Monday, December 22, 2008

Another Corvette Story

1986.

Vancouver.

Expo 86.

Summer in Lotus Land.

Had planned on renting a Ferrari 308 for the day but an unfortunate incident the day before we were due to pick it up put it out of service. Still wanted an exotic drive up to Whistler however and were forced to choose between a convertible Porsche 911 or a Corvette.

Fortunately we chose the Corvette.

Did not however start well.

After removing the ‘easily removable’ glass roof panel (took some effort from two of us) and stowing in the area behind the seat, we realized there was very limited room for our luggage. Oh well, just going up for the day anyway.

Got in. Or make that crawled down into the extremely tight form-fitting seats. Huge drive tunnel and tight foot well dominated the interior. High cowl limited forward visibility.

Once settled in, engaged the clutch and twisted the key. Big V8 thundered to life and settled into a throaty idle. Slipped the lever of the 4-speed manual transmission into first, eased off the clutch and gingerly depressed the accelerator…and promptly stalled it.

Swear Word!!!

Never impressive to stall the car in front of the wife and the rental car rep.

Got ‘er going on the second try however. Gave it gas…left a small patch of rubber.

Driving through downtown Vancouver in traffic on our way through Stanley Park to the highway up to Whistler was not my shining moment behind the wheel of this unruly beast. Uncomfortable with the heavy clutch. Clunky shifts did not help. Heavy steering. “Did this thing really have power steering?”

Lurched from traffic light to traffic light cursing the decision to rent this beast.

All was redeemed however once we escaped city traffic and found the open road from Horseshoe Bay up to Squamish. Once up to highway speed, steering lightened. Found out the true meaning of torque…left it in 4th most times and simply pressed the accelerator.

Along one long uphill stretch we found ourselves behind a couple of slower moving cars. There was a break between them and three more vehicles. Planned to pass the first two and tuck in behind the three before the road curved to the right.

Dropped down to 3rd. Squeezed gas pedal and pulled out.

“Where did those two cars go”?

“Wow”!

Shifted into 4th still on the gas.

Past the second group of three.

Oops…corner coming up fast now.

Pulled back in touched the brakes to set up for the corner, back on the gas to blast around it.

Only took seconds.

Sunny day…ocean on the left…mountains on the right. Perfect!

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