I was 17 and in high school the first time I went over a hundred miles an hour in a car.
It was my friend Billy’s car. It was a black, 1977 Monte Carlo. And he had modified it to have 400 horses under the hood.
We were driving down Panther Creek when Billy pushed the needle past 140.
Like many American muscle cars from the 1970s, it was great at straight line speed. Sucked at corners.
And I knew we had a corner coming up so I told him he should think about slowing down because another friend the week before had rolled his car on this same stretch of road.
I was three and living in Ohio when I rode in my first sports car. It was my mom’s Camaro.
The Camaro was a brown and shiny though I only remember it in fragments.
I remember sitting in the backseat. As we drove through the curving back roads of rural Ohio. And that it was fun. I know my mom misses that car, forty years later.
All she drives now are minivans. She has owned 4 consecutive minivans.
The minivan obsession started when I was in high school. Because mom felt bad about our road trips with me crammed into our car like the last clown in a clown car.
I remember when Jason Kidd played for the Dallas Mavericks and realized he & I were the same height. I was like “oh, I am really tall.”
So being cramped in a sedan for cross-country road trips was not a fun time for me. Until we got a minivan and I could lay down in one of the back seats.
And my mom has owned minivans ever since.
A typical car is just for transportation.
Maybe you pick it based on color. Or gas mileage. If you have little ones, you pay attention to safety. And modern cars are very reliable.
I remember when I was on my first date with my wife at Ellington’s in Denton, Texas and I asked her what her father did for a living.
She said he was a mechanic. And I knew that would be a good thing.
Growing up with used cars that were always breaking down, I appreciated having a mechanic in the family.
And it’s why when I could afford to, I started leasing cars.
I know that from a rational economic point of view that owning a car and keeping a car for a decade makes more financial sense.
But my biggest splurge is having a new car. I enjoy not having to worry about warranties and cars breaking down.
Which is why - as much as I love sports and racing cars, I’m glad I don’t own one. At least not a real one. I do enjoy building them in Lego.
This lets me appreciate the physcial beauty. Their sleek lines. And brings up a song in my head.
Attitude. By The Misfits but sung by Duff McKagan of Guns N’ Roses.
One of the most perfect punk songs ever. Which is on the Spaghetti Incident but I discovered the song when he sang it in Paris during the Illusions tour.
My favorite live version is the latest concert though.
And that is one reason why I love sports cars. They bring across an attitude.
If you are driving a sleek Italian car like a Ferrari or Lamborghini you are showing off your attitude of money. Style. And could care less about practicality.
A BMW or Mercedes shows that you appreciate a nice driving car with the good pickup but don’t want to give up the luxury feel of a quiet & smooth drive.
They are the glamping of sports cars.
My favorite sports car is the Dodge Charger Hellcat.
It’s why I built this variation of the Lego car set 5867.
It’s the car I have envisioned the hero of my detective novels driving.
I was introduced to the Dodge Hellcat by Jay Leno. I wish I could say it was personally but it was via his YouTube (now CNBC) Jay Leno’s Garage show.
Which reminds me of the time I was eating dinner at home by myself. My wife was working late. And I heard a loud crash outside my front door.
I dreaded opening the door. I didn’t move for a good minute or two. Because I was terrified.
My neighbor Bill across the street was living in a two-story house. And it had developed a structural problem with its second story. I was convinced I would open the door and see his house collapsed with his young children trapped inside.
My brain kicked in and told myself that was unlikely. Our homes weren’t the sturdiest houses but they were unlikely to collapse unless we were hit by a tornado.
And it was a clear night.
Then I thought, oh shit. I bet it’s my fence. We were working on our backyard fence. And I thought it had to be the part of the fence facing the front yard that had finally fallen.
So I opened my door to see a crazy man running down the street away from my house.
And I looked to see what he was running from.
It was his car. Which happened to be parked on my front yard. On top of what had been my mailbox.
After I told him the car wasn’t going to explode and he could come back the dude came back to his car.
I said “This isn’t a Prius is it?”
He said “No, it was a Honda Fit.”
What’s great about the Dodge Charger Hellcat is that it’s a practical muscle car.
The car is a four-door sedan that can hold 4 adults comfortably. And with an actual trunk so you can pick up groceries, carry the kid’s sports equipment or suitcases for a road trip.
But the angles make it look like you’re always ready to race for pinks.
And when you hit the gas, it will go over 200mph. Assuming you can find an open road to do that on. And don’t mind the fine, jail time and lawyer fees if you get caught.
