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Five Cars That Want to Kill You

Road & Track logo Road & Track 9/5/2015

Pretty much anything in the wrong hands can be dangerous.

A gun. A knife. A spork. Some things are more dangerous than other things, though, and some things are actively trying to murder you. Take these five homicidal cars, for example.

TVR Sagaris

It might not be the outright performance of the Sagaris that does you in. The Blackpool company has never been shy about stuffing a lot of power into a casually assembled chassis, and the emphasis lies on the "casually assembled" part. It's also a car that attracts the sort of person who might well wrap it around whatever the British call a telephone pole (surely it has a strange-to-American-ears name, right?). And let's not forget the most infamous trait of all -- TVR's distrust of such gimmicks as ABS, airbags, traction, stability control … the list goes on. When you have 380 hp, clearly there's no possible need for any of that. Check that your life insurance policy is well-prepared before  acquiring one of TVR's final creations.

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599 GTO

It seems like everyone knows two things about the GTO: First, it's not really a homologation car, so literalists get twisted into knots about the omologato part of its name. Secondly, if it were a human, it would clearly fit the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders definition of antisocial personality disorder -- better known as psychopathy. It's one of the fastest Ferraris ever, and while its gobs of technology work hard to keep you alive, once the manettino is turned off, it's game over. After all, to make a larger front-engined car significantly faster around a track than the Enzo, there must've been some deal with the devil. It's likely that if you meet your doom in a $425,000 599 GTO, you've got plenty in your offshore accounts to cover your funeral expenses, so it's less important that your life insurance is up-to-date than with the TVR.

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Anything ever made by Hennessey

Let's pick one at random. How about the Venom GT? Everyone's familiar with how HPE hacked up a Lotus Exige to allow the installation of a twin-turbocharged LS9. At this point, the "trying to kill you part" is elementary math: with less than 2,700 pounds, the Venom GT packs more than 1,200 hp. It accelerates faster to 200 mph than anything else on the road. Rear rubber a quarter mile wide wouldn't prevent wheelspin in any gear, whenever you wanted. It also means a random twitch or sudden sneeze might be your demise. Let's be honest, that's most of the appeal right there. I doubt HPE would even challenge the assertion that the Venom is an efficient way to wink out of existence. But it would be a thrilling way to go.

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Ariel Atom 500

This is perhaps low-hanging fruit, but it's impossible to deny that the minimalist British special with a V-8 born from the fusion of two Hayabusa blocks is, like the Hennessey, a single nervous twitch away from coloring the pavement red with your fluids for several hundred feet. Also like the Exige-based Hennessey, the Atom V8's lowlier Honda-engined siblings are perfectly quick (and fairly dangerous) in their own right. And unlike the Venom/Exige cousins, the Atom doesn't have even the barest hint of bodywork to keep your soft human form intact. Luckily for the EMTs that will arrive on the scene, more so than any of these other cars the Atom is likeliest to be on the track and therefore your misadventure would most likely be into a safety barrier or the like.

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Shelby GT500 Super Snake

Surely the 600+ hp Snake, in as-delivered form, is overmatched to the Mustang's chassis. Add the optional 725 hp kit, and recall that it still has a from-when-dinosaurs-roamed-the-earth live axle out back, and the Super Snake assuredly gets a place on this list. To its credit, it may be the most survivable of these offerings, as it has all the safety features of a normal modern Mustang, as well as traction control. Speaking of traction control, it must have the highest duty cycle of any bit of technology on the car. If I recall my high school physics classes, which I doodled through mostly, all the traction control in the world won't prevent the velocity and mass of a moving Super Snake from turning into a smoking pile if you mishandle it. Right?

Because physics. Or something.

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