Designed with passengers’ safety in mind (Aug, 1971)

That picture makes me really want to try to pull on that bumper so I can insert a giant SIM card.

Designed with passengers’ safety in mind

By December, this model of the Fairchild Experimental Safety Vehicle (ESV) above should be a reality, and in the hands of the Department of Transportation for evaluation. Among the safety features designed into it are: a wide, over-the-roof rear-view periscope; aerospace structural roll cage; hydraulic shock-absorber front bumper; torsion-hinge rear bumper; airbags; and padded interior. Fairchild is competing with AMF for a contract to build 12 test ESVs.

  1. RS says: February 15, 201211:59 am

    I saw this monstrosity at the DOT “Transpo 72” exhibition.

    It was even worse in real life.
    I believe it got 10 miles per gallon to lug around its 5400 pounds.

  2. Deth says: February 15, 201212:11 pm

    American cars have always lagged in safety, and have always gone for what i guess you could call “Safety Theater” rather then actual safety (like padded dashes, etc).

    It’s like the designers of that were upset at having to make it, and so made it as hideous as possible so no one would want them to mess with it ever again, or make them work on safety features ever again.

  3. Eli says: February 15, 201212:33 pm

    If you press down on the sunroof, the front bumper shoots off and either puts out someone’s eye or gets lost under the couch forever.

  4. Toronto says: February 15, 20121:40 pm

    Good one, Eli.

    But I’m betting the roof button is really the periscope, though I have no idea why it would be so large.

  5. Kosher Ham says: February 15, 20123:31 pm

    We were just entering the time when smog controls made for some very inefficient engines; that was the other temper tantrum Detroit had. It took several decades for them to make something that was both strong, light, low pollution and good fuel mileage.

  6. Hirudinea says: February 15, 20125:40 pm

    Well it had better have been made for saftey ’cause it sure as hell wasn’t made for looks.

    @ Kosher Ham – “It took several decades for them to make something that was both strong, light, low pollution and good fuel mileage.” And what would that be again?

  7. Deth says: February 15, 20126:10 pm

    What’s most bizarre about the ‘periscope’ is that it’s at such an angle that you’d not be able to see hardly anything except the back of the roof and stuff high off the ground.

    You’d think they’d put it at the very rear edge of the roof, so as to maximize the field of view of the bottom of the area.

  8. Kosher Ham says: February 15, 20126:42 pm


    When I look back, it did take the U.S. auto makers a long time to make a decent vehicle. Engine design in the 70’s was in the dark ages. (Of course the 70’s were an ugly decade.)

  9. jeffk says: February 15, 20127:40 pm

    Except for the jut-jaw bumper, it looks a mid 80s Ford Mustang

  10. Charlene says: February 15, 20127:41 pm

    Say what you will, that vehicle wouldn’t suffer even a scratch in an accident. It would instead just transfer all the energy of the impact to the occupants.

  11. dej says: February 16, 20125:54 am

    Don’t know why they decided to use a photo with the bumper obviously not in position

    This is how it really looked:…

  12. Mike Brown says: February 16, 201210:00 am

    I had a toy car that looked just like that. When you rolled it into something, the jutting bumper pushed in and springs made the fenders, hood, trunk and roof fly off. I can’t remember the name of it, but it gave me hours of fun as a child.

    It would probably be even more fun at full scale, although the product liability from flying body parts could be substantial.

  13. Melbourne says: January 28, 20135:22 am

    The photo with the bumper placed correctly makes it look rather like a Leyland P76.

    Now there’s a car that set the world on fire….

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