a good engineer friend of mine worked for Chrysler at their Arizona proving grounds back in the 90's. The stories he tells are kinda shocking. Many 'test mules' are literally cobbled together out of spare parts. My fave was a jeep Cherokee with a Ram truck v-10. He wrecked it when the brakes failed on the test track.
Test mules burning to the ground were literally an every week occurrence. He said that if your car died, wrecked or burnt up, you had to walk back because any other cars stopping to pick you up would ruin their tests.
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