: When are car makers going to again pay attention to weight?



orconn
06-21-09, 10:34 PM
With several luxury cars approaching 5500 lbs. and even mundane passenger cars approaching 4500 lbs. it's obvious that the weight of the vehicle seems to be secondary to other criteria. Horsepower has increased to compensate of the the tremendous weight gain over the last several years. My 1995 Seville STS weighs 3750 lbs. the next generation went to over 4000 lbs. Lets not even talk about the German Leviathans like the "S" class or the "7" series. will it take another gas price crisis to get the car makers thinking about efficiency onc again?

Lord Cadillac
06-21-09, 10:48 PM
It's all the safety equipment and new features weighing cars down. Not much they can do about it

Jesda
06-21-09, 10:49 PM
I hope the impending fuel economy weight loss doesn't result in 80s style structural integrity and interiors.

Rodya234
06-21-09, 10:57 PM
My Deville weighs in at 3459lbs and the fuel economy was rated at 26mpg and had a 5-star frontal crash test rating. And it still feels as if they didn't compromise with any features or power in that car.

A commenter on youtube said it right about the C-body Devilles:
"If GM made still made them like this, they wouldn't be in trouble today."

Night Wolf
06-21-09, 10:59 PM
Alot of answers to this is "safety equipment". What safety equipment are we talking about tho? Most modern day safety stuff, that otherwise was not around and/or used in the 80's would be computer-based modules and airbags... both of which do not weigh a whole lot. Think of the ECM on your car, we are talking barely a pound, same goes for the other computers within the car. Same with airbags, ever hold a steering wheel airbag in hand? They don't weight a whole lot.

Cars are just getting bigger, and thus heavier. The new 3-series is as big, or bigger then an 80's 5-Series, a new Civic is bigger then an 80's Accord etc... It'll take another wave of "downsizing" cars like in the late 70's and 80's to get weight back down. Consumers want "more, bigger, better" So each new generation is brought out so as to claim "extra x inches of room" It would be interesing to see a wave of downsized cars again, and the publics response to it.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
06-21-09, 11:03 PM
Cars nowadays remind me of what I hear about cars of the late '60s. Exciting styling, lots of power, lots of technology (for it's day), lots of luxury features, etc etc. So if this is 1969, when does the gas crisis of 1973 hit again? When again do we get all of the crap cars we got in the late '70s and early '80s? Changes are brewing in Washington, I wonder what it'll hold in store for us...?

orconn
06-21-09, 11:04 PM
It's all the safety equipment and new features weighing cars down. Not much they can do about it

You are right that the safety equipment is the main culprit in the current weight gain. And this may be ameliorated with further refinement and miniaturization of these components. But size and the perceived need for many "luxury" gadgets have also contributed to the weight gain.

77CDV
06-21-09, 11:11 PM
Changes are brewing in Washington, I wonder what it'll hold in store for us...?

The return of the ignition/safety belt interlock system? :duck:

Night Wolf
06-21-09, 11:27 PM
You are right that the safety equipment is the main culprit in the current weight gain. And this may be ameliorated with further refinement and miniaturization of these components. But size and the perceived need for many "luxury" gadgets have also contributed to the weight gain.

What is all this added safety equipment that we are talking about, and where is the weight that said equipment consists of?


Cars nowadays remind me of what I hear about cars of the late '60s. Exciting styling, lots of power, lots of technology (for it's day), lots of luxury features, etc etc. So if this is 1969, when does the gas crisis of 1973 hit again? When again do we get all of the crap cars we got in the late '70s and early '80s? Changes are brewing in Washington, I wonder what it'll hold in store for us...?

I don't think we'll have to worry about the 70's/80's crap cars again. For the most part, they had to deal with GM/Ford/Mopar, but there were other factors involved as well. There were not a whole lot of crap cars from that time period coming out of Japan or the common European brands. Even what most here would quickly pass off as "junk" such as 80's Civics and VW's etc... were well built cars. Some of the most reliable, longest lasting MB/BMW came from this time period as well.

