Exotic vehicles can be broken down into three categories; ones that you have to drive to appreciate, ones that you have to ride passenger in to appreciate, and ones that you just have to watch to appreciate. The 36,000hp Shockwave definitely falls into the last category.
Combining the power of three U.S. Navy jet engines (each producing 12,000hp) allows this rig to hit 376mph and clear a quarter mile in just six-and-a-half seconds. I know, sounds bananas, but it’s true.
The Shockwave is also one of the wildest looking vehicles ever produced — think RC car with a rocket attached (like from Toy Story) only scaled up by a million. It has double smokestacks that spit out demonic black clouds, an absurd flame throwing tailpipe, and military grade parachutes for “brakes.” It seriously sounds like a rocket ship and resembles a bullet train whizzing by (except it’s 125mph faster). However, it’s just a Chevy…from 1957. Bananas.
Neal Darnell, the brave man who drives Shockwave, claims that he experiences 6G of positive force while accelerating and then negative 9G of force when the parachute brakes eject. That’s more than what astronauts experience during liftoff. In fact, most people pass out at 9Gs of force because blood struggles to reach the brain.
So there you have it, one of the craziest vehicles ever made — the Shockwave. You wouldn’t want to drive it, you wouldn’t want to ride in it, but you would definitely want to see it.
The year is 1997, highways are infested with Mini vans. Silver ones, blue ones, or the worst of all — gold ones. All car enthusiast can admit these were dark times for the auto industry. Suburban America was obsessed with Ford Windstars, Dodge Grand Caravans, and the historically disturbing Mazda MPV. Good cars, however they focused too much on practicality and not enough on speed.
Longevity = Finding the Balance
Flash forward 20 years and the American automotive scene is at another crossroad. Highways are once again plagued with large variants of motor vehicles — except now they’re called SUVs. With subclasses ranging from crossovers to the more extreme 4×4 style, SUVs offer more ground clearance compared to other types of cars. They are also very practical and extremely well rounded. However, their added height leads to pitiful handling dynamics and horrendous fuel economy (comparatively speaking). Also all midlevel SUVs feel the exact same behind the wheel (if you can feel the difference in driving dynamics between the Honda CRV and the Toyota Rav4 you deserve an award). These cars suffer from chronic boredom and they don’t have to! SUV drivers are extremely fun and deserve more than dreary styling, lackluster engine performance, and mundane handling!
I understand that these cars provide more room than other variants of automobiles — thus making for great people carriers. However, there is a great SUV competitor that commonly gets overlooked…The Station-Wagon.
These cars handle better, pack more than enough room, and provide better fuel economy. One of the best manufactures in the station-wagon game is Volvo. Recently healed from its abusive relationship with Ford, most Volvos are being made right here in America (and China). Other manufacturing plants include Sweden — where these cars are more popular than Michael Jordan in the 90’s.
Seriously, look at the all-new V90 cross-country. Volvo has integrated sleek Swedish design with a fruity punch of American ingenuity. Delicious. This car offers all the off-road capabilities anyone would need, a world-renowned all-wheel drive system, and the comfiest seats in the automotive world. So next time you’re looking at getting a new car, don’t just go straight for the SUVs, try a wagon (preferably a Volvo because the Swedish know how to do it best). You’ve driven an SUV — now try something different.
The 991.2 Porsche GT3, a.k.a. the car that no automotive journalist can hate. Honestly, Porsche has created a car that has ZERO flaws. Seriously; none, zippo, nada. What’s not to love about the 4.0 liter flat six that can punch out roughly 500hp?
An Elite Runner
Fitted with either the lightning fast PDK transmission, or the more involved six-speed manual, this car can stretch its legs all the way up to 9,000rpm. One would think that the doctors who drive these cars would struggle to control its power. However, Porsche has honed in is rear-wheel steer system that now makes even pizza delivery drivers look clinically clean while hitting racing lines. Porsche has developed this car to be a track ace and (amazingly) hasn’t damaged the GT3 sports car feel.
