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You may have heard of the AutotopiaLA YouTube channel. With almost 400,000 followers, the content is usually fast custom cars, and muscle cars. Over the weekend, the channel put out a video about a 1,300-hp Mercury Comet that crashed into a minivan due to brake failure. How could this catastrophic car accident have been prevented?

The 1,300-hp Mercury Comet cost the owner “23 years, $208,000, and two wives.”

The 1,300 hp Mercury Comet before and after the car accident
The 1,300 hp Mercury Comet before and after | Via AutotopiaLA on YouTube

The AutotopiaLA video starts by showing the view of the Mercury Comet cruising down the road. Before taking off on this doomed ride, the owner (Russ Stover) knew it was having brake trouble. When asked how much the Mercury Comet cost him to get to this point, Stover said, “23 years, $208,000, and two wives.”

Despite all that time and effort, Stover and the host headed out on a joy ride in the cherry red muscle car. At one point, there was some discussion about the brakes. “Is that a little bit of brakes I smell?” Apparently, these had been done 17 years ago and wouldn’t be enough to stop such a powerful car anyway.

For the enthusiasts, Stover gave some specifics about the build. The 1964 Mercury Comet muscle car had a 632 Merlin big block Chevy V8 engine with a 1471 BDS supercharger.

Before taking the Mercury Comet out, Stover says he should add some “big brakes”

The 1964 Mercury Comet was equipped with five-point harnesses for seatbelts but neither person elected to use the full system. The passenger, Shawn Davis, is wearing a lap belt before impact. The Comet eventually loses the ability to brake and slams into the back of a Honda Odyssey minivan. There is footage from inside the car and outside the car as others filmed the whole car accident.

Stover’s arm bends the wrong way upon impact, and Davis slams his head into the metal dashboard of the Mercury Comet. The back of the other car is totally crumpled and moves through the intersection due to the impact of the car accident. The muscle car rolls into the intersection, smoking and in a thousand pieces.

When Davis asks if he takes the Comet to the drag strip, Stover has a reply. “No, too much grief has been put into this to make this happen to put it into a wall or do something stupid.” Ominous. He notes that big brakes are on his wishlist, but that didn’t make it to the top of the list in time.

Davis recommends wearing a harness if you get into a car that has one


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The incident happened less than five miles from where the journey started. The accelerator on the 1,300 hp Mercury Comet sticks at around 2,200 RPMs. Both people in the car look comfortable enough as the Comet continues on its trip, right until the brakes go out.

Davis shares his story in the YouTube video and cautions people on the entire situation. Wear your harness, and don’t get into a car that hasn’t had its brakes done in 17 years, especially if it has 1,300 hp. He needed four new teeth and 30 stitches while Stover blew out his right elbow.

Shawn Davis recommends wearing a harness if your car has one, and install one if you have this much horsepower. Check your brakes regularly and perhaps add a secondary emergency brake for emergencies. This might have helped slow the car enough to lessen the impact. Hindsight is 20/20, but a few minor changes might have made this crash less devastating to all parties.