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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Side Airbags in Passenger Vehicles and Seat Belts in Buses

As the Managing Director of APV Engineering and Testing Services, I am perhaps given a unique insight into the issues relating to vehicle and occupant safety. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you two very important features that we all should look for regarding safety. The first being the fitment of Side Airbags to passenger vehicles, and secondly the need for wearing and having seat belts fitted to buses.

Side Airbag Performance

Did you ever wonder how important an Airbag is for saving lives? Well the latest Australian Built Holden Commodore, tested in our lab in Melbourne shows you just how quickly the airbag deploys to save your life in a 65 kph traditional T bone crash scenario, where a vehicle runs into the driver or passenger side of a car at 90 degrees.

Of course the VF Commodore is not alone in using state of the art airbag technologies to improve occupant safety, but the following video certainly demonstrates their importance in vehicle safety.

By the use of state-of-the-art and highly advanced technology, and as if by magic, the Side Airbag in the VF Commodore deploys before the occupant, in this case an APV Side Impact Dummy, even feels the impact. It is truly an impressive result and here you can see in milli second increments just how important Side Airbags are for your safety.

My family live on a country property and over the years we have travelled many country miles. One word of advise I have always given my children, is about the risk of hitting trees on country roads, especially on corners - side airbags in vehicles are certainly just as important in these crash scenarios as well.

Wearing and Fitment of Seat Belts in Buses

Recently I returned from a short break at Kakado running around in a tourist bus at 90 kph without seat belts. I felt a little uncomfortable in fact that I wasn't given the choice of wearing a seatbelt in a bus doing this speed when I wear one every day in a car.

Then during September 2013, All Terrain Warriors who design and build specialist tourist buses for outback Australia asked the APV Test Centre to test their latest design of a tourist bus that has been especially designed for seats with seatbelts for vehicles venturing off the bitumen and onto remote gravel and off-road driving conditions in the Australian outback.

The following video, shows just how well the bus body structure performs. What you will see is the All Terrain Warriors bus cabin being tested to an AS68/00 bus test. Here, their Bus Cabin, fully fitted with seats, is attached to our test rig with full instrumentation and cameras, recording a simulated crash scenario. In real life the Bus Cabin, would be fitted to a light truck chassis for use in outback Australia - a harsh and often unpredictable environment.

At just 50 kph the crash simulation shows that all occupants wearing seatbelts are held safely in place. The seats remain intact and anchored safely in place to the bus structure - keeping its buckled up occupants safely restrained during the accident.

Of course not the same can be said for those Crash Dummies that failed to buckle up before taking their bus ride. You may notice that the seats, in front of these dummies, have to not only keep their belted occupants safe, but also take a brutal hit from the unrestrained Crash Dummies from behind, leaving the seats slightly deformed and pushed forward.

Again, this video shows you first hand - the importance of buckling up in any passenger vehicle. On a personal note, I would like to congratulate an Australian Company, All Terrain Warriors, in taking the initiative to design and build a safer Off Road Tourist Bus Cabin.

So be the judge yourself. I hope you have found the videos informative and I believe they translate into a very visual demonstration of the importance of wearing seatbelts, having buses fitted with seat belts and passenger vehicles fitted with side airbags.

So Buckle Up and Drive Safely.

Harry Hickling
Managing Director
Australian Performance Vehicles Pty Ltd

Disclaimer: "This news piece is not serving as a product endorsement by APV. It is being shared in our news section purely to highlight the importance of Side Airbags and the wearing and fitment of Seatbelts in Buses. All views and opinions expressed are by Harry Hickling".

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gerry Crown at Monument Valley

APV Congratulates Gerry Crown and Matthew Bryson in achieving 2nd place in the ERA 2012 Trans-America Classic Challenge 15th June 2012

After a grueling 8,500 miles (13,700 kms) from New York to Anchorage, Alaska, the Australian crew of Gerry Crown and Mathew Bryson finished 2nd in their 1974 Australian Leyland P76.

After being approached by John Bryson, the renowned Navigator that underpinned Mitsubishi’s early 1970s rallying onslaught, to sponsor their entry - APV supplied the Rally Harnesses, Tow Ropes and Snatch Straps for the event.

John Bryson, has a long tradition with Endurance Rallying having prepared a near identical car for the 1974 World Cup Rally for the Evan Green (Driver) and John Bryson (Navigator) entry.  This 1974 Leyland P76 showed the strengths of the Australian Automotive industry to produce a strong, reliable and light car that was capable of taking on such an event.  It was this car that set the inspiration for the Gerry Crown, Matthew Bryson entry into the 2012 Trans-America Classic Challenge to be run by the Endurance Rally association.

From New York to Idaho the P76 slowly moved up through the field and consolidated their position with the top three running cars: the Mercedes of Paul and Sandra Merryweather, the Jaguar of Richard Worts and Nicola Shackleton and the P76.  Racing neck and neck across western U.S.A saw exciting Rally stages and competition.  However, the Mercedes soon struck mechanical problems, and through the Rally Stages in Canada the top four cars, split by minutes on the stop watch – not much more than the time required to change a flat tyre or make a roadside repair, would be in first place Gerry and Matthew in the P76, Richard and Nicola in the Mk 2 Jaguar, Phil Garratt and Kieron Brown in the E-type Jaguar and in fourth place the very quick Roy Stephenson and Peter Robinson in the Datsun 240Z.  These four cars would now fight it out all the way to Alaska to make up the top four finishers for the event.    

Leaving the U.S.A. and arriving at Watson’s Lake, Gerry (above right) and Matthew were cautiously in high spirits having a ten-minute lead over the 2nd place Jaguar of Richard Worts.  However, such is the life in Endurance Rallying this lead was slowly overtaken in the final stages of the event through the vagaries of meeting the rigid requirements of the event timing, rather than the true performance of the cars.

Still the Leyland P76, under the expert driving and navigating of Gerry and Matthew showed the strength of a car that once won Wheels Car of the Year in 1973.  Harry Hickling, Managing Director of APV, went onto to say; “I wish to congratulate Gerry and Matthew on their fantastic result – there is plenty of things that can and do go wrong over a long distance endurance Rally, some 13,700 kms of hard driving in fact.  Clearly Gerry and Matthew put up a world-class drive and they should be proud to have put on the world stage that wonderful 1970’s Leyland P76.  I’m sure it would be well up to tackling, even today, another Sydney London marathon drive.”

Both Gerry Crown and Matthew Bryson passed on their thanks to APV for their support. Matthew saying: “I can highly recommend APV’s Rally harnesses and I have been recommending them to fellow competitors on the events – they are the best belts on the market for Endurance Rallying.” Gerry went onto say “I wish to thank Harry for his support, I love the belts and their ease of adjustment – it is a big thing to be able to swap driver and navigator positions in such events and APV’s belts are second to none.  APV should be congratulated on designing and developing such a product.”   

For a day-by-day description of Gerry and Matthew’s adventure see:

To see more of John Bryson’s career highlights see:

To view Endurance Rally Association event description see:

Photos have been displayed courtesy of Gerard Brown Photography, see:

Gerry and Matthew have previously competed in the 2007 and 2010 Peking to Paris Rallies, having won the 2010 event.  See: