IIHS: 2009 Chevy Malibu Vs. 1959 Chevy Bel Air (Just Because They Can)

Robert Farago
by Robert Farago

This is a sick way for the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) to “celebrate” its 50th anniversary, but we do love us some crash test video. Apparently, “the driver of the 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air would have been killed instantly while the 2009 Chevrolet Malibu’s driver would walk away with a minor knee injury.” As someone who suffers with that affliction (head fake Bob), I’d ask the IIHS to define “minor” and will henceforth avoid speeding to my local car show in a 1959 Bel Air. Meanwhile, note to the IIHS: in fifty years you couldn’t have added sound? Gary Numan’s Cars, anyway. [Thanks to DC Car Examiner for the link.]

Robert Farago
Robert Farago

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  • SCClockDr SCClockDr on Sep 17, 2009

    I wonder if there was an engine in the Malibu?

  • Dick Dick on Sep 17, 2009

    I've watched this multiple times now and have to ask, was the '59 clipped? Because if it was... All bets are off.

  • Thunder1road Thunder1road on Sep 18, 2009

    The old cars had a solid shaft running from the steering wheel straight down to the steering gear. In a front impact the shaft would often be pushed right into the chest of the driver - like a spear. I would have liked the video better if they had smashed a Suburban into a couple of Hyundai's.

  • PhilR PhilR on Sep 28, 2009

    I had two front end collisions with an X frame car in the past (a 1967 Buick Riviera). The front clip sheetmetal suffered but the frame remained intact and the driver too! In the first collision, the driver of the other car told me he felt it was a severe impact, I didn't (but there was 10,000$ of damage on my car!). My car was repaired both times and I still drive it today! And I also have a 1975 Buick Electra equipped with driver and passenger airbags. I think I'd be safer in a font end collision in my Electra than in a 2009 Malibu! The airbags in the seventies GM cars were more advanced than those of the nineties. The passenger airbag even has a knee cushion and it's so large that it protects the two front passengers. It also has two stage deployment and the driver's side of the dashboards of '70s GM cars with airbags were also padded to act as a knee restraint. Recently, I had an accident at low speed with a newer truck and I was almost killed...