oldsmobile cutlass supreme : -- Shawn Lin "Here I sit all broken hearted..." Student at Southwest Missouri State University - Springfield MO - - My webpage: The Olds was most likely on its brakes when the accident occurred.This caused the front end to pitch downward (quite a way because itmost likely had the original shocks which let the nose pitch downwardeven further). This put the weakest part of the Olds, the grill area,into the strongest part of the Topaz- the bumper (rear in this case).After 5 years as a firefighter along a two-lane mountain highway, Ican tell, based on my observations, that larger (and definitely-box-framed) vehicles are more crash worthy than smaller unibodyvehicles. I have seen unibody cars, involved in head-on accidents,that were nearly cut in half along a left-to-right line basicallybetween the front door posts. You could push down on the front fenderand the car would actually rock like a see-saw hinged in the middle. I remember one in particular. The car was a four door (ChevyCelebrity, I think), but was compressed so far that the driver's sidelooked like a two door. There was a lot of survivable space in thevehicle around the driver, but the driver died because the roofcrumpled so much from the compression of the vehicle that he wasstruck in the back of the head by the roof! If this vehicle had aframe it would not, in my opinion, have been compressed to such adegree.
oldsmobile cutlass supreme : I once saw a small Japanese car rear end another vehicle under similarcircumstances as you describe above, and the radiator actually fellout of the car. The impact happened at about 20-30 MPH and the frontof the car was destroyed- looked like about $2500 in damage- maybe abit more.You're definitely correct, I saw a friend take the fenders off one ofthese Oldsmobiles, there is nothing but thin sheet metal surrounding theengine and the car relies completely on the frame to support it in anaccident. Virtually ineffective if it slides under something!Something else I was wondering... have you noticed any significantdifference in unibody strength and safety in newer model cars? Also,does any particular company seem to make tougher cars? I have alwaysbeen under the impression that Ford unibodies were stronger, but that'sjust because I had an '86 Mercury Sable that felt like it was built likea tank, whereas my '89 Olds Cutlass Supreme seems like it has alighter-duty unibody and thinner sheet metal. Old: Flimsy box on a rigid frame New: Crumple zones on a unibody frame
oldsmobile cutlass supreme : The roof is not supposed to crumple, the front and rear fenders are supposed to give way. Roughly speaking, the energy used in bending the metal cannot be used to break bones.of course there are alot of factors, but here I think you arelooking at the impact of new cars being judjed by minor acidentrepair cost. So the modern car does well in a fender bender,but that doesn't mean it would win in a high speed head on.that may be a low point...they were trying to trim the weightwhile keeping the traditional design. If it had been a late60's model instead things would be different.the first thing you'll probably notice is that a late 70's car's framewill probably consist of about 90% rust. this of course, has a largeeffect on the strength of the frame, but as for damage in an accident...the first thing you have to remember is that in a unibody design,obviously, the body is used as the frame and therefore must be muchstronger than the body on a frame style car so on the surface the framestyle car will look much worse but both will probably come away with abent frame.
oldsmobile cutlass supreme : and, for the record, my unibody '72 datsun 240Z sustained quite a bit ofdamage when I was rear-ended. (*^*&^&^^%$$!!!)and as for bigger cars being safer, would you like to be rear-ended by acement truck in a geo metro or a "land boat" olds? ;)That may be true, but I don't think the midwest uses salt as much as thenorthern states. I have seen a few (early 70's) cars that were badlyneglected that had rusted out frames, but that was obvious - the bodieswere badly rusted out too!My '86 Mercury Sable suffered no damage at all when rear-ended, but my'89 Olds suffered a bent bumper (it was pushed in at the middle 3/4"). I sure hope newer unibody cars are built stronger.Funny you should ask... a garbage truck once backed into my car when itwas parked on the street. Pushed it 5 ft (I'm sure that wasn't good forthe park gear), demolished the trunklid, and smashed in a taillight andits associated quarter panel. Was about $3000 worth of damage, hardlyanything done to the garbage truck! Talking about land boats, I oncesaw a mid 80's (boxy style) Lincoln Town Car hit the side of a Saturn SLsedan. WOW, ever seen a Saturn in a wreck? It's weird! Couldn't seeany damage on the Town Car, but the Saturn's front and rear doors hadlost their exterior panels, the plastic panels and glass had shattered,exposing the black door skeletons. Didn't seem to compromise theintegrity of the passenger compartment though, looks like plastic is asuitable replacement for sheet metal.
oldsmobile cutlass supreme : Puddin' Head writes<snip Unibody vs. spaceframe etc car>Design changes:- A modern Unibody car is designed on computer to optimise strength vs. weight. The old frame designs didn't have this luxury. This is commonly seen as xx% increased torsional strength compared to the previous model. Some ?open-top? corvette owners may know this :)- The old methods were to design a car as *statically* strong as possible, ie, like a train-carriage I-beam girder frame: "it must be strong".The problem with design-for-strength, is that passengers are like peasinside rattling around. They prefer decelerative/accelerative forces tobe spread over as long a time/distance as possible: limits broken bones.Admittedly they also don't like things intruding into the passenger cell.- A frame-car decelerates a person through 0.5m as the car is an M1 tank & isn't going to deform against another M1 tank. A unibody-car decelerates a person through 1.5m so the person experiences less bone-loadings. (This is especially important re 3-point seatbelt-loadings @ hip/chest). Put it another way. Two Unibody cars crash head-on @60mph, so each has effectively hit a brick wall @30mph (assuming each of same weight). Now put a Unibody vs an old space-frame. The Unibody has to work harder as the old space-frame car hasn't absorbed "its share" of the impact.
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