Hanko_

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In the 60's, a friend's older brother had a 'Vette, I remember him opening the hood and pointing out that the engine was way back from the axle centerline for a better F/R ratio, and also slightly over to the passenger side, to counter the weight of a driver only, in competition.
 

2KforeverC5

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Yeah, we almost went the way of the dodo this morning...

It's a beautiful day here: 15C, sun is out, leaves are turning and it's all mountain and country roads here. I couldn't resist.

I dropped the top, cranked up some daft punk and headed out. Was just a great ride! One that lifts your spirits and just be glad to be alive!

I headed up one of the mountain roads here, which I know has all hairpins and switchbacks. Keep in mind that a "mountainous road" here is about 400-500 feet ASL, so they're all fairly short.

Now, full disclosure here: I was moving a "little" bit faster than the posted limits on the curves, a good bit over the yellow speed "advisory" signs. The C4 sticks like glue and is capable of far more speed on the corners than posted. I go a little fast on these corers to sample few brief moments of the Vette's suspension prowess. Even so, I keep it down enough to know that the Vette has more in reserve than I am using. Not trying to escape the truth here though, I was still over the posted speed limit.

Here's the road:

View attachment 32931

Going up the hill was fine. No slipping, no sliding, just a nice push to the sides of the seats and dead flat cornering of the Vette. Well within the Vette's limits.

Coming down though, was a different story. I strafed the hairpins without trouble, the Vette instilling nothing but confidence, shrugging off what I thought was "speed" with what seemed like a giggle. I wasn't even making it sweat.

We rounded a sharp corner. Well in control, in my lane and nice and stable. The Vette still loafing along, almost rolling it's eyes and wondering when we we really going to push it. And then some chucklehead in a burgundy colored 4 door POS Jetta rounds the corner coming up the hill.

He was a full 3/4 car over the yellow lines and IN MY LANE!

JESUS!

For a little perspective, here's a road level view of the corner in question:

View attachment 32932

The red arrow shows which corner it is and the pic above shows what you see coming down to that corner. The trees screen the oncoming traffic until it's too late to do anything. Here's the corner itself:

View attachment 32933

You can see, you've got no where to go if you're in the inside lane....

Well, the Vette is many things, but narrow it is not. There was no room to go anywhere and the ass in the Jetta was not moving over, slowing down or anything else that would get him out of my way.

I was facing a choice of a 3/4 head on or a sideswipe of both the Jetta and the metal guard rail. I chose the path that would probably wreck both cars, but at least the drivers were likely to survive.

So I tightened up the turn and the Vette headed for the guard rail. I started trailing the brakes, hoping to minimize the amount of damage I knew was coming.....I squinted my eyes and clenched my teeth, waiting for the inevitable "CRUNCH, GRIND, SCRAPE, BANG" that I knew was coming and how bad this was going to F-up my already messed up lower back.....

And just then, the Vette let me know I had pushed it past it's point of grip. The rear end stepped out!

Oh s**t!

Now, instead of staring through the corner and hoping it woudln't hurt too bad, I was looking at the guard rail in the front window and thinking it's all over for me! Not good! The voice in the back of my head screamed "where's that F'n Jetta?" I snapped back "I really don't give a crap where he is at this point! I'm trying not to fly backwards into the woods right now!"

In retrospect, I think what might of happened (rather than the rear end just letting go) is that I got into the gravel at the road shoulder and the inside rear tire had nothing to hold on to. With only 3/4 it's normal grip (and the rear end only 1/2) it had no choice but to step out on me.

I counter-steer just a smidge and lift up on the brakes just a C-hair (just a razor thin blonde one, not a big nasty coarse red head one)........the front end never breaks loose and the rear tires grab again. The arse steps back around and gets back in line. I'm getting ready for the usually expected "over snap" back to the other direction, but the rear end never does anything violent. Just a tiny little wiggle handled with barely a graze of countersteer. One waggle and then it's back in line.....amazing. Most cars would still be swinging back and forth while "pogo-ing" up nd down on it's suspension, assuming the driver could keep it on the pavement at all. The Jetta is now past me, he must have found a way to get his POS out of my lane and/or give me enough room to get by. Whatever, it's a good thing he got by and just keeps going. A "face-to-face" probably won't have gone well for them.....

Thinking I'm home free, I continue massaging the wheel and brakes to help settle the last little bit of chassis upset. Somehow, miraculously, I'm still even in my lane.
Then in the middle of finishing the damping down of chassis wiggle, I look up and there's a monstrously lifted F150 coming up the hill. It usually wouldn't matter, but this F-er is also over the yellow lines and at least half of that truck is IN MY LANE!

Well, I know the Vette is still unsettled, but I have no choice but to try and tighten up the line again and head for the guardrail. Yep, there goes the arse end again, just not as big a slide this time since we've scrubbed off a lot of speed now. I tickle the brake peddle again and the rear end steps back in line.Out of the corner of my eye I see the rear bumper of the F150 go by my head at what feels like thousands of an inch. But we're by the mess now and the Vette is back in line and heading back down the hill.

I look in the rear mirror and I can see two sets of black lines sliding from the inside of the corner to the outside. It's obvious, even going faster than the posted limit, that the Vette never left it's lane. Wow.

Well, I head back down the country lanes on flat ground. The Vette is just burbling along, happy as a pig in poop, like nothing happened. Me? well, I still enjoy the rest of the ride. But my shorts might not be as pristine as they were when we started out....

I will say this: the Vette handled it well. I was able to push it right up to (and past) it's limits and it never did anything "weird". When the back end stepped out, it wasn't like a "snap oversteer" you get in most "normal" cars. Most cars, once they hit that "snap oversteer" point and the rear end just completely lets go, head for the ditch and just get completely squirrely as the rear end goes back and forth between grabbing and breaking loose. You end up riding the dragon until it finally slows down enough to stop. My fox Mustang used to do that before I changed out the "quadra-bind" rear suspension for the Maximum motorsports panhard and torque arm suspension. The OEM suspension loads up on corners and when it breaks loose, there's no saving it. you're just along for the ride at that point. Or if you do manage to "save it", you'll probably want to park it afterwards and put a for sale sign in the window.....

But the Vette just broke traction, slid predictably, quickly gathered it back up and stepped right back in line. It was very progressive once it did let go, making for a nice predictable slide that didn't try to get away from you, making it super easy to get it back in line. Because it was a very predictable slide motion, it made it very easy to know EXACTLY what it needed to get the rear back in line.

Even with the rear end broken loose and with the tail waging the dog, it was super easy to control. Love it!

Front engine sports cars may be on the way out, but with this kind of chassis dynamics (IE: predictable rear end once broken loose) I can't see me ever wanting to "upgrade". It just works with the driving style that I've been programmed for by my entire life to this point. Probably explains why I couldn't keep a buddies 911 on the track when he let me take it out for a couple hot laps. My brain is just not programmed for that rearward polar rotation once it let go and it seemed like no matter what I did, that sucker was going to fling me into the infield once it started to slide. I felt like I was a fly on the end of a whip, unable to do anything but hang on. When that rear end decided it was going to pass the front end, it was like there was no way to stop it and I was only along for the ride.

Nope, just slide that old, slow, rattley C4 into a brown paper bag and I'll happily slip out the back door.

:)

Now, time to go sit on the back deck in the sun, have a coke and reflect on the meaning of life.......
Wow !!! I’m impressed. I better get my ABS / TRACTION Control Fixed or i’ll be faced with my rear racing my front out of control. Nerve racking!!! And my story would be a much shorter one. 😳👍 might not be able to reflect back and enjoy. 🥂😷
 

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