If that happened to us, the airbags wouldn't be the only thing to unexpectedly explode.
Anyone who tweaks cars knows that failure is part of the process. When you start modifying things you’ll inevitably find the weak points, so you upgrade and start over until the next weak point is found. Apparently on modern muscle, that includes airbag systems. More on that in a moment.
This 2013 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 is the brainchild of YouTuber GuitarmageddonZL1, and it’s long past stock. We don’t know exactly what all’s been done to this beast, but the stripped interior, roll cage, and drag radials suggest major work. And of course there are the exhaust diverters, which are of particular interest here. They are pretty much what the name describes – at the push of a button this ZL1’s already loud exhaust system can be completely bypassed, letting the 6.2-liter V8 exhale without any restriction. This helps make more horsepower, with the byproduct being noise. A lot of it.
In a claimed 140 mile-per-hour "test run" with the exhaust completely open, we see the side airbags deploy unexpectedly. Per the video it’s assumed that the diverted exhaust – which exits very near to the sensor controlling the side airbags – triggered the event. A rather lively discussion on Reddit suggests a failure in the airbag system itself, with folks saying sound alone couldn’t possibly set off airbags. Apparently these people have never been trackside to watch feel a 9,000-horsepower Top Fuel dragster make a four-second quarter-mile pass. Other videos on GuitarmageddonZL1’s channel say this Camaro only makes 700 horsepower, but with removed sound deadening and a full roll cage to help transmit vibrations, we totally believe this is possible.
Lost in all this, however, is the fact that the driver is committing multiple cringe worthy safety head slappers. We’re all for having a bit of fun behind the wheel, but speed of this nature certainly isn’t fit for public roads. And there’s a reason Dodge’s 840-horsepower Challenger SRT Demon doesn’t come from the factory with a roll cage and a racing harness – it can be deadly to occupants not wearing a helmet and proper neck restraint, even in a minor crash that people would normally walk away from.
We’re glad nobody was hurt in this episode, but it could've been much worse. We hope the ZL1 owner learns a serious safety lesson from this experience.
Source: GuitarmageddonZL1 via YouTube