Automobile

Demolition Derby Cars: Window Shop with Car and Driver

In this week’s episode of Window Shop with Car and Driver, we look for vehicles that we think will survive a demolition derby. While the regulars have certainly crashed cars before, they didn’t do it on purpose—or so they say. For an expert opinion, we invited contributor Derek Powell, who has competed in numerous demo derbies over the past two decades and has a rather garish trophy to prove it.

Powell gets the show rolling with a car he’s taken to victory: the Lincoln Mark V. With bodywork drawn using a T-square, massive overhangs, and a well-protected radiator, this car can withstand a lot of abuse. Powell also gives us some pointers on how to win.

Next up, senior editor Elana Scherr surprises us with a Rolls Royce. The pick is a controversial one, but Scherr makes a strong case for the outrageousness of repeatedly crashing a Rolls. The conversation turns to all of the valuable things you can sell off this car as you prepare it for gladiatorial glory or death.

In much the same vein, contributor Jonathon Ramsey selects a remarkably clean but high-mileage Mercedes-Benz S-class of the W126 vintage. Ramsey’s battle cruiser looks far too nice to send to automotive Valhalla, but the showmanship can’t be denied.

Following Ramsey is Road & Track senior editor John Pearley Huffman, who presents a late-model Lincoln Town Car. The Lincoln certainly has its advantages, but the crew is a bit bored by the thought of seeing a Town Car smashed to bits.

Deputy editor Tony Quiroga’s choice isn’t quite as exciting as some of the other contestants, but this car’s four-wheel-drive system raises some questions about what’s allowed to run in a demo derby.

Come voting time, we argue about style over substance and whose car will be talked about after the derby ends. We also get so nostalgic for the celebrity demo derbies covered by ABC’s Wide World of Sports, we start watching a video of one from 1976.

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