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If you’ve never seen a break-away engine in action, this drunk Subaru WRX owner’s unfortunate accident shows a boxer engine with break-away mounts quite clearly.

A drunk driver in Utah who “walked away” with his life following a crash in his Subaru WRX quite might have Subaru engineers to thank for being alive today. According to Utah Resident Allan Keith in a rather shocking series of photos he shared over Easter Weekend (Apr. 21, 2019) an intoxicated and unbelted Subaru WRX driver swerved to avoid a bike at estimated speeds of around 80 MPH in a 30 MPH zone.

Although he missed the bike, he ended up slamming into a parked car sending the driver out of his Subaru. In addition and clearly apparent in the photos, so did his entire engine, transmission and exhaust all in one piece. Check out the amazing photos for yourself below.

If you didn’t already read the update in Keith’s caption above, supposedly the driver did “survive” with a severe concussion, broken ribs and a bruised hip.

But back to that ejected engine, transmission and exhaust coming out all in one piece. If someone told me that this seemingly odd engine ejection was actually engineered to come out like that in the event of a crash I wouldn’t believe you. But it is.

According to Subaru, this is a bit of passive safety known as the break-away engine.”

Subaru cars have traditionally been powered by the Horizontally-Opposed SUBARU BOXER Engine. With an inherently low centre of gravity, the engine allows the transmission and other components in the drivetrain to be positioned in a straight, symmetrical line. This design allows the engine to “submarine” – or slide – under the floor during a frontal collision, and has been proven to be much safer than other engines, where the transmission and other drivetrain components are often pushed into the cabin during a collision.

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Breakaway engine mounts aren’t inherently a Subaru-only bit of technology, it’s such a simple piece of tech other car manufacturers like Hyundai and VW incorporate this bit of safety into their design.  Here’s some of those kinds of mounts on a Hyundai.

Besides this bit of tech in action, if there’s anything to take away from this sobering selection of photos it’s that you should definitely not drive drunk, speed, or not wear your seatbelt. Passive safety is just that, it’s not going to actively save you from yourself. That driving bit is up to you.

Did you know about break-away engine mounts before? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Source: Allan Keith

2 COMMENTS

  1. Hi. You did not mention the age of the Subaru Impreza WRX shown in the crash . Wondering what year Subaru started using the break away engine mounts ? And if that safety feature is on any other of the Subaru Imprezas like the wagon , and also is it on the other models of Subaru as well?

    • I could not find the exact year but it’s a second gen WRX a.k.a. bug eye made between 2000 and 2007. Any Subaru with a boxer engine mounted low will inherently, in a frontal collision, have its energy redirected below the driver.

      I’m going to presume this redirection of energy is further aided by breakaway engine mounts.This used Subaru dealer has archived some press releases for a Subaru Legacy from 1997 which mentions breakaway engine mounts and since they are a low-cost passive design, it’s safe to assume that, at least, since 1997, most if not all Subarus have breakaway engine mounts.

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