I am excited about the new cars, styling has finally caught up, interiors are nice, but other then that, they don't grab my attention, maybe because they are "new" and I'm not really into having the latest and greatest. Personally I'd rather wait until the entire run of a cars generation ended, then buy. Not only did prices drop, but you get to choose the year you want based on options and year to year changes. Kinda like buying a brand new 1999 Seville, only to find out that lots of changes and improvements were made to the N* reliability in 2000. I'm very content with what the E30 has to offer (nearly a perfect balance of what I think should/should not be in a car), and even what (much less) the Jeep has to offer so unless the Gov't puts a ban on driving either of them, then I should be set for quite a long time.

dkozloski
06-21-09, 11:33 PM
Weight gain comes from crash proof bumpers and the structure to support them as well as the structure involved in meeting standards for side crashes and roof strength. It isn't just one thing; it's a moderate amount all over the car. You can bet that there is not one pound more of material in a current car than is mandated by somebody.

Night Wolf
06-21-09, 11:47 PM
Weight gain comes from crash proof bumpers and the structure to support them as well as the structure involved in meeting standards for side crashes and roof strength. It isn't just one thing; it's a moderate amount all over the car. You can bet that there is not one pound more of material in a current car than is mandated by somebody.

So by "safety equipment" we are talking about bumpers and frames? be it strength and form of application?

I dunno.... cars have always had frames/bodies of similar, or stronger caliber. If talking saftey of a car, yes, more engineering has been put into modern vehicles to make them safer via crumple zones etc.... but as far as strength being increased to the point of adding significant amount of weight?

It would be interesed to see the empty frame/body weight of an 80's era car compared to that of a similar type/class car today.

I still say it has more to do with the size of cars today then anything, just like the 60's and 70's when cars kept getting bigger, and thus heaveir, until they were finally downsized, and so was the weight - despite modern "safety equipment" for the time, which was also when things like crumple zones and similar things were coming into play.

I could be wrong tho, and I'm not totally ruling out "safety equipment" it would just be neat to hear what someone that actually has a role in this stuff has to say about it and show some numbers of weight gains that have to do with safety equipment.

dkozloski
06-22-09, 12:05 AM
The big drop in car weight came along when the technology for rolling steel into thin sheets was perfected. Old time cars had thicker steel in the fenders and body because it couldn't be rolled out consistantly thinner. Newer technology has produced alloys better suited to being drawn out into the complex shapes of modern designs and computer controlled rollng mills have been developed that produce results that could only be dreamed of a couple of decades ago. Computer aided design has progressed to the point that materials are used much more efficiently to put the strength where it is needed rather than dependence on eyeball engineering that produced the old clunkers of the 60's that substituted big iron for elegence in design. Pound for pound, the cars of today are far stronger where it counts than the old iron of yesteryear .

Red_October_7000
06-22-09, 12:28 AM
The big drop in car weight came along when the technology for rolling steel into thin sheets was perfected. Old time cars had thicker steel in the fenders and body because it couldn't be rolled out consistantly thinner. Newer technology has produced alloys better suited to being drawn out into the complex shapes of modern designs and computer controlled rollng mills have been developed that produce results that could only be dreamed of a couple of decades ago. Computer aided design has progressed to the point that materials are used much more efficiently to put the strength where it is needed rather than dependence on eyeball engineering that produced the old clunkers of the 60's that substituted big iron for elegence in design. Pound for pound, the cars of today are far stronger where it counts than the old iron of yesteryear .

