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Old 03-01-2007, 08:41 PM   #11
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How can the 1981 not sustain any damage from being hit in the corner?

My highschool physics teacher used to make a joke that went something like this: "In the old days you'd get in a wreck going 20 MPH and the whiplash from the solid metal frame would break your neck, now crumple zones total the car but keep you safe." Take your pick...I'm sure his wife was happy when she hit a tree in her civic and had a bunch of plastic, squishy cushion seperating her and the tree.
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Old 03-01-2007, 08:56 PM   #12
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Escorts are hardly impenetrable fortresses of steel; no doubt they crumple too. I'll take my pick: a vehicle with 5 mph bumpers that can take a hit and not break the bank or my neck.

Impacts tests I'm aware of crash the vehicle into a flat barrier so if there's a good stout bumper sticking out there far enough to take the hit then that's where the damage is confined (at a certain speed or below of course). Also the bumper needs to be a "floating" design, by that I mean there are gaps between it and surrounding parts like fenders, hoods, and grilles so that when it "gives" it doesn't take all that other stuff along for the ride. If a vehicle doesn't have 5 mph impact resistance and whatever bumpers it does have don't protrude very far and if all the front end bits are attached and/or butt up to each other and if there is a specially-tooled model-specific $700 exotic HID light cluster sitting out there on each fender corner instead of a universal $5 sealed beam it's gonna cost a lot more.

Edit: Peakster you linked a more informative article than I originally found. So it wasn't a flat barrier- that makes bumper height much more crucial to performance.

Also speaking of pedestrian safety, cars are having to have higher, blunter noses to meet new standards. I bet the Fiero wouldn't stand a chance in whatever test they came up with for that. I wonder how Corvettes plan on passing?
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Old 03-01-2007, 10:04 PM   #13
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I do think that cars are much more complex than they used to be.
They're much more complex than they need to be. But, useless complexity is something extra to charge the buyer for and fatten profit margins...
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Old 03-01-2007, 10:31 PM   #14
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Also speaking of pedestrian safety, cars are having to have higher, blunter noses to meet new standards. I bet the Fiero wouldn't stand a chance in whatever test they came up with for that. I wonder how Corvettes plan on passing?
I think that low-slung vehicles would be better for pedestrian safety because the impact would be below the vital organs (lower legs). If someone got smoked off by an SUV, the chances of chest and head injuries would be more likely.
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Old 03-02-2007, 02:59 AM   #15
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They're much more complex than they need to be. But, useless complexity is something extra to charge the buyer for and fatten profit margins...
Hey, stop bashing German cars... well ... ok, you're right.
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Old 03-02-2007, 10:25 PM   #16
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An illustration of what I mean: The Audis all seem to be saying "Smack me, I'm rich and I love to squander lots of insurance money on bodyshops and parts."

Look at all the expensive stuff that would be sacrificed at the slightest tap:







^Above and V Below: Look how the part line between fascia and fender is vertical, not horizontal. When the fascia gets pushed back from a hit, it doesn't slide along fender with easy-shearing plastic fasteners acting as "fuses"; it butts right into the fender and messes it up too. Also note how tight bumper surface is to lighting and adjacent panels- any little hit and flexure and the adjacent stuff gets it too.



^Above: Would you push anything with that front end? V Below: I would with that one!

Gap between bumper and other parts allows movement without buckling/breaking everything else in the vicinity. Plus, bumpers protrude a generous amount:



Damn! Wish this shot went a little more to the left:





That's how an Escort can take a hit and incur a cost of $0. Bumper ends are a rubbery plastic; in that test apparently the bumper ends didn't scuff or break and the lighting, grille, hood, and fender was protected. Lightly smack the corner of the Audi and you are looking at fascia replacement or refinishing and painting at a minimum plus all that other stuff already mentioned.
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Old 03-02-2007, 10:51 PM   #17
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Our cars would be best off if they used one or two-piece mass produced composite bodies that were easily recyclable. Get into a fender bender or even a serious crash, just slap on a new body, recycle the material from the old one. Done right, it would actually be an inexpensive proposition while allowing cars to be more liberal with aesthetic appearance and making them much safer and lighter in weight than today.

Henry Ford built a Model A sedan with a hemp and wheatstraw body. 10 times more dent resistant than steel, 1/3 the weight of steel, never rusted, extremely cheap to manufacture and replace, fully recyclable, and in accidents would bend and then bounce back into place(unless the accident was severe enough to cause a crack). But this goes contrary to the goals of a company who seeks to maximize ownership cost and profit...
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Old 03-02-2007, 11:16 PM   #18
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Oh, but that's a lot of work to switch out all that stuff. I like collision hits to be contained as much as possible to the point of impact; service that spot and not have to fiddle with the rest of the structure and components.



There's the old man goin' at it with an axe. http://www.chanvre-info.ch/info/en/A...ord-s-Car.html They say a plastic prototype car weighed 2300 lbs.; 2/3 the weight of a comparable steel one.
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Old 03-03-2007, 05:35 AM   #19
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my vx has been run in to a number of times at low speeds while parked, and it has a rather solid front end, with a nice big chunk of white bead foam, and a big plastic cover over it, $100 to replace the cover, and $15 in paint, and the front end looked like new.
crumple zones are nice, my brother crashed a simaler mid 80's civic in to a power line pole at 25mph putting a foot deep dent in the metal bumper, grill, engine, and walked away without more then a bump on his head.
I've also had the front end of my crx riped appart after sliding a crose ice, and the whole front end is modular, with $85 replacable colloms that are made to collaps on collision, this is what the soft plastic bumper bolts to.
I compleatly agree that new cars are designed to cost alot when they run in to something, and that it should not be the case.
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Old 03-03-2007, 11:07 AM   #20
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Hello -

I think that fashion is dictating alot of this. Keeping up with the Joneses and such to the point where ALL CARS MUST BE MONOTONE IN PAINT SCHEMES so that every bumper repair also requires a matching repaint of the bumper.

Tangential Note : That's why I like the Pontiac Vibe. You can actually get this car without painted bumpers, and the design is such that it *works* visually.

Overall I like the increased safety requirements. I just want a car that goes against the fashion grain and provides "old days" common sense utility. Maybe a new "Beetle equivalent", but doesn't have to look like a beetle. Gimme that old time manual rack and pinion steering and that old time roll down windows!


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