Intimidating 69 camaro

It isn’t every day you get to meet a You Tube hero, a certain “Mr.Lieberman,” who earlier had given an impromptu car show to our host. Highway 198 is a magical place, an undulating public two-lane roadway filled with tight switchbacks, sweeping curves, midcorner bumps, long straights, and panoramic views.“Each movement is connected directly to the brain’s synapses.” Scott agreed, adding: “Steering is among the best here—talkative and light, quick enough but not too much.

We had quite the field this year, with representation from Italy, Germany, Japan, England, and the V-8 thunder of American freedom.

But as the test team crunched the test results, there was no clear leader. A four-hour drive along I-5’s trackless wastes brings us to our hotel in King City, California.

Entering corners, the Miata RF is surprisingly tail-happy.

Mazda rehashed the ragtop’s suspension for 2017, but the RF is unsettled.

In those modes, the throttle response is linear and quick, and the suspension is dialed in to maximize the car’s speed around corners. Also, the crowded seven-speed manual gearbox has rubbery, ropey throws and doesn’t like to be rushed, and the gear ratios felt too tall for the track-oriented Grand Sport.

The steering is light and direct, though you need to make a conscious effort to slow yourself down because turn-in is still very quick. Said executive editor Mark Rechtin: “It seems like there was a big gap between the powerbands in third and fourth gear.”Chevy used to sandbag the Camaro to avoid stepping on the Corvette’s toes, but those days are gone. As he pulled into our makeshift pit lane, Jonny could be heard screaming, “Yeaaaah! You’d think power would be why the Camaro works so well, but it’s actually grip that’s the key to this muscle car.

It’s a gorgeous 4.2-mile stretch of roadway that climbs about 1,000 feet, allowing judges to test each contender at its (and their own) limits.

Any shortcomings of either car or driver will be quickly identified on this passage. Just past daybreak, the ground fog still clearing, we pulled to the side of the road to set up camp, clean cars, and wait for the California Highway Patrol’s black and white Ford Explorers to close the road so we could begin.

We rolled into the King City Days Inn a tick past midnight.

We were the last to arrive, but our hotel clerk couldn’t have been happier.

After a team meeting, we fired up all 86 cylinders and commenced our first runs up the beckoning hills—each of us starting in the familiar car we had driven from L. That meant the Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport, intimidating in looks and sound, for me.

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