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Eight Ferraris and one Lamborghini ... in a $4 million pileup
December 4, 2011 10:04 PM   Subscribe

"Flashy sports cars valued at as much as $4 million became a mangled mess in a matter of minutes on Sunday when a Ferrari leading a pack of exotic sports cars on a trip from Japan’s southern island of Kyushu to Hiroshima skidded as it tried to change lanes."
posted by woodblock100 (79 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

 
More pics on this [Japanese] news site.
posted by woodblock100 at 10:08 PM on December 4, 2011


"driven by amateur sports car aficionados drivers" (FTFY)
posted by Lukenlogs at 10:08 PM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Damn. This is just going to make cyclists more smug.
posted by mazola at 10:12 PM on December 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


$4 million in cars destroyed in a pile up and no video?!
posted by Defenestrator at 10:16 PM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


News video is here.
posted by woodblock100 at 10:17 PM on December 4, 2011


Ever seen some grown men cry?
posted by JujuB at 10:19 PM on December 4, 2011


This is just going to make cyclists more smug.

At least the ones who survive.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:20 PM on December 4, 2011


Another news video (bit clearer) ...
posted by woodblock100 at 10:20 PM on December 4, 2011


"...in a matter of minutes"?? REALLY? Holy crap, we really really need the crash video.
posted by LordSludge at 10:21 PM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh man, this is sad. I'm not a car guy myself but my brother and father have a serious obsession; especially with Ferraris, and I can certainly appreciate it. I know a lot of people here on MetaFilter will be 'lol richpeople' but most guys into cars like this are truly passionate about exotics. I'm sure some of them are just destroyed over this - yeah they're just things, but very rare things whose owners may not be very rich, but merely fulfilling a lifetime obsession. From the looks of the cars there were a few 348s, one Testarossa, an F430 (pricier) but nothing vintage in the shot that I could see - mostly cars that enthusiasts (rather than rich guys) buy. Hopefully there was some good insurance to be had.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:28 PM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


we really need the crash video

If there is any in-car video, we won't be seeing it for a while, as it will certainly have been impounded by the police.

The WSJ report linked above suggests that the drivers weren't particularly racing or anything, but the news report videos quote people involved as saying the speeds were in the 140~160 kph range (about 80~100 mph).
posted by woodblock100 at 10:29 PM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Wow. I really hope this has nothing to do with this AskMe question from the other day.
posted by This_Will_Be_Good at 10:31 PM on December 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


Depends on the tires (summer/semi-slick perhaps) and the road conditions, but I highly doubt they were sedately driving the speed limit. Those cars have handling abilities that far exceed the average vehicle on the road, and the speed limits are set with the worst-performing vehicles in mind.
posted by knave at 10:31 PM on December 4, 2011


This is the kind of thing I don't understand. I have a Hyundai. It's old. It has a bunch of dents and scratches and the steering wheel has worn places. But I still try to park far enough away that people don't park next to it, because every new dent is like a knife in my heart. I had to work a second job to get that car, and keeping it nice is important to me.

If I had a fancy expensive car, I'd be too terrified to ever drive it outside the garage. I would just stare at it and then maybe dust it with a chamois. And yet, there is some fool at school who parks his brand-new Lotus Evora in the parking garage! If I spent eighty thousand dollars on a car, I would not leave it in some shabby garage possibly to get smashed into by student in their ancient hyundais. Not me, mind. I don't even breathe when I walk past the thing, because god knows that one panel of that car is worth more than my life.

So I don't understand taking cars far more expensive out on the road for things like this to happen. I guess if you have enough money, insurance rates going up and replacing your car are trivial events.
posted by winna at 10:33 PM on December 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


Depends on the tires (summer/semi-slick perhaps) and the road conditions, but I highly doubt they were sedately driving the speed limit. Those cars have handling abilities that far exceed the average vehicle on the road, and the speed limits are set with the worst-performing vehicles in mind.

Dricing in a large group with cars like this can be very dodgy I would suspect. My aforementioned brother has a 911 with the dodgiest semi-slicks that you can get - sticky as hell when they get warmed up but rock hard when they're cold. I can easily see cold group tires as being the culprit - even at realtively low speeds they can be sketchy. Combine that with these cars not having great rear visibility and nor being designed to be driven optimally at slow speeds - everything feels heavy and cumbersome until the revs come up and things get warm and the steering tightens up in your hands. Driving in a group on cold tires at low speeds is best done in a passenger car.
posted by jimmythefish at 10:39 PM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


From what I've read, the cars were doing 150 km/h on an S-Curve (the speed limit is 80 km/h, but expressways are engineered for 120 km/h). Add that to the Japanese penchant for playing "follow the leader" when driving, and you have a recipe for disaster. Too bad about the cars, but what about the regular working stiffs who got caught in the mess.

