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Lamborghini On Teacups
image Outside a William Ashley store in downtown Toronto a Lamborghini Gallardo has been posed on top of four china cups. Autoblog writes: "The Gallardo was hoisted up with a crane and delicately set atop four tea cups beneath each wheel. There's literally nothing holding up this car's curb weight of 3,153 lbs. except four tiny tea cups." Is this real? Can four tea cups really support the weight of a car? After all, that's 788 lbs of pressure per cup. I'd feel a little nervous standing on top of a tea cup, and I only weigh 180 lbs. I understand that ceramic has very high compressive strength, but I didn't realize that the design of a teacup would maximize that strength. This seems like an experiment for the Mythbusters.

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Posted by The Curator on Thu Sep 21, 2006


The real support could be inside the teacups, attached to the wooden blocks the cups are on...and are there any views of the underside of the table?
Posted by thephrog  on  Thu Sep 21, 2006  at  03:46 AM
I remember having seen a bet, many years ago, on the german quiz show "Wetten, dass?". A guy set a large truck on top of four wine glasses. I haven't found a reference, though.
Posted by nasobem  in  Switzerland  on  Thu Sep 21, 2006  at  03:59 AM
It's just a matter of weight distribution, shape, and. . .ummmm. . .a term that has just slipped my mind but has to do with the properties of the material. If you have something of the right shape, and if you apply the force evenly, the object can support what seems an impossible amount of weight. It would have to be done very carefully, and of course you will eventually reach a weight limit where the cups will shatter no matter how careful you are. Overall, though, it's not much different from bridge supports holding up a heavy span, or a person reclining on a bed of nails without them puncturing his skin.

You can get a similar result from an egg. If the egg is small enough that you can put your hand completely around it, and if you apply pressure evenly on it, you can squeeze it as hard as you possibly can without so much as cracking the egg shell (if you decide to try this at home, though, I would strongly suggest trying it first with a boiled egg).
Posted by Accipiter  on  Thu Sep 21, 2006  at  04:56 AM
Years ago my mother dropped a porcelain tea pot on an enamel sink - it chipped the enammel sink.

Tough stuff china.
Posted by Peter  on  Thu Sep 21, 2006  at  06:31 AM
I've seen this once before advertising the strength of the teacups. They had some info in front of the display swearing that there was nothing but teacup holding up the car. So, I doubt they'd go to all that trouble to then be deliberately lying - if they wanted to impress just display it without explanation.
Posted by AussieBruce  on  Thu Sep 21, 2006  at  08:18 AM
Can I have the Lamborghini when they are done? cheese
Posted by oppiejoe  in  Michigan - USA  on  Thu Sep 21, 2006  at  08:38 AM
Scientifically, it is possible. The curved shape of the teacup would reincforce the material by spreading out the force upon it. A person can put his weight on four eggs by the same principle. Note that they care would have to be place in them just right, perfectly evenly, and all four at once, which fits the description of the crane.
Posted by catwhowalksbyhimself  on  Thu Sep 21, 2006  at  08:41 AM
It's also possible to walk on eggs, without breaking them. Again: shape and material are _tough_.
Posted by Gerrit  on  Thu Sep 21, 2006  at  08:44 AM
Well, I can probably get an answer for you guys.

The manager of the Toronto Lamborghini dealership lives two doors down from me lol

I'm sure he was involved in letting this happen, I should ask him the next time I see him.
Posted by Andrew  on  Thu Sep 21, 2006  at  11:51 AM
Ask him if there is an engine in it. The engine makes up most of the car and is in the back right? Does that still fit in with correct weight distibution?
Posted by Lonewatchman  on  Thu Sep 21, 2006  at  12:17 PM
"The engine makes up most of the car and is in the back right?"

I believe the Gallardo is a mid-engine, meaning the majority of the weight of the engine is forward of the rear axle. Mid-engine is the most desirable configuration for a sports car as this gives the best weight distribution for handling.

Anyway, after the reading the blog entry my gut feeling says real...
Posted by Grain  in  Bay Area, CA  on  Thu Sep 21, 2006  at  01:13 PM
I'm trying to get my husband to swing by and check it out after work today. He works in North York though, and is giving me grief about it oh oh Something about it "being way out of my way" and "I'll miss the damn bus" etc etc....
Posted by MadCarlotta  on  Thu Sep 21, 2006  at  01:47 PM
My whole problem with this is if you have a Lamborghini would it be lime green?

The color reminds me of the 70s-vintage Fiat X1/9s
Posted by Jim  in  Columbus, Ohio  on  Thu Sep 21, 2006  at  02:48 PM
Actually, that colour is pretty desirable, and kinda rare. From what I remember, there are only a couple of the lime green Lambo's in Canada.

I still haven't asked him, I dont think he's home yet.

I.. I actually feel a little creepy. It's like I'm stalking him.
Posted by Andrew  on  Thu Sep 21, 2006  at  04:20 PM
"Actually, that colour is pretty desirable, and kinda rare. From what I remember, there are only a couple of the lime green Lambo's in Canada."


Hmmmm! <sarcasm>I wondeer why?</sarcasm>
Posted by Peter  on  Thu Sep 21, 2006  at  06:36 PM
Perhaps the teacups are made of the same material as the Snout Cups thread also posted today...And that material would be: umm Pig Iron... sorry
Posted by Porky  on  Thu Sep 21, 2006  at  07:25 PM
I like the color - it's like the Riddler-mobile
Posted by MadCarlotta  on  Fri Sep 22, 2006  at  08:47 AM
Well, I emailed Mythbusters about it via their Myspace page. I hope they check it every now and then.

