Catapaulting an Opel Manta (Well, trebuchet actually)
Did anyone see the Discovery Channel program "In the name of Science"? It was on in the UK last week, an episode called "Fire! Destruction! Mayhem!" and a team of specialists (structural engineer, machanic, welder and the like) put together this HUGE trebuchet, something like 40 feet tall, out of some real heavy duty steel, about 25 tons of the stuff!
The leverage mechanism they devised was rather cool, a "flaoting arm trebuchet", consisting of a weight (9 tons of concrete) that pulled the launch arm down and the arm rolled along in the direction of fire. It took the lift of a 12 ton crane to cock the mechanism.
They then proceeded to launch pianos, steel cages filled with combustable material, steel sculptures, burning pianos and all manner of projectiles reaching distances of up to 500 feet!
And the highlight was, as they said, they launching of an on-fire 1973 Opel Manta. Now, I didn't get too much of an eyeful, it was quite a racy programme at times, but it sure looked more like an Opel GT to me. Could be wrong but we'll take their word for it :)
Check out their site and grab yourself a DVD of the show too.