When I first heard about this "accident" (or, more appropriately, comeuppance) I wondered how it would be even possible to have a 20-car pileup on the Chugoku Expressway. The road is hardly used.

As my wife remarked, no one in Japan likely has any sympathy for the sports car enthusiasts, although I can see how the pileup could have ruined weeks or months of planning.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:41 PM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


BTW, I've regularly driven 150 km/h on Japanese expressways in a luxury sedan (before I had kids, when we lived in Japan), and it's no big deal, although I would never do that if it was raining.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:44 PM on December 4, 2011


As Clint Eastwood said, 'A man has got to know his limitations.'

As Enzo Ferrari (supposedly) said, 'Being a Ferrari Owner does not make you a Ferrari racer.'
posted by Relay at 10:50 PM on December 4, 2011 [5 favorites]


$4 million divided by nine equals . . .

Holy Crap!
posted by Garm at 10:56 PM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Smashed up Ferraris make the Baby Jesus cry. Glad no-one was hurt in this. Convoying in fast cars in cold/poor conditions is asking for it, this is not the racetrack.
posted by arcticseal at 11:12 PM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Zero sympathy. On weekends here, especially out in western Tokyo (mountains and such), you'll get these 'enthusiast clubs' of various stripes, motor cycle, classic cars, and the like. Some of them are out driving, showing off, not being dicks. They'd be the minority. Most of the motorcyclists are going as fast, and as loud, as they can. The classic car people, they tend to drive a bit more leisurely.

140-160? On mountain roads? The limit tops out at 80 (which is ridiculously slow, to be honest), and these guys were being dicks.

Then again, I've never understood the appeal of cars. My dream car was a Ford Escort wagon. I've since moved on to wanting a Nissan Cube, but not the new one, it's too rounded. Cars that cost as much as a decent house? Especially cars that are meant for ridiculous speeds in a country where most surface roads have between a 25 and 40 kilometer per hour limit? It's just kind of absurd. At least they didn't kill anyone.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:15 PM on December 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


If ever a problem needed to be labelled "first world problem" this is it...
posted by greenhornet at 11:22 PM on December 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


I used to feel between meh and disgust for supercars. Then I went to a car show and took a very close line at a bunch of Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bentleys, a McLaren, etc...

I likedthem as pieces of engineering, but I loved them as sculptures. Beautiful big heavy things that take thousands of hours to make, I will never afford, but are beautiful to look at.

This makes me sad, as if 8 good pieces of art had been stupidly destroyed.
posted by Ayn Rand and God at 11:25 PM on December 4, 2011 [2 favorites]


This makes me sad, as if 8 good pieces of art had been stupidly destroyed.

I don't think I can express it better. To me certain cars are just that, rolling art. I'm grateful when I get to see them at a show and even moreso when I get to see them doing their thing, driving. Just because certain people are incapable of viewing them as art is not a valid reason to shit on them or their owners, as far as I'm concerned. I'm certain I don't agree with all your artistic choices either. But I don't go on MeFi and run them down.

Now, dickheaded driving is another matter altogether.
posted by Purposeful Grimace at 11:34 PM on December 4, 2011 [4 favorites]


As Clint Eastwood said, 'A man has got to know his limitations.'

Wrong.

Some snide cop: You know what, Harry...I've never even had to pull my gun out!

Dirty Harry: You're a good man, snide cop. A good man ALWAYS knows his limitations.

