The History of Automotive Repairs: Why We Need Trained Technicians in the Collision Repair Industry

Vehicle History Summary

  • They don’t make them like they used to.

The first cars

  • The first cars were nothing more than a buggy and an engine (usually repaired by blacksmiths and carpenters. These cars were very expensive, that only the rich could afford).
  • The Model T was the first mass production car on an assembly line in 1908 (Ford’s vision was to produce an affordable car that the average person could buy)
  • The T-models came in black just to keep costs down. (The price dropped once the assembly line was streamlined, but in 1908, the cost of a Model T started at $ 825. By 1913, the cost of the car dropped to $ 550.)

Cars in the 1960s

Cars were made in the same basic way until the 1960s.

  • Body on frame
  • Rear wheel drive (same concept, but the cars were very big, bulky and heavy)

Except people in the 60’s wanted SPEED! They did it with Big Block Motors, which created a great deal of horsepower. (The Birth of Hotrods, Rat Fink, Flames and Pin Striping).

Cars in the 1970s

  • The government establishes strict emission control and fuel economy laws
  • Customers demanded more fuel-efficient cars
  • New laws and customer demands started the automotive explosion of engineering ideas and changes in the automotive industry.

Changes to comply with Laws and Laws

  • Smaller body cars and smaller engines
  • Aerodynamics (increase fuel mileage)
  • Lighter cars by using different materials and designs.
  • More work-hardened areas created during panel formation (body lines)
  • Safety

Interstate Highway Construction + Higher Speed ​​Limits + More High Performance Cars = Accidents and More

Deaths from car accidents

Federal laws were passed to regulate security. These laws included:

  • Seat belt installation
  • Safety glass windshield
  • Headrest
  • In 1979, the first driver’s side airbag was introduced.
  • Airbags are mandatory on cars built after 1990
  • Unibody Torsion Boxes – Allow controlled twisting and crushing
  • Crush Zones – Made to collapse during collision (to act as an absorber, absorbing impact)

Modern Cars

  • Carbon fiber parts
  • Aluminum parts
  • More plastic parts
  • High tensile steel
  • Boron steel
  • Unibody construction
  • Construction of the spatial frame
  • Computer
  • Hybrid cars

Now they even have cars that will tell you when you’re lost, where to turn, Parallel Park for you.


While today’s cars appear to be cheap and unsafe, they are actually designed to crush or collapse, while transferring energy around the passenger compartment stronger to protect passengers from injury.

There is much more damage in today’s cars during a collision than in older vehicles, giving the perception that “they don’t do it like they used to.” However, in reality the cars are being impacted rather than the passengers.

The lesson was designed to give you a bit of history, but also to emphasize that just a hammer, dolly, and a few wrenches are not going to repair today’s cars. We need highly trained automotive and collision repair technicians to repair today’s vehicles.

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