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Car and Driver: This Vintage 1935 Film Explains the Advantages of Independent Suspension

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-More than just about anything else, the advent of independent suspension was one of the first steps that took the early automobile from a rudimentary, carriage-based conveyance to the modern machine we recognize today. While a few trucks and SUVs continue to use the traditional solid rear axle with leaf springs, nearly everything on the road today employs some form of coil-sprung independent front suspension. (We would be remiss not to acknowledge the Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, which combines independent front and rear suspensions with monoleaf springs made of fiberglass.) 


But exactly how does an independent suspension work, and why does it improve vehicle dynamics so much? Jam Handy is here, all the way from 1935, to explain it to you.


Yes, we’re back with more of the old-timey animated goodness of Mr. Jamison Handy, the irascible educational film producer whose sonorous radio voice and impeccable explanations previously revealed to us the inner workings of manual transmissions, cooling systems, differentials, fuel systems, engine lubrication, and more. Handy’s stone-simple explanations and elegant illustrations make even the most complex aspects of automotive engineering understandable to just about anyone willing to pay attention for five minutes.


Like all of the previous Handy films we’ve shown you, this is basically a long commercial for Chevrolet, produced back in 1935 when the automaker’s independent “knee-action” coil-spring front suspension was truly state-of-the-art.


A lot has changed since then, of course, and if you’re familiar with the greasy side of a modern chassis you’re already well aware of the basic benefits this suspension design conferred. But even if that’s the case, you’ll still love the way this vintage film explains it.



This story originally appeared on Road & Track.


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