17 Jun 2007

Expensive Car Crashes

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Lamborghini Murcielago, before

The Wall Street Journal Weekend edition, in Honey, I Wrecked the Porsche, discusses the really painful kind of car crashes, those involving $250,000+ exotic cars.

According to the California Highway Patrol, the total number of accidents involving Aston Martins, Bentleys, Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Lotuses and Maseratis rose to 141 last year, an 81% increase from 2002, while overall crashes declined statewide during that period. Porsche, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, which sell a wider range of models, saw a 22% increase during that time frame.

These accidents are happening so regularly that a Web site called WreckedExotics.com — which contains photos of dream cars reduced to smoking heaps — added as many as 700 new examples to its gallery last year and says it attracts about 650,000 visitors a month. Founder Gregg Fidan explains the attraction this way: “It’s like seeing a supermodel fall off the runway.”


Martin Gegenfurter has a web site devoted to arguing< that a href="http://www.lambounfall.de/indexe.html"> it wasn’t his fault.

Lamborghini Murcielago, after


Now, don’t you feel much better about not owning one?

2 Feedbacks on "Expensive Car Crashes"

Dominique R. Poirier

With all modesty humility command I owned or rode this kind of cars in the past. I must say that they were not as expensive as they are today.
So, the maximum speed I ever reached on a road –a highway, in that case— is 171 mph, aboard a Porsche 928 S4 GT and I have not been able to keep on that speed more than a handful of seconds. For, the next curve is always coming fast at such speed.

I personally never had any accident but one during a night in 1983 against a Bulgarian diplomat (I swear it’s true) who underestimated my speed at a crossing. He unexpectedly burned the stop signal about a hundred yards from me while I was gently cruising at 90 mph. I didn’t even have the time to brake. His car was nearly cut in to parts and the mine was wrecked. I lost a tooth against the wheel and that’s all, but the diplomat was killed.

Overall, I used to ride fast, sometimes with some other similar cars such as Ferrari and Maserati, and these pleasant experiences taught me some things that may explain this rate of accident.

Here are my personal recommendations from experience.

It is easy to be over confident with such cars. Everything is top quality and the car keeps the road quite well, but a deceptive appearance of great security quickly takes place. Beware!

One has to keep some elementary notion of physics such as kinetic energy. The best tires and the best brakes don’t do miracles.

With most sports cars, be aware that beyond 155/160 mph air get dense and get between the tires and the road. As a result, be aware that the car behaves as if I you were slowly riding on a snow blanket.

Don’t put yourself in a situation where you may have to brake in emergency while going through a curve at fast speed. For, the back of the car may go away faster than you can react, no matter how skilled you are. It is especially dangerous when you are on a slope.
The same apply with engine brake which is especially powerful and so dangerous at fast speed on certain cars such as the Porsche 911 models, for example.

When you just bought a sports car take the time to get familiar with it. Ride at normal speed and raise slowly your speed rate along a period of several weeks. Be patient, or you’ll not have even the time to realize what happens to you at some point…

Respect the car as if it were a person. Shift the speed selector smoothly (on Ferrari you’ll have to be very careful with it).

If your car has a manual gearbox and more than 300/350 hp never slip the clutch at high regime, or you’ll have to go to the garage soon. Leave that kind of exhibition to simpletons.

When riding at fast speed never give a glance at your passenger, or use your cell phone, or look for your cigarettes. Put both hands on the wheel; the right at three o’clock and the left at nine o’clock. Concentrate on the road ahead and look as farter as you can. Try to feel the car with your butt; for it’s the best skid detector you have aboard. Think and act as if you were piloting a jet fighter. Be permanently attentive and prudent. If possible, train yourself at slow speed on snow or ice with a ordinary car before buying a sports car of that category; this just in order to learn how a car may behave in extreme circumstances and how to keep control when you get into trouble. What happens on snow at 30/40 mph is what will happen at higher speed on dry road, but faster.

Don’t buy a sports car of this category if you are a nervous person, a drunk, an uneducated moron, or if you just obtained your driver license or the death penalty may be ahead.

Dominique R. Poirier

Sorry, but I forgot to say something in my previous comment.

Nearly all super sports cars are summer cars, which mean that they are unfit for riding under rain or on snow and ice. They just have too much torque and power. Also other unexpected problems may arise such as a too tilted windshield which considerably reduces visibility under heavy rain, no matter how efficient the wiper is. As a result, a comparatively modest four wheels drive Audi Sedan can easily beat a Countach or a 928 on wet road!

Many people buy super sport cars for the mere sake of parading with their money. We all know that. About the others, my personal experience taught me that one may have as much fun and sensations, if not more, with an other category of sports cars in which you’ll find a Cobra replica with 450 hp engine and more, a Lotus Super Seven, or a Donkervoort (a kind of improved Super Seven), for example. The common point between those last cars is that their prices are in the surrounding of $40,000.

Be aware that most, I not all, Ferrari, Porsche, Lambo and the like are overpriced. Their manufacturing cost is much, much inferior to that is written on the bill. All those car manufacturers have been very astute in their way of touting their products through publications they own or upon which they exert much influence. They have largely fooled their customers.

Nowadays, Porsche is the most profitable automobile company in the world!


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