Thursday, February 25, 2016

Picking Up the Shelby

I drove the Shelby home Tuesday night from the pickup location.  Basically I just dropped off my ’07 Mustang and picked up the Shelby without any sort of event.  So suddenly I went from getting out of a 300hp car and into a 662hp one in a matter of minutes.  How was it?  Well I found it fairly intimidating frankly.  You think you understand what “fast” means but then you drive something that redefines it.  This is one of those cars.  My 1968 Firebird 400 was a 400+hp car so I really felt I understood how a fast car felt.  I'm now certain if I got out of the GT500 and into a supercar or hypercar I would experience the same feeling.  There is always something faster.  Happily this realization created a great deal of excitement for me because I now have a lot to learn.  I look forward to this summer to start learning.

The car was being stored at a massive car dealer auction lot. Acres and acres of cars. I went to the gate they instructed and went to the trailer/office.  The guy inside looked at my ID and instructed me to go get the Shelby and pull it around to the exit gate to be checked through.  I walked over and got in, adjusted all the mirrors and started it up.  Wow, louder than I expected.  The shifter felt a little mushy after driving the notchy Hurst shifter in my GT.  I thought, "Okay, take it easy" and put it in first.

Noob Story 1: The clutch in the Shelby has a weird kind of uneven tension.  You seem to hit a mid-position and it wants to spring out.  I felt a similar feeling with the gas where a tiny tap seemed to make it scream.  The combo of these two things made me fairly terrified. David Freiburger over at Hot Rod mentioned this in a Roadkill video and I totally see what he was talking about.  After checking the car through the gate the guy cleared me to take it.  Luckily he thought I was revving the car for his benefit and cheered me on, but in reality I just didn't know what I was doing.  Down the road I quickly pulled over, composed myself, and removed the tags from the windshield so I could see out and headed home.  Traffic was heavy though so with the constant stopping and starting I got plenty of practice.  After about a mile or two I started to get the hang of it and by the time I got it home it seemed less terrifying.

Noob Story 2: The car had no gas when I picked it up so I had to pull into the closest station.  Looking at the fuel door I assumed there was an a button inside to release it.  I wasted a bunch of time looking for it and then looking through the manual before I realised there was no button and you just press the fuel door and it springs open.  Duh.

There are a few things I don’t yet understand about the car.  For instance it beeps at me when I accelerate hard.  I think this might be a traction warning or maybe a shift warning although I was not near redline.  I’ll have to figure it out and see if I can turn it off, extremely annoying.  I was trying to get the supercharger to whine but when it would start beeping I’d let off so I have yet to really hear it.  To be fair I shouldn’t be doing that anyway.  It’s cold and the car has summer tires so it just wants to spin.  Even when I was in third gear and hit it hard I could feel the car’s traction systems trying to keep the tires from spinning.

In regards to the reaction it got on the way home I just noticed two people checking it out but I was very "focused" you could say.  One guy with a tricked out Honda zipped past me in a different lane and seemed to almost snap his neck looking back.  The other guy was an Audi, didn't notice what type but he was revving like crazy at me.  I was in no way prepared for any racing so I just gave him a rev back and kept going.

Since then the car has been sitting in my rather crappy garage waiting for the snowstorm to end.  I haven't gotten a chance to even look at it because the garage is so small and I'd really rather pull it out so I have some room.  I think this summer I might at least paint the garage interior so it would seem a little more worthy of the GT500's presence, maybe even some nice flooring.

Overall I have some mixed feelings about the purchase.  It's always a little sad to see your previous car go but you can't keep them all.  Plus I swore to myself  I wouldn't get another Mustang and I'd try something different but I guess this really isn't a Mustang.  Also this car is way into the high end of my budget so I'm nervous about it's impact on my finances.  It should all work out but we'll see.  Also I've been a little disappointed with the response I get from most friends and even some family.  Seems they kind of hate me for having it.  I plan to write more about this in a different article.

So now we wait for warm temps.

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