General Motors has been running their vehicles through physical tests at the Milford Proving Grounds for 90 years. The company's obviously made R&D improvements in that time, but today's Chevys are running through some of the same torture tracks their great-great-...-"grandfathers" were vetted on.
This video's about as sexy as a taped lecture from from your high school chemistry class, but it is neat to see some old American iron picking its way through the bumps.
Stephen Jenkins, director, Global Proving Ground Operations, Test Labs and Vehicle Material Engineering:
"We can mathematically calculate how well a part should hold up under certain conditions, but it isn't until we get a driver in the product and test over and over again that we can be sure. We are always pushing ourselves to test even the smallest part of a vehicle to ensure that the entire product from the engine down to the screws and bolts are tough enough to handle the driving our customers need."
I guess he's got a point; speed bumps haven't really changed since the first ones ruined a perfectly good road.
Today, GM puts vehicles through 18 months of testing at Milford, driving as much as 25,000 miles designed to simulate 100,000 miles of "customer use."
Cars and trucks run over potholes, bumps, ditches, and a cobblestone road called the "Belgian Block Loop," which has been around since 1929. In the late 60's, "humidity chambers" were added to put cars through a ringer of temperature fluctuations and corrosion.
Image by the author with graphics from GM