A must see video and write up on this 50th anniversary crash test. The 2009 Malibu suffered much less damage than the rigid and super heavy '59 Bel Air.
You might think that a muscular 1959 Chevrolet Bel Air could hold its own in a modern-day crash test because of its advantage in weight and size. But as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) proved on its 50th anniversary, that belief can be quickly crushed. The safety group conducted a frontal offset crash test pitting a 2009 Chevrolet Malibu against its classic predecessor, which weighed 300 to 400 pounds more. The explosive results illustrate how far crash-test protection has come since the non-profit organization began conducting safety evaluations and advocating for improvements.
Automotive safety has improved dramatically in the past five decades. The 2009 Chevrolet Malibu has as standard equipment: anti lock brakes, stability control, occupant-sensing front air bags, and side air bags. Beyond the safety gear, advancements in vehicle engineering give the Malibu a clear advantage in this match up." To see how the Bel Air fared, watch the video.
footnote. If you are driving a '59 Chevy at least have seat belts installed....I would hate to see what the results would be if a collision like this was in a hot rod. So even when you are building a hot rod, rat rod, custom or whatever...try to include as much safety into your vehicles as you can. A big thank you consumer guide for this information. click on photos to enlarge