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Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

This center-hinged car was all about Sir Vival in 1958

With a name as noble as its pursuit to become the world's safest automobile, the 1958 Sir Vival was an automobile ahead of its time. It was so far ahead of its time, in fact, that the public never considered it more than an oddity.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/car-profiles/this-center-hinged-car-was-all-about-sir-vival-in-1958/
20 REPLIES 20
CarciergeReggie
Hagerty Employee

This is such a great story shining some light on a vehicle similar to the Tucker that was well ahead of it's time.

autorelic
Intermediate Driver

Although looking at a Tucker didn't make you burst into laughter...
Punk
Instructor

I am a huge fan of this sort of kooky innovation! It seems we have lost the will to experiment the past few decades. On the other hand, I am not too sure that attention was paid to the possibility of being rear-ended vs hit in the front, judging by the driver's position up high with a low seat and glass all around them!
MATTMERICA
Technician

Amazing! Something nobody asked for and it never took off

It looks like the car Homer Simpson designed. Does it have speed holes?

 

the-homer-inline4

TonyT
Technician

Holy moly, they had different drugs back then. No mention of air conditioning for that "Roast Driver Under Glass." And would it have fit in the single car garages of the period? Would have been fun to (try to) parallel park. But this also shows us that even a failure is a successful learning example.
RG440
Technician

When I think of “Safety Behind The Wheel”, the following if of utmost importance…1.) View 2.) Stopping 3.) Steering
On this car I noticed the windshield wipers appear to be for the passengers with nothing for the “driver cylinder”. Is the “distortion free windshield” distortion free because it’s a cylinder? What about ICE? There goes the view, stopping and steering for that matter. I can only imagine this on ICE….er NO I CAN’T… for the driver, passengers or sightseeing public. Another thought is backing a trailer up with this thing! Just might need the wife’s help doing that…YIKES !
bruold1
Intermediate Driver

Interesting, it reminds me of a train, i'll bet two connected together would confirm it.
Swamibob
Technician

WOW! I think this just shows how good the chemicals were back in the late 50's. Amazing!
Buzz
Detailer

Other than winning the contest for achieving the ugliest car possible, where the rule is function over form, I fail to understand how he missed the simple premise that would have made the car way more functional and attractive, and that is to put the steering directly over the front axle making the center of the axle itself the pivot point. Suddenly there’s no goofy horse trailer front and gap between front and rear halves or that caterpillar mountain mover look.
RoadDog
Intermediate Driver

Sometimes bold and out-of-the-box thinking combined with dogged determination leads to a revelation. Other times, it just results in a lot of time and money wasted on a bad idea.
Zephyr
Technician

Remove the entire front end assembly, make the car itself about a foot longer, put the engine in the back, and you might have something. As is, it's a very large car with a very small interior. And the way the driver is isolated from the passengers is quite odd.
Zephyr
Technician

Also, how is the driver suppose to read the gauges? And I really want to know the story behind the "domestic" water supply.
Tinkerah
Engineer

Passengers don't qualify for the same level of safety as the driver.
Tinkerah
Engineer

He cleverly downplayed the appalling pinch points, while tempting one in a photo.
Sutton12
Intermediate Driver

I would like to see a crash test.
NHO
Intermediate Driver

Looks like a dodgem car for the road...
Slow-N-Relaxed
Intermediate Driver

I can't take the "ahead of its time" claim. No vehicle of any kind was ever "ahead of its time". Not Tucker. Not this thing. Not anything. Bad ideas and lack of sufficient technology, and vanity about anybody being able to make a vehicle look appealing cause these products to be exactly what they are: ill-conceived, ugly, and problematic (from operational and/or assembly and/or durability and/or practicality and/or cost). They end up being different-but-not-better. Tucker's idea and execution were good. The vehicle COULD have become reality. But Tucker failed to see the business reality of the strangulation power GM, Ford, and Chrysler (and even the small-fries at Studebaker, Hudson, Kaiser, et al) had on their suppliers. ALL of them told suppliers that if they took Tucker's business, they would lose contracts with the larger companies. That's ILLEGAL, but how do you prove it in court when there are no documents or recordings of conversations or corroborating witnesses to testify against their cash-cows, the existing auto companies? Tucker should have had somebody on his team who understood how underhanded the bigger companies would be in trying to stifle Tucker. This could have led to Tucker becoming "self supplying" for things normally purchased from 3rd party vendors... wheels, radiators, heater cores, distributors, carburetors, transmission... everything. Tucker did the right thing by going with an aircraft engine out of reach of being shuttered by established auto companies. But not being able to contract for all the bits needed from outside suppliers made Tucker vulnerable to the economic power of the existing auto companies. History is FULL of people who thought they were GUARANTEED success or were OWED success for products that were in NO WAY WORTHY. They are like those HORRIBLE-PAINFUL-EMBARASSING auditions on American Idol where somebody thinks they are top level performers when they can't sing AT ALL and can't understand the negative feedback. That's exactly what this "safety car" is/was... a horrible, painful, embarrassing project that should have just faded away. Oh wait... that's exactly what happened to it! Imagine that! For us 60 or 70 years later all we have is the story and photos because the vehicle itself appears to be returning to nature slowly with the current owner not interested in restoring the vehicle. (What the hell is the "Products" thing for when posting a comment? It appears to have Hagerty articles, in a searchable format, but this article about Sir Vival does not appear in the choices so I had to pick some OTHER article????).
4RenT
Instructor

He should restore it.
It could be used in "an alternate time line" movie.
brb
Instructor

Thank goodness for the wackos and journalists that write about them. Life would be so dull without them.