I've always believed here's a certain quota of awesome that one person can have in their life. Filming a TV show? Awesome. Filming for Top Gear USA? Quota-filling awesome.
This Wednesday back in mid summer was just like any other, checking Facebook while at work, reading some car blogs, same old stuff. In my random refreshing of Facebook to see if there was anything new (every 5-8 seconds or so) I noticed that Mr. Tanner Foust had a status update stating something to the effect of, we need people to come out and test drive this Porsche 914 for a show, with the intention of possibly purchasing it. He couldn't say which show, but come on? A 914 on SuperCars? I doubt it.
The next day I take a half day off work and headed to "the dentist." While at the dentist I found the little used car dealer matching the address and wondered why it seemed to be empty. No matter, I said to myself as I parked. My brother and I walked up to the front door and saw a flurry of activity inside the building. We were a little confused as everyone was staring at us wondering why we were here. After a few minutes, Tanner walked up and I introduced myself. Tanner and I had raced karts against each other in the past, but he had no clue who I was until I reminded him.
A couple of other folks had showed up to test drive the car as well, and since one was in a hurry, I let him go first. He was completely unfamiliar with Tanner, with Top Gear, with TV in general it seemed. He walked around the car looking it over, pointing out some flaws while not taking a real hard look, all with cameras and microphones surrounding him. He eventually looked at the interior, looked around for a minute, and made an exit. This concerned me. What was so awful in there that he didn't want to drive it? I was up next, time to find out.
We did some schmaltzy TV stuff where Tanner introduced himself to me again on camera while doing his best used car salesman impression. I began to take a look at the car up close for the first time. Right off the bat I noticed that this car had brand new paint. Some people might think that is a good thing, not me. Knowing the Top Gear style, they had to be hiding something. I asked Tanner if there was any bondo, he said that he didn't think so and I moved on. Surprisingly the car had no visible rust and the typical rust spots of the 914 appeared to be pretty decent. Next step? Test drive.
I opened the door and it was only then that I remembered the previous fellow's expression when he looked inside. My heart stopped for a moment as I glanced down expecting the worst. There was nothing out of the ordinary. Perplexed, I began to search. After a few minutes I found what had undoubtedly scared this guy off. Not only was the seat not bolted down, the only thing keeping it off of the rear firewall of this mid-engined car was a 4x4 piece of wood. How interesting, I thought to myself. Oh well, let's drive it!
I jumped in and started it up, to my surprise it ran really well. I then grabbed for reverse, over and up in this car. I eventually found it, but as I let out the clutch nothing happened. I tried again, thinking I had somehow missed. Again, nothing. I looked over at Tanner and I could tell that he was trying to contain some laughter. Just then, he opened the door and yelled to someone to help push. I can only assume it was Adam Ferrara that helped push us out of the driveway, with the assistance of my brother, as it was definitely not Rutledge Wood. We eventually get onto the street and I reach down for first gear, nothing. At this point I start thinking that this is all just a ruse and they never planned to let me drive this thing. Tanner reaches over, puts it into 2nd and tells me to go. Right, let's go. Out goes the clutch and it just slips and slides like; well a slip and slide I suppose. We eventually get going and I drive it around the block a bit while the camera crew catches up.
I drove it around for about half an hour and had some unbelievably anxious moments that are really going to make good TV, however, even though I never signed anything saying I wouldn't spoil the episode and have nothing to gain by the show doing well, I don't want to say anything more. It really should be a funny few minutes when it is trimmed down.
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