I’m the type of person who doesn’t like to test drive cars for the fun of it. It’s not that I don’t enjoy it, I do. I worry that I’ll enjoy it so much that I’ll want whatever it is I’m driving. If it’s something that I wouldn’t be able to get then I’ll feel miserable about.
So, when my brother-in-law came by and held out his hand, dangling the keys to his Dodge Viper, and said, “You wanna take her for a spin?” I was as surprised as anyone when I grabbed the keys and yelled back, “Sure! Thanks! Bye!”
Getting into the Viper proved to be a bit difficult. For one thing,
the seat doesn’t go back very far. Another is that the door sill is kind of wide and the seats are well bolstered. Finally, I have gigantic feet and getting them into any car can be a hassle. Oddly enough, the Viper has manual seat controls but the pedals are electrically adjustable.
One of my fears about driving the Viper would be that I’d give it too much gas. Like, when reversing down the driveway. I had a mental image of barely touching the petal and having loads of smoke appear while I did a kind of bootlegger turn onto the street. Luckily, it’s quite easy to drive. Just give it a little gas and let up on the clutch and it was happy as anything just to get moving.
Getting it out onto the open road was an experience. When I say “open,” of course, I mean on the highway where all the traffic lights are. People crane to look at you while you’re stuck next to them waiting for the light to turn green. In traffic. But if you’re lucky enough to get some clear space, boy, this baby can move. You feel yourself pushed back into the seat.
What I found amazing was how easy it was to drive. It was ready to move when you were, but in traffic it was kind and gentle. I found the seats to be really comfortable, but then I like sports cars more than I like luxury vehicles. I didn’t mind the cramped space or
the ride (which wasn’t all that harsh). Shifting was easy. The only real problem I had was because of my gigantic feet. I kept goosing the gas while my foot was on the brake at the light. This wasn’t a problem while I was driving, though.
I’m sure could handle corners like a slot car on rails. I didn’t get a chance to try that out, though. I was kind of forbidden to get wild on the few corners I encountered. Making regular turns, though, was like riding with Automan – flat.
I only drove it for about 45 minutes, but there wasn’t a whole I didn’t like about it. The wind noise wasn’t bad even when you’re at
speed (again, I like sports cars). You could hear the stereo. You could even here my scream of pain when I rested my wrist on the metal ring around the gear shift. That sucker gets hot when it’s out in the sun.
The funny thing about doing something that you find fun and exciting is that it’s the only thing on your mind for hours to come. It sort of impedes on conversations, though.
Checkout Girl: Did you find everything you were loo-
Me: I drove a Viper today!
Checkout Girl: Uh…
Me: A real one! Not a video game one!
Checkout Girl: Well… Isn’t that special for you?
Me: Yeah! A Viper!
Surely, it was a wonderful present for the Fourth of July.