No JATO required

I was watching a recorded episode of Mythbusters this evening (the one where they ran cars over a cliff to see if they’d explode the way they do in Hollywood movies). I don’t think it’s unexpected that the cars didn’t explode unless they were made to explode – I think we all know that Hollywood tends to go for spectacle when given a choice.

It reminded me of something I read years ago, probably back in the 1970s. Japanese-built cars were starting to make significant inroads into the US market, and the article suggested that one reason was the perceived quality of the cars as evidenced in the movies. Specifically, he talked about stereotypical chase scenes along a cliff.

In the American movies, the hero would exit the car just before it burst through the guardrail and exploded into flame in mid-air. In the Japanese movies, the hero would exit the car just before it burst through the guardrail and tumbled down the the side of the hill/mountain. When the hero caught up to the car at the bottom of the slope, he’d push it back onto its wheels if he had to, then hop back in and drive away, usually to continue the pursuit.

Is it any wonder Japanese cars acquired a reputation for being built well?

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