Joan Claybrook as a crash test dummy. Preferably, as the impact target between the cars.
Sunk New Dawn
Jim brought up all the points I was going to.
Those late 50's - early 60's GM X frames were really terrible.
"...Same with the frame, and those GM "X-frame" cars were hideously weak structures to begin with..."
Most guys using this car as a basis for building a street machine these days are opting for a complete, new chassis, built specifically for these cars, by Art Morrison...and for obvious reasons.
Seat belts, air-bags and crush zones, along with A-pillar reinforcement have done quite a bit for survival in these situations.
Christine is going to be so pissed...
(Yes I know christine was a 57 Plymouth Fury...)
Resist it all you like, those old cars were death traps. I'd rather be in that Malibu than ANY brand new car from 1959 in a head on wreck.
On the youtube version, I'd made a ~7 minute long video response rebutting the more obvious errors (corrosion, tampering, etc) and attributing the failure to weak body structure, poor load management with the X frame rails, and the effects the long, spindly straight-6 engine mount structure had.
Where did the Highway Safety folks find the old Chevy? I hate to see classic cars demolished for films. I know a fellow who would have liked to have that car for his collection. And any number of people who could use that new car but can't afford it. Myself included.
I have to agree with Patrick. I sure hate to see an old classic destroyed just to make a film. Somebody would have paid good money for that old Chevy.
So, if they can build them safer, can they build one with some style? All the new ones look the same. Ford, Chevy, Acura, little aerodynamic shells with taillights.
The only cars with any personality are the retro designs like the Mustang and the Charger, and that is just an echo of what once was.
"We the government would like to salute the insurance industr*cut* CUT! Who wrote this crap? I can't say that!"