When it comes to modifying a vehicle, many owners often overlook the importance of constructing a well-rounded package. This is particularly true in the world of muscle cars, where the mantra of no replacement for displacement continues to ring true. And while horsepower remains as addictive as ever, Russ Stover and Shawn Davis from AutotopiaLA’s December 17th accident in a modified 1964 Mercury Comet should scare anyone into rethinking that approach. Just a fair warning, this video contains live in-car footage of the crash that some might find intense.
The 1964 Mercury Comet in question was owned by Stover, who had modified the car over the course of 23 years at a cost of over $200,000. The star of the build was the car’s 632 Merlin big block V-8, which came outfitted with a 1471 BDS supercharger on top. The old-school combo provided the Comet with a ridiculous 1300 horsepower under the right pedal. As the team would later find out while shooting some rolling shots, the rest of the car wasn’t quite up to the task of containing that Bugatti-esque output.
While out on the street drive, Stover reportedly was riding the Comet’s brakes due to the engine surging off of idle, sticking to around 2200 rpm. Stover later noted in the comment section of the clip that the Comet makes around 900 lb/ft of torque at the engine speed. That would be a ton of power for a modern set of carbon ceramic brakes to try and overcome, but the Comet’s upgraded set of Wilwood stoppers were 17 years old at the time of the shoot. Technology has moved on quite a bit since the early 2000s, with Stover ultimately recognizing the fact that a larger set should’ve been installed once the power levels got that high.
Unfortunately, that recognition came too late for the Comet. Coming up to a stoplight at around 45 mph, the Comet lost its brakes entirely and collided with several stopped vehicles at speed. Davis suffered from facial injuries, including four lost teeth, after smashing into the metal dashboard. Stover’s right elbow was hurt as a result of bracing for the impact.