Land Rover, Terry Grant Set Two-wheel Record at Goodwood Festival of Speed

Automotive spectacle is an important part of our driving heritage. As the car entered into the mainstream, daredevils climbed into the driver’s seat and began crashing them into things. Even automakers got in on the action. The Plymouth Motor Cooperation released a film in 1935 that consisted of some of the best vehicular marketing in history. Dubbed “ Trial by Torture,” the reel opens with a person being stabbed with hot pokers and progresses to stuntman Jimmie Lynch “torturing” a 1936 model to prove its mettle — which involves driving it through burning walls and intentionally rolling it over at high speeds. It’s amazing.

Lynch toured America with a troupe of stunt drivers, known as the Death Dodgers, who repeatedly wrecked, jumped, and rolled Chrysler products to entertain crowds until the 1950s. In an era that predated seat belts, it was pretty ballsy and undeniably awesome.

These days, the public can just log onto the internet to get their fix of automotive mayhem. But the spirit of showmanship persisted, even as safety improved. At this year’s Goodwood Festival of Speed, the big news involved Volkswagen setting a new record for electric vehicles. However, there was a another record broken that was more fun to watch and would have made the founding fathers of automotive stunts proud.

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Subaru 'Invents' Automotive Bobsledding 53 Years After Ford Did It With a Cortina

Most automotive advertising has little to nothing to do with the actual car. It’s usually about presenting an image or hawking brand identity and then loosely associating it with a vehicle — Mercedes’ current “Grow Up” campaign is a perfect, cringeworthy example. However, enthusiasts know that the best car ads feature incredible shenanigans and loads of life-or-death action.

Dave Chapelle mocked Mitsubishi for its pop-and-lock Eclipse spot, while Top Gear honored Land Rover for winching a Defender up the side of a dam. Keenly aware of this is Subaru, which, after sending Mark Higgins and a WRX STI around the Isle of Man TT course in 2014, brought both man and vehicle to the world’s oldest bobsled run in St. Moritz, Switzerland to record another automotive spectacle.

Unfortunately, Subaru is more than 50 years too late for this particular publicity stunt. Ford filmed an identical feature in the Italian Alps with the Cortina GT way back in 1964. It even named the car after the Cortina d’Ampezzo ski resort, where it later held the event. Subaru may be calling it “boxersledding” today, but it’s really just a rehash of Ford’s classic “auto-bobbing.”

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  • Dave M. The Outback alternates between decent design and goofy design every generation. 2005 was attractive, 2010 goofy. 2015 decent. 2020 good, but the ‘23 refresh hideous.Looking forward to the Outback hybrid in ‘26…..
  • Lorenzo Subaru had the ideal wagon - in 1995. The Legacy Outback was a straight two-box design with rear quarter and back windows you could see out of, and was available in brown with a 5-speed manual, as God and TTAC commenters intended. It's nice they're not raising prices, but when you've lost the plot, does it matter?
  • Bkojote Remember a month a go when Cleveland wanted to create a more walkable Cleveland and TTAC's 'BIG GOVERNMENT IS THE PROBLEM' dumbest and dullest all collectively crapped their diapers? Here's the thing- look on any American highway and it's littered with people who don't /want/ to be driving or shouldn't be. Look at every Becky on her phone during the morning commute in her Tucson, look at every Brad aggro driving his 84 month loan GMC. Hell look how many drivers nowadays can't even operate a headlight switch. You expect these people to understand a stoplight? In my neighborhood alone 4 people have been rear ended at lights from someone on their phone. Distracted driving over the past 10 years has spiked, and it's only going to get worse unless Becky has an alternative, because no judge is going to pull her license when 'she needs it to get to work!' but heaven forbid she not check fb/tiktok for 40 minutes a day.
  • Scott Shouldn't the The Italian Minister for Business be criticizing The Milano for being too ugly to be Italian?Better use of resources doing that....
  • Steve Biro Frankly, while I can do without Eyesight and automatic start-stop, there is generally less B-S with Subarus in terms of design, utility and off-road chops than with many other brands. I just hope that when they adopt Toyota’s hybrid system, they’ll also use Toyota’s eCVT.