1. #1
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    Default The Break-Away Front Engine Feature

    In the first image, this late-model VW Jetta looks pretty intact. All doors open normally. The interior passenger compartment is completely intact. The driver was seated and belted. You wouldn't know it had been involved in a high-imact collision.

    In the second image, you see the damage and the results. The hit came from the passenger's side, catching the Jetta across the front fender and passenger front wheel.

    Yes, that's the engine block lying on the gravel. The frame broke, the engine and tranny disconnected, The crumple zone decided to go away too. All this tearing away actually made it a very survivable incident for the young driver. Sort of how they design race cars to break apart during race crashes to protect the driver. Same thing happened here.

    Because the driver selected a vehicle with good crashworthiness designed into the structure, he'll be back street racing again soon I'm sure. Job security for responders!
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    Bet he didn't drive it home,hehe T.C.

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    That may be what happened on a vehicle we had a few months back. Guy comes around a bend in a 4-lane road with a wide grass median with a row of trees down the middle. Never touched the brakes, never made the turn.

    When he hit the tree, the trunk was placed perfectly between the frame and the engine. The tree parted the vehicle like the Red Sea, coming right through the firewall. There was literally nothing between the driver's leg and the tree. The vehicle used the driver's leg as the pivot point around the tree, stripping all the flesh off his bones onto the bark, and spinning around, still wrapped around the tree, 180 degree. The engine parted from the vehicle and kept traveling in its original direction for approximately 60 feet. Both front wheels we separated from the vehicle.

    Even with a truck company and two heavy rescue companies, it took nearly 45 minutes to get the guy out. He was already agonal when we got there, so he didn't make it.

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    Default

    It sounds like the natural evolution of the crumple zone philosophy and as you said probably has its origins with auto racing.

    It seems there's a trade off between crumple and tear zones, though.. a crumple zone is good protection in head on collisions as it absorbs and deflects the energy around the passenger compartment. Tear zones are better at transverse hits like the one you show as the components involved separate and the energy is deflected from the passenger compartment. I would think that tear zones would be a problem in head-on collisions as less energy is absorbed and those "torn" pieces project, or impinge more readily into the passenger compartment.

    It is amazing how little damage is visible from the A-post back.. better get the CARFAX!
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    Ok.. maybe I over-thought the above.
    2011 Jetta head on crash tests
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  6. #6
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    The Jetta driver did not exactly "walk" away but he did survive. The interior held up pretty well as the tearing took place in front of this guy.
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