Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The ride of my life, Part I

After dropping off my mom and dad at their hotel, I knew what awaited me.

And, in retrospect, I had no idea what awaited me.

We drove over to Robberson Ford to visit my wife's uncle, Jeff Robberson, who owns the dealership. He had promised me a ride in a Ford GT. (I encourage you to follow the link and read about this car.)

A few highlights from there: The engine is a 550-horsepower V-8. Zero to 60 in 3.9 seconds. Base price is $153,345.

So this was some serious stuff.

I managed to climb in, despite the fact that the doors are unusual and the car sits about six inches off the ground. Jeff turns on the car, and it sounded like someone had said, "Gentleman, start your engine!" Imagine a Nextel Cup car with a muffler, and that's about what this beast sounded like.

It drove like it too, and looked even better. Random employees and customers who happened to be outside watched as Jeff and I backed up in this thing. He rolled out of the parking lot and onto a side street.

From there, we pulled onto a main street. Whoosh. The power was incredible, or so it felt. But since the dealership is essentially in the middle of Bend, there was little to showcase.

So we took a few turns and found ourselves in the country. Jeff pulled out onto one road and, literally, it felt like we were on a plane rolling down the runway. Easily the most acceleration I had ever felt in a car.

"And that," Jeff said, "was with the gas pedal halfway."

Getting from the posted speed to a speed legal on the Autobahn took just longer than the snap of a finger. On one road, we were behind another driver going about 40; a clear passing lane lay ahead, as did a straight patch of road.

Whoosh. Within about a second and a half, we were 100 feet past the car. That whistling sound was the supercharger kicking in, and the dashboard even had a gauge for how much power it was providing.

Finally, we came to the Holy Grail: a desolate, smooth road with no traffic. Jeff pulled out and gunned it.

Remember that feeling of being on the runway? Double it. My head hit the back of the seat as he shifted from second to third.

I think we peaked at 130 before jamming on the brakes to take a gentle turn where the suggested speed was 45.

This car will be making an appearance in public in the coming week, as downtown Bend will be the site of a bike race. The GT will lead the bikers around the downtown circuit for a few laps before giving way to a motorcycle.

Not long after the back-country dragstrip, we happened upon one of the teams practicing for the event. The group of 10 or so rode in a pack, and were identifiable by the red shirts they all wore.

Jeff gave them a treat. Pulling onto the road and gunning the racy engine, Jeff and I quickly flew past the team, which was traveling in the opposite direction.

Jeff later said he looked in the mirror and saw half of them looking back, wondering what in the hell just went by.

That was a common theme for the day. People notice when they see a bad-ass car on the road.

I can assure you, that ride was bad ass.


P.J. said...


That's when you wish you had a track to go let it fly on.

I'll assume it was stick shift. If not, the car is a joke. Something like that should not be an automatic. And if it is a stick, is it a 6-speed?

And if "Ride of your life II" is you driving it, you better of hit at least 130.

Brian said...

No, it was stick - part of the reason I didn't drive it. I'm not so hot at stick; functional, but not proficient. Plus the fact that I'm generally not comfortable driving a car that it would take me a decade to pay off - assuming I paid no other bills.

And yes, it was a six-speed. Top speed, I was told, is 223.