We've seen lots of pictures of engine failures before, but it's rare to see the aftermath up close like this. The picture you're looking at above is the remnants of a single grenaded piston from a 2002 Saab 9-5. The image, and , comes from UK-based Redditor Brutal_Deluxe_ who shared the tale yesterday.
The engine in question was the 2.3-liter turbocharged four-cylinder powering our guy's Saab 9-5 Aero. Brutal_Deluxe_ told R&T via email that the saga began with a road trip, when he took his 9-5 to for a "conservative 300-hp remap" on stock internals. Brutal_Deluxe_ says he "added a couple of turns to the wastegate" as well.
Our Redditor then embarked on a European road trip that found him passing through Germany and Italy. On his way back home, Brutal_Deluxe_ floored his car on "a steep Italian hill," which produced "loud clanking noises up front, and smoke in the rear view mirror." Something went pop, and the car was rendered totally undriveable.
Brutal_Deluxe_ had his car towed back to the UK, at which point he opened up the sump to find the shattered remains of the number-one piston. It's an incredible, if sad sight to behold. There was a hole in the crankcase at cylinder number one, and a huge dent on the oil pump. Some parts of the piston were reduced to dust entirely, and got washed away when Brutal_Deluxe_ first rinsed out the crankcase after cracking open the engine.
Clearly, between the engine remap and the cranked-up boost, there were some major forces at play in this 2.3-liter engine—and whatever happened that sent them slightly out-of-sync, the result was enough to pulverize this poor piston into shreds.
Our hapless Saab owner told us over email that he's got a new engine to swap into his 9-5, and is helping with the rebuild. We wish Brutal_Deluxe_ the very best of luck getting his Saab back on the road—though we do suggest perhaps running a little less boost next time.