Journal: What's Been Your Most Outrageous Test Drive?

What’s Been Your Most Outrageous Test Drive?

Avatar By Yoav Gilad
May 21, 2014
11 comments

Photography by David Marvier for Petrolicious

I have a daily driver that I love to hate. It’s a Korean SUV and while it’s survived all the abuse I’ve thrown at it (both on- and off-road), it has too many seats and driveshafts and not enough lightness. So I’ve been looking to replace it. There were many options and a few test drives but the car I ultimately chose was over two-thousand miles away. So there was no test drive.

But one of the better test drives I had involved a Porsche 911 Turbo and the Pacific Coast Highway. I went down to Newport Beach, California (a Los Angeles suburb) to check the car out and as soon as I let the clutch out and pulled out of the driveway, the dealer began regaling me with a story of how his last customer was arrested for topping 150mph while testing a Ferrari (that, after posting bail, he returned to buy). In striking contrast to most dealers, he practically begged me to flog the car.

Who was I to deny him? Traffic was light and I ran through the gears, wringing every last horsepower from the flat-six. I learned first-hand how quickly sixty mph comes up on the way to a very high, arrest-provoking terminal speed. The dealer just sat there with a grin. I wonder if he was in collusion with the local cops? I didn’t get arrested or even caught, but I ultimately passed on the Porsche.

Still it doesn’t compare to test-driving a blown, 400ci (6.6L) 1955 Chevy Sedan Delivery in the middle-of-nowhere Nevada desert. The car was frighteningly fast. Until it broke. The driveshaft sheared a u-joint and I wound up having to push it back to the seller’s house (over a couple miles). As I walked up, the seller and his buddies came down the driveway and asked why I was pushing. Very matter-of-factly, I told him the driveshaft had sheared. The seller, who had seemed irritated that I wanted to drive it before paying, was beside himself. In a spittle-fogged, expletive-laden invective he strongly suggested that I leave before harm come to me. I decided not to suggest he upgrade his drivetrain next time he builds a car with over seven hundred horsepower.

Most test drives are non-events, but what’s been your most outrageous test drive?

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Tom Ziemer
Tom Ziemer

Probably 10 years ago, my buddy Eric wanted to upgrade to a nice used luxury car. On the table were a Cadillac STS and an Oldsmobile Aurora. He found the STS in Lombard, and an Aurora in, of all places, Aurora. The plan we hatched was that I’d BS with the salesman a while, and then abscond with the Aurora, ostensibly to have a mechanic friend check it out. Meanwhile, Eric would secure the STS. We’d meet up, give them a few hard passes and generally beat on them a little to determine if they were up to Eric’s “spirited”… Read more »

Nitish

Beautiful pic…so much atmosphere in there! Shared it here – http://www.bikerscafe.com/blog/2014/05/25/photo-of-the-day-classic-mini/ 🙂

Mike Himber
Mike Himber

Three of us who didn’t know how to drive a manual transmission talked a salesman into letting us take a ’69 Cougar with a 351W and a 3 speed on the floor for a test drive. We never got the drivetrain-motor synchronization quite right, but we tried our best to drive it aggressively the way we knew it should be driven and chirped the tires every time we shifted up or down. One guy bought the car and the other two got the shifting bug and never lost it.

dean ross-smith
dean ross-smith

When dodge stopped making the srt4 I meandered down the to the local dealer in Las Vegas to test drive one. Being the dad to 3 daughters meant that I almost always had one of the girls with me and this time it was my youngest . So the young sales dude let me drive it off the lot with himself in the passenger seat and my daughter in the rear. I gingerly drove the little beast to the 95 onramp and hoped to open up the car a little. Hitting the onramp I got to about 1/4 throttle in… Read more »

Patrick Meyer
Patrick Meyer

Went to check out a 2001 bmw 540i/6 at a local dealer. Salesman was a fellow Jalop (about 5 years ago when the site was still cool) and he let me go out and drive it on my own. I beat the everloving snot out of that car and it was glorius! But when I arrived back at the dealer the car smelled badly of coolant. Sale was a no go, but I made myself a promise, that would not be the last time I drive an uber sedan from BMW.

Rob
Rob

Many years ago, I was shopping for an RX-7. One in particular stood out. It had been fitted with a 20 psi turbo and it had recently recorded a quarter mile time of 12 seconds flat, with the time slip to prove it. When it came time to do the test drive, the owner insisted on driving it first to warm it up. It turns out that warming it up means “driving through residential 30 mph zones at 60+ mph”. We screeched around that surburb like the cops were after us. He pulled over. “Your turn to drive”. I take… Read more »

Future Doc
Future Doc

When shopping for an MR2, one saleman was absolutely trashing around the parking lot… but not really going anywhere quickly. Could not understand why I (or anyone) would want to drive an underpowered “Jap” car. Despite bouncing it off the rev limiter, the car just would not really accelerate.

When I drove it, I released the parking brake.

OK, not really the point of the article, but when a saleman is trying to convince you not to take a car because they did not release the parking brake, that was my most outrageous drive.

Marc
Marc

Driving the MR2 in the french alpes is incredible
Some pitctures: http://www.pass-hunters.co.uk/2014/05/cormet-de-roselend-reopening.html

Sid
Sid

I went in to test drive the 2012 Challenger SRT8 392. I just love the looks of the Challenger despite it’s size and weight so I had to satisfy my curiosity. There was a young salesman there who was very exited to go out on a test run in the beast. He told me on the way off the lot that they don’t let the salesmen drive the performance cars at that dealership so he was exited any time he got to take one out. Through conversation I shared I was an avid auto-crosser and spent my share of time… Read more »

Matthew Lange
Matthew Lange

Most memorable test drive I have been involved in was that of an uber rare Ferrari 365GTS that my Dad was interested in at Bonhams Monaco auction a few years ago. We had arranged to see the car before the official preview so our mechanic could have a proper inspection of it. We went straight from the airport to Monaco and on arrival the Bonhams rep took us down into the dingiest underground car park you’ve ever seen. There was this black 365GTS gleaming next to a load of battered Renaults and Peugeots. After going over the car the Bonhams… Read more »

Erik Tomlinson
Erik Tomlinson

Around two years ago my Volvo S60R was written off by running over Bambi in the mountains, so I decided to replace it with something with similar aptitudes – all-wheel-drive, high power, and a manual transmission. The natural successors (while down on luxury) were the Subaru STi and the Mitsubishi Evo. The salesperson at the Mitsubishi dealership was a greasy looking “kid” (likely younger than me even though I was only 27 at the time) who absolutely insisted that he drive the car off the lot to a quiet area for me to “get to know it”. As we are… Read more »