Re: Current State of GT40 Market
So I did a little searching and discovered this interesting description of driving the car:
"So I'm sure most of you guys have seen Alf's Superformance Twin Turbo GT40 at Dallas Performance or at Cars and Coffee....Alf works at the same company I do, and I got a call from him asking if I could do him a favor, and drive it to another one of our co-worker's house, so Alf can pick it up when he comes in town Sunday. Not a huge deal in my opinion, as I was told the house was fairly close to DP. Now most everyone in the shop is scared to drive the car, and I always thought to myself that I wouldn't be scared to drive the thing at the mile, as long as it went straight. Well, I got there and having never even sat in the car, had no idea what I was in for. The closest thing I have ever driven to a non "mass production vehicle", would be Robert's Ariel Atom. Although I was nervous driving the Atom, it was a very well behaved car...nothing to really worry about, except some gawker slamming into me. I've also driven Kumar's Twin Turbo Ford GT, and that car is very civilized, even at WOT, and drives great.
Alf's car is NOTHING like the Atom or even the new Ford GT. For instance, no one can even sit in the passenger seat, as he's got a speaker on the passenger floorboard (so my knee was eye level when Taylor gave me a quick ride to show me how to drive it). Visibility is horrible through some very dark "side windows" at 6pm with no sunlight, and no visibility practically out of the rear window. No power-assisted brakes, no power steering, very stiff clutch. BTW, did I mention the seats don't move? Probably wouldn't be a problem if I was 4" taller, but I had to slouch in the seat, just to touch the pedals...which compromised what little visibility I had. Not to mention the front of the car sits 3" off the ground, so the front end lift system has to be used to get over some normal roads. Oh, did I mention that to handle the insane amount of power the car makes, DP used a Ricardo transaxle from the 2005/2006 Ford GT? Probably wouldn't be a big deal...but this sucker is almost as large as the engine. So to make everything fit, they had to move the engine forward a little bit. Suffice it to say, if I hit ANYTHING in front of me, or got rear-ended, I would be crushed by the motor.
After the quick ride in the passenger seat, I realize that this could very well be my last trip in a car, and I really start to doubt whether I should even attempt to drive this car. Realizing I would probably never get a chance to drive this car again, I have Taylor explain several of the controls for the car, ranging from the front lift, switchable tanks, transfer pump, etc. Then he explains the detachable steering, the electronically activated door openers, and fire extinguisher operation. Next comes the explanation of how the Mastershift works. The car has a clutch pedal, but has a sequential shifter that can take input of what gear to switch into, but won't do so until the clutch is engaged. Very trick, but not what I'm used to. Then I discover the house I'm going to is almost 20 miles away, and requires me to take some roads with a decent amount of rush hour traffic. Stop and go, no power assist for the brakes, poor visibility...this is not a good mix. Now I'm quickly realizing how "in over my head" I am.
With an evil grin like he knows I'm going to regret this decision, Taylor sends me on my way, and I'm now driving a car that probably has $300,000 invested in it, down the road...by myself. It takes a while to get used to the dimensions of the car, as I initially ride over the lane buttons on the left side, not wanting to curb the wheels on the right side. I travel 10mph below the speed limit pretty much the entire way, having almost every car try to pace me, just to get a second glimpse of the GT40. This makes me incredibly nervous, as it's more and more obvious that there really isn't much protection between normal Jason and amputated limbs Jason.
Then I start to think about the fire extinguisher. What if there is a fire and it fries the electronics? The doors are both electronically opened from inside the cabin (no manual override to my knowledge), and I just heard a safety speech at an OSHA meeting yesterday, from a man that spent 2 months in a burn hospital. On top of that, the steering wheel needs to be disconnected to even move from the driver's seat, and the release doesn't always come off with the first try. If I thought the cabin in the Viper was small, it's nothing compared to the GT40. How would I explain to Alf if I bottomed out the car and ripped off some exotic piece of the car, or if someone happened and I wasn't able to brake in time, or....a million other thoughts raced through my mind, as I traveled down the highway.
Although extremely stressed out, my left foot very tired from having to operate the stiff clutch, neck strained from trying to check my blind spots every few seconds, 30 minutes later, I finally make it to the house and drop the car off. They tell me that Alf has told them they can use the car for the weekend until he gets there. I quickly give them a very short speech on why they shouldn't drive it, call Alf and let him know that the car reached the house in one piece, and get a ride back to my car.
I wish I could post that I went full throttle through the first 3 gears, that I had never driven a car with this much power that fast before, but the truth is I just drove it like a grandma and I never went over 60mph. I can honestly say that I was glad to finally park the car in the garage and get out in one piece. For a car making over 1000rwhp, the Motec controlled the car very well. No surging, no bucking, and pretty much great driveability all the way around. The mastershift is actually very cool to use, and I would love to see how it performs at WOT. The front of the car seemed to follow the ruts in the road, which was kind of un-nerving. It is a very cool car, and I'd love to drive it on a long open runway if given the chance to see what it could really do. However, I really have no desire to ever drive the car again in public.
Sorry for the ramble, just thought I'd share a pretty rare experience of mine with the group. To those of you that drive your kit cars pretty often, hat's off to you. It definitely takes a very special person to drive a car like that!"