Coffee Brake: What’s The Coolest Car You’ve Ever Driven or Borrowed?
As we recover from the 26-gun salute that was DT’s ABCs for our 2nd birthday celebration yesterday, the DT crew and myself (CFlo) were looking through the massive list of fun & quirky machines thinking, “which one of these would be the best to drive, but not to own?” I’d probably pick the Lancia Fulvia myself – it would be great to borrow one from a friend, but I wouldn’t want to deal with it’s everyday needs. I also wondered about our readers – so tell us: What’s the coolest car you’ve ever borrowed (or driven for a bit) that wasn’t yours?
On a related note our buddy DWood was in town recently and borrowed back his former ride, the DTM5, from me for the week. He got to enjoy the driving experience without worrying about fixing or maintaining anything on the car – just gas it up and go. Low stress enjoyment of a badass machine sounds like a good deal to me.
When answering the Coffee Brake question – realize that it doesn’t have to be the coolest car necessarily – could be the most memorable, fastest, most awful, smelliest, etc. Just the one that stands out that didn’t have your name on the title. Comments below!
12 second W-body. While my friend borrowed my jeep.
Not a car. A Yamaha TZ700. All those lines about a professional driver on a closed course came to mind.
San Jose Scot
A bright orange Elise with a terribly misaligned suspension. It was amazing.
Celica all trac in a snowstorm doing 130mph
Uhh, that sounds pretty hairy! Care to elaborate?
1967 427/390HP Black/Black Corvette convertible. I took it in trade on a brand new 1977 Honda Civic Sedan ($2986 sticker price). Was trying to decide if I wanted to buy it or not. Drove it once on the highway and realized I'd be dead in a week if I owned it at something less than $2K. (it needed a small amount of body work). Woulda, coulda, shoulda, but I'm still alive!
Coolest was the old bathtub 356 Carrera I got to drive when I worked at a Porsche restoration shop many many moons ago, but fastest was a 2004 Corvette C5 Z06. It was owned by a friend from work and he let me drive it on public streets — the urgency at which you could get into immediate lose your license speeds combined with limited steering feedback was thrilling to say the least.
'63 split window Corvette when I was in University. It was a friend's father's car and he had it for the weekend. I took it from Newport Beach to Laguna Beach, 11 miles in 7 minutes down PCH at a little before midnight. Pulled down a side street to turn back and saw the police fly past my nose with the lights going off like fireworks, I hid in a bar called The Little Shrimp for awhile, until I calmed down and noticed it was all men. About half way back to Newport, the headlights behind me started coming up fast and he lit me up. The officer came to the window and said, "Boy, if I ever see this car again…". The next day my friend took his girlfriend to Laguna for lunch. Yep, he got pulled over just for being in the car.
1957 Chevy wagon with three on the tree and a high hp small block with a full race cam. Three tone gold orange and brown metallic paint job. It belonged to the body shop guy who was painting my 55 Chevy and he felt bad I didn't have a car for the weekend. In one town after another a police car would follow me until I was through town. Very lopsided idle at traffic lights. Didn't get stopped though and had a blast in the wide open spaces on the highway.
How about an Aston DB4. RHD, of course. With a dodgy fuel system, in morning rush-hour traffic in downtown San Diego. I had to drop the owner off at his office, then get the car back to the shop. Easily the most nerve wracking 1/2 hour I had ever spent in a car.
There was also the 356C coupe I was loaned for a weekend. With that, I learned that the 356, all things considered is actually a pretty neat car.
Lastly, the '59 Ford Skyliner. Just after I had finished the resto, Mahmoud tosses me the keys and tells me to drive it around for a bit- a sort of shake down. I wound up all over North Hollywood, Burbank and Glendale.
A 1971 Mustang with standard skinny tires and a massive engine – a 7 litre, I think, but it was a long time ago. Just a touch on the throttle would light up the rears. I was 16 and it was scary as hell.
Literally? A Mitsubishi Expo with broken heater from California to upstate NY over the Rocky Mountains on route 70 in January. Oh, there was also this AC Ace….
Sorry for not formatting correctly. It was actually this one back in the 90's when it was not worth close to $200k. As original as it could be and absolutely beautiful.
