They just don't build 'em like they used to. While that old saying is constantly bandied about in regards to modern-day cars and trucks, it's once again worth saying and was the first thing that popped into our heads after watching the video pasted after the break.
You see, most of the time, we like to think of our old automobiles as tank-like hunks of metal with full frames and acres of dead space in front of the driver and the massive chrome front bumper. While that may often be the case, all those thick bits of steel don't automatically equal safety. This point is driven home by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, which decided to celebrate its 50th anniversary by crash testing a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air into a 2009 Chevy Malibu. The results were eye-opening. Says the IIHS of the Bel Air's performance:
Ouch.... an instant death according to the IIHS. And the '09 Malibu? "A high acceleration was recorded on the left foot, indicating that foot injuries would be possible." Well now, as much as we like our left foot (perfect for operating the clutch, ya know), we'd rather take our chances in the new car, thank you very much. Click past the break to watch the video in all its car-crushing glory, and take a moment to mourn the passing of what used to be a rather nice '59 Bel Air.The dummy's head struck the steering wheel rim and hub and then the roof and unpadded metal instrument panel to the left of the steering wheel.... The windshield was completely dislodged from the car and the driver door opened during the crash, both presenting a risk of ejection. In addition, the front bench seat was torn away from the floor on the driver side.