Movie Friday: ‘Head On’ pits a 1938 Chevy against a mighty locomotive: Behold, the energy of the box-girder frame!

Behold, the electrical power of the box-girder frame!



The train is, in several methods, the enemy of the car. We’;re not even getting philosophical about personalized transportation versus mass transit or diving into disputes over regardless of whether to fund interstates or railways: Trains are simply larger and heavier than even the bulkiest of automobiles, and they are quite content to turn any automobile that occurs to be parked on their tracks into scrap-metal pancakes with no slowing down.

It’;s physics, people. When an unstoppable force meets a very movable object…you are not going to want to be near to the level of impact.

Except if, apparently, you’;re in a 1938 Chevrolet sedan. And that train occurs to be moving very, extremely gradually. At least we feel that’;s the point of this 1938 film reel titled “Head On.”

In common Jam Useful style, the movie employs a series of seemingly disparate examples– racing yacht masts, substantial-velocity passenger trains, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge — to introduce a idea applicable to automotive engineering. In this case, the box-girder frame utilized on the ’;38 Chevy. To show its extraordinary compressive strength, a sedan is sandwiched amongst a Pere Marquette 2-10-2 “Santa Fe” locomotive and an additional railcar. The impromptu piece of rolling stock gets bumped along the rails with out obtaining crushed like an egg, all thanks, we’;re informed, to its box-girder frame.

This raises some interesting questions about the merits of modern day motor vehicle development versus the stout — to the point of becoming unyielding — ladder-frame methods of the previous. The entire level of designing a crumple zone into a car is to handle impacts and to soak up the power of a collision. The much more energy that goes into deforming metal, the significantly less that goes into you. And you are, at least to your mother, significantly less replaceable than the car you happen to be driving. So it is entirely achievable that a modern day auto might come out of a related check looking worse for the put on than this ’;38 Chevy whilst carrying out far greater in an actual collision exactly where passenger survivability is concerned.

Both way, we believe this frame does a great work presenting the supposed merits of a new auto in a novel, engaging way. We’;ll view a new Impala go toe-to-toe with an F40PH. You listening, Chevy?

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