Film Friday: ‘Head On’ pits a 1938 Chevy towards a mighty locomotive: Behold, the power of the box-girder frame!

Behold, the energy of the box-girder frame!



The train is, in a lot of approaches, the enemy of the automobile. We’;re not even obtaining philosophical about private transportation versus mass transit or diving into disputes more than whether to fund interstates or railways: Trains are simply larger and heavier than even the bulkiest of cars, and they are fairly pleased to flip any vehicle that occurs to be parked on their tracks into scrap-metal pancakes with no slowing down.

It truly is physics, men and women. When an unstoppable force meets a quite movable object…you happen to be not going to want to be close to the level of impact.

Except if, apparently, you’;re in a 1938 Chevrolet sedan. And that train transpires to be moving really, extremely slowly. At least we think which is the point of this 1938 movie reel titled “Head On.”

In common Jam Handy vogue, the movie makes use of a series of seemingly disparate examples– racing yacht masts, higher-velocity passenger trains, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge — to introduce a idea applicable to automotive engineering. In this case, the box-girder frame used on the ’;38 Chevy. To show its extraordinary compressive strength, a sedan is sandwiched among a Pere Marquette 2-10-2 “Santa Fe” locomotive and yet another railcar. The impromptu piece of rolling stock will get bumped along the rails without getting crushed like an egg, all thanks, we’;re told, to its box-girder frame.

This raises some exciting queries about the merits of modern car development versus the stout — to the level of getting unyielding — ladder-frame strategies of the past. The complete level of developing a crumple zone into a automobile is to handle impacts and to soak up the power of a collision. The far more energy that goes into deforming metal, the significantly less that goes into you. And you are, at least to your mom, much less replaceable than the car you happen to be driving. So it really is totally feasible that a modern day automobile may possibly come out of a similar check searching worse for the dress in than this ’;38 Chevy although performing far greater in an actual collision exactly where passenger survivability is concerned.

Both way, we feel this frame does a excellent occupation presenting the supposed merits of a new vehicle in a novel, engaging way. We’;ll watch a new Impala go toe-to-toe with an F40PH. You listening, Chevy?

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