Me watching for the first time: OH SNAP! Dirty Harry, you so crazy!
posted by hal_c_on at 11:35 PM on December 4, 2011


I'm sympathetic to sports-car enthusiasts. I'm not one myself, but I can see the dilemma. The cars really are incredible machines. But they're meant to be driven, and if you're someone who has the means to buy one then you probably also live somewhere that precludes ever getting it up to speed. It must be frustrating to love a hobby that you cannot ever really enjoy.
posted by red clover at 11:36 PM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I likedthem as pieces of engineering, but I loved them as sculptures. Beautiful big heavy things that take thousands of hours to make...

cf.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:39 PM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


Y'all know that basically all of the safety and fuel efficiency features of modern cars come from racing right? Traction control, effective safety restraints, new tire compounds, better road design, anti-lock brakes, real time fuel consumption, better engine computers etc. Racing is not just a very, very expensive pastime, it's a giant R&D lab that benefits us all in terms of safety and energy efficiency. These cars help fund that whole industry so it's easy to scoff at them as rich people's toys but they're more than that. Each one perfectly encapsulates the state of the art at the time it was built which is neat and valuable. (OK arguably some Ferraris aren't exactly state of the art in all ways). They are historically interesting pieces of engineering and it's a bummer to lose them.
posted by fshgrl at 11:44 PM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


This (very thin) post is breaking my brain. On the one hand, there's my absolute love of cars...and so subsequently my breaking heart at this tragic, tragic situation. The poor cars! What injustice...this should have never happened to these beautiful beasts. Yes, I'm being serious. On the other hand, there's the gross financial gluttony driving this whole thing. heh. A world that I will never, and never want to, actually live in. It's more than first world problems. It's 1% problems that 99% of the first world gets to gaze on. And so I feel a sort of schadenfreude, which I feel conflicted about. Because these are fellow humans and those are just cars and humans in cars that go crunch can have really scary outcomes and the morally "correct" reaction is to think first about the rich humans inside the moving art pieces, right?"
posted by iamkimiam at 11:47 PM on December 4, 2011


140-160? On mountain roads?

Just to clarify a little ... this was the Chugoku Expressway. I don't know what the actual speed limit is down there, but I understand probably in the 80~100 range (kph, of course), although when you drive at that pace, plenty of people will pass ...
posted by woodblock100 at 11:50 PM on December 4, 2011


Depends on the tires (summer/semi-slick perhaps) and the road conditions, but I highly doubt they were sedately driving the speed limit. Those cars have handling abilities that far exceed the average vehicle on the road, and the speed limits are set with the worst-performing vehicles in mind.
posted by knave at 10:31 PM on December 4


I don't think that "I highly doubt they were sedately driving the speed limit," is an assumption that can be fairly made.

Now I don't own or drive a Ferrari, but I have driven along during a few Ferrari cruises in Canada (the club opened up the invitations to owners of other marques, hence my participation). I can say that the drivers were very, very, very respectful of the rules of the road. There was no more speeding done on those cruises by those drivers than by the typical driver in this province (i.e. a mild bit over the limit to keep up with the flow of traffic). Having participated in other cruises put on by other organizations, I have to say the Ferrari owners were without a doubt the best and most courteous group of drivers I've driven with under similar circumstances. I'd gladly go out with them again, without a second thought, whereas there are other clubs you couldn't pay me to drive with ever again.

I don't know for sure, but I'm guessing part of the reason for their driving style is the sheer visibility of dozens of Ferraris following each other down the road. They're really noticeable. You just can't miss them. People stop and stare and rubberneck. They snap photos and shoot videos. There is just no getting around the fact that the cars draw people's attention.

On one particular cruise, they especially drew the attention a pair of cops in a patrol car travelling in the opposite direction on a divided highway. Trust me when I say, you've never seen a black and white manoeuvre so quickly and desperately try to get to the other side of the road as when the policemen inside spot a line of Ferraris heading down the highway. I'm sure they were just counting the speeding tickets they planned to issue.

So no, not all Ferrari drivers drive like maniacs on the edge of control at all times. Of course I'm not naïve enough to believe that every Ferrari on the roads is driven perfectly in accordance with the Highway Traffic Act at all times -- I'm sure at times Ferrari owners flout the traffic rules in ways that other drivers with less powerful* cars could only imagine -- but personally, for the most part, I'm typically happy to share the road with Ferrari drivers.

*Of course just because it's a Ferrari, it doesn't mean it's fast. Some older models are actually kind of slow, especially when judged against current cars.

