Let's cut to the chase. You came here for a story about heavy metal, mullets, modern muscle cars, going topless, and getting in a fight. So let's pick up the story where we left off.
Sunrise on day two comes fast, but since we only had our little red supercharged cat for the rest of the morning, it's go time as early as possible. So we get up. Brush stuff. Pack our camera gear and batteries. Chew breakfast and head to the garage where a Jaguar F-Type was waiting for us. Before loading our camera gear (which somehow fit perfectly into the shallow, lumpy trunk) we take time to shoot the car in the early morning light.
The Jag's interior is a thing of beauty (as is the entire car from every single angle). The materials are AMAZING for a $70,000 car. Thoroughly modern and so pleasing to the fingers, there is not even a whiff of any sort of lazy corner-cutting country club heritage. This is a focused driver's car, and it shows.
Except for the ergonomics. The steering wheel is too big for a small sports car. You don't push the shifter forward to put it in park, you just press a button down on the top of it. It feels strange to do this. And several times at stop lights after some "spirited driving", the car shut off. Like, literally stopped running. We thought we broke it until we noticed the 'ECO mode' light on, which means the engine decided it wanted to be in start/stop mode. Cool tech, although we never asked for it to do that. But none of that matters because all that silly shit just melts away when you stop fiddling and start driving fast.
Looking back, I miss it just for that exhaust alone. And we only had the 340bhp supercharged V6 model with twin center pipes that were clearly crafted in a burning hot furnace of pure love. It's physically impossible not to drive this like a child off his Ritalin. You mash the gas, lift, enjoy the burr burr burr, and mash it again. Yes, the paddle shift auto, like all paddle shifters, sucks compared to a real manual. But that's an argument that's been made to death.
I got my brother a gift that I thought would be fitting for this part of the journey - a t-shirt with a giant picture of a cat sticking his tongue out. You know, because Jaguar. He loves it so much that this thing of beauty reappears again in the final segment of this trip, but he wears it now as he drives the Jag across town, absolutely loving every second.
We burn through a tunnel on our way to returning the car, and then just like that, after getting lost in the airport parking garage, it is gone. And then, shortly after, I get into a fight…of sorts. Actually, what I do is invite myself to go for a ride in a Rally Fighter. Which is way cooler than getting into a fight, so don't complain that I just tricked you.
Here's how it goes down: after dropping the Jag off and shedding a single tear, we hook up with Local Motors at their brand new micro factory in Las Vegas with the promise that we could shoot whatever we wanted. Since I want to shoot the inside of the "Maxtrax" Rally Fighter...while it was moving...they offer me a spot in the passenger seat. At the helm is friendly pro race car driver, Michele Abbate who is campaigning an olive drab Scion FR-S in the United States Touring Car Championship Series this year so I'm in good hands.
The Rally Fighter is a limited production street legal car inspired by a P-51 Mustang, designed and engineered using social media. It is capable of running in the brutal Baja 1000 bone stock, and it can be yours for under $100,000. If you can get your hands on one before they stop production at 2,000 units. Oh - and you help design and assemble it. And it's made in America. And it's got a Corvette LS3 motor, bead lockers, and it's RWD. And just look at it...
You have to give Local Motors credit because to bring a car to production - even limited production - in this day and age is an impossible task even for rich fools. But somehow they did just that...and they are neither rich nor foolish. It's an amazing, mind blowing achievement.
Fun aside, while we're shooting, we are told Paul Teutul, Jr. of American Chopper fame is in the neighborhood and is most likely going to swing by. "Well there goes our shoot." I think, as I picture the Discovery Channel Secret Service (that exists, right?) swooping in and commandeering our little cameras. This is, thankfully, not the case. Local Motors has no problem letting us shoot, and Paul and a handful of what looked like his friends don't mind one bit. We all just putter around the Rally Fighter for a while and, after a sincere handshake from the OCC Kingpin, go our separate ways. Top notch guy, that Paul Teutul, Jr., if it means anything coming from us.
So, what is the Rally Fighter like to ride in? Its amazing. Everyone stares at you, it floats like a pillow on its massive jump eating suspension, and it's actually not as loud as you would expect. A bit louder than a 'vette, yes, but nothing compared to a race car (truck) of the same performance. Yes, the interior is basic when compared to the outrageous exterior (a hat tip to the first person that can place those tail lights). Maybe some whale penis leather or something like that would spice it up a bit, but who's got time for remodeling when you're are jumping this car 85 feet through the air across the desert at Huckfest? Oh, they also make a motorcycle inspired by classic Formula 1 cars.
The sun goes down. We hit the strip and call it an early night. We have the keys to a Maserati and big plans for our final day in Vegas...Stay tuned for Episode 3, "Mullets and a Maserati", coming May 6th.