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October 31, 2013 12:51 AM   Subscribe


 
Two 22-gallon gasoline tanks stored in the trunk? They are lucky they didn’t get rear ended.
posted by Kevtaro at 1:33 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I did Boston to Portland OR in 54 hours in a Nissan minivan. Three man rotation, stopping only to shit and gas up. It was hell.

This guy's bonkers.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 1:37 AM on October 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Brock Yates should be proud.
posted by Spatch at 1:44 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kevtaro: "Two 22-gallon gasoline tanks stored in the trunk? They are lucky they didn’t get rear ended."

Doesn't sound like they were ever in much danger of being rear ended.
posted by mannequito at 1:50 AM on October 31, 2013 [35 favorites]


You see, look at it from the outside and you wouldn't know Ed's CL55 is anything other than a typical CL-Class, purchased by some old guy in Palm Beach

A Mercedes CL55? That's not very rock and roll no matter what you do to it under the skin.

You have to break a record like this with a little verve and panache.
posted by three blind mice at 1:54 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I also ask if he's worried about the public. Will a mob of angry citizens show up outside his house, demanding that he "THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!"?

I''ll do it: What a bloody dickhead; he could have killed someone, killed himself, and undoubtedly has encouraged others to run the same risks. Why should he be above and beyond the law? I hope he's charged.
posted by smoke at 2:24 AM on October 31, 2013 [43 favorites]


Two 22-gallon gasoline tanks stored in the trunk? They are lucky they didn’t get rear ended.

If they're proper racing fuel cells, they were vastly safer than the fuel tank built into the car.

You have to break a record like this with a little verve and panache.

No, you mostly need velocity.
posted by eriko at 2:55 AM on October 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


The team covered 2,813.7 miles at an average speed of 98 miles per hour. They stopped for fuel just three times.

And that's just the average speed. In a car that stank of gasoline.

The next carload of dickheads will need bigger tanks and higher speeds. Eventually someone will go boom.
posted by pracowity at 3:01 AM on October 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Presumably if he'd been sponsored by Red Bull he'd have used one of these.

You have to break a record like this with a little verve and panache.

And the ability to drive while barely awake. And the luck that when you do briefly drift off you don't veer into the path of a coachload of nuns.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:08 AM on October 31, 2013


Completely mad. The fuel tank risk is concerning.
posted by arcticseal at 3:31 AM on October 31, 2013


And the ability to drive while barely awake.

I would imagine that he just used amphetamines like long distance truckers and bomber crews do.
posted by Space_Lady at 3:42 AM on October 31, 2013


I feel so much safer.
posted by MuffinMan at 3:57 AM on October 31, 2013


Why would you need amphetamines to stay awake for less than 30 hours?
posted by I-baLL at 4:01 AM on October 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


I get up at 6:00 and I'm pretty tired by midnight, if I even last that long. To be wide awake enough to drive a gasoline bomb for 30 hours down the crowded public highways at speeds somewhere way above 100 MPH, I would probably need a stimulant or three.
posted by pracowity at 4:12 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Well, considering that there were 2 drivers sharing the load I don't think that amphetamines were necessary. Coffee and energy drinks as mentioned in the article? Yeah, they'll help, but there's no need for amphetamines. They're not driving non-stop for multiple days.
posted by I-baLL at 4:15 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think the need for amphetamines might be as much about the willingness to do this as the actual performance; I'm bipolar (bipolar II, in fairness) and my medicine would have to be WAY the fuck out of whack for this to be a thing I would actually do.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 4:20 AM on October 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


If they're proper racing fuel cells, they were vastly safer than the fuel tank built into the car.

And yet...
The result is a constant, pervasive gas smell when you're standing anywhere in the car's vicinity.
I do not think "vastly safer" is in any way an accurate evaluation of this situation.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:27 AM on October 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


A Mercedes CL55? That's not very rock and roll no matter what you do to it under the skin.
You have to break a record like this with a little verve and panache.


Even if you are only half joking, I agree with the sentiment 100%. If you're going to do it, do it and shut up about it, but if you want people to write about your shenanigans, then do it right. Make it something that they'll write country songs about, make movies about, write books about. He should've driven a classic Italian sports car or a Hearse or a decked out Jaguar Hearse.
posted by NoMich at 4:28 AM on October 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yawn. Some entitled assholes crossing the country at dangerous speeds in a car designed for rich idiots is exactly the kind of "adventure" that our soulless era deserves.

Mind you, I made the trip from Savannah, Georgia to Hazelhurst, Georgia in two and a half hours in a twenty-eight year-old Citroën DS21 with 360K on the clock and a blown suspension sphere spraying Dextron fluid in a continuous hundred mile stripe on the dusty Georgia roads and an irritated drag queen church organist navigator tasked with having to leap out and whip open the hood to refill the main reservoir with fluid every ten miles or so in the age before cell phones. Using a network of Citroën weirdos and a calling card on every dirty pay phone in Savannah, I'd tracked down a source for a replacement sphere at the home of a woman whose Citroën weirdo husband had literally died the previous day, and we set off from where the Arrêt! light had let us know that we were almost shit out of luck with a case of fluid from an autoparts store and a dim possibility of recovery and stopped only for fluid refills and to send an angry drag queen church organist to scamper to the fruitcake factory in Claxton for a discount fruitcake and to an onion stand in Vidalia for a bag of onions. I changed the sphere with a dead man's sphere on the manicured lawn of a new widow while a drag queen organist chatted with the ladies of the Old South in the parlor during visitation and the presentation of casseroles.

Mind you, I didn't get a gushy write-up in Jalopnik, but gearheads care more about fast than they care about je ne sais quoi. Their loss.

Plus, I wouldn't be caught dead in those shoes. What a douche.
posted by sonascope at 4:45 AM on October 31, 2013 [86 favorites]


Do it on 20 gallons of, or less, and then come back and brag: piling more on more is just not so impressive - to me, anymore - as refining and doing as much with way less.
posted by From Bklyn at 4:45 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is like an idea you come up with as a teenager, then grow up and realize it's fucking stupid and selfish. I think this guy missed a step.
posted by uncleozzy at 4:52 AM on October 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


He teaches Sunday school with his wife.

I want to go to that Sunday school! All kinds of law breaking must be condoned. What's the New Testament in the face of a desire to "break a record?"
posted by OmieWise at 4:58 AM on October 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Who wants to be known for breaking thousands of laws across dozens of states?

