IIHS Demonstrates Crash Between a 1959 Chevrolet
Bel Air and a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu in Honor of 50th Anniversary;
Becker Uses Crash to Explain the Latest in Steel and How It Impacts
December 11, 2009
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) recently conducted
a crash test between a 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air and a 2009 Chevrolet
Malibu in honor of its own 50th anniversary. Despite the size of
the Bel Air, the Malibu fared much better in the crash.
"It was night and day, the difference in occupant protection,"
says Institute president Adrian Lund. "What this test shows
is that automakers don't build cars like they used to. They build
During a recent seminar titled "New Cars, New Challenges,"
ABRA Auto Body's Mitch Becker showed this video, and pointed out
that one of the major evolutions in the auto industry has been the
changes in the steel used in vehicles. The seminar was part of the
International Auto Glass Safety (AGRSS) Conference held in Las Vegas
"It doesn't matter how much steel you put in [the older vehicles],
it doesn't compete with today's high-strength steel," Becker
Today, he said the evolution continues, as auto makers continue
to push for even more high-strength steel to be used in the front
"Are we seeing an evolution?" he asked. "Yes."
Becker also pointed out that it's important for auto glass technicians
to familiarize themselves with the types of steel that can be used.
"It's not enough to know how to replace the windshield,"
he said. "You need to be able to identify the types of steel
"Are there a lot of things to consider? You bet," Becker
He also cautioned that it's always important to identify what makes
up the bonding surface, when it come to roofs, A-pillars and tailgates,
and to treat it accordingly.
Becker advised against using tools such as induction heaters, unless
you know how it could affect the rest of the vehicle.
"An [induction heater] does release the windshield, but it
also removes the roof's adhesive bond, too," he said.
Becker also stressed that it's important to train techs how to handle
a situation when they do damage a pinchweld.
"Our techs have to know that they've got to get the primer
into that scratch," he said.
HERE to view a video of the crash test.
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