71' Ferrari Daytona – A few years ago a customer walks in to purchase a bicycle and we get to talking about cars… Turns out he owns a couple collector rides. A 60's' Corvette and a "vintage Ferrari". So I had to ask "What vintage Ferrari?" and when he said "Daytona" I just came unhinged with excitement… so he invited me to drive it… Certainly not the fastest car I have ever driven but absolutely the most visceral with an engine built by angels. What a sound! Surprisingly, owner tells me car is very stout and not really temperamental. Not to say it is cheap to own however… rear shocks had just been rebuilt… shipped off to a Ferrari specialist in Atlanta… $2500 a PIECE! Certainly a case of "better to borrow them then own them."
Buick Grand National. Late 80s car, not the GNX though. Drove it to prom at [speed redacted]. Got there with my date looking a little green… 🙂
Besides a Freightliner Columbia (I don't have a CDL) and a 1980 Mack Firetruck (I'm not a fireman either), the one car I was honestly smiling and amazed after driving was a '05 Pontiac GTO 6.0 that had "breathed on" slightly. It was wet and the tires chirped going into 3rd with the traction control ON. I'd have that any day of the week over a C5 Vette. Honorable mentions go to an '02 F150 Lightning and a '02 WS6 T/A.
A 66000 pound P2 crash and rescue truck in the Air Force. The brakes weren't all that good, but we did get nice and cozy pulling up to some fuel fires.
A DB7 Vantage Volante. I made a slow right turn one time onto a highway in winter, ended up doing a 360 and kept going in the direction I had wanted to go without missing a beat. Some kid pulled up next to me and gave me the biggest thumbs-up ever–apparently I had made his day with my 007-like move.
I owned it for 15 months. Engine and drivetrain were supermegafantabulous, but build quality and small-parts lifespan were sub-par, which is why it doesn't live with me anymore.
Autocrossing a Ferrari 360 Modena with 25K miles on the clock as fast as I dared
Last summer, I bought one of the $100 Ferrari Experiences at Thompson Speedway here in CT.
We arrived on time, waited for about 2 hours for our turn (they had a scheduling nightmare, but were doing their best to keep everyone happy), then it was time to drive…
2 cars were on the track that day, a black Lambo Gallardo that was super loud & sounded fantastic. Or the 360 Modena; you could hardly hear it go by if the Lambo was on the track
The system worked where you got into whatever car that arrived when you were up. So the Ferrari arrives, and the 2 guys ahead of me wanted the Lambo, so I jumped in… It was epic!
The instructor was very cool & allowed me to push the car as fast as I dared… I still smile every time I recall the experience. It was 90 degrees outside, dry tarmac and the traction control still had to intervene as the car shifted into 3rd!
(It was a paddle shift, and they wouldn't allow us to switch it to manual)
As I started to get more comfortable with the car, she started coaching me on ways to take the corners even faster!
I was grinning for a week 🙂
In the same day, I drove an Enzo, a 599GTO, a 360 Stradale, and a California Spyder. No, not an exotic car rental company or anything like that…but a friend of mine who owned all of those and more. It was on backroads and highways in NJ, the weather was perfect, and no cops around, apparently.
1. 599GTO–Feels huge. astoundingly fast. Shrinks as you get up to speed. Steering excellent, great turn-in. 2nd gear pulls on interstate are grin-inducing. The fastest of the four cars in real life driving.
2. California Spyder–Great sounding car, "slow" in this group, very comfortable, felt like an Accord until you hammered it. Faster than expected, wallowed a bit when pushed, a nice cruiser.
3. Enzo–Easier to drive than expected, especially if you are familiar with other exotics. Visibility horrible, no fun in traffic. Solution is to go faster than traffic. Steering is lightning quick, ride is tolerable, noise is epic inside, highway pulls feel like Le Mans, the perfect car for an open road in the dry CT hills with no other cars within 10 miles.
4. 360 Stradale convertible–The most visceral, best sounding, epic car of the four. Metal floor, no carpet, amazing steering, unbelievable handling. Most thumbs-up from other drivers, especially when dropping a gear and nailing it under overpasses…repeatedly…the one I thought about most after handing the keys back, and the one I would own out of the four.
Then I got into my 1973 BMW 2002Tii and drove home to Queens, and was reminded that huge power is not the only thing that makes a car an amazing car.