Besides the multiple radar detectors and laser jammers (all illegal in many jurisdictions), there's also that switch to kill the rear lights and a reference to 'night vision' --- so besides the extreme & constant speeding (to maintain that 98mph average they had to be speeding in heavy traffic as well as open highway), they were apparently doing that idiotic speeding without lights..... absolutely brilliant.

Yes indeedy, I hope the cops get hold of the records then charge this dude every which way they can think of: better he spends his money on a lawyer to keep his butt out of jail than acting the ass like this on the roads.
posted by easily confused at 5:14 AM on October 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


I did somewhere in New Hampshire to St. Louis, straight through, one time. No radio. I've driven home from central Utah, and from the California coast to Colorado. Twenty-something, sixteen, and seventeen hours. Those, I at least had a radio. Mostly I kept within a few standard deviations of the speed limit.

All of them were mental slogs. The Rust Belt or the Great Plains, the flatness just flattens you. Any hills after all that flatness make you hallucinate. Caffeine is a great start...

This is lunacy.
posted by notsnot at 5:16 AM on October 31, 2013


The people saying 'fuel bomb' are far off the mark, as far as I can tell. The cells look to me to be pretty standard aviation/motorsport fuel cells. As mentioned, these are much safer than a standard automotive cell in any crash. The smell of fuel is most likely the vast quantity of fuel just venting, not because it is leaking. The amount of aeroquip plumbing used suggests at least a relatively competent job.

Besides, if the fuel smell was also inside, I really doubt anyone would be able to stand that for more than a couple of hours. I've driven cars with a fuel leak that you could smell inside (the leak was external, but a rust hole meant vapours got in. I had a MASSIVE headache after about 35-40 minutes and felt physically sick not long after. So my suspicion is that the car smelt of fuel when you were standing near it, not when you were in it.

So yes, I'd agree that there was almost negligible extra danger from the extra fuel load. The speed and time they took (Seriously, no-one accounted for driving into the sunrise at the point of maximum tiredness?) is stupid, but intriguing. Hopefully soon the record is so far out of reach that at least people who haven't prepared properly won't even bother to attempt it. At least that reduces the risks of someone killing themselves/someone else by fear of failure alone.

there's also that switch to kill the rear lights and a reference to 'night vision' --- so besides the extreme & constant speeding (to maintain that 98mph average they had to be speeding in heavy traffic as well as open highway), they were apparently doing that idiotic speeding without lights.

Wrong record attempt (that refers to the Alex Roy one before) but the switch meant without REAR lights. Which, if you are by far the fastest car on the road matters exactly not one jot in terms of anything at all. It's not at all dangerous - they give no information to anyone if they are on a car that is way faster than anything else.
posted by Brockles at 5:19 AM on October 31, 2013 [7 favorites]


redbull run
posted by panaceanot at 5:19 AM on October 31, 2013


Aren't rich bastards like this the limit approaching infinity as to why reason traffic violations are so prolific in rural areas?
posted by oceanjesse at 5:23 AM on October 31, 2013


... in a twenty-eight year-old Citroën ...

Somehow I knew exactly who's comment that was as soon as I read that part.
posted by octothorpe at 5:30 AM on October 31, 2013 [11 favorites]


That's a nice little drive, but for somethng impressive, try going from Prudhoe Bay to Key West in under 100 hours. Without speeding. On a motorcycle.

For what it's worth, I would rather be on the road with these guys, who have obviously put a lot of planning and thought into what they are doing, than many of the coffee-swilling, cell-phoning, paper-reading jackasses I encounter on my way to work every morning.
posted by TedW at 5:36 AM on October 31, 2013 [14 favorites]


How this is not my Uncle Skip I'll never know.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:44 AM on October 31, 2013


Well, he is slowing down a bit in his old age.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 5:44 AM on October 31, 2013


Previously on MeFi
posted by TedW at 5:48 AM on October 31, 2013


Oh crap... didn't see the title. redface run!

Oh no... digging myself unintentionally into a hole... by "redface" I meant blushing due to faux-pas
posted by panaceanot at 5:51 AM on October 31, 2013


That's a nice little drive, but for somethng impressive, try going from Prudhoe Bay to Key West in under 100 hours. Without speeding. On a motorcycle.

Yeah, I'm much more impressed with Iron Butt marathoners than I am with leadfoot assholes who didn't understand the Cannonball Run movies were fiction. Unless your co-drivers are Jackie Chan and Richard Kiel, slow the fuck down.

Another fun thing are the attempts on the Darien Gap[pdf] - break that time record, and I will be properly impressed.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:59 AM on October 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


For what it's worth, I would rather be on the road with these guys, who have obviously put a lot of planning and thought into what they are doing, than many of the coffee-swilling, cell-phoning, paper-reading jackasses I encounter on my way to work every morning.

The problems is that these guys were driving 100+ mph (120? 140? more? they're afraid to say) on the road with those coffee-swilling, cell-phoning, paper-reading jackasses toodling along at 60 mph. It's not a safe combination.
posted by pracowity at 6:00 AM on October 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


I'm not convinced - that margin is huge and GPS data is super easy to fake. Shit, there is even a web site dedicated to doing so for cyclists to set Strava records.
posted by exogenous at 6:09 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


As a kid fueled by Burt Reynolds movies these guys would have been my heroes. As an adult all I can see is what could have gone wrong. A tiny part of me misses the twleve year old that didn't have to think about repercussions and could just excited by cool shit.
posted by Slack-a-gogo at 6:23 AM on October 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


... in a twenty-eight year-old Citroën ...

Somehow I knew exactly who's comment that was as soon as I read that part.


Colombo?
posted by edgeways at 6:25 AM on October 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


One of the reasons I don't comprehend the itchy compulsion for speed is that I am, right at this moment, riding around the axis of the Earth at approximately a thousand miles per hour, and the Earth is going around the Sun at roughly sixty-nine thousand miles per hour, and the Sun is moving around the galactic center at about four hundred forty-six thousand miles per hour, and I'm doing that in my red flannel pajamas. Crossing a smallish continent on a smallish planet in a luxury car at around a hundred miles per hour just seems...I dunno—paltry?

