Scale model tests are conducted to demonstrate the utility of modeling in the study of automobile impact problems. Specifically, the interaction of the bumper and energy-absorbing frame of an Experimental Safety Vehicle (ESV) during impact against a rigid pole at 50 mph is investigated with one-eighth scale models of the ESV. The models duplicate the mass and energy-absorbing characteristics of the ESV and the materials and important construction detail of full-scale bumpers. Aluminum alloy and high-strength steel bumpers with equivalent full-scale weights from 48-146 lb are tested. Acceleration to 50 mph is provided by a pneumatic launcher; impact is recorded by high-speed cameras.Accuracy of the modeling technique is demonstrated by favorable comparison with full-scale experiments conducted by Ford Motor Co. The more extensive tests possible with the scale models show that the lightest successful bumpers are made of 7075-T6 aluminum and would weigh less than 64 lb in full scale.