Then, in all seriousness, why is it that when the two meet in an accident, the old iron will rip through the modern car like it is tissue? Now, I submit that the airbags and so on of modern cars make them safer from some things, but I also submit that perhaps the safest car money could buy would be one of the old ACRS Cadillacs -you have heavy weight, strong steel, and the basic complement of safety features: Airbags -actually advanced two-stage airbags, safety belts, impact-absorbing bumpers, collapsable steering column, etc., in a body-on-frame vehicle that outweighs everything built today except Suburbans, Expeditions, and the largest pickups.

Night Wolf
06-22-09, 12:41 AM
Then, in all seriousness, why is it that when the two meet in an accident, the old iron will rip through the modern car like it is tissue? Now, I submit that the airbags and so on of modern cars make them safer from some things, but I also submit that perhaps the safest car money could buy would be one of the old ACRS Cadillacs -you have heavy weight, strong steel, and the basic complement of safety features: Airbags -actually advanced two-stage airbags, safety belts, impact-absorbing bumpers, collapsable steering column, etc., in a body-on-frame vehicle that outweighs everything built today except Suburbans, Expeditions, and the largest pickups.

an old car ripping thru a new car does not automatically mean it is safer, it means the new car was doing what it was designed to do to protect the people inside, in the event of an accident.

No doubt that an old CAR will survive an actual accident in better condition then a newer one, but the same may not be said for the people within the old car. Cars today are built so the car itself absorbs the impact, less force getting trasmitted to the people inside.

I know, it's "cool" to see an old car rip thru a city bus and keep driving. Truth is, I'd hate to be driving a '59 Cadillac, only equiped with lap belts and hit another '59 Cadillac headon. Sure both cars may be able to be fixed up and still work, (high) chances are that the people inside, wouldn't.

Jesda
06-22-09, 12:48 AM
Dude... 70s and 80s Hondas and Toyotas were terrible, and dangerous.

Aron9000
06-22-09, 01:23 AM
I think a some of the weight gain today can be contributed to monster tire/wheel combos. Back in the day most cars ran 14" or 15" wheels. 16" or 17" was considered giant and only put on cars like a Corvette or Ferrari. Now days we're running bigger, heavier 16-22" wheels on our cars and trucks.

I also think some of the weight gain is due to poor/lazy engineering and cost cutting. Its expensive to make cars lighter by using aluminum and redesigning componets to be lighter.

Jesda
06-22-09, 01:24 AM
http://www.q45.org/cpg/albums/userpics/10001/redx.JPG

The owners are getting heavy too.

Rodya234
06-22-09, 02:04 AM
I also think some of the weight gain is due to poor/lazy engineering and cost cutting. Its expensive to make cars lighter by using aluminum and redesigning componets to be lighter.


That's really true. Look at cars like the Audi S5 and R8, both use full aluminum frames, and a lot of composites, and weigh 3800 and 3500lbs respectively. Or once again my Deville, which has an aluminum hood and trunk lid and composite fenders, while still maintaining a steel frame and doors, and only weighs 3459.

Red_October_7000
06-22-09, 02:35 AM
an old car ripping thru a new car does not automatically mean it is safer, it means the new car was doing what it was designed to do to protect the people inside, in the event of an accident.

No doubt that an old CAR will survive an actual accident in better condition then a newer one, but the same may not be said for the people within the old car. Cars today are built so the car itself absorbs the impact, less force getting trasmitted to the people inside.

I know, it's "cool" to see an old car rip thru a city bus and keep driving. Truth is, I'd hate to be driving a '59 Cadillac, only equiped with lap belts and hit another '59 Cadillac headon. Sure both cars may be able to be fixed up and still work, (high) chances are that the people inside, wouldn't.