Meanwhile, these guys didn't see a thing along the way except for their assortment of gimcracks and geegaws, didn't meet any locals, didn't accidentally discover anything amazing, and didn't appear to develop any wisdom on their path. They just earned a number, like a little merit badge, and spent a lot of money and risked a lot of lives. It's a truly American accomplishment. One has to wonder if that guy prides himself on being able to reach orgasm as fast.

I'm biased, of course, but give me some Canadian hippie on a moped any day.



Life is so short, we must move very slowly
—the Talmud

posted by sonascope at 6:26 AM on October 31, 2013 [10 favorites]


> Yeah, I'm much more impressed with Iron Butt marathoners than I am with leadfoot assholes who didn't understand the Cannonball Run movies were fiction.

Based, as they say, on true events.
posted by ardgedee at 6:28 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Colombo?

Colombo was a Peugeot man.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.
posted by sonascope at 6:32 AM on October 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


Of course on the one hand, this is tremendously unsafe and irresponsible and I cannot condone it. But on the other hand, HAIL SATAN
posted by Greg Nog at 6:33 AM on October 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


Colombo?

Colombo was a Peugeot man.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.




damnit, your right of course.. I even say "Peugeot!" every time I see it, because it's a fun word to say.

Not sure how that mental breakdown occurred. carry on
posted by edgeways at 6:38 AM on October 31, 2013


I team drove from Vancouver to Guelph, Ontario and defended my undergraduate honours thesis in just over 38 hours. In an old Hyundai with manual transmission. It was the first time I had driven stick.

(I also got my only speeding ticket ever from a Mountie near the top of a mountain)

Then I quit driving. I'm closing in on twenty years of not being behind the wheel.
posted by srboisvert at 6:51 AM on October 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


What did the Mountie think of your thesis
posted by ook at 7:01 AM on October 31, 2013 [8 favorites]


Why do they never use diesels? A few TDI cars have 800+ mile range and could sustain 100+ mph speeds for long periods of time; especially the German ones designed for autobahn usage.
posted by 13twelve at 7:01 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Well, considering that there were 2 drivers sharing the load I don't think that amphetamines were necessary. Coffee and energy drinks as mentioned in the article? Yeah, they'll help, but there's no need for amphetamines. They're not driving non-stop for multiple days."

Unlike thousands of long-haul truck drivers every damn day. So, you know, if you want to complain about safety, start agitating for a return to rail freight nationwide.
posted by Eideteker at 7:03 AM on October 31, 2013 [6 favorites]


"You'd want the V8 for gas mileage," he said, helpfully explaining to future historians why Florida was submerged.
posted by compartment at 7:09 AM on October 31, 2013 [15 favorites]


meet the guy prick who drove across the USA in a record 28 hours 50 minutes.
posted by nathancaswell at 7:24 AM on October 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


I love this. There's something very special about crossing the country in only a little over 24 hours. 28 hours feels very different from 31 -- it's like, I too could do that, just go out and cross the country and back on a two day weekend. I wish they had someone in the car taking pictures.
posted by miyabo at 7:34 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


The team covered 2,813.7 miles at an average speed of 98 miles per hour.

Caught on camera: Teen's terrifying drive at 100mph for 90 MINUTES after his accelerator got stuck . . . until he crashes spectacularly.
posted by three blind mice at 7:37 AM on October 31, 2013


I wish they had someone in the car taking pictures.

The problem with that is that all the pictures would be taken at an average speed of 98 mph.

For similar reasons, this is why if I had the time and resources to drive cross country, it would probably take me 28 days rather than hours.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 7:37 AM on October 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


I get all the concerns and they certainly have validity, but to Ed Bolian and Dave Black, RESPECT.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 7:43 AM on October 31, 2013


Caught on camera: Teen's terrifying drive at 100mph for 90 MINUTES after his accelerator got stuck . . . until he crashes spectacularly.

Do cars not have neutral anymore ?
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:48 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Meanwhile, these guys didn't see a thing along the way except for their assortment of gimcracks and geegaws, didn't meet any locals, didn't accidentally discover anything amazing, and didn't appear to develop any wisdom on their path.

I can't tell if you're being deliberately obtuse or what, but of course they didn't meet any locals. They were in a race. We can certainly have a conversation about whether this race is irresponsible or unlawful or whatever, but your complaint isn't targeted at that so much as it is the idea of racing.

Which, again, is certainly a position one can take—though citing the speed of the earth's movement through space as though it somehow renders all forms of racing or speed-based contests moot seems like an awfully reductive and pedantic way to arrive at that position.

So of course they didn't meet any locals, because they were in a race. The participants in the Tour de France tend to miss out on the amazing wines of Bordeaux, I hear. Stopping and taking in the majesty of the countryside is not the point of a race. The point is to be the best, and to be the best is to be the fastest. That is what a race is. Racing of any kind is not easy, but sometimes it's worthwhile to do a thing that is not easy, and to try to do that thing better than anyone's ever done it before.

There's an argument to be made w/r/t the irresponsibility of making the Cannonball Run, though I don't think it's as strong as many in this thread seem to. (I'll take a Cannonball Run driver over a drunk or texting or angry one any fucking day of the week, and I am a bike commuter..)
posted by Sokka shot first at 7:51 AM on October 31, 2013 [7 favorites]


three blind mice: "
Caught on camera: Teen's terrifying drive at 100mph for 90 MINUTES after his accelerator got stuck . . . until he crashes spectacularly.
"

The only terrifying thing about being stuck at 100+ mph on a Texas highway is being unable to slow down for people who don't get out of your way. No idea why this gentlemen didn't shift into neutral, but the quote from the manufacturer gives a hint:

'It is extremely unlikely there would be simultaneous and spontaneous failure of the braking, acceleration and transmission all at the same time,' the spokesperson said. 'We have a never heard from the driver, his family nor their representatives and have not had a chance to inspect the car in order to determine what went on here. We would like to speak with the parties involved and take a look at the car. And we’d like to find out why this hadn’t come to our attention for almost three months.'
posted by pwnguin at 7:54 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Shit, I drove an 18-foot Ryder truck from Texarkana to Brooklyn with no rear view mirror and a 60-mph governor, changing lanes by spotter-car walkie-talkie and sheer nerve, in under 3 days.
posted by swift at 7:54 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'll take a Cannonball Run driver over a drunk or texting or angry one any fucking day of the week

You don't get to pick one or the other. It seems you have to have both.
posted by schwa at 7:55 AM on October 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


(I'll take a Cannonball Run driver over a drunk or texting or angry one any fucking day of the week, and I am a bike commuter..)