Less Fear. More Fun.
There is nothing scary about this vehicle. The ABS doesn’t flash every time you stab the throttle, nor are you met with unyielding over-steer in the bends. The GT3 is confidence inspiring, and it dares its drivers to absolutely mash the throttle.
The lucky few that can afford this car (and the even luckier who can get their hands on one) will be graced with automotive bliss. Starting at $144,650 the lucky owners of the Porsche GT3 will be able to enjoy there own little slice of driving bliss. Not many car brands can match Porsche’s sport car heritage while delivering true track reliability.
And it starts from here. Tuesday afternoon. You’re finally done with the nine to five, eight-hour, marathon. All you want is to cruise home, yet a sea of red brake lights lies on the horizon. You’re a marble attempting to penetrate a jar of Nutella.
“There is no way I can enjoy this!” You think to yourself, “traffic is an inescapable burden of modern life that I must suffer through like the hunter/gatherers did the Namib Desert.”
Incorrect! Believe it or not, there is a way to make traffic more enjoyable. However, it requires a little effort out of the commuter. Next time you’re parked on the freeway take a look in the rearview mirror. Turn off the radio and just look in your mirror. Don’t look at yourself — look at the interior of your vehicle. Do this for a few seconds until the car in front of you moves. Then, once you stop again, look at your eyes in the mirror. If you’re unhappy, I guarantee that you can’t hold your own gaze for five seconds.
“What are you trying to do here Mr. Slide? Automotive Yoga? Car Jedi mind tricks? Hypnotism? PILATIES?!”
That was simply self-examination. Most likely, after staring at your car’s interior and then into your eyes, you thought, “perhaps I’d be happier in a different vehicle.” If this was the case consider buying an absurd 1997 Jeep Wrangler Sport. Solely for the commute — get it in forest green. The manual gearbox in traffic will keep you on your toes and without the doors there really isn’t much boring interior to even look at. Finally, the Jeep’s off-road capabilities offer the chance to eradicate traffic at any time. Honestly, it’s your commute, why be practical? Have some fun.
*if the Jeep is too costly just cover your interior upholstery with tiger striped cloth. At least you’ll laugh when you do your automotive-Jedi-hypnotic-pilates*
Last Saturday Mr. Slide and I visited the hallowed grounds of Larz Anderson Auto Museum. This event is always marked on our calendar as a special Miata (MX-5) reunion of all different eras. Dozens of cars are parked on the lawn every year and, much to the amazement of Mr. Slide and I, each year the event grows. Here are my takeaways from this year’s party.
Although this event only celebrates Miatas I am always amazed by the uniqueness of each vehicle. Whether it’s a simple ECU tune, an added turbo kit, or chroming out the entire engine bay, these cars are spiced with character. This year’s show featured an influx of racing inspired Miatas. As it stands, Miatas are world renowned for their light and sporty ethos. So when you strip down the interior, add a turbo, a lightweight sports exhaust, and a crispy racing flywheel, these cars evolve into a track weapon.
Fire on the Lawn!
One of the cars on display was a drift-build Miata. Fiddled with by some of the members of New England Miata club, this car had a welded diff and an enormous back tire — allowing it to redefine a ‘powerslide.’ What really stood out to me was, while I was looking at this car, a crowd of people formed around it and had a conversation about their sheer love for Miatas.
The Miata has built a massive cult following that truly exemplifies the diversity of car culture. Miatas are commonly referred to as hairdresser’s cars, however this notion is BOGUS. The people at Larz Anderson last Sunday had a true passion for cars. They loved the reliable sportiness this Japanese classic offers. For me, my infatuation for Miatas stems from its attainability. You do not have to be making millions of dollars to own one, this is a car anyone can enjoy with a smile on their face and a happy bank account. Link to a Miata Drag Race