Lada go boom. Maybe.

Friends, we have some shocking news to share with you. Sometimes, the films and television programmes you watch aren’t entirely accurate to real-life. It’s tragic to learn there aren’t really superheroes with flying suits of armour, or that cars can’t really jump between skyscrapers. Sometimes the truth hurts, but hey, that’s life.

Fortunately, we have the Garage 54 team to soften the blow on this common Hollywood-explosion faux pas. It’s at this point we definitely need to drop the familiar don’t try this at home tagline. This experiment was conducted in a remote training area for obvious reasons, not the least of which being petrol and fire having an explosive relationship. That’s especially true when it comes to petrol vapour, which we’ll talk more about in a bit.

The crux of the mission here is to see whether the slightest hint of flame around petrol leads to instant, dramatic explosions. Yes, we all know petrol can most definitely create massive fireballs, but does it really happen so easily? The Garage 54 crew opens the experiment with the classic Hollywood trick of dropping a lit cigarette onto petrol-soaked ground. In short, nothing happens and in fact, a cigar that’s used actually gets snuffed out.

Using a lighter, however, gets a result. There is no explosion, but a trail of petrol on the ground does eventually roll into minor flame. With that part of the experiment showing promise, things then move to the Lada which is partially filled with petrol in its tank. A long trail of fuel is lit on the ground, and when the flame reaches the Lada, all hell breaks loose. By that, we mean the car merely burns. Slowly.

By now, everyone should know that that explosive nature of petrol doesn’t come from the liquid, but the vapour and more importantly, vapour under pressure. Being only partially fuelled up, the Lada’s tank should have been bursting with vapour. However, nearly every car built in the last 40 years incorporates an evaporative system that prevents pressure from reaching a critical point. Sure, under the right conditions you can get a tremendous petrol explosion from a car. But a casual flic of a cigarette – or even a straight-up open flame – will almost never lead to such a conflagration.

Instead, you’ll watch a Lada burn slowly as we see in this video. And though it seems this car is truly dead, the Garage 54 team has another mission in mind for it. Can this burnt Lada actually be resurrected? Look for that coming in a future video.