That's not really the choice here, though.
posted by Etrigan at 7:55 AM on October 31, 2013


Congratulations on survivng/not killing anyone, dickheads!
posted by Devils Rancher at 7:57 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


"You'd want the V8 for gas mileage," he said, helpfully explaining to future historians why Florida was submerged.

This zinger is a totally fallacious zinger. A dozen Cannonball Runs per day don't even come close to the fossil fuel burned in a single container ship voyage. Overzealous car nerds are not destroying the planet, we all are. Come on.
posted by Sokka shot first at 7:58 AM on October 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I guess, this is clearly a national health risk along the lines of smoking or obesity.

If someone burns down your house for no reason besides "I dig fire," they don't get to point out that smoking kills way more people than have ever lived in your house.
posted by Etrigan at 8:00 AM on October 31, 2013 [2 favorites]



Yeah, I guess, this is clearly a national health risk along the lines of smoking or obesity.


Well, traffic deaths are a national health risk.

The dude is an asshole because he made the roads more dangerous to some degree for the hundreds (thousands?) of other drivers he surely encountered, without their knowledge or consent, as part of a glory-seeking stunt.
posted by ghharr at 8:06 AM on October 31, 2013 [7 favorites]


[Do not start your comments here with "fuck all you people who..." Please drop us a note via the contact form if you have questions about this.]
posted by jessamyn at 8:08 AM on October 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


If someone burns down your house for no reason besides "I dig fire,"

Hey man, I was just trying to set the record for Most Tiki Torches Burning All Over Other People's Property. I took all the precautions. I couldn't have predicted that all that fire would start a fire.
posted by uncleozzy at 8:18 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


If someone burns down your house for no reason besides "I dig fire," they don't get to point out that smoking kills way more people than have ever lived in your house.

If someone runs past a bunch of houses with a torch all the way from New York to L.A. and doesn't burn any houses down, why is the entirety of the thread about how horrendously dangerous it was and how much of a huge asshole the guy is for doing it?

Yes, it is more dangerous than not doing it. So is driving to work.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:22 AM on October 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


These guys were complaining about 15 minutes worth of traffic in NYC. Little do they realize they may have also set a speed record getting from the east side to the George. Although, I would like to see the cabbie I told I would pay him double the meter if he could get me from LGA to JFK in the 22 minutes at 4:30 compete.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:23 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah. It's unsafe. Ok. Safety is not the point.

Look, they can die in a fire, for all I care. I just don't want to be in it with them. You make a public menace out of yourself on the roadways, then make a public ass out of yourself on the internet, & I'll call you one in public. Fair & square.
posted by Devils Rancher at 8:25 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is a hugely dangerous stunt that endangered many many lives. Fuck them.

Three white dudes driving in a mercedes? I'm not suprised the cops ignored them.
posted by MisantropicPainforest at 8:27 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, it is more dangerous than not doing it. So is driving to work.

Yes, driving to work is dangerous. That's why we have extensive safety laws and regulations designed to ameliorate the danger. Which these guys ignored because they wanted the thrill, putting a lot of the other people who were observing those laws and regulations at risk. That's why they're assholes.
posted by Etrigan at 8:27 AM on October 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Caught on camera: Teen's terrifying drive at 100mph for 90 MINUTES after his accelerator got stuck . . . until he crashes spectacularly.

Do cars not have keys anymore? You know, that thing you grab and turn to the left to shut the engine off?
posted by buzzv at 8:36 AM on October 31, 2013


Driving a V8 Mercedes sport tourer with cruise control and an automatic transmission fast on the interstate system isn't an athletic achievement. It's pretty much a matter of bladder control and staying between the lines, and since it's a divided highway and all you care about is not getting spotted, we're talking about the outer lines. So basically the story here is that he didn't get caught. And he could have been Gatso'd a few times and he wouldn't have to tell the Jalopnik reporter. He wouldn't even know it himself for a few weeks. It doesn't show in any of the photos but we can probably assume he has one of those technically-transparent license plate obscuring covers as well. He's not Robin Hood, either, I mean is it supposed to be civil disobedience? So what's left that we're supposed to be so admiring about?
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:36 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes, driving to work is dangerous. That's why we have extensive safety laws and regulations designed to ameliorate the danger. Which these guys ignored because they wanted the thrill, putting a lot of the other people who were observing those laws and regulations at risk.

Seems like a small price to pay to live in a world that still has a little bit of adventure left in it.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:38 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I drove this exact route in reverse earlier this year. Took me 10 days. Next time, I plan to shatter my personal record and take 14 days.

As far as what it means to average 98 miles per hour. It doesn't mean you're flying through rush hour traffic at 98. For a large portion of my trip I had my cruise control pegged at 85. And that seemed slow compared to the number of cars passing me. The only real slowdowns are going through construction, and major city centers. And from St. Louis to LA, there aren't that many of those. I'd say that about half that trip is road that you can safely drive well over 100 without endangering anyone. It's a big empty country.

I was also surprised at the lack of police presence during the trip. It wasn't until I hit Ohio, Pennsylvania that I started to see Highway patrol at a regular rate. And I'm a Black guy in an SUV. Starting the trip I was really tense about possibly dealing with police during the trip, and it was a non-issue.

Speed records aside, If you have the chance to drive I-40 from California to St. Louis, do it. It's a great drive. And the stretch through the New Mexico and Arizona is breathtakingly beautiful in spots.

You'll want to slow down and take it all in.
posted by billyfleetwood at 8:41 AM on October 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Seems like a small price to pay to live in a world that still has a little bit of adventure left in it.

This is the last adventure left?

THANKS OBAMA
posted by Etrigan at 8:43 AM on October 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


tylerkaraszewski: "Seems like a small price to pay to live in a world that still has a little bit of adventure left in it."