"The 1980 Ferrari 308 GTSi has a 3.0L V8 mounted amidships and the car is rear wheel drive. The engine produced about 215 hp when new, and the 1980 308 made the switch to fuel injection. 0-60 times were originally in the high seven second range with a top speed near 150 mph. Not terribly slow, but these days a Mazdaspeed3 can hit the 60 mph mark in about six seconds."
posted by sardonyx at 11:51 PM on December 4, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm sympathetic to sports-car enthusiasts. I'm not one myself, but I can see the dilemma. The cars really are incredible machines. But they're meant to be driven, and if you're someone who has the means to buy one then you probably also live somewhere that precludes ever getting it up to speed. It must be frustrating to love a hobby that you cannot ever really enjoy.

If you have the money to drive an exotic sports car, then you have the money to pay for track time. There are track day events that require a helmet, but do not require a roll cage or fire safety equipment, where people can drive anything from a high-end exotic to a Passat wagon, at speed, with the appropriate levels of safety and care. Most importantly, it allows you to indulge your hobby without putting innocent bystanders at risk.

That's why I always feel bad for the guy who is running his expensive car at the track -- especially vintage racers -- and wrecks, but I never feel bad for people who wreck expensive cars on the street. For them, all I think is "thank goodness they wrecked without taking out innocent people." Unless, of course, they took out innocent people.
posted by davejay at 11:59 PM on December 4, 2011 [3 favorites]


So I guess I'm putting my stake in the ground at "the problem isn't rich people in fast cars, it is people who buy fast cars and then are too cheap and/or lazy to use them as intended without putting innocent people at risk." Which I think is a find place to put that stake.
posted by davejay at 12:02 AM on December 5, 2011


Just to clarify, when I said, "a mild bit over the limit to keep up with the flow of traffic," I actually meant "keep up" and "not pass." For the most part, the Ferraris the kept to the right hand lane (or right hand two lanes on three and four lane highways). Everybody was passing our convey.

Actually, at times it was a bit scary to watch the other people on the road. A lot of the other drivers in the left-hand lane who were way behind suddenly sped up when they noticed what was going on ahead of them. Then once they got caught up, they hit the brakes to slow down to pace us. Combined with the rubber necking they were doing, there were times when there was some scary, drifting out of their lanes and into ours before they (over)corrected and found their way back into their own lanes.
posted by sardonyx at 12:04 AM on December 5, 2011


Was the prius with the exotics? I wonder if it was acting as a camera car for this group when it all went wrong. If they were 'posing' in formation and paying attention to each other instead of the road I can see how they could all get tangled up in the same smash. I look forward with some interest to the facts emerging. Destroying such beautiful machines... that's just wonton carelessness. Risking the lives of other road users... well that's a whole 'nother thing.
posted by adamt at 12:04 AM on December 5, 2011


I too, love beautiful cars, which is why I hate that standard color of red that apparently every driver involved chose for their cars here. I don't know why but it makes these well-engineered pieces look like shitty plastic toys. Red doesn't actually make the cars go faster, guys. Show some creativity and taste.
posted by Navelgazer at 12:05 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I too, love beautiful cars, which is why I hate that standard color of red that apparently every driver involved chose for their cars here.

The color actually has a name, Rosso Corsa, the international motor racing color for teams from Italy.
posted by RichardP at 12:39 AM on December 5, 2011


very rare things whose owners may not be very rich, but merely fulfilling a lifetime obsession

You may not be a percenter, but at least you can crash your car like one!
posted by XMLicious at 12:40 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


red clover writes "I'm sympathetic to sports-car enthusiasts. I'm not one myself, but I can see the dilemma. The cars really are incredible machines. But they're meant to be driven, and if you're someone who has the means to buy one then you probably also live somewhere that precludes ever getting it up to speed. It must be frustrating to love a hobby that you cannot ever really enjoy."

This is of course the beauty of ancient under powered sports cars like MGs and Minis. When the limit comes at 80 mph everywhere is your track. Just merging onto the freeway is a thrill. Plus the constant excitement of the thought in the back of your mind of wondering whether some vital piece of engineering is going to take this trip to finally give up the ghost. You never get that kind of fun out of modern transportation appliances; not even examples costing 4 million a piece.

davejay writes "If you have the money to drive an exotic sports car, then you have the money to pay for track time. There are track day events that require a helmet, but do not require a roll cage or fire safety equipment, where people can drive anything from a high-end exotic to a Passat wagon, at speed, with the appropriate levels of safety and care. Most importantly, it allows you to indulge your hobby without putting innocent bystanders at risk."

