Eight — count ‘em, eight — Ferraris, three Mercedes-Benzes and a Lamborghini were among 14 vehicles totaled in what the media are calling “the world’s most expensive car accident” and the cops are calling “a gathering of narcissists.”
The massive mess destroyed about $3.85 million worth of lustworthy cars and a Toyota Prius late Sunday morning on rain-soaked Chugoku Expressway. The supercars were part of a 20-car convoy heading from Kyushu to Hiroshima when the lead driver, a 60-year-old businessman in a Ferrari F430 Scuderia, lost control on the wet pavement.
“The accident occurred when the driver of a red Ferrari was switching from the right lane to the left and skidded,” Mitsuyoshi Isejima, of the Yamaguchi Prefecture Expressway Traffic Police unit, told Bloomberg. “It was a gathering of narcissists.”
The convoy speeding through the western prefecture of Yamaguchi included an assortment of Ferraris, a Lamborghini Diablo, a Nissan GT-R and a Mercedes-Benz CL 600. These weren’t kids, either. Police said the drivers were all between 37 and 60, and you know they had money — even a used Ferrari runs six figures in Japan, and no more than 500 Ferraris were sold in the country last year.
“I’ve never seen such a thing,” highway patrol Lt. Eiichiro Kamitani told AFP news agency. “Ferraris rarely travel in such large numbers.”
So what happened?
Matt Hardigree of Jalopnik has a nice deconstruction of the crash that comes down to this: A bunch of idiots driving beyond their abilities, two abreast at high speed on a slick road.
A witness told TBS network the cars were traveling 140 to 160 kilometers per hour (85 to 100 mph). It all went sideways — literally — on a long, narrow stretch with no shoulder where the speed limit is 60 mph.
Witness accounts suggest the lead driver tried to change lanes, possibly to get around a slower car, then slid into the guardrail and spun across the highway.
“The front car crashed into the left embankment and bounced off toward me,” one witness told broadcaster NHK. Another witnesses said, “One of them spun and they all ended up in this great mess.”
Indeed. The pile-up occurred over the space of several hundred yards as the cars behind the lead driver tried to steer clear of the cars crashing ahead of them. Authorities needed more than six hours to clear the road.
Bloomberg reported that the man suspected of setting off the accident could face up to three months in jail or a fine of as much as 100,000 yen ($1,280).
Photo: Associated Press