Ladies and gentlemen, this year's winner of the Failure of Imagination Award! Look at those khakis
posted by invitapriore at 8:47 AM on October 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


Can we jail him now, we have all the evidence we need.
posted by fingerbang at 8:52 AM on October 31, 2013


My favorite part of the write-up
More importantly, however, they had a lead car to follow through most of Pennsylvania. It was the first of several they'd have along the trip: a friend of Ed's or Dave's who lived along the way and volunteered to get on the highway a few hours before the CL55 came raging past. The lead car would drive the speed limit, 150 or 200 miles ahead, and warn the team of police, construction, or other potential issues. It made all the difference on the first leg.
In other words, the CL55 team was not the lone car, two co-drivers and a navigator. This CL55 team that broke the Cannonball Run record was a network of at least several cars, a cyborg entity connecting disparate individuals using satellite and radio communications, gathering and analyzing geospecific data to construct a real-time model of the terrain, itself a less-specific-but-no-less-intentional network of traffic systems, legislative municipalities, and noncooperative motorists.

Notwithstanding a few contemptuous dismissals above, this achievement is to me fascinating, so fascinating I can suspend my normally angry disposition to privately-owned-and-operated internal-combustion-engine vehicles to smile at the techy brashness of the CL55's team and their achievement.

Indeed, I might agree this is "exactly the kind of 'adventure' that our soulless era deserves" if one replaces "soulless" with the word "networked". Even the CL55 team itself was cobbled together by means of a Facebook message!

For what it's worth, I'm a fan of both this effort and smaller range achievements across Georgia with nonheteronormative organists and don't (personally) feel a need to choose between these types.
posted by mistersquid at 8:52 AM on October 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


mistersquid: "In other words, the CL55 team was not the lone car, two co-drivers and a navigator. This CL55 team that broke the Cannonball Run record was a network of at least several cars, a cyborg entity connecting disparate individuals using satellite and radio communications, gathering and analyzing geospecific data to construct a real-time model of the terrain, itself a less-specific-but-no-less-intentional network of traffic systems, legislative municipalities, and noncooperative motorists.

Notwithstanding a few contemptuous dismissals above, this achievement is to me fascinating, so fascinating I can suspend my normally angry disposition to privately-owned-and-operated internal-combustion-engine vehicles to smile at the techy brashness of the CL55's team and their achievement.
"

Indeed. Just this morning I achieved something that the haters would dismiss as merely "eating breakfast," which in truth involved mastication with a precision-shaped set of enamel-covered grinding elements attached to an articulated frame controlled by a series of electronically actuated biomechanical elements driven by electrical signals from a massively complex cognition apparatus. All of these elements are the result of literally millions of years of precision research and design. I am truly fascinated by the feats I have accomplished today, and by the sheer audacity involved in realizing this achievement.
posted by invitapriore at 8:59 AM on October 31, 2013 [5 favorites]


The outrage in this thread is misplaced. It assumes that in terms of safety 130mph by these guys (and it was two drivers taking turns over 28 hours, which is not even close to being a fatigue/sleep problem) is greatly more dangerous than the 70-90mph on the interstate by your average interstate driver, which simply isn't the case. Collisions at 70mph or more are mostly fatal, and are occasionally not so, according to chance; drivers with less experience and ability and more fatigue crash on the interstate every day.

More to the point, people in this thread, I have no doubt, speed on congested urban street and highways at twenty miles an hour or more above the limit, late for an appointment or whatnot, and distracted, and they are taking as much risk with others' lives as these guys were. To do what these guys did, they spent relatively very little time in congested traffic, most of their trip was necessarily spent with no other vehicles nearby. They didn't do this on I-20, coast-to-coast.

If the comments in this thread aren't outraged criticism, they've been romantic criticism, insisting that were this to be done, it should have been done with what amounts to much greater recklessness, with less preparation in a flashy car.

Someone in comments at the link mentioned that at these speeds, even interstates present challenges. That they didn't get into a wreck during about 30 hours of driving at speeds that averaged 89mph is proof that they are skilled drivers. There are many curves and shallow "bumps" that are hardly noticeable at 80mph but would result in loss of control at 140mph. They necessarily anticipated most of these and, where they didn't, were skilled in what they were doing.

I'd feel safer on the road with these guys doing this than I do with the average driver who, for example, bunches up with other cars on freeways and interstates during heavy rain or snow while driving much faster than they ought to be in those conditions.

What I see in this story are skilled drivers doing something extraordinary and dangerous, but with an extreme amount of preparation and awareness. I don't believe that they represented an equivalently extraordinary amount of danger on the road; I believe that they were, at most, somewhat more dangerous than many others on those interstates that day — which is certainly not admirable in itself, but in context and relative to their achievement, is something I admire, as opposed to the countless people driving those interstates at 85mph with little sleep, or while intoxicated, or distracted by their phones, or whatever.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:02 AM on October 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


buzzv: "
Do cars not have keys anymore? You know, that thing you grab and turn to the left to shut the engine off?
"

The fancy ones have an RFID fob that fits on your keychain and a "start" button on the dash. So, increasingly, no. What would happen if you hucked your key fob out the window is not a question I can answer.
posted by stet at 9:06 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


as opposed to the countless people driving those interstates at 85mph with little sleep, or while intoxicated, or distracted by their phones, or whatever.

Here's the problem, though -- it only takes one of those distracted, sleepy, intoxicated drivers doing the exact wrong thing at the exact wrong moment as these guys pass at 100+ to kill everyone in both cars, and likely killing other people who were doing everything right.

Yes, they took every precaution possible, except one: not doing it. A totally voluntary "adventure" that puts other people's lives at risk is still inexcusable, regardless of how well it was planned.
posted by Etrigan at 9:07 AM on October 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


This zinger is a totally fallacious zinger ... Overzealous car nerds are not destroying the planet, we all are. Come on.

I am a car nerd. I like cars so much that I once lived in one. MC Fallacious Zinger is my new stage name. I will wear a mirrored suit upon which the audience will see reflected their darkest fears and wildest desires. Ninety percent of my raps will be about staring into the abyss. The remaining ten percent will also be about material wealth.
posted by compartment at 9:08 AM on October 31, 2013 [3 favorites]


The fancy ones have an RFID fob that fits on your keychain and a "start" button on the dash. So, increasingly, no. What would happen if you hucked your key fob out the window is not a question I can answer.

The engine start button is also the stop button. You kinda have to be able to turn your engine off as a normal part of its use cycle.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:10 AM on October 31, 2013


I think it's possible to simultaneously believe that

1) given the conditions involved, the dangers are being overstated by some of the people reacting badly to this,
2) this is a basically uninteresting and lame "achievement" even in the context of that reduced assessment of the dangers involved,
3) this kind of glorification of speeding on public roads eventually filters down to the fucks who drive 30 MPH through parking lots.

