If You've Ever Said You Wouldn't Be Caught Dead in a GM…

Megan Benoit
by Megan Benoit

Apparently there are those that would disagree with you. The Local (in Sweden) is reporting that Claes Tingvall, a car safety specialist, told the newspaper Expressen that GM used human cadavers in a multi-year research project (imagine the smell) to test the safety of their vehicles, possibly on the Saab side of the house. In the ultimate gesture of brand devotion, all ah… participants… allegedly donated their bodies to the cause (no word on if any of them met an untimely end whilst in a GM vehicle). GM and Saab are refusing to acknowledge any tests using their most loyal customers… er, dead human bodies. I've heard of "Cradle-to-Grave" strategies, but does GM build a car that even a dead person could drive? I think Lexus has one. Anyway, the whole thing sounds fishy. Dead men tell no tales, and while you can dissect and glean facts from trauma, there's a reason why crash test dummies are so expensive. They're specially designed to measure stresses and forces from the inside in a quantifiable way, which is more useful than a "He's dead, Jim," from an autopsy tech. I like cars,but I guess I'd rather donate my body to real science, not to a bunch of yokels in lab coats that are going to strap me into (God forbid) a G5 and run it repeatedly into walls to test the effects of excrement-based interior materials on human flesh.

Megan Benoit
Megan Benoit

I'm a computer security geek raised in Nebraska and recently transplanted to Atlanta. I like me some cars, got into car geekery a few years ago and haven't looked back since. I also volunteer at a local ferret shelter and participate in various charity and fund-raising events related to that.

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  • Netrun Netrun on May 09, 2008

    That book "Stiffs" sounds like a winner. Finally, the perfect Mother's Day gift!

  • Menno Menno on May 09, 2008

    I read decades ago that Renault also used cadavers, and had done for years. It must work, since Renault cars are now amongst the safest on the roads. Did anyone else see that British TV crash of a Renault supermini class car vs. a 10-12 year old Volvo 940 "tank" station wagon / estate car on You Tube? Here it is. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3ygYUYia9I By the way - the Volvo DOES have an engine in it. Volvo designed the engine to slide below the firewall in a major accident, and it did exactly as it was supposed to.

  • Stephan Wilkinson Stephan Wilkinson on May 09, 2008

    Mary Roach writes funny books about strange, unexplored areas of science, and "Stiffs" is about cadavers ine very way, shape and form. Her newest book is fascinating: "Bonk," an examination of sex research.

  • Genegenie Genegenie on May 09, 2008

    The reason they used dead bodies for crash tests is,Management could stuff them full of cash and important documents and security wouldn't notice when they took them back out through the gate.