Sunday, May 25, 2014

Driving an American Supercar coast to coast

When I was a teenager back in 1975, my Father's friend had a Lamborghini Miura. My parents had a Volvo Sport, with a whopping 90 hp.

I was offered a ride in the Lamborghini and it was terrifying. The car accelerated to 60 mph in 6.7 seconds with 398 hp under her hood.

Fast forward to 2007. I flew into Tampa Florida from London and bought a Corvette Z06. The emblem on the side read 505hp. It did 0 to 60 in 3.7 seconds. Goodbye Lamborghini memories. Wow have things changed.

Even the so called ferocious 1969 - 1971 Dodge Super Bees, Pontiac GTOs, Camaro SS and Mustangs could barely muster 0 to 60 in 6 seconds...and here I am in my Z06 hitting 60 mph in first gear !!!

Let me put an observation into perspective which most don't realize. In a Z06 when you slam it into 2nd gear, a split second later the speedo is already reading 72 mph. On occasion if there was an oil spill on the road I found the tail moving into a slide, which was no problem in correcting. To hit this point home, imagine if you're in a Honda or Toyota doing 72. You'd be in top gear. Imagine doing a power slide at 72. However, in a Z06 you've only shifted into 2nd...just starting off ! It's amazing.

So I decided to drive to California. Up thru Florida and out West. In 6th gear at 75 mph the tach shows 1200, basically the engine is taking a nap. The suspension is like being in a top of the line Mercedes. She took any bumps, rivets in the road without the jolts and complete chassis shakedown that you get in a Ferrari or Porsche or other same class cars 3 times the price.

Every gas station I arrived at and people asked me what car I was driving...because although a Corvette, the Z06 is a different animal...wider, lower and very very menacing looking.

Texas: Between San Antonio and El Paso you drive for hours without seeing another car. I thought...Oh God I hope nothing goes wrong...this is a super car after all...and I know that Ferraris, Lambos, Porsches could never go for more than 500 miles before something cracked or belts needed tightening or some kind of $7000 issue. But nope...temp gauge never went outside normal range, even through Arizona.

Stayed in Dallas for 3 months cuz I loved it so much. I also had stayed in Beau Rivage resort in Biloxi MS for 2 days. I was in no hurry. Met some incredible people.

Driving through Hoover Dam after 4 nights of fun in Vegas at the Wynn and Belagio, and in California on the most amazing hwy down thru a mountain pass with perfect straight ways followed by lots of winding ways. Ah ha! A new 911 Turbo.

For years and years I had read tests in various magazines and the American cars were always losing out to what Europe had to offer. Time to get to the truth. I pulled up next to it. Guy was cool looking yuppy type ...not the typical blond trophe wife who had earned the car in whatever way and had no clue how to drive it. We were doing 70. I cracked my window open slightly so I could hear when he would down shift. I was in 6th gear. Sure enough he went for it and I instantly shifted from 6th to 3rd. Caveat here is that you need to know your car's ranges. 99% of people would probably have shifted to 5th or at best 4th. I was in 3rd for maybe only 2 seconds before going to 4th but it makes a huge difference. We were neck in neck for 3 seconds and I then started to pull away. When I slammed into 4th he was 3 car lengths behind. At 140 I slowed down...he came up alongside and gave me the thumbs up albeit with a perplexed look on his face.

I patted Zizzy's dashboard much like a jockey pats his race horse's neck upon a grand win.

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