This could have very bad consequences for classic car owners.
As comedian Kevin Hart goes through the process of physical rehabilitation after wrecking out in his 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda named Menace, the car is set to be taken apart. California Highway Patrol will continue its investigation by performing an autopsy on Menace, taking the car apart to determine if anything malfunctioned. Alcohol has already been ruled out as a factor in the crash.
This won’t be a quick teardown of the car, but instead forensic investigators anticipate the process will take about three weeks. There’s a possibility the restomod will be kept in its disassembled state once the investigation is done.
Making matters worse, TMZ claims CHP is pushing for changes in California laws regarding restored cars. More specifically, shops would have to install safety harnesses, even if the original design didn’t include them. The 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda had no such restraints, a factor CHP believes contributed to the serious nature of Hart and the driver’s injuries. However, the other passenger who sustained only minor injuries also wasn’t wearing any safety restraints at the time of the crash.
Another issue on the table is salvaged cars that are subsequently restored. CHP is pushing for government regulation requiring such vehicles to be inspected by officials before they can be licensed in the state. Needless to say, many car restoration shops and enthusiasts won’t like this push one bit since it means the government alters the original look of their vehicles by force.
Menace is a 1970 Plymouth ‘Cuda restomod created by SpeedKore for the 2016 SEMA show. It comes with a Hellcat engine, multiple carbon-fiber body panels, a reinforced chassis, and other performance enhancements. Needless to say, it’s not a car for drivers inexperienced with high-powered rear-wheel-drive models to drive hard.
Kevin Hart’s friend and the fiancé of his wife’s trainer, Jared S. Black, was driving Menace on Mulholland Highway when he lost control, crashed through a fence, and the car rolled multiple times down an embankment. Black had to be airlifted to a hospital while Hart was able to transport himself for care. Rebecca Broxterman, the trainer, was in the backseat but only sustained minor injuries.