Ever since that driver flogging a delivery van to a 10 minute lap of Nuremburg was posted to the Blue I've been lusting after a couple weeks on that track. And it really isn't all that expensive.
posted by Mitheral at 1:13 AM on December 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Ha.
posted by pracowity at 1:18 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, whinge on about how pretty cars are and how if it weren't for these particular cars we wouldn't have the amaaazing cars we all drive now, but that doesn't change the fact that two hundred years from now when we have no natural resources left we will look back on them like metal Hitler death machines (and the people who drive them as the architects of the destruction of our global economy).

(But maybe I'm biased, my husband and I having been struck by an old rich man in an incredibly expensive car not a month ago... I wish the law would restrict him to bicycles, maybe then he'd respect pedestrians etc. /fistshaking)
posted by Mooseli at 1:40 AM on December 5, 2011


Nobody was killed. So this is good news.

More than 600,000 people per year are not so lucky.

The only thing that would make this better news would be if they had interviews with the drivers and they were all Japanese people dressed up as Magnum. P.I.
posted by srboisvert at 1:44 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Actor/comedian Eddie Griffin totaling a Hollywood producer's $1.5 million Ferrari Enzo.
posted by Devils Slide at 2:06 AM on December 5, 2011


Hey, was Dietrich driving?
posted by kmz at 4:20 AM on December 5, 2011


Wow, I'm glad I'm not the guy who set that off. I've seen a few youtube videos of sportscar meet-up events where everyone is having a good, (mostly) responsible time, then someone tries to do something really impressive, is introduced to the laws of physics, and an entire of group of people with equally high performance vehicles are all "What. A. Moron!"

In a case where the moron managed to not only shame himself, but set of a chain reaction that also destroyed all their cars, well, wearing the "moron" hat in front of your peers just pales in comparison.

(That said, I have no idea if the guy actually spun into them causing them to crash, of if they were following too closely to react and each is responsible for their own wreck)
posted by -harlequin- at 5:04 AM on December 5, 2011


0-60 times were originally in the high seven second range with a top speed near 150 mph.

To put this in modern terms, it is outperformed* by a Honda Civic. An Si, admittedly, but a Civic.

*Outaccelerated. I wouldn't be surprised if a 308 with modern tires could beat an Si around a track.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 5:05 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


If you have the money to drive an exotic sports car, then you have the money to pay for track time.

This is not true. Today, insurance policies in the USA have a little piece of fineprint that says any incidents that occur at any venue designating for racing are ineligible for cover*.

It's one thing to be able to afford the upfront fee for track time, it's quite another thing entirely to be able to risk the complete loss of an extremely expensive vehicle with no recourse and no insurance.

*In some cases, this has meant that a motorsport spectator, whose car was hit by another spectator while parked in the venue parking lot, gets their claim denied.
posted by -harlequin- at 5:15 AM on December 5, 2011


Damn. This is just going to make cyclists people who weren't involved more smug.

FTFY, mazola.
posted by IAmBroom at 5:24 AM on December 5, 2011


Instead, wet road conditions may have caused the first car, a Ferrari driven by a 60-year-old male, to slip on the two-lane highway and smash into a guard rail.

Clarkson!
posted by nathancaswell at 5:33 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I also have the destroyed-artwork reaction, but on reflection, there was something that somebody here said when Steve Irwin died. From memory, vaguely:

The real tragedy would have been if Steve Irwin had died in bed, a frail old man. A man that lived as he did should die no other way.

Steve might disagree, but yes, there is something deeply right about that sentiment.

And perhaps the same is true for a sports car. It should meet its end in a blaze of speed and sparks. Not be worn out from years sitting idle other than puttering around on a Sunday afternoon, and then stripped for parts.

No one killed. Spectacular wreckage. Worldwide media coverage.
This is a proper end for a Ferrari.
posted by -harlequin- at 5:39 AM on December 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


The real tragedy would have been if Steve Irwin had died in bed, a frail old man. A man that lived as he did should die no other way.

Er, no other way than how he actually died, I mean. ie. NOT frail and old in bed.

posted by -harlequin- at 5:48 AM on December 5, 2011


My cousin has a 1996 348. Lifelong dream. the wife and I have made jokes about penis extensions since he bought it...until I took a ride. He only drives it when the sky is perfectly clear, and he's working out of town, so I finally got to ride in it on the first anniversary of the purchase.

Holy shit. From the first time he hit third and was able to put the pedal down all the way, I was grinnin' like Teddy Roosevelt and reduced to sub-verbal "Hee hee heee!"s.

