[DML] DeLorean Crash safety
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[DML] DeLorean Crash safety



Claude,

You are correct that the Bricklin was designed as a safety vehicle.  
Being in the safety field for over 30 years  now, I was very involved 
in vehicle safety, back in my younger days at grad school.

The Bricklin was brought out at the time of the first air bag cars.   
GM build over  20,000 full size air bag cars, in 74-76.   Mostly Olds 
and Caddy.    The were a $300 option know as the "air cushion restraint 
system."  These air bags were much safer than the current design and 
never killed any kids.

However, there was a debate whether air bags were needed in a 
adequately designed car that could absorb crash energy.
The DOT contracted to have 2 safety vehicle built in 1975  without air 
bags to test this energy absorbing concept.

Interestingly, these two vehicle had gull wing side doors.   These two 
safety vehicles disappeared when Regan became president (along with all 
the information on making tires quieter (but that's another story).

Bricklin followed up on this crash energy absorbing/dissapating design 
and built the SV1.  You could crash into a wall at 50 mph and walk 
away.  Bricklin even proved this in a live real test.   The main design 
feature was a steel frame that would crush like an accordian bellows.   
   Note: this 50 mph survivability without major injury still exceeds 
the current air bag safety requirements.

DeLorean used a different energy dissipating principal, that of glass 
fibers breaking - and dissapating energy.

Jack Martins, (who died of a brain aneurism about 5 years ago) was the 
air bag safety consultant to JZD.   Jack was a good friend of mine and 
I still own his 1976 air bag Oldsmobile.   I restored it, just before 
he died and he was really happy about the fact that his car was saved.

Jack and I discussed the safety differences between the D and the B 
many times.  Overall the Bricklin was the superior safety vehicle.  
However, if JZD had installed air bags in the Ds, they would have been 
almost equalivent.

Jack was also influential the design of other safety features in the D. 
  For example, the front pillars are padded with about 3 inches of foam. 
  The doors have hip displacement absorbing panels and there knee pads 
on the front dash.

The energy absorbing front pillar pads only became a mandatory safety 
feature about 5 years ago.  JZD and Jack were way ahead in this safety 
feature.

In addition, to all the other reasons why GM wanted JZD out of 
business, Jack felt that the DeLorean safety features also scared GM 
because a better engineered car could be used at trial to show a 
negligent design by another car company.

Jack was a expert witness in many product liability suits against, GM, 
Ford and Chrysler.   Some of his cases were just unbelievable in the 
stupidity of the engineers who designed stuff.   Many times it turned 
out the engineers never did the designing-it was young, underpaid, 
inexperienced draftsman who were told to just make up something that 
works.

I really believe that if JZD has been allowed to stay in business, he 
would have been the first car with standard air bags.  His vehicle were 
designed for them from day one.

Anyway, who said that the rear tires don't fit in the bonnet.  They do 
in the 2015 Delorean.

Bob





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