At least for me, those three points all total up to "this is shitty, fuck this guy"
posted by invitapriore at 9:13 AM on October 31, 2013


If you have the chance to drive I-40 from California to St. Louis

That's not a bad road. I-70 west of Denver is also awesome.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:16 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


I love how that Daily Mail story about the desperate teen in the out of control Hyundai features this picture. Help me, I'm out of control, dude take a picture of me! And there's a Mercedes Benz emblem on the steering wheel.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:17 AM on October 31, 2013


George_Spiggott: "
The engine start button is also the stop button. You kinda have to be able to turn your engine off as a normal part of its use cycle.
"

Shows how much I know about fancy cars then. And basic logic.
posted by stet at 9:19 AM on October 31, 2013


"Here's the problem, though -- it only takes one of those distracted, sleepy, intoxicated drivers doing the exact wrong thing at the exact wrong moment as these guys pass at 100+ to kill everyone in both cars, and likely killing other people who were doing everything right."

That's true when those people are passed by people driving 87mph to their 80mph. The window for this possibility is much larger than when the speed difference is much larger. The kind of collisions you have in mind in your example — a road open enough that these guys would pass at greater than 100mph, so the person they are passing on an interstate is going interstate speeds, and probably speeding — are already fatal at prevailing speeds.

Now, that's not to say that these guys don't present an unusual risk to our hypothetical bad driver or everyone else, really. No one expects anyone to overtake them from behind at 120mph, drivers who, on average, already have limited road awareness will be caught by surprise. I agree that is a risk that plays into the scenario you describe. It's mitigated by the relative brevity of the conjunction and, ironically, probably that many of these drivers aren't aware of what's behind them at all and so aren't likely to be surprised until after it doesn't matter anymore, anyway.

Overall, I don't think that their high-speed driving was more than mildly more dangerous than average, if even that, on the open interstate given all the factors involved.

Where I would agree they would have been extraordinarily dangerous would be when they were on freeways in urban areas. I don't know what their route was, how many of those they drove through, and how they behaved when they did. If it were me, I'd choose a route that minimized such urban freeways or at least ones that would be congested, if I were to intend to speed, and otherwise would accept driving according to prevailing conditions on those freeways as a limit I'd have to compensate for on the open road. If they went through larger cities on congested freeways at 100mph speeds, then I agree that this was outrageously dangerous. I'm not convinced that doing so was necessary, even with this record fast time.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:24 AM on October 31, 2013


Right, that's it, I'm running a marathon with scissors.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:27 AM on October 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


Good luck getting those scissors to run even 1 mile let alone 26.2 of them #lazyfucks
posted by Eideteker at 9:28 AM on October 31, 2013


Overall, I don't think that their high-speed driving was more than mildly more dangerous than average, if even that, on the open interstate given all the factors involved.

I'm okay with saying that people who do things that are only "mildly more dangerous" for no reason other than "I want to" are still assholes.
posted by Etrigan at 9:28 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Do cars not have neutral anymore ?
Do cars not have keys anymore?


I guess I'd counter with "Do people under stress not freak out and commonly make poor decisions any more?"
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:28 AM on October 31, 2013


I guess I'd counter with "Do people under stress not freak out and commonly make poor decisions any more?"

According to the story it was a 90 minute ordeal and he made multiple phone calls asking for help. And in all that time neither he nor anyone else thought to use two of the controls that are right in front of the driver which have to be used on every journey, the ignition switch and the transmission handle? I mean I realize a kid may not even know about neutral (it's not like we have actual driver training or anything in this country), but still.... 90 minutes with a cop on the line?
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:33 AM on October 31, 2013


I was in a car (as a passenger) that started to accelerate out of control. Shifting to neutral just jacked the RPMs way up and we had to ultimately just shut the car off. In those minutes though, there was some definite panic trying to decide what to do. Scary ordeal all around. (Turned out the air filter cover bolt came loose, fell through and wedged the fuel injector wide open.)
posted by Jacob G at 9:37 AM on October 31, 2013


Yeah, back when the (Toyota?) stuck accelerator stories were prominent, on a lot of consideration I was totally willing to believe that people were confused and panicked when it happened and thus didn't do what they could have done to stop the car.

What I didn't believe then, or now, was that this applies to something extended to ten or more minutes, absent some serious mental disability. Sure, most people would balk at letting the engine rev uncontrollably high in neutral with a stuck accelerator — but I think that after a number of minutes risking death at very high speed, a broken engine (or transmission) would be obviously preferential. That kid was full of it.
posted by Ivan Fyodorovich at 9:50 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, back when the (Toyota?) stuck accelerator stories were prominent, on a lot of consideration I was totally willing to believe that people were confused and panicked when it happened and thus didn't do what they could have done to stop the car.

What I didn't believe then, or now, was that this applies to something extended to ten or more minutes, absent some serious mental disability.


The thing about the prius's (and I believe most "push button cars") is that just pushing the start/stop button doesn't stop the engine when the car is moving.
You need to push and hold, as with a locked-up computer.

This is, of course, detailed in the manual, but who reads those? Also, if your car suddenly "took off", panic might lead you to forget the "hold" part, so you keep jabbing at the button with no effect.

Further, with prius's (priii?), you need to move the lever to N and hold it there for a second or two which is, again, something people might not know (or remember) when something goes wrong.

Now, that kid was in a normal gas car which probably has a mechanical gear linkage of some sort, so failure to get it into neutral either means something went seriously wrong or he just panicked.
posted by madajb at 10:43 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


According to the story it was a 90 minute ordeal and he made multiple phone calls asking for help.

