Since the 1930’s, all cars were built around a frame. The frame is the skeleton of the vehicle from which all other components are built on. Believe it or not, car builders started out using wood for frames. If you think about it, it makes perfect sense. Wood was used for horse-drawn carriages and wagons for hundreds of years before the car was invented. The first cars were built after the classic buggy shape. This kind of car constructing was called body-on-frame. As the industry evolved, more and more car builders converted to unibody construction, where the frame and body of the vehicle are integrated. Modern car building consists of almost entirely unibody construction.
From Wood to Carbon Fiber
As technology evolved, different materials were used to build car frames. The desired result was a frame that was sturdy and solid but still had an amount of give to it, to provide safety upon impact. Some car makers were combining the use of wood and metal in car construction, however eventually most switched to carbon fiber. Carbon fiber is a fabric-like material that can be mixed with a polymer to make a material that is stronger than steel, yet flexible for making the round edges of vehicles. It is also extremely durable and long-lasting, making cars that are built to last for years. The resulting substance is light and sturdy, allowing cars to maneuver quickly and safely. Carbon fiber is used extensively today by almost every car manufacturer.
Car building may have changed significantly over the years, but every change has made cars much safer and more accessible to drive. As the industry continues to evolve, we are sure to see even more advancements in the building process. Body-on-frame may not be the norm anymore, but it was the very beginning of the modern cars that we all drive today.