Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Las Vegas- A Special Guest Post

Driving the Space Shuttle, by Claire Ryan
I expect the first thing I'll be asked when we get home is "What was it like to drive the Corvette?" Well, as I am ever ready to anticipate the needs of my fans, I've asked Denis to let me do a guest post all about it.

The Corvette is about 12 feet long and barely comes up to my waist. It has only two bucket seats and a small, limited space just behind that serves as the boot - this is not a vehicle for serious touring, unless you fancy doing it at 200mph and you're traveling light. It's an automatic, naturally, and has a sport mode for extra acceleration. The air conditioning and satnav are essentials in America, this being the land of blistering heat and an Escher-esque road system. Everything in this car is either adjustable or motorised, which was pretty cool; I especially liked the little switch that moved the seats forward and back. On the outside, it's yellow with a black racing stripe, has four exhausts, and looks like it's about to take off at any moment.

So - there is a single button to start the engine. Press it, and you are rewarded with a growl like a mildly annoyed Siberian tiger.

I am not kidding. Go annoy a Siberian tiger, record the sound, and compare it to a Corvette.

But what is it like to drive? The answer is simple - it's like driving a $60,000 sports car that can get from zero to sixty in the time it takes me to blow my nose. All comparisons break down. You might as well ask what it's like to drive the Space Shuttle - there's nothing like them and we don't have any in Ireland anyway. But if I must try to describe it... it's an amazingly smooth ride, more like you're flying instead of driving. In sport mode, the acceleration and response is nothing short of terrifying - I haven't tested it, but I'm sure I could make it turn on a dime. Even when you're just cruising along a street, the power of the V8 engine is scary. It feels like it's just waiting to take off like a rocket, and only your foot on the pedals are holding it back. I did not once put my foot all the way down; this car is a beast, and you do not want to just let it go.

That said, I did get up to some serious speed on the freeway - and that's when you can really appreciate the price tag of this thing. Get to sixty, seventy miles an hour and it just purrs away, but push it up over a hundred... You'll feel the big V8 suddenly shift to sixth, and be rewarded with a sudden surge of acceleration that'll carry you up to a hundred and twenty and beyond. The first time I did it was just pure gold - I remember laughing like an idiot, it was so incredible. And it roars like nothing on earth.

Having the opportunity to drive this car has been one of the best and easily the most terrifying experience of this trip. By this stage, I expect that Denis has put up that video of the first few moments of my driving the Corvette (I haven't, but it's coming- Ed.), which should give you some insight of how it feels to sit behind the wheel of such a car. The power and style of this machine is beyond anything I have ever driven; no car in Ireland will ever measure up to it, which leaves me in the unfortunate position of having to save all my pennies and possibly changing the motor laws so I can get one imported.

If you're planning to rent a vehicle in America anytime soon, go to the nearest Hertz place and just pay whatever they ask for this car. It's worth every second of pure awesomeness that you will spend behind the wheel.


NOoel said...

Oh my God I figured it out! Claire is the Stig!

Noel said...

I can't believe I misspelt my own name.