It shocks me, but twice now, I have been in a building with more than 50 other people when fire broke out & I was the only person in either case to think of grabbing an extinguisher & putting it out. Sometimes people are stupid, and freeze up in emergencies. (I was managing a kitchen & 10 people ran PAST the extinguisher to inform me of the fire on one occasion)

Still, I'm really not buying the 90 minutes part. I can see a moment or two of panic before it occurred to someone to jam the gearshift into neutral, but 90 minutes? With level-headed, dispassionate emergency personnel on the phone? This is just not standing up to any kind of logical scrutiny.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:03 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Indeed. Just this morning I achieved something that the haters would dismiss as merely "eating breakfast," which in truth involved mastication with a precision-shaped set of enamel-covered grinding elements attached to an articulated frame controlled by a series of electronically actuated biomechanical elements driven by electrical signals from a massively complex cognition apparatus. All of these elements are the result of literally millions of years of precision research and design. I am truly fascinated by the feats I have accomplished today, and by the sheer audacity involved in realizing this achievement.
Your achievement, invitapriore, of describing your breakfast as a network-enbaled act is more noteworthy (to me) than the "mere" act of eating breakfast. While eating breakfast has been for many and for quite some time an act of networked systems and organisms, recognizing eating breakfast as such is not as common.

Comparing your eating breakfast and the cross-country travel of the CL55 team, there somewhat scofflaw and practically dangerous achievement of the CL55 team makes the subject of the FPP more interesting for me than your eating breakfast, invitapriore, though I am totally in tune with your describing your meal as an example of a cyborg having breakfast.
posted by mistersquid at 11:05 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Meet the guy who did it in 3 hours and 23 minutes -- in 1957!
posted by Rash at 11:27 AM on October 31, 2013


What did the Mountie think of your thesis

He really got me man.
posted by srboisvert at 11:36 AM on October 31, 2013 [4 favorites]


Still, I'm really not buying the 90 minutes part.

That kid or the cops helping him were pretty dim. He was on the phone talking to 911? It doesn't take an hour and a half for some bright bulb to think of turning off the car or putting it in neutral, and they could have called someone for instructions on the exact make and model if that mattered. Almost any move would have been better than top speed for 90 minutes.
posted by pracowity at 11:40 AM on October 31, 2013


Meet the guy who did it in 3 hours and 23 minutes -- in 1957!

And by 1962 he'd got that down to around ten minutes!
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:47 AM on October 31, 2013


Bedpans? In a car?
posted by The corpse in the library at 11:50 AM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


The corpse in the library: "Bedpans? In a car?"

In a car going 100+ MPH!
posted by octothorpe at 12:00 PM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


If you can't maintain your composure in that situation, you shouldn't be driving. (A lot of people shouldn't be driving.)
posted by Eideteker at 12:14 PM on October 31, 2013


(Says the guy who less than a week after getting his first car avoided an accident when the brake pedal failed by remembering the emergency brake pedal. And yes, I feathered it to keep the wheels from locking. MASTER IT BEFORE USING IT IS A GIANT FUCKING STEEL MISSILE YOU ASSHOLES)
posted by Eideteker at 12:16 PM on October 31, 2013


Yeah back when I was a teen I would love this, but these days I lean more towards things like the Mongol Rally: From London to Ulan Bator in "any car generally considered to be crap with an engine under 1 litre"
posted by Tom-B at 12:22 PM on October 31, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure that there's ever been a car sold in the US with an engine smaller than 1 liter.
posted by octothorpe at 12:28 PM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Why do they never use diesels?

In 1998 Car & Driver had two guys drive coast to coast in a Jetta TDI without stopping. It took them 39 hours and 46 minutes, at an average speed of 73.35 MPH, using 67.8 gallons of diesel fuel.
posted by zsazsa at 12:49 PM on October 31, 2013


I dunno. Doing the drive with radio communicating scout cars out front, in a multi-man driver team, in a modified car with excess fuel capacity, and dual GPS, radar and laser detection electronics systems, and mostly on multi-lane, limited access roads of mainly excellent design and construction, seems somehow contrary to the very "Cannonball" spirit of the earlier runs. In the earliest days, it was a guy, a car, a continent, a route of highways and byways, and a clock (and maybe, some maps), and a lot of guts and endurance.

I think Brock Yates would explain all that, again, to these guys, if he could. And Yates would probably think of these guys less as "Cannonballs" than "Guided Missile Men."
posted by paulsc at 2:00 PM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


Somehow I knew exactly who's comment that was as soon as I read that part.

For me it was the drag queen organist.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:25 PM on October 31, 2013


I found this to be an impressive feat of driving skill, preparation, science, teamwork, and so on. I found their car modifications, use of redundant GPS, and scout cars to be ingenious. It didn't strike me as reckless, it sounded like a perfectly executed mission. Fascinating, exciting stuff!

I guess they could have hurt someone, yeah.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 3:58 PM on October 31, 2013


I'm not sure that there's ever been a car sold in the US with an engine smaller than 1 liter.

The Saab 96 had at least one year of U.S. specific production with a motor that was a little more than 800 cc, if I remember right.

It was to get around emissions controls.
posted by Chutzler at 4:05 PM on October 31, 2013


Fiat 600
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:49 PM on October 31, 2013


Also, Renault Dauphine

I had friends who had a Dauphine and the Fiat 600. Both cars were pretty ridiculous.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 4:52 PM on October 31, 2013


We're pretty well at the point where one could simulate this event with a high degree of realism. Obviously road and weather conditions are easy but even real time traffic is within our reach for the places that matter. I might be tempted to play the cannonball run game a few times. One of the companies that make heavy equipment simulators should get on that concept.

octothorpe: "I'm not sure that there's ever been a car sold in the US with an engine smaller than 1 liter."

The first gen Mini was 850cc. That A Series engine (sometimes bored out to 996cc) was also in the Austin-Healey Sprite, Sprite MarkII, and MG Midget. The Smart Fourtwo was 600cc (since cranked up to 800cc) as was the Honda S600 (wow truth in advertising). At 356 ccs of displacement you could just about fit 3 Subaru 360s under a litre. The Suzuki Swift/Chevrolet Sprint/Pontiac Firefly while badged as a 1L were actually only 996cc both turbo and N/A. The Saab mentioned earlier of course those those are cheating a bit because they are two strokes. Also "cheaters" is the Mazda Cosmo's and R100 982 cc rotary. And Ford is bring the EcoBoost Focus to North America next year with a 995cc turbo. There must have been others I can't think of off the top of my head even without counting weird stuff like the King Midget.
posted by Mitheral at 5:20 PM on October 31, 2013 [1 favorite]


OK, so I obviously know nothing about cars smaller than VWs.
posted by octothorpe at 6:25 PM on October 31, 2013


> In the earliest days, it was a guy, a car, a continent, a route of highways and byways, and a clock (and maybe, some maps)

The United States had a transcontinental Interstate system in the 1970s and maps to navigate them.

