The Test Drive
The Test Drive!
With five thousand dollars in my pocket, I sat anxiously in the passenger seat of my uncle’s car. Why was I so anxious? I know why, because I was on my way to buy my very first car. I was seventeen at that time and had worked like a dog throughout my sophomore and junior years in high school to come up with five thousand dollars. And getting a car with my hard earned money was a very big thing for me. What really followed that day of my first car shopping is an experience I will remember for a long time to come.
My uncle is a car dealer. He had promised to take me to the GRAA, a “dealers only” car auction held in Rockford every week. The GRAA is a used car auction where car dealers get their used cars at dirt-cheap prices and then sell them at jacked up prices. That’s why I was there, to get a very nice car at a very low price. It was the month of January and the weather forecast predicted a snowstorm later that day. We finally arrived at the auction house around 9 o’ clock. As soon as I got out of the car, a gust of cold air hit me. The temperature was roughly fourteen degrees and God knows what the wind chill was; I was cold. No! Not just plain cold but very cold. What a relief, we got to step inside the auction house and a man checked my uncle’s dealer license. After seeing it the man led us into the main auction hall. The hall was packed with people and all I could hear was the auctioneer mumbling as loud as he could. I looked at my uncle and saw him signaling me to follow him. Soon we were standing outside in a very big parking lot with at least a thousand cars in it. On top of everything I was not feeling cold anymore. Even though I was outside in the same weather that I had encountered five minutes ago. Some how I had no time to feel cold.
My uncle led me to a small Hyundai and we got inside. He started the engine and took the car to a strip of straight roadway, a part of the auction facility where cars could be tested for how they drove on a real road. We drove down the strip, turned around and parked the car in its place. My uncle asked me, “How about this one, it’s got good gas mileage. You will save money in the long run?” In a split second I pictured myself driving to school in that Hyundai, “No!” I said to my self “no chick is going to dig this car.” I gave my uncle a puzzled look and told him, “ It would help if we looked around a bit more.” He said go-ahead look around just be careful and don’t crash into anything. Did I hear my uncle right, was he out of his mind. Was he was telling me to go and drive these cars down the two-mile strip, in any way I desired? I was overwhelmed and excited: overwhelmed as there were so many cars, and excited as I was going to get to drive a lot of fast cars which I hadn’t even dreamed of buying.
My Uncle left me outside and went back into the auction house. Other than five or six other car dealers the lot was virtually empty of anybody who was going to see what I was doing. It was like being five again and walking in to “Toys R Us” for the very first time and being able to play with any toy I had wanted to play with. I started looking around, and my first choice for a first drive turned out to be a black 1998 Ford Mustang Cobra. I walked up to the Mustang and started inspecting the body for dents or other damage; there turned out to be nothing wrong with it. Next step I got into the car and started the 315 horsepower engine. The engine and the exhaust note came alive with a deep grunt. I asked myself, “Can it get any better than this?” and my answer was “Hell, yes. Just press the clutch and shift the gear and take her for a spin”. I was very careful at taking the car down to the strip and making sure I didn’t damage it in any way. Next stop the strip or in my terms the Drag strip. Now what? I stopped the car as soon as the end of the Drag strip lined up into a straight line of sight. Next I pressed the clutch and threw the gear into first, started revving the engine to its redline, which was the announcement of what was to come next. With the engine speed at 2300 rpm’s, I popped the clutch and the rear tires started to spin and I was off. I had never driven anything this fast before in my life and the experience was very exciting for me. The Car surpassed the legal speed limit well within the time it will take me to finish this sentence. All good joy rides come to an end real soon, and so did this one. I started to brake as I neared the end of strip. I turned the car around, the thrill and exhilaration this machine had to offer was greater than any of the roller coasters I have ridden up to this day. I had hit almost 120 mph down the two-mile drag strip. I went back up, but not as fast as I had come down, and finally took the stallion back into its stable.
Next up an Import “four-banger” (four-banger is name given to small engines that are almost half the Mustang I had just driven). The car was a Honda Prelude, which comes standard with a 209 horsepower engine; very good for a little pocket-rocket. The interior of the Prelude was very refined and had a jet fighter look, which I fell in love with instantly. Time to see how fast this pocket-rocket would shoot down the drag strip. “Ok Houston we are go for take off”, I said to myself. Bummer! This car had no clutch, as the car had a manu-matic transmission (technologically superior). I was unable to rev the engine like I had done before on the stallion, “but not the end of the world. Lets try brake torquing”, I assured myself. Brake torquing is a method for a good launch just like popping the clutch, it is done by holding the brake hard and the same time pressing the gas pedal and when the desired engine speed is reached the brake is released, and the car leaps forward. The Prelude took off gracefully but it simply lacked the brut force of the stallion, the car was fairly quick, as it is one of the best pocket rockets for sale on the market. It handled good too and had an excellent balance between power and control unlike the stallion, which had been designed to run down a straight line. Soon the ride in the little pocket rocket was over, too, and I took it back. I repeated the same routine with virtually any sports car I could see in my sight. To be quite honest, I said to myself, “if compared with the good things in life, cars are the next best thing that happened to man since women.”
Two hours had passed and now I had run out of sports cars to drive. I had driven so many cars that I liked, but the insurance payments on them would surely exceed the car payments that I would have to make every month, which in very simple words means that I could not afford to buy any one of the sports cars I had driven so far. Now I began to scour the lot for a car that I was actually able to afford, as it turned out there were not a whole lot to choose from. Then finally I saw something that I liked and could afford to keep it. The car was a Torch-Red 1994 Infiniti G 20 with black tinted windows. I got into it was amazed to see the beautifully trimmed beige leather interior. Next stop the engine compartment, to see what was actually under the hood. The engine turned out to be a sporty and rev happy 2 liter four-banger, which made a decent 145 horsepower. The car performed quite well in terms of acceleration and handling on the strip. The G 20 had succeeded in winning my choice. I got out of the car and memorized the serial number on the windshield, for later recovery when the car went up for auctioning.
I went back into the auction house and told my uncle that I had found a car that I liked a lot. We both went back out into the lot and inspected the Infiniti more carefully, the car passed my uncle’s used car test and I ended up buying the car at a very good price. It has been two years now and I still have the same car. I have added a lot more performance parts to make it better than its original condition. To this day the G 20 has served its purpose quite well. Every single time I drive it, my car reminds me of the day I had bought it and how much fun I got to have in one single day. I will like to remember that car shopping experience for years to come. I hope to return back as soon as I get more money and buy that white stallion which I was not able to buy that day.