I don't understand the allure of myspace, I had to open an account to send a message and I find it sloppy, laggy and a PITA. Maybe it just offends my designer sensibilities or something.

Anyone know if there is another way to send to a message to them? Discovery's webpage is a mess.
Posted by MadCarlotta  on  Fri Sep 22, 2006  at  09:25 AM
Someone mentioned that the engine could be missing,
and I just wanted to add that everything could be missing.
Auto and large appliance makers often manufacture hollow
versions of large products for display purposes.
There are several reasons for this.
They cost less to ship, can be rigged for suspended 'aerial'
displays, can fit through a small door and be assembled in a space where they otherwise wouldn't fit, etc.
Posted by mdrew  in  Phila, PA, US  on  Fri Sep 22, 2006  at  12:15 PM
Oh -
almost forgot... So the ad wouldn't really be a lie.
The teacups ARE holding the car...
they're just omitting that it's not a car one could drive.
Posted by mdrew  in  Phila, PA, US  on  Fri Sep 22, 2006  at  12:22 PM
Notice the block under the tea cup? The number of pounds per square inch being supported is based upon that block. Granted the tea cup must transmit the weight and the narrow part just above the base must be able to take the force being applied through it, but if the compressability of the porcelain is good enough, the block itself may be the deciding factor.
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Fri Sep 22, 2006  at  07:32 PM
And I forgot to ask, was this stunt set up in broad daylight or hidden? If it was set up while the public could watch, it is unlikely that hidden supports were placed inside the cups.
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Fri Sep 22, 2006  at  07:34 PM
hey... didnt anyone notice that there is a block at the TOP of the teacup too...along with under the teacup?
Posted by tiff  on  Sat Sep 23, 2006  at  11:41 AM
No, I hadn't noticed it. It wouldn't help the weight distrobution, but it would make it easier for the cup to survive the car being placed on it. Without it, the tire might have some part below the rim of the cup and exert outward pressure that the cup couldn't withstand.
Posted by Christopher Cole  in  Tucson, AZ  on  Sat Sep 23, 2006  at  01:22 PM
I walk across this corner four times a day (I live one block away, and my daughter's school is five blocks in that direction). It was set up in daylight, and even if it hadn't been, this is one block from Yonge and Bloor, probably the busiest intersection in Canada, so even in the middle of the night it's never dark and never deserted. I didn't stand around to watch the whole process, but I did see various stages of the set-up and I'm fairly certain it's real. This large, upscale store in a boutique neighbourhood has a history of innovative and unusual displays. I once stopped to watch a glassblowing demonstration, full kiln and all, on this corner... the artist's wares being sold inside. And just a few months ago they placed two huge, flat-screen tvs in their windows with outdoor speakers, broadcasting live World Cup soccer. Believe me, you have never seen so many men gazing into a porcelain retailer, or so many businessmen taking very, very long lunches. Judging by the number of bored-looking wives and girlfriends standing around with them, it may even have attracted some customers. Keep in mind, too, that the car/teacup display was set up in the middle of the Toronto International Film Festival, halfway between two of the major venues, and in the area where all of the celebrities tend to be photographed shopping. Mind you, I've lived here for five TIFFs now and have yet to spot anyone famous, but the pics in the paper assure me they're all right here, somewhere. Oh, and there is, of course, a theatre-appropriate velvet rope barrier all around the table, and 24-hour uniformed security, not to mention people who come out to empty the place settings not under the car after it rains. Personally, I'm not all that impressed.
Posted by Sometimes Josie  on  Sun Sep 24, 2006  at  10:15 PM
To anyone who thinks the Lamborghini's colour is unusual, Lambos are always bright colours, sky-blue, lime green, etc. Don't ask why.

I'm not dead certain if it's real, but my gut sez that it is.
Posted by Rotahn  in  Australia  on  Sat May 26, 2007  at  12:00 AM
As a potter, I can happily confirm that porcelain teacups will take that load easily.
You'll note the bearers are placed on a block, probably of an engineering grade plastic, and a similar block is placed on the top of the cup rim, this evens the load.
When I was being annoyed by a woman at an outdoor crafts fair, who said my porcelain wine-goblets looked too fragile, I took one and threw it as high in the air as I could. As I expected, it plummeted to the ground without harm... on grass, of course.
I sold them all within twenty minutes.
So -conclusion?
No Hoax.
Posted by soubriquet  in  england  on  Thu Aug 16, 2007  at  09:19 PM
I love tea!
Posted by Abel  on  Sat Jun 21, 2008  at  03:42 AM
That is unbeliable. I guess if you had enough cups and distributed the weight enough it could work. Also, I know those are very light cars which helps as well.
Posted by black tea  on  Mon Aug 25, 2008  at  04:46 PM
For further edification, from the Sept. 2008 re-staging:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VmPK1lkOINU

Sorry, but it didn't occur to me that there would be this discussion on whether it was a hoax. It didn't appear to be a hoax in the least bit to me, standing there in front of it, but then I didn't even think of holding the camera under the table. In walking around I'm fairly sure there was nothing out of the ordinary underneath the table.
Posted by Kaonashi5  in  Toronto  on  Mon Sep 08, 2008  at  11:24 PM
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