This is sad.
posted by notsnot at 5:49 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


I find it hard to believe that some people are getting upset about rich people's toys. One person accidentally totaling their half million dollar car is a tragedy, eight people totaling their half million dollar cars all at once through their own fault is comedy. I'll just leave this here.
posted by stavrogin at 5:51 AM on December 5, 2011


the wife and I have made jokes about penis extensions since he bought it...
...Holy shit.


Yeah, I've come to think that these are toys where the amount of fun they deliver is a function of size of balls, not size of penis. :)


One person accidentally totaling their half million dollar car is a tragedy, eight people totaling their half million dollar cars all at once through their own fault is comedy

I am finding this argument persuasive. Am I a bad person? :)
posted by -harlequin- at 6:19 AM on December 5, 2011


The Key to Your Ferrari. (nsfw)
posted by Splunge at 6:24 AM on December 5, 2011


If they had just gotten Vin Diesel, it might have made this movie barely tolerable.
posted by gimonca at 6:40 AM on December 5, 2011


There's a lot to be said for the cold tyres argument, in my opinion. As soon as I saw the long wet road, relatively low speeds and '60 year old driver' along with lane change, I did wonder if the cause was something as stupid as an inadvertent foot twitch while changing lanes over the white lines in the road. A little bit of unexpected wheelspin while changing lanes will make a bad day turn up pretty quickly.

At the 140km/hr or so the cars could have been travelling at and still be completely within road speed norms for that road (based on reports and some comments here) the tyres on a Ferrari of that style will be hardly worked. They won't be producing optimum grip at all. White lines are slippery things (stupidly, when you think about it) when wet and a small application of throttle at the wrong moment can easily break the traction of a very capable car operating below its nominal loads. Add that to the obviously compromised reactions of a 60 year old guy (perhaps even more so being as he may have been an enthusiast rather than anyone with any kind of race training or skills) and it'd be VERY easy to put a Ferrari sideways.

Add in a convoy of relatively close peers and this kind of accident is a sad conclusion. There's every chance the rest of them were too close to stop, but it's also hardly unheard of for there to be a multiple car accident of perfectly normal cars on a wet road. It's only newsworthy (and only brings out the 'STUPID RICH PEOPLE WERE DRIVING DANGEROUSLY' fools) because the cars are shiny and expensive.

I don't see a massive accident from any of the pictures and footage I have seen - just lots of cars. I see a relatively normal looking crash at normal to high Highway speeds. No car rolled, none seem to have penetrated the safety barriers fully, no-one got seriously hurt. Relatively delicate cars just got crunched. Sad, and a shame for the owners. None of the cars has severe damage more than you'd see from any highway speed crash. It's just that delicate bodywork makes it look worse.

Fast cars can be pretty crappy in the wet and when going slowly. Spring rates and tyre construction designed to cope with the high loads of a car on its limit necessarily mean the car is often too stiff to cope with lower speed wet driving. The closest I have come to having an accident in the last 10 years was a few months ago with a 500bhp Corvette with full race suspension on wet roads. I was driving very slowly in the scheme of things (around 120km/hr, braking to about 80km/hr on the highway) and just happened to be halfway through a gear change (downshift) when someone changed lanes in front of me. I let the clutch up a little too sharply as I went to react, there was a bit of a bump in the road and the back of the car stepped out of line. Really slowly and without much fanfare. It would have been pretty easy for someone less used to that kind of thing to not notice immediately and if I'd stayed on the brakes, the car would likely have swapped ends.

I've driven and been driven in the same car at over 240km/hr on a race track in dry and damp conditions and the things was on rails. It has phenomenal grip that makes it hard to stay in the seat. Yet at a stupidly low speed, the thing could lose grip in the most banal of circumstances. You have to drive so, so much more carefully at low speeds in a performance car than you realise. Those that claim that they MUST have been driving like missiles for a Ferrari to have lost control don't have the slightest idea what they are talking about.
posted by Brockles at 6:49 AM on December 5, 2011 [7 favorites]


it's also hardly unheard of for there to be a multiple car accident of perfectly normal cars on a wet road.

Those drivers would also be at fault for driving dangerously too close. We offer equal-opportunity disdain around here.

