Vapor Life

Vapor life... My life as it is, as it should be. *********************************************************************************************************** Life is something that happens when you can't get to sleep. Fran Lebowitz (1950 - )

Monday, September 24, 2007

My 36 Hours With a Dodge Viper

I could get used to this.

Its not just any weekend you get to borrow a super-car. Not just any car but my friends 500 hp blaring red Dodge Viper. The car just screams power. Driving a Viper while trying to obey the speed limits is like trying to hold back a 900lb dog on leash. This dog will go when and where it wants to and seems to have a mind of its own.

Let me start the beginning.

Getting into the car is an exercise in humility; just sitting parked the car is overpowering and seems to have just left enough room for you to get in as an afterthought. It is as if it was designed to drive itself and you are lucky enough to get to have a seat to go along for the ride.

Once seated, it seems like you were supposed to be there all along. The car is wrapped around you and the racing seats hold you like a glove. If the top is down your head only is exposed to the sunshine. Turning the key, and pushing in the clutch does nothing… but pushing the big red “START” button brings the beast abruptly from a slumber and throws you into a world full of growling snarling horsepower. Not even that wicked smile that somehow snuck onto your face can keep your hands from sweating and your heart from pounding.

The Herculean effort it takes to slowly release the clutch is rewarded by a fiction point ¾ of the way released and she springs forward like a cheetah coiled for the chase. The sound of the exhaust that runs directly through the rocker panel on each side of the car is intoxicating. This also creates a increase of cabin temperature of about 10 deg. and heat the panels up to a scalding point. This makes exiting the car another challenge but it produces a sound like no other car I have had the pleasure of running through the paces.

Speaking of paces, 6 gears in a standard pattern, and really you only need 3 or 4 period. The 5th and 6th are solely for breaking speed limits and sound barriers. For the record, I no were near got this car close to top speed and there was not really any recognizable power band that I could discern, just more power behind the power all the way until you cry uncle. Amazing.

Buy the way, this is a driving car. You don’t want to be talking on the phone; this car takes most of your attention. Besides the fact that pressing to hard on the accelerator can send the rear end into a powerslide you have the manual transmission to contend with and going from point a to point be at speeds just below the sound barrier means you are bound to be downshifting soon for the next stop sign or off ramp. It’s a bumpy, hot, jumpy , loud ride and its just perfect. Unless you are in a stop and go homecoming parade traffic then it’s a little like torture.

Did I mention that this car oozes attention. Honestly its like a one car parade where ever you go. You get more looks than a Ferrari, and the attention is also intoxicating. This would be a good time to mention that my girlfriend said I “change” when I am behind the wheel of this thing. What does she know?

As all things do, this good thing came to an end. I was a little relieved to park this thing and walk relatively unscathed. Better for the memory and for the realization that this car, like most things so intense, should be enjoyed in small doses.


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