Jay Leno said getting a ride in the Hurst Hemi Under Glass Plymouth Barracuda was on his bucket list, but in doing it, he came a lot closer to kicking the bucket than he expected. While filming a segment for Jay Leno’s Garage on CNBC, the car rolled with Leno in the passenger seat, and driver Bob Riggle at the wheel.
Riggle, who is 80 years old, has been driving Hemi Under Glass for about 50 years, and is one of Leno’s childhood heroes. That’s not surprising, given Riggle’s stature as a renowned stuntman. Hemi Under Glass is powered by a 2,500-horsepower supercharged V8 engine mounted behind the seats, underneath the Barracuda’s expansive rear fastback window. It was conceived as a race car, but when he saw how easily the Barracuda did wheelies, George Hurst of Hurst Shifters decided to use it for promotional purposes instead.
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The wheel-standing routine has made Hemi Under Glass an icon, but the show did not go as planned this time around. After one clean wheelie, Riggle attempted to turn the car as it maneuvered around the infield at Irwindale Speedway in California. The car rolled onto its side, and kept rolling for a few gut-wrenching moments before coming to rest back on its wheels.
Both Leno and Riggle walked away from the wreck with no apparent injuries, with still in high enough spirits to crack a few jokes. That’s a testament to the modern safety equipment fitted to the car since it was built in the 1960s. The car is equipped with a full roll cage, and Leno and Riggle were wearing safety harnesses and crash helmets.
Hemi Under Glass did sustain significant damage. The multiple barrel rolls left their mark on seemingly every panel, the taillights were smashed, and the passenger-side door handle was even ripped away from its mounting point. Riggle said the car would likely need a new body, but the Hemi V8 was fine. When the car landed, it was still running.
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