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Papier Mache Cars

Summary:
Flimsy construction used to be one of the defining attributes of a cheap car  – along with the absence of even basic amenities like air conditioning, which was a defining attribute of a luxury car not all that long ago. Modern cars – even luxury cars – are all cheaply built. If you’ve raised the hood of one, you will know all about it. The metal is so light it can be held up by a flimsy little metal rod – and the metal is so thin, you can see it flex and (if so inclined) could bend it with your bare hands. It’s often not much more substantial than a piece of cardboard; a cat walking across it might leave more than just paw prints. Fenders are the same – and new cars don’t even have bumpers anymore. Something even the Chevettes

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Flimsy construction used to be one of the defining attributes of a cheap car  – along with the absence of even basic amenities like air conditioning, which was a defining attribute of a luxury car not all that long ago.

Modern cars – even luxury cars – are all cheaply built.

If you’ve raised the hood of one, you will know all about it. The metal is so light it can be held up by a flimsy little metal rod – and the metal is so thin, you can see it flex and (if so inclined) could bend it with your bare hands. It’s often not much more substantial than a piece of cardboard; a cat walking across it might leave more than just paw prints.

Fenders are the same – and new cars don’t even have bumpers anymore. Something even the Chevettes and Pintos as Yugos did have. You could, therefore, bump into something and not damage the car.

Or at least, damage it less.

Today’s cars sustain expensive damage if bumped at all – sometimes thousands of dollars’ worth – in part because there is literally nothing to protect the expensive plastic and thin metal panels from being damaged.

The occupants are protected.

Underneath the skin, modern cars are very sturdy – designed to absorb and deflect the force of a crash away from the people inside the car. These structural parts are also very heavy.

Which is why rest of the car is so light – and flimsy. The papier mache exterior panels make up for the bulk underneath.

The result is a very safe – and very fragile – car. Even luxury cars, which have flimsier exterior body panels than Chevettes, Pintos and Yugos had. They are far more easily damaged – and much more expensive to fix.

But they do keep you “safe.”

If this seems odd, it’s because you may not know about the conflict between two irreconcilable federal fatwas.

Saaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaafety – vs. fuel economy.

I mock  the first – because a car isn’t unsafe unless it’s defective in some way. For example, a steering wheel that comes off the column while you’re driving . . . or a car that steers itself into the path of another car, in the manner of “Autopiloted” electric cars. (The government is oddly unconcerned about the “safety” of these cars.)

If car A doesn’t hold up as well as car B if crashed into a fixed object like a tree at 50 MPH, it is less crashworthy – a different thing.

Eric Peters
Eric Peters is a freelance car/bike/political columnist. He escaped the corporate-owned media Big Boys years ago. Without the censorship of the corporate tools

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