There have been a large number of investigations of passenger vehicle crashworthiness in recent years. Many of these studies have utilized low carbon steel as the primary material of vehicle construction. Because of the ongoing effort to produce lighter, more fuel efficient vehicles, alternate materials, such as HSLA steels, aluminum alloys, and glass reinforced plastics (GFRP), are being considered to replace low carbon steel. However, the question arises as to how these alternate materials perform during high speed collisions. This study, conducted in two parts, was directed toward the characterization of glass fiber reinforced polyesters and their ability to absorb crash energy. The first part of the study entailed evaluating the crushing characteristics of various hand lay-up and commercially available GFRP samples. The second part of the study used compression molded low profile sheet molding compound (SMC) material for the crushing samples. Evaluation of foam filled samples was also performed in each half of the study.