Um - don’t do that. Take it out to a race track if you want to enjoy pressing the pedal to the metal.
A final bit on Jay. Jay Leno said that in 1972 when he first came to California he bought a car before he had a place to live. Which reminds me of one of my favorite racing jokes. “You can live in your car, but you can’t race a house.”
Though did you know Jay Leno now actually has a car care service?
If you are considering a real sports car to go with your Lego ones then I put together something for you.
WHAT YOU HAVE TO LOOK FOR IN A REAL SPORTS CAR If you go shopping for an actual sports car here is what you have to keep in mind:
The most important thing that you are going to want to look at when you are trying to find the right car would have to be the budget that you have to work with. Finding the car that fits your budget is key. You want to look closely at the budget that you have to work with because sports cars can get very expensive depending on the brand, model, and type you are considering. Your budget should dictate what options you will be considering.
As noted above, you want to take a look at the different types to ensure that you are able to find the type that fits your needs the most. You have a bunch of different sports cars to choose from when it comes to type. For one, you can choose to invest in something like a sports sedan. Another option would be a coupe. Or you can choose something like a roadster or a hatchback. Depending on your wants and needs, the type of car that you are looking at may vary. But you will need to figure out what type you are trying to purchase to find the right car for yourself and your family.
Another major thing that you are going to need to look at and consider when you are shopping for a sports car would be the features that the car comes with. You want to find the car that has all of the features that you deem important. By finding a car that meets your criteria of important features, you should be able to find one that is going to satisfy your needs. Some of the top features that you are likely going to want to look for in your sports car would be fuel efficiency, handling, drive wheels, engine size, safety, and tires.
This is why (in particular budet!) why most of us have to stick to rather boring day to day cars.
But my current favorite Lego race/sports car is based on the P1 McLaren.
Here is our review of this model:
One of the latest installments in the LEGO Speed Champions Collection is a building toy featuring the McLaren 720S. Certainly a must-have item for fans of the LEGO Speed Champions collection and this amazing British car. The LEGO replica is an attractive item and looks terrific on any diorama with its accompanying side build and mini fig. But, the attractive design accomplished by LEGO is even more amazing when compared to the real deal.
The McLaren 720S was endowed with swooshing curves and sleek contours chosen to resemble the aggressive profile of a Great White Shark. The LEGO model here has accomplished this with great innovation and some creative allowances.
Centerpiece – The McLaren 720s” (160 pcs)
160 pieces and very simple instructions are featured here. It won’t take a rookie LEGO builder more than 20 minutes to assemble (including a snack break), but the result is a LEGO model with excellent design and cartoonish but accurate resemblance to the real McLaren 720S accomplished with some all-new pieces. Included in these newer pieces are wheel covers with an aggressive design reminiscent of 80’s style muscles cars.
The contours of the original McLaren 720S were marvelously captured along the sides and rear of the LEGO vehicle, but a view from the front is where the design clashed. Rather than the sleek profile of a Great White, the design lost its smooth curving edges in gaping holes and a hatchet face. But, other than this detail, the overall production was stellar.
The streamlined design is greatly enhanced by a clear canopy that slides on and off for access to a single-occupant cockpit. This cockpit is simplistic and spacious but shows this one blue block that kind of throws off the overall orange/black color scheme, but it isn’t all that noticeable and can’t be seen from the exterior, so no biggie here.
The stickers were designed, selected and ordained by some sort of Deity of All Things Adhesive because they’re PERFECT. Not too outlandish, not too discreet; these stickers represent the essential features needed to identify the McLaren 720S and nothing more so sublime it brings a tear to the eye.
Side Build - A Designers Work Space
The side build in this set is neat and attractive. You will also find the essential coffee mug, work lamp and a gold-colored spare piece (actually a roller skate). Above all, it features the sketch plans of the real McLaren where the “Great White” profile and sleek nose is exhibited for your comparison – another perfectly designed and executed sticker (sniff).
The Minifig - McLaren Engineer and Test Driver
The minifig is a sharp-looking employee toting a wrench and sporting a unique McLaren company shirt. He has a full head of hair, but this can be swapped out with a racing helmet when taking the McLaren 720S out for a test drive.
In Conclusion, the LEGO 75880 McLaren 720S Speed Champions Building Toy is a work of art and the perfect addition to any LEGO collection. Whether on a display or part of your everyday child’s play, this sturdy and attractive model won’t disappoint.
If you are going to display your models, you need to keep them clean. I wrote an article about that here.