For that matter, in the 1970s racers had it easy: The police lacked speed detection technology, specialized pursuit vehicles, and used radio comms bands that could be monitored by anybody. So to that end, the Cannonball racers (who mostly worked in multi-driver teams) had a comparatively easy time of driving hard and fast.
posted by ardgedee at 6:58 PM on October 31, 2013


I've made many multi-state drives in the West at 90+ MPH averages. Out here the scale of the country between towns is just staggering. There are a couple of sections along I-80 in Wyoming where it's 150 miles between fuel stops.

It's the eastern section of the country (and California) where that average tends to blow my mind. I've never managed to average the speed limit in California no matter where I was going.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:06 PM on October 31, 2013


There is no need for a car with extra tanks to smell like gas (inside or out) so that is kind of weird for someone who obviously has so much money. Also I probably would have mounted the tanks in place of the back seat to keep the handling more neutral and probably keep the CG down though that would have required cutting filler holes in the body.

ardgedee: "The police lacked [...], specialized pursuit vehicles"

There were plenty of Pursuit Specials available in the late sixties and early 70s (Dodge brought out their first Hemi equipped pursuit special in 1959). In fact
1969 was the year of the ultimate squad; for a quarter century afterwards, nothing could match its performance capability - the 1969 Polara Pursuit. This was the apex of the high-power era, the last year before lower compression engines and tightening emisions requirements. The 1969 Polara Pursuit, with its 375 bhp 440, sleek new "fuselage" bodystyle, and standard 3.23 axle, could do 0-60 in 6.3 seconds, the quarter mile in 14.3 seconds (at over 99 mph), and run out to a top speed of (or, by some accounts, above) 147 mph.
posted by Mitheral at 9:15 PM on October 31, 2013


"... So to that end, the Cannonball racers (who mostly worked in multi-driver teams) had a comparatively easy time of driving hard and fast."
posted by ardgedee at 9:58 PM on October 31

"Cannonball" Baker himself, who started the thing, and held the record for 40 years, sure didn't have the advantages you cite.
"All of this started in 1933 when a crazy man from Indiana named Edwin "Cannonball" Baker drove from New York to Los Angeles in 53 hours and 30 minutes in some car called the Blue Streak. No one knows Baker's motivation for the run, but his 50 mph average was highly impressive, considering the interstate system was not yet built. The record went unbeaten for 40 years."
posted by paulsc at 2:26 AM on November 1, 2013


Yates was a primary instigator of the memorial races held over modern roads with modern vehicles, so I don't think he objects overly much.

If you had originally intended to hypothesize about Baker's opinion, not Yates, then you may be right, but I'm more inclined to believe Baker would have been at least as envious of their opportunities as resentful.
posted by ardgedee at 3:51 AM on November 1, 2013


Further, with prius's (priii?), you need to move the lever to N and hold it there for a second or two which is, again, something people might not know (or remember) when something goes wrong.

Yeah, modern transmissions are shift-by-wire. The shifters make a nice ka-chunk, but it's just a fancy switch that tells the computer what you want to do, and the computer makes the decision of what the transmission will do. Especially with CVT and double-clutch transmissions, there's no direct linkage between the shifter and the transmission. If the onboard computer is stuck in "rampant acceleration mode", ain't nothing you can do but ride the brakes until they overheat and fail. The ignition switch, which people are calling "the keys", also an electronic control monitored by the on-board computer, and not an actual direct control of the ignition system. Even if there's no "on/off" button as described above, the ignition switch on modern cars act the same way as one.

While very rare, these events are usually responded to by car manufacturers with smear campaigns and legal intimidation against the victims.
posted by Slap*Happy at 5:40 AM on November 1, 2013


Also I probably would have mounted the tanks in place of the back seat to keep the handling more neutral

They used the back seat for the spare driver (who presumably was sleeping at least some of the time) and presumably for the food, too.

ain't nothing you can do but ride the brakes until they overheat and fail.

I contest that. There are very VERY few cars that can overpower their brakes for any length of time. Certainly anything with less than 300hp with the brakes full on and held on can be reduced to walking/jogging speed long enough to drive straight into something solid. People just don't have the presence of mind to do that, though.

Also, most modern cars have a fuel cut off when you press the brake pedal. I think that people just get panicked and think that if the car is accelerating they CAN'T brake so don't even try. Try this in your own car. Find a nice straight road and stand on both pedals. Dollars to Doughnuts the car will stop.
posted by Brockles at 6:18 AM on November 1, 2013


I'm not doubting you, Slap*Happy, but it would be amazing to me if there were no mechanical engine cutoff switch available to the driver at all. Motorcycles have always had a kill switch, and in many safety courses they teach you to always use it, not the ignition key, to stop the engine so that you habitually know where it is and will reach for it in an emergency. If a car has nothing but indirect controls that it can ignore, it sounds like something that needs to be fixed. God knows sometimes my factory sound system gets confused and ignores all attempts to influence it until the system reboots, but at least the off button works. I'd hate to think the engine control is the same way. (OTOH it's a manual transmission so no problem there.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:37 AM on November 1, 2013


it would be amazing to me if there were no mechanical engine cutoff switch available to the driver at all.

Prepare to be amazed. These are becoming increasingly rare in modern cars. It's nearly all electronic switches now, with relays.

If a car has nothing but indirect controls that it can ignore

One does not imply the other, though. A non-mechanical switch cannot necessarily be 'ignored' by the ECU. If it cuts power by momentary contact, then it cuts power. It doesn't extrapolate that no mechanical switch means the car has autonomous control over whether to obey or not.

Which is why people like me are deeply, deeply sceptical of all these 'the car ran away with me' claims.
posted by Brockles at 9:57 AM on November 1, 2013


Incidentally my car has a habit of accelerating uncontrollably whenever you push the gas pedal all the way down -- the pedal stays "stuck" to the floor. I can verify that it was terrifying the few times but I got used to it. But you can just tap the brake to stop it. I can imagine someone with a bad anxiety problem flipping out though.
posted by miyabo at 10:12 AM on November 1, 2013


How many parsecs is that?
posted by mbrubeck at 12:27 PM on November 1, 2013


About 40 furlongs per centon.

Same as in the Oort Cloud.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 2:00 PM on November 1, 2013


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