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View Full Version : Strapping yourself to a car's undercarriage for travel


Leo Bloom
12-14-2010, 10:28 AM
In the Scorcese remake of Cape Fear Robert de Niro's psychopathic killer straps himself to the underside of his soon-to-be victims' escaping car, presumably traveling over a long distance.

Is this possible, and if so has anyone ever done it?

Machine Elf
12-14-2010, 10:38 AM
Plenty of anchor points down there, but for the average passenger car, not much ground clearance. On my own car (a 2002 Maxima), you can't slide under the car jacking it up, so I'm not worried about stowaways.

IIRC, DeNiro was attached to the car only by his waist belt, and gripped the car with his arms to support his upper body. Don't recall how he supported his legs. Seems like that would take an awful lot of stamina for a typical family road trip.

Lightnin'
12-14-2010, 10:49 AM
One speed bump would've ended his trip very abruptly.

robardin
12-14-2010, 11:05 AM
It totally doesn't seem very plausible, as the Simpsons parody "Cape Feare" pointed out quite deliciously when Sideshow Bob similarly belts himself under their family car as they head off to a federal Witness Protection Program designated relocation assignment.


He is jolted by speed bumps (which Homer takes at normal driving speed), scalding hot coffee that Homer dumps out of his window, and finally:

Homer: How about we drive through that cactus patch?
Bart, Lisa: Yes!
Sideshow Bob (weakly, from under the car): No!
Homer: That's three against one! (Drives through cactus, scraping Bob underneath)

Gary T
12-14-2010, 11:05 AM
I would say it was (barely) possible on some cars of the era when the book was written ("The Executioners", 1957) and the first film made (1962). On modern passenger cars, I'd say no. An SUV, maybe.

flight
12-14-2010, 11:15 AM
Also note that you can see under other vehicles on the road. It would obvious to any other driver that there was someone down there.

Finagle
12-14-2010, 11:23 AM
Given the low clearance and the hazards posed by the drive shaft and the exhaust, I think you'd finish up abraded, burned, and possibly crushed.

I also think you'd notice a difference in the way the car handled if you have an unexpected couple of hundred pounds of weight hanging from the car. Given that the car already had a family (and presumably luggage in it), the suspension would be bottoming out.

PlainJain
12-14-2010, 11:26 AM
On one of the commentary tracks, it is mentioned that DeNiro wouldn't do the scene unless it was actually possible so either he are a stuntman strapped themselves to the bottom of the car and did a few laps around the parking lot.

Giles
12-14-2010, 11:27 AM
I also think you'd notice a difference in the way the car handled if you have an unexpected couple of hundred pounds of weight hanging from the car. Given that the car already had a family (and presumably luggage in it), the suspension would be bottoming out.
It would be the same as the weight of one extra passenger, so most cars could take it, and most drivers wouldn't notice it. However, on the average car that's not the real issue: the issue would be not enough clearance to go any distance without scraping on the road surface.

TruCelt
12-14-2010, 11:49 AM
There are vehicles with enough clearance, but I'd think they'd also be tall enough to see under. I don't see how you could meet both criteria without strapping yourself to the drive shaft dead center. Which would also obviously be hazardous, and take up a lot of your clearance space.

Anybody out there who has spent a lot of time underneath of cars: How dinged up are they? I seldom hear rocks and such hitting the bottom of my car, does it happen more often than I realize? Every trip? Mulitple times per trip?

And what about the heat shielding; how well does it work? Would your back get burned?

KneadToKnow
12-14-2010, 11:49 AM
Also note that you can see under other vehicles on the road. It would obvious to any other driver that there was someone down there.

"Noticeable," maybe. I don't know if it would be "obvious." I don't spend a lot of time looking at undercarriages on the road.

But then, I'm a boob man.

flight
12-14-2010, 01:19 PM
"Noticeable," maybe. I don't know if it would be "obvious." I don't spend a lot of time looking at undercarriages on the road.

But then, I'm a boob man.

While driving my mind occasionally wanders to the potential of mounting lasers to the undercarriage to shoot out other driver's tires. This has led me to realize that any such system, and thus any person hanging there, would be immediately visible in all but bumper-to-bumper traffic.

flight
12-14-2010, 01:21 PM
example (http://google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://lh6.ggpht.com/_r2kvTy6eHFE/SqyZ76UOopI/AAAAAAAAAG8/45sob2fiepg/DSC_1219.JPG&imgrefurl=http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/OSje-hySJlnr4of3XzbzjA&usg=__b5iE_OUU2RTFBL5osPwUFyAaQRw=&h=1063&w=1600&sz=222&hl=en&start=30&zoom=1&tbnid=z1Y-t-xV7RnxrM:&tbnh=143&tbnw=191&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dview%2Bthrough%2Ba%2Bwindshield%26um%3D1%26hl%3Den%26safe%3Dactive%26client%3Dfirefox-a%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla:en-US:official%26biw%3D1472%26bih%3D970%26tbs%3Disch:10%2C1140&um=1&itbs=1&iact=rc&dur=464&ei=iLUHTdySO5btnQeEt9CIDg&oei=gbUHTafPM5agnAeXmeTcDQ&esq=2&page=2&ndsp=31&ved=1t:429,r:14,s:30&tx=95&ty=41&biw=1472&bih=970)

LouisB
12-14-2010, 08:30 PM
I would say it was (barely) possible on some cars of the era when the book was written ("The Executioners", 1957) and the first film made (1962). On modern passenger cars, I'd say no. An SUV, maybe.Have to stay far, far away from the catalytic converter today; they didn't exist when the book was written. I've forgotten if they were on 62 models are not.

Paul in Qatar
12-14-2010, 08:44 PM
Mechanic; "Mr Smith we found the source of that squeaking noise."

Gary T
12-14-2010, 09:50 PM
Have to stay far, far away from the catalytic converter today; they didn't exist when the book was written. I've forgotten if they were on 62 models are not.No, they first appeared in the 70's.

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