Organizations like our National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety are maintained so that all vehicle occupants can be protected, while ensuring the best and safest motoring experience for everybody.
There has always kind of existed a stigma about “old iron,” that those cars that were built with far more chrome than most home refrigerators, and were somehow more solid as a result. The thing is that when we talk about “early models,” we’re usually not bragging about such vitals as drivetrain and undercarriage construction; after all, the architecture behind LS and other modern performance V-8s have shown that automotive construction really has gotten better.
What’s usually celebrated about our favorite ’50s and ’60s makes is their impeccable sense of class and styling. With this sense of styling, however, comes that technology that was revered as such some 40 plus years ago, but also that which we would never want to have to rely on in the midst of a technological whirlwind. Because this usually is the case with automotive and other such industries, the IIHS’ 50th-anniversary crash test shows that earlier models are not necessarily the safest.
Apparently, IIHS president, Adrian Lund agrees, and so the purpose of the agency has been to continue in the advancement of automotive technology that better serves the well-being of commuters, “It was night and day, the difference in occupant protection,” says Lund of the agency’s ceremonial crash test between a ’59 Chevy Bel Air and an ’09 Malibu. “What this test shows is that automakers don’t build cars like they used to; they build them better.”
Our featured crash test was one that commemorated more than 50 years of vehicle safety and integrity, but when it comes to the construction of your everyday driver, which is more important to you: form or function?