I refrain from commenting on the rest of your post because it's interesting and good, and as my grandmother always said, if you can't say anything nasty, don't say anything at all. Or she said something like that anyway. I'm a bit hazy on some of the details.
posted by -harlequin- at 6:58 AM on December 5, 2011


Those drivers would also be at fault for driving dangerously too close.

Oh, absolutely. The people here that get all pissy because it is somehow the fault of the wallet size or of the fancy cars that they were driving too close is kind of hackle raising for me, though. Equal opportunity derision is perfectly acceptable (and in fact encouraged!). Blaming common poor driving discipline on entitled drivers is stupid and borne of the resentment of the accuser rather than any factual link to driving standards and wealth.
posted by Brockles at 7:05 AM on December 5, 2011


Is there really a "China motorway" in Japan, or is there just some weird reporting going on?

The google text for the video says "Yesterday morning, in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, China motorway" and checks out in the original Japanese. Confused.

from woodblock100's link
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 7:35 AM on December 5, 2011


Nevermind. I guess it makes sense that it would be called the equivalent of 'middle of the country roadway', and the translated syntax could make it look like it is 'china (middle country) roadway'.

Nothing to see here, people.
posted by six-or-six-thirty at 7:36 AM on December 5, 2011


I love driving fast on tracks. On the street my passengers mock me as being a grampa driver. If you can afford to buy a hundred thousand dollar car, you can afford to rent some track time when you want to run the sucker safe.
posted by bukvich at 7:56 AM on December 5, 2011


The best part of the article is where they quote Nelson, of Springfield:

"Ha-ha!"
posted by clvrmnky at 7:59 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yet at a stupidly low speed, the thing could lose grip in the most banal of circumstances. You have to drive so, so much more carefully at low speeds in a performance car than you realise.

I hadn't thought of zooming out from individual factors and just marking low speed itself as being a exacerbating factor, but yeah, good point.
This also reminded of a time when I was driving a sports car on solid ice, and I really didn't want to go fast lest I simply keep going straight at the next corner and slide into a bank, but I found that faster was actually better than slower, simply because it allowed me to be in a higher gear which reduced the crazy mismatch between torque and traction, and obviously you can steer better when the wheels aren't sliding and spinning as much.

(Also: Manufacturers of "sport" traction controls designed to allow the wheels to spin a bit and only cut in when things get too crazy? Could you please start including an additional mode called "No really - I do want traction control! All of it! I'm trying quite hard to not to peel out right now, so can you please just give me the kind of traction control I'd get on a regular car? You know; the traction control that helps control traction?")
posted by -harlequin- at 8:15 AM on December 5, 2011


If you have the money to drive an exotic sports car, then you have the money to pay for track time.

You can pick up a 308/328 that's just used rather than restored for $30-50K. Which is a lot for a toy, but at the low end it's only a few K over the average price for a new car.

...but then there are the maintenance bills.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 8:49 AM on December 5, 2011


And yet, there is some fool at school who parks his brand-new Lotus Evora in the parking garage!

There's a guy in my neighborhood who parks his Lamborghini Gallardo on the street. Overnight. On the fucking street. Blows my mind.
posted by 6550 at 8:55 AM on December 5, 2011


I wonder if we live near the same idiot? I saw a lime green one in the parking lot of Hobby Lobby, of all places, the other day.

Because naturally you want to take a gorgeous piece of high-end automotive engineering on a run to pick up some glue sticks and felt!
posted by winna at 10:18 AM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


i mean if i had something like that i hella would

i would fuck that lotus up

i would scrape up against bollards in it just laughin and laughin

passengers seat full of mod podge and hobby sticks fuck the world
posted by beefetish at 10:40 AM on December 5, 2011 [4 favorites]


You are a shocking rapscallion! That is living large to some purpose.

Now I am picturing a mod podged sports car interior with scrapbooked stuff all over the dash and mosaic on the stick shift. It is not a pretty image.
posted by winna at 11:38 AM on December 5, 2011 [2 favorites]


Beauty is meant to be destroyed. That's why it exists. Everything ends, it's just that some things go out with thunder and fury, while others merely sag into the earth unnoticed.

Consequently, the only real problem is here that there don't seem to have been any fireballs, and so there was no glory.

There should have been fireballs, with grimacing, and cowering, and screeching in slow-motion. Tracking shots, zoom to a skidding wheel, then jump-cut frenzy with fire before a graceful helicopter pan & pull-out.

