Meet SIR VIVAL, the Quirky Safety Car From 1958

- in Cars

Sir Vival. You have never seen it’s like before. One that is truly different from anything else on the road.

A bold claim, we know, but we’ll let you judge after viewing SIR VIVAL.

1958 Sir Vival safety car
SIR VIVAL was the name of an unorthodox two-section vehicle designed to protect its driver and three passengers from death or injury on the highway. The idea there was that, in the event of a head-on collision, the engine compartment would take most of the impact and leave the passengers relatively unscathed.

Walter C. Jerome of Worcester, Massachusetts was a man possessed by a mission to make the world’s safest car. Jerome spent ten years developing what he hoped would prove to be the future of automobile safety. He gave us the Sir Vival in 1958.

Walter C. Jerome 1958 Sir Vival
Jerome claimed that the two-section body of his Sir Vival will pivot and absorb the impact of a collision from any angle. The two doors on the coach body pivot sideways, parallel to the car, and are designed to remain closed in the event of a crackup. Steel frames encircle the entire car in the event of roll-over.

The cab section of the articulated vehicle houses the engine – in this case a 1956 Hudson mill – two headlights that turn with the car, and the front wheels.

Sir Vival Features
You asked why a two-sectioned body? Because it cushions impact absorbing shock. Why a rotating windshield? Because it is cleaned as it moves giving the driver perfect vision at all times – in any weather. A triple-section, air-filled bumper surrounds the entire car which was about 17.5 ft. long.

The cab was coupled to the main body of the car which houses an elevated, glass-enclosed cockpit which gives the driver, with the aid of mirrors, a full-circle range of vision; a third Cyclops-like headlight which shines straight ahead when the cars turns; a spacious, comfortable “club room” for the three passengers; and trunk and baggage space.

1958 Sir Vival survivor
Only one Sir Vival was ever made. Amazingly, the eccentric Sir Vival turned out to be a survivor after all. A little the worse for wear, it remains in the care of Bellingham Auto Sales in Bellingham, Massachusetts.

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