Really Just Intentionally Dangerous At This Point

I should warn you that car speak is coming. Like serious car speak. If you don’t care about cars, wait for the next post to come around.

This is the 2010 Ford Mustang Shelby GT500, to give it its full title.

It is a sexy, sexy beast.

It normally has 540 hp (more than Holland), but this powder-blue slice of auto porn has been spending time with the German tuning company Geiger. What Geiger does is to gently massage more power out of already fast cars by cramming huge turbos into their faces, which in this case bumps the previously innocent Shelby from 540 horsepower to 799. That’s enough power to supply electricity to 200 homes at once.

Now, there are other cars that have that kind of power, but the thing that makes this so scary is that the Shelby is still equipped with a live rear axle. A live rear axle is the most archaic form of suspension, consisting of a huge metal bar connecting the two wheels and that’s really it. The Shelby also has reinforced trailing arms (huge metal bars designed to keep the wheels from moving forward and backward relative to the car) and a Panhard rod (another huge metal bar designed to prevent lateral movement). The practical upshot is that the back of this car is literally bolted together using essentially the same suspension technology that was in the Model T, only it’s attached to an engine that could blow fuses at the Superdome.

The second aspect of this that is particularly frightening is that it has leaf springs. Leaf springs are when you stack plates of metal on top of one another, attach them to the car at the ends and the axle at the middle, and then when the car bounces, the sheets bend. They are even older than the Model T, originating in stagecoaches whenever the hell that was. They are also enormously unstable, and when you accelerate really hard in a powerful car with leaf springs, they tend to twist just a little bit and then violently untwist, kicking the back of the car off the ground and causing the tires to lose traction in a phenomenon known as axle tramp. This also means that the car skitters around like crazy under hard acceleration, which usually happens coming out of corners.

But what does it all mean, ask those of you who have read this far. In one line, it means this: If you get in this car and put your foot down, the back tires will jump around like they’re trying to shake the car apart, you will spin off the road, and you will die. And that’s why we love it.

2 thoughts on “Really Just Intentionally Dangerous At This Point

  1. Anonymous 2.0 says:

    This entire post was worth reading just for that final line. Well done sir.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Axle Tramp would make a great band name.

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