The concept of car safety is not new, although the methods of testing have been modernized significantly. It took decades for the Federal Government to make safety belts standard, but in a way that opened the floodgates to a slew of new safety features from air bags to stability control.
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Scouring YouTube, Bangshift came across this video of Ford’s crash testing procedures from the 1950’s. It shows just how far both safety, and testing procedures have come.
This video is about as crude as they come, even by 1950’s standards, what with the camera panning down a card with printed letters as the opening scene. Pay special attention to the testing methods though. We have gotten used to videos of cars on hydraulic launches being slammed into barriers surrounded by high-speed cameras and using sophisticated crash test dummies to measure injuries. Computers, an army of engineers, and sophisticated algorithms are all part of the testing equation now.
Compare today’s methods with those used in the above video. The test car isn’t launched; it is literally towed into another car (and not very quickly either) on an open track. The test car is attached to an instrument vehicle that records the data and which have to follow alongside the test car at track speed. It is all rather complicated and sort of dangerous looking. The big technology being tested here was “safety locks” which kept the doors closed during a crash. No seat belts though, which means the occupants go flying. Modernity certainly has its benefits.