Well yeah, of course two cars being equal, then it's only the safety factors in each that come into play, and when all you've got is lap belts and maybe collapsing steering columns, you're not going to be that well off. But how often is it that you hit the exact same car? I see the sound personal choice to go towards vehicle weight, all other thigns being equal. If I'm driving a '59 Caddy and someone else is driving a Honda, well, I'm either going to rip through him like a hot knife through butter, or punt him over the horizon. I've got a lap belt to keep me from going through the windscreen or out the door, and since the Honda WILL get the fuzzy end of the lolipop in that equation, I'll be pretty safe. Hit a big enough tree in the Caddy, or a bridge abutment, or something, though, and I'd much rather have the airbags and shoulder belt, because unless you're driving around in a GMC Brigadier or an armored halftrack, the bridge abutment will win. Even so, I'd still want a heavier vehicle as I'm still going to do damage to the bridge abutment and cause it to absorb some force, so I may as well shift the equation as far in my favor as I can. I'd just like a heavy vehicle with modern safety features. That's why modern truck-frame SUVs with full compliments of airbags are probably the safest cars you can buy today. The old Full-size American Iron and the equally rare Mercedes full-sizers that had airbags were probably among the safest cars, from a pure car-on-car accident standpoint, that ever plied the roads.

Jesda
06-22-09, 02:41 AM
http://www.kayak2u.com/kayak4u.png

Night Wolf
06-22-09, 06:38 AM
I think a some of the weight gain today can be contributed to monster tire/wheel combos. Back in the day most cars ran 14" or 15" wheels. 16" or 17" was considered giant and only put on cars like a Corvette or Ferrari. Now days we're running bigger, heavier 16-22" wheels on our cars and trucks.

I also think some of the weight gain is due to poor/lazy engineering and cost cutting. Its expensive to make cars lighter by using aluminum and redesigning componets to be lighter.

Not ruling it out, but it seems very unlikely to me. The weight difference between a 15" steel wheel and an ~18" aluminum wheel is a matter of ~15lbs, even multiplied by 4, it is still marginal. As for tires, yes the diameter is larger but there is much less side wall. I'd say the weight between a conventional 15" tire and a low profile ~18" is minimal too. In comparison to the offroad world, when going from a 30" tire to a 35" tire on the same 15" steel rim, one can expect around 20lbs increase/tire, and a 35" tire for a 15" rim is a lot of rubber.

thebigjimsho
06-22-09, 07:35 AM
Then, in all seriousness, why is it that when the two meet in an accident, the old iron will rip through the modern car like it is tissue? Now, I submit that the airbags and so on of modern cars make them safer from some things, but I also submit that perhaps the safest car money could buy would be one of the old ACRS Cadillacs -you have heavy weight, strong steel, and the basic complement of safety features: Airbags -actually advanced two-stage airbags, safety belts, impact-absorbing bumpers, collapsable steering column, etc., in a body-on-frame vehicle that outweighs everything built today except Suburbans, Expeditions, and the largest pickups.
You're way off on what is "safe". The passenger compartment of today's car are infinitely safer than their counterparts of past years. Today's cars have engine compartments that are designed to submarine under the passenger compartment in a head-on collision. Strategic crumple zones are made for energy dissipation.

Look at the modern NASCAR Sprint Cup car. They are the safest cars that series has ever seen. The roll cage is sturdy and the center of the car stays intact even under the most intense crashes. But the rest of the car is made to break apart and out, swallowing most of the energy and spreading it away from the passenger.

Sure, those big boats can take more of a pounding to the steel body. But get past that and there is little to protect the passengers.

ewill3rd
06-22-09, 08:42 AM
This is on par with one of the most worthless conversations I have ever heard.
Consumers demanding safety and convenience features then whining about what it takes to implement them.

Koz is right, I can guarantee that there isn't an ounce on any production car that doesn't HAVE to be there to satisfy a regulation of some sort or a customer.
Lots of people have said it, modern safety is more critical than a lack of damage to the car in an accident. I'd take a little crumpler that absorbs energy over an old tank that would transfer it all to my body in an instant.

The Tony Show
06-22-09, 10:40 AM
Tire pressure monitors, ABS, stability control systems, 6 airbags, thicker glass, soundproofing, more speakers, blend doors for dual zone climate, larger rotors, rear parking sensors, articulating headlamps and cooled seats are just a few of the things that pop into my mind that the cars of today have over the cars of the 90's. That's probably 300 pounds of stuff right there, all of which improves either the safety or comfort of the car.

