The hour is late, the air is crisp, and the roads are empty. You slide in to the moonlit cabin of your machine. Twist the key, the engine fires, sending an echoing roar in to the darkness. Lights on, slot first gear, and pull away, but slowly now. Listen to the growl of the engine at low speed, the sound of the tires as they lay their claim on the pavement, and feel the weight of the wheel as you navigate the streets that lead you out of the city. You find a familiar road and follow its path as you drive further and further in to the night. Civilization soon becomes a distant memory. Your wandering is suddenly interrupted as you find what you were searching for. The engine is warm, the tires are up to temperature, and you you are on the perfect road. Work the gear knob down the gate, and bury your right foot. Amidst the torrent of g force and noise that follows, you will find yourself carving the path that leads to motoring heaven. This is the night shift.
Man has an insatiable urge to discover the unknown. It’s the unknown that intrigues us, frightens us, and excites us. To satisfy the urge, man must press on in to the darkness and explore. For me, this is the very essence of the night drive. It’s all about the adventure. In this case, the adventure starts in Kailua, HI, in one of its very quiet neighborhoods. Its 11PM on a Thursday night. I just finished watching an episode of Top Gear, the one where Jeremy drives the CLK Black(YouTube it, and if you have no idea what Top Gear is, well, its time to find out), I find it the perfect bit of inspiration for what I’m about to do. So backside off the plush office chair, out the front door, and right back down in to the perfect driving position offered by the 350Z. The guys who worked on this car claim they designed the driving position to mimic that of a Le Mans racer, and I believe them, it definitely makes me feel the part. Key in, start it up, god I love that noise.
Kailua is a small town, mostly made up of restaurants and small shops, neither of which are usually any good. It’s no matter to me though, I’m just passing through, my goal is to get out of these small streets and link up to the Kalanianaole Highway(say that one three times fast) heading in to Waimanalo. I will take this nice straight bit of road all the way to the coast, where I link up with one of the best bits of driving road on Oahu. Waimanalo, is an even smaller town than Kailua, and driving with the windows down you can really smell the countryside, which is fine, until you discover that the countryside smells like horse manure. Luckily, the Z is warmed up and ready to stretch its legs, so I call on it’s smooth V6 to whisk me up to 50, and its goodbye to my equine friends and all of their delightful odors. At this point I am actually driving along the coast, but its not made known until I clear the residential area, upon doing so you are greeted with miles and miles of moonlit pacific ocean(well when the moon is out anyway) with nothing but the shadow of guardrails to hinder the view.
Unfortunately you wont be concentrating on said view, because this is where the road gets interesting. Its a very fast stretch of road divided up in to two sections. The first section is the fastest, comprised of three very long downhill sweepers, which let me carry some massive speeds. The feedback coming through the wheel, the G through the turns, and the suspension reacting to dips and crests make it amazing fun. There’s a really long straight bit up next, but I keep the speed down, cops like to sit here. The second section is uphill, with sharp turns that force you to carve your way through the cliffs. I’m going half the speed here, compared to the first section, but its still fast, and with the cliff walls so close the experience is nothing short of exhilarating. I fall in love with my car all over again, every time I drive this road. The amazing steering feel, the limitless pull of the engine, and the rear drive layout all combine to make a really magnificent driving machine. Coming out of the last corner, you are greeted with a straight downhill stretch, almost as if the road is thanking you for giving it a proper thrashing. I like to say you’re welcome by giving it a boot full.
Hawaii Kai, its made up of really big, really nice houses, well most of them anyway, some are just really large and tacky. The road is straight, it has three lanes, and it joins up with the interstate. I throw it in to a high gear, turn on the stereo, and cruise. All the while replaying the full bore attack I just made on the tarmac a few miles back. In a short while I pull in to a 7-11, and grab a some tea. Sat outside next to my car, I listen to the crackles and pops as the machine makes full use of its opportunity to cool down. I will eventually get back in and take a more relaxing path home, but I’m in no rush, the night shift is always a long one.
I’m almost certain that this is the only example on the island, of any Scuderia that is. Now all I need is some rich playboy to buy the beast so I can see and especially HEAR it on the road.
Found some old pics a friend took when I was sorting through some emails. They’re from back in 2008, when I flew back to attend a graduation in Santa Barbara. I took the red eye flight to LA from Honolulu, arrived with little to no sleep, got in to the seat of a Mustang, I think I ate something, and I know I drank a Red Bull. Hopped on the PCH and drove non stop to SB. Love that drive, its the best in California. If you’re like me and enjoy a perfect drive on an epic road, the PCH is Definitely one of those roads. I suggest taking it both to and from SB for the complete experience.
This is what I look like with no sleep and Red Bull in my system.
The Stang makes a good California cruiser. The long hair is long gone by the way.
Made it just in time for a Santa Barbara sunset.
I like this one.
Just say no.
You would think someone who swapped a Lotus Elise motor in to their MRS would know better.