There are some things in life you just have to see to believe, but witnessing something first hand doesn’t always lead to a definitive answer of if it’s real or not. Take for example, the video of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s famous 50th anniversary crash test above. Now, you’d probably believe that the ‘59 Bel Air used in the crash didn’t fair all that well, even without watching the video, but to hear that a ‘09 Malibu completely demolished the front of the classic might be a bit hard to wrap your head around. Believe it or not, that’s exactly what the official footage shows.
Now there is no doubt that the crash test actually took place but the validity of the results were instantly question when the video was released. The point of the test was to show how far automotive safety had come in 50 years and the video certainly shows a difference between the two cars, but were those differences exaggerated to make results even more astonishing?
Immediately after the video went public, questions arose.
With the whole front end of the Bel Air nearly disintegrating in the crash, people questioned if the classic car’s frame was sound, if it had a lot or rust and even if the car had an engine. Of course, the Institute denied any of these reasons as the cause for the Bel Air’s poor performance, citing that the car just truly wasn’t safe from the factory.
According to some information found during our research, the Bel Air was said to have been in good shape with a sound frame and body panels. The car also supposedly had an engine in place during the crash, although it was only of the 3.9L six-cylinder variety. Oh, and that cloud that appears in the crash that was rumored as a result of rust was explained away as road dirt that had accumulated on the car over the years. But, something still doesn’t seem to add up.Inspired by the test, the TV show Stuntbusters ran a similar crash test but with a 1962 and a 2002 Cadillac and the results were very different. The ‘62 still crumpled like a piece of paper but there wasn’t nearly the destruction as was seen in the official Insurance Institute for Highway Safety test.
So we want to know what you think. Does the famous old vs. new crash test seem legit to you or do you think the exact same crash would actually look a lot different? To help you decide, we’ve included a video with a few different views of the crash below.