Maybe a solitary figure crawling on the pavement in the rain.
posted by aramaic at 12:23 PM on December 5, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, pure schadenfreude for me too. All my life, my dream car has been a wrecked Lamborghini Miura, preferably with a tiny 'donut' spare on one wheel.....
posted by ergomatic at 12:34 PM on December 5, 2011


There's a guy in my neighborhood who parks his Lamborghini Gallardo on the street. Overnight. On the fucking street. Blows my mind.

By any chance, was it this guy?

(dude parked Lamborghini on the street here in LA, windstorm kills car, Internet laughs)
posted by quartzcity at 12:47 PM on December 5, 2011


I have a picture of a tow truck taking an illegally parked blue Lambo from in front of the San Francisco Apple Store.

You could hear the undercarriage scraping and the whole car creaking and groaning as it got lifted. A few dozen people were cheering and the owner, exhausted from yelling at the police and the tow truck operator was crying openly.

It felt so good to witness.
posted by Ayn Rand and God at 12:55 PM on December 5, 2011


Heh, no it wasn't that guy. This one is lime green.
posted by 6550 at 7:15 PM on December 5, 2011


Is there really a "China motorway" in Japan, or is there just some weird reporting going on?

The google text for the video says "Yesterday morning, in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture, China motorway" and checks out in the original Japanese. Confused.


The accident took place on the Chugoku Expressway. Chugoku is one of about a dozen or so regions in Japan (Kanto, Kansai, Tohoku, Kyushu, Shikoku, etc.)

Chugoku means "middle kingdom" (this area in Japan is located between the old Kinki capital region and Kyushu), which also means "China".
posted by KokuRyu at 9:05 PM on December 5, 2011


This is not true. Today, insurance policies in the USA have a little piece of fineprint that says any incidents that occur at any venue designating for racing are ineligible for cover*.

To this I can only say two things:

1. My insurance covers anything that happens to my car on a racetrack, provided it is not a timed event. There is nothing special about my insurance; this is just the way the policy is written. As long as I'm there for an untimed track day, or a "high performance driving event", or racing school, and nobody is tracking lap times, I'm good to go. I didn't search for this in my policy, and while I am sure many have exclusions for any track time, I know of at least one mainstream company that allows it. And yes, I am in the US, California specifically.

2. A professional racing driver does not carry insurance on their car; what happens on the track is their cost to bear. Similarly, if you are driving on the street and you are ticketed as a reckless driver, with the accident as the result, many insurance policies will not cover you, and so it is your cost to bear. If you think that you can only drive fast on the street because you won't be covered at the track, and behave accordingly, you're making some pretty significant errors in judgement (not the least of which is that you're assuming you might crash and want to be financially covered, which means you're completely discounting the potential for injuring/killing innocent people as unimportant compared to your financial condition.)

In short: lack of a little due diligence on your insurance policy choice and lack of consideration for other people is not the same thing as not being able to afford track time. My insurance lets me do track days, is priced competitively with other people I know with other insurance company coverage, and the total cost for eight 20-minute sessions on a track over two days (with NASA) is less than I pay for my commuting gas per month.
posted by davejay at 9:58 PM on December 5, 2011 [1 favorite]


A professional racing driver does not carry insurance on their car

This is not necessarily true. There are racing policies specifically designed for competition, but you really have to smack the crap out of your car to make them cost effective. They can be around $1500 for a race weekend with something like a $5000 excess. Depending on the cost of the series and the likelihood of the damage, these policies are pretty common.

There are also much more reasonable track day insurance policies available, as well as high performance policies that cover track days.
posted by Brockles at 5:18 AM on December 6, 2011


How the ‘World’s Most Expensive Car Crash’ Happened. Actually, according to this list from three years ago it would only be #3. (#2 and #1 being one-car accidents involving Ferrari 250s.)
posted by LeLiLo at 6:59 PM on December 7, 2011


Yeah, I'm not at all convinced by the price tags on that accident nor on the list of 10 on that page. They're just saying the price of the car involved in the accident - hardly any of them are full write offs in my opinion. Even if half of them are that's not 3.85 million as not one of the ones listed is worth $500,000 each. Not even close.

Hell, any car over $500,000 can be rebuilt for less than that. Any classic car could have a ground up restoration for less than that and would only lose a small proportion of its value by being rebuilt.
posted by Brockles at 7:40 PM on December 7, 2011


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