One of the common bonds between yesterday and today’s performance cars is a need for speed.
We have a large armada of vehicles that are well-suited for speeds that are double the posted limit.
The big problem occurs when a driver stretches out his car’s speed to match his car’s potential.
A lead-footed driver might become famous for 15 minutes as a participant in a Spike TV program about high speed chases and subsequent arrests.
That can really suck the fun out of the driving experience.
But what if a long stretch of highway was dedicated to the pure fun of unlimited horsepower meets no-limit road. It would be the start of a beautiful relationship for car guys that want to see what happens when gas pedal crushes floor carpet in their speed machines.
The concept existed to a certain extent in Montana from the mid to late 90s on I-94 until the federal government took a dim view about a casual speed limit in that state.
The Montana interstate is a beautiful highway that has minimal traffic by comparison to other states. Winter is a factor, but the road is a safe route for high speed traffic in good weather. It was nicknamed “Montanabahn” during its run as a lightning fast traffic zone.
Other states like Nevada and Wyoming were fairly casual about speed limits in a bygone era before the incredibly stupid double nickel speed limit after the 1973 oil embargo. Eventually the 55 mph speed limit was shelved, but there is no legitimate equivalent to the Autobahn in North America. We should have one.
The logical stretch of unlimited speed would be a route between Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Try Tinsel-town to Vegas as fast as your vehicle will get there with you and a death grip on the steering wheel. The population explosion in the American Southwest includes many car guys that want to find out what their cars can really do at maximum warp.
Now obviously this type of adventure would not be open to every idiot with a set of keys. The vehicles would have to be inspected to make sure that they can handle the speed, while the drivers would need to complete a high speed driving test for a proper license. There are very rare occasions where red tape is a necessary evil and this is one of those situations.
The limitations of the highway would also have to factor into the equation. Good pavement, no tight turns and at least six lanes would be part of the program. Upgrades on an existing road would be supplemented by a generous toll charge for the speed set. We don’t normally advocate a generous dose of taxation, but even a large toll fee is cheaper than a giant speeding ticket. And toll charges don’t come with potential arrests, court appearances and possible jail time for extreme driving -an equitable trade in our opinion.
So the question of the day: Do we need a long stretch of road to test our speed machines’ to the max legally; or is the risk of severe punishment part of the charm?
Tell us what you think.
Jim Sutherland @mystarcollectorcar.com
DENNIS:”Won’t work here. In Europe people understand that the left lane is for high speed traffic and the cops will stop you if you’re clogging up the road.