We Want Our Speed
In defense of the necessity of the 200-mph production car.
Web2Carz Senior Writer
Published: September 9th, 2012
ust two weekends ago, staffers here were blasting around town in the 2013 Shelby GT500, and a month or two before that, two of our editors spent a weekend in Chevy's hot Camaro ZL1. Both cars are capable of insane speeds, but one thing stands out about the Shelby--Ford's claim of a 200 mph top speed.
Naturally, the unspoken question on many people's minds is "why?" As in, "why would anyone want a car that can achieve such velocity when it's practically impossible on public roads?"
Those who love to drive love speed, or at least the idea of it.
The Shelby isn't the only car in the 200 club--the Bugatti Veyron and a handful of other high-po cars can do the deed. But again, why on earth would someone want a car that can do that, when the only way to drive that fast safely is to find a track (after spending some time at a performance driving school, of course)?
Well, one obvious answer is the show-off factor. Just being able to say that your car can hit 200 has to be one of the better pieces of bragging rights down at the country club. Even in our environmentally conscious times, saying that your car achieves 50 mpg just doesn't have the same cachet.
Another obvious answer is that 200-mph cars are awesome performers in other areas, meaning that some of that prowess can be tapped at slower speeds. For example, the Shelby offers fierce acceleration, and depending on certain circumstances, that can be explored safely and carefully without violating any laws.
But really, what it comes down to is that those who love to drive love speed, or at least the idea of it. Even if circumstances (traffic, speed limits) keep us from achieving high velocities, we like knowing that if we had unlimited open space to explore the cars' limits and the guts to do so, we'd be able to find that limit.
The fastest I've gone in a car is around 150, on a racetrack. In that controlled environment, that speed wasn't scary, since attending journalists were driving one car at a time and safety crews were standing by. I also have worked my way up to that speed over time, as I've gained track experience. And my time at 150 was fleeting, since all straightaways must eventually end and the braking zone was approaching rapidly. Indeed, it was hard to register any excitement about it--the moment passed by too quickly.
However, if it had been an open, long stretch of track, well it would've been exhilarating to hold that speed as long as possible. To know that humans are capable of building a car that can go so fast while still keeping its driver relatively safe, well that's an amazing thought.
I'm not advocating that people speed around public roads with disregard for life and property. While I do think some speed limits (mainly on highways in relatively rural areas) should be raised, that's not the point of this piece. What I'm saying here is that while nobody who doesn't make a living from racing needs a car capable of 200 miles per hour, there's no reason that manufacturers shouldn't build them.
Yeah, most Shelbys will be driven at 20 mph far more often than at 200--indeed, most owners won't ever come close to that velocity, and those who attempt to do so on public roads are stupid--but who cares? Not Ford, who will gladly accept the monthly payments. Not the owner, who will enjoy every trip to the valet stand as much as he or she will enjoy every blast from 0-60. Not observers, who are more likely to fawn over the car than to reject it.
If you're still asking "why?" than you might as well hand us your car keys now. That's it, nice and slowly. The train station is that way.Related Vehicles: bugatti veyron | 2013 ford shelby gt500