New side safety structural changes have been developed for some 1969 model General Motors cars. The research covered two years, during which time crash situations were simulated and analyzed, field data were studied, and various approaches to side protection were investigated.
A low-weight, high-strength steel beam was developed and positioned horizontally in the door. In addition, the supporting body structures were reinforced. The resultant structure reduced penetration into the passenger compartment during side collision tests by causing a deflecting action between the two cars, and by preventing ride-over of the striking vehicle into the struck car.
Fisher Body has recently developed the basis for a static laboratory technique of testing that measures the strength of side impact structure in such a way as to allow tryouts of designs early in the program. Because of the number of GM cars designed each year, this will curtail the extensive time and cost factors previously involved in dynamic testing.