There's a reason why a Lotus Elise rides like a skateboard and you can't hear yourself think in it.

Ranger
06-22-09, 11:35 AM
"Crash proof" bumpers. :histeric: Give me a break. They weigh 2 oz. and will not sustain an accident with a bicycle. Nothing more than flimsy fascia. Compare them with the big old chrome bumpers of the 60's. Now THOSE would take a beating.


Personally I like them heavy. The heavier they are, the better they ride. I like comfort.

dkozloski
06-22-09, 12:43 PM
"Crash proof" bumpers. :histeric: Give me a break. They weigh 2 oz. and will not sustain an accident with a bicycle. Nothing more than flimsy fascia. Compare them with the big old chrome bumpers of the 60's. Now THOSE would take a beating.


Personally I like them heavy. The heavier they are, the better they ride. I like comfort.
Take off the plastic fascia and look what's behind it; big iron and snubbers to absorb the shock. You can't see the forest for the trees or the bumper for the plastic cover.

The Tony Show
06-22-09, 12:55 PM
Flimsy fascias are a result of a deal between Insurance companies and the Federal Government, which mandated a while back that front and rear bumpers on all vehicles sold in the US must be able to be struck at 5mph and only suffer damage less than a certain dollar amount (the exact amount escapes me at the moment).

77CDV
06-22-09, 01:03 PM
No doubt that an old CAR will survive an actual accident in better condition then a newer one, but the same may not be said for the people within the old car.

IDK, your '79 did a creditable job of protecting you, and likely could have been repaired given the resources.

blue07cts
06-22-09, 01:19 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3ygYUYia9I"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3ygYUYia9I

watch it all the way though.

thebigjimsho
06-22-09, 01:33 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3ygYUYia9I

watch it all the way though.
Obviously, variables will always be different but that shows how far safety has come in building these cars...

Jesda
06-22-09, 02:07 PM
1955 Ford Crown Victoria only weighed 3450lbs. Thats just 200lb more than a 1990 Maxima and 570lbs less than a 2003 Seville STS.

77CDV
06-23-09, 01:40 PM
1955 Ford Crown Victoria only weighed 3450lbs. Thats just 200lb more than a 1990 Maxima and 570lbs less than a 2003 Seville STS.

Yes, but that Vicky likely had a manual trans, manual front bench seat, manual windows and door locks, no power steering or power brakes, no AC (lucky if it had a heater), a single-speaker AM radio with fixed-mast antenna (if it had a radio at all), and the base model was a V6. Now compare that to your base-model STS. 570 pounds is not a huge weight penalty considering the worlds of difference in refinement between the two cars.

orconn
06-23-09, 05:36 PM
Yes, but that Vicky likely had a manual trans, manual front bench seat, manual windows and door locks, no power steering or power brakes, no AC (lucky if it had a heater), a single-speaker AM radio with fixed-mast antenna (if it had a radio at all), and the base model was a V6. Now compare that to your base-model STS. 570 pounds is not a huge weight penalty considering the worlds of difference in refinement between the two cars.

The 1955 Crown Victoria (top of the line in 1955) came pretty much fully loaded; premium radio with front and back speakers and signal search, power windows, power steering, V-8 only (no in-line six available). My next door neighbor's parents bought one new in 1955. 1955 was the first year for the Crown Victoria. My family had the use of a brand new '55 Mercury Montclair hardtop coupe for a month that year. The Crown Vic was petty equivalent to the Montclair which also had power brakes and auto transmission.

dkozloski
06-23-09, 08:33 PM
A 1955 Ford Crown Victoria was a stinky little shitbox car. A 1955 Lincon was a big old tank that is more applicable to the discussion at hand.