13 July 2013

Went to Cars and Coffee again, mostly to build time on the car. 90 miles round-trip and three gallons meant 30 mpg – nice! On the way up and back was a chance to check out the cooling system since the last changes. Coolant stabilized at about 70 deg C and oil was about 15 deg C above that. The thermostat is 80-85 deg C (don’t remember which) and apparently the electric water pump pushes enough coolant past the thermostat right when it starts to opens, that the system stabilizes a bit on the low side. Better that than on the high side.

Back in the early 1990s, we went to Hawaii for vacation. While I’d heard of the then-new Corvette ZR-1 and its impressive statistics, I’d never seen one in person. Turns out they had one for rent on the Big Island, at $400 a day no less. But hey, we were on vacation, and when would I ever get the chance to drive something that powerful again? I asked about renting it and at first it was available, but at some point I apparently answered a question wrong because it was suddenly and definitely “not available.” Oh well, at least I saved $400, and ended up putting it out of my mind.

Coming back from Cars and Coffee I happened to pull up behind a nice 1990-95 ZR-1. When such a situation presents itself, I never show suggested aggression by lining up side-by side, instead staying behind the potential adversary. That way it’s clear who started things, and gives the option of pursuing, or not. Also, worst case I’d probably get a slightly lower fine if caught speeding, with the guy in front getting the big “prize.” Anyhow, the light goes green and he leaves casually… I guess nothing’s happening… then he changed his mind :). That was the first time I ran through the gears “in anger”, mostly just to see if I could keep up. Not only did Midlana keep up, she caught up. At the next light the driver wouldn’t look at me, but hey, he started it (sounding a lot like something a 7-yr old would say…)

Anyhow, I was all full of myself until I looked up the ZR-1’s specs,, and though it has approximately 400 hp, it weighs twice that of Midlana. On the one hand I felt a little bad about “showing him”, but on the other hand, there’s a trace of satisfaction in knowing that I own something faster than the car I wasn’t allowed to rent that day 20 years ago.

Speaking of horsepower, it’s amazing what’s happened to power levels over the last 20 years. As any Corvette owner knows, the current Z06 is now around 500 hp, while the latest ZR-1 has a mind-boggling 638 hp. These days, power levels of even pedestrian vehicles are much higher; even my truck has 360 hp, an unheard of number not long ago. I remember my 1985 Mustang GT having a then-impressive 225 hp… less than what a Honda S2000 makes today. How times have changed.

In the second picture, check out how ignition timing is adjusted in this authentic Bugati, pretty crazy.