Incurring a major parts failure on the track can be a pretty scary experience, especially when it’s something that causes your racecar to make a move you weren’t ready for. If you’re lucky the failure will occur early in the run and help keep the damage to a minimum to your car while keeping you safe. The driver of this Plymouth Belvedere was fortunate that the breakage in the back half of his car occurred just after it launched, but wasn’t so lucky when it came to the level of damage caused to his classic Mopar during a nostalgia musclecar race at the New England Dragway.
Most of the classic musclecars you see at the dragstrip came with a leaf spring suspension or another basic suspension setup that wasn’t designed to take excessive amounts of power. Racers found ways to upgrade the rear suspension to take more power and add bigger tires over the years to make their cars go much faster. The problem is that if the upgrade isn’t done correctly the car won’t launch right, or worse, there will be a parts failure that can have disastrous consequences, as this racer discovered.
In this video from Mikel Visual, you can see every cringe-inducing second of this clean looking Belvedere’s demise. Everything appears to sound and look good when the tree drops and the driver mashes the throttle, but then things go sideways really quick. The car squats very hard on the passenger side, transfers the force of the launch as it tries to pull the wheels, and then snaps the ladder bar bracket clean off of the rearend. Luckily, for the driver, this happened before the car had gained a lot of speed, and it made a move away from the wall preventing further damage.