When Polaris asked me if I wanted to drive a Polaris Slingshot for a week, I knew the answer was yes - I just didn’t know why.
No one, including Johnny Law, seems to know what the Slingshot is, why it exists, or what you should do with it. But because I love you guys — and because how in Earth do you say no to a Slingshot? — I was damned if I wasn’t going to try and find out. Here’s what happens when you say yes to everything your friends suggest for a week.
(Full Disclosure: Polaris wanted me to drive a Polaris Slingshot so badly they let me Uber to their press fleet and borrow one for a week. I returned it a day late and covered in river water. They didn’t yell at me.)
Before we dive into this thing, let me tell you briefly what it is: a three-wheel, open-air fun machine powered by a 173 horsepower 2.4-liter GM Ecotec four mated to a manual gearbox. It’s insane to drive, but I’ll tell you more about that later — what I need to tell you first is what I did with it.
My first order of business upon picking up the Slingshot, after doing a donut, was to ask you all what the hell I should do with it. Here were some of my favorite responses:
- Get it up on two wheels - Joe_Mama
- Go to a children’s hospital and offer kids rides in a three-wheeled-AutoBot/Batmobile - bpromersberger
- Rent a costume and see if you make the news - Potbelly Joe
- Put it in a slingshot and see if you can slingshot the Slingshot - interrogator-chaplain
- Slingshot around people on the highway while yelling Slingshot engaged! - something-clever-here
Now, going to a children’s hospital was a great idea and all, but it was also going to require for more groundwork to get through insurance and liability concerns, so that was out. Finding a slingshot big enough to slingshot the Slingshot was going to require my sitting at a computer or behind a phone instead of driving, so that was out as well.
Within minutes of posting a picture of the Slingshot in my grubby little hands, my phone was littered with texts/Instagram comments/tweets from friends and readers telling me to either drive the thing off a cliff or come pick them up.
One of the texts was from my friend and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim pitcher CJ Wilson and his wife Lisalla. They’re a couple who loves motorsports and knows a good time when they see it. CJ has been covered on Jalopnik a bunch and Lis has done numerous race schools; she also just got a McLaren 675LT which looks lovely next to CJ’s P1, and Carrera GTs, and his new RHD Skyline.
I know, I hate him too sometimes.
My favorite thing about CJ is that, even though he can afford stuff I’m too poor to even look at, he recognizes the value that can come from things that aren’t technically the best at anything.
I mean, the guy owns a Miata race team. As expected, both he and Lis loved the slingshot and equated it to driving a street legal go cart. Lis immediately began to drift the Slingshot and I’m pretty sure is now set on convincing CJ that he needs to buy one for the three of us.
After I finished with CJ and Lis, I did what every man would do next: drive to his best friend’s house to show off the new toy.
My buddy Josh agreed with the guy who said we should rent costumes and, before even saying a word, dug through his garage and found me a Batman mask to wear. I wore that mask for the bulk of the week and searched Instragram several times, but never did find a picture of myself on social media or in the news.
That’s fine. Batman prefers to stay in the shadows.
The next text came from my friend Jonpaul Douglass, who just happens to be the best photographer in the whole world (I might be biased). He’d just gotten a new drone he was learning to fly and asked if I wanted to meet him to try and shoot a bit.
I had no idea what he had in mind, but I knew his brain would come up with something weird and awesome, and I told him to tell me when and where he wanted me to meet him.
Several hours, 20 kick flips, 7 donuts, and one Red Bull fueled night of editing later, this video was born and all of your questions about whether Batman was into skateboarding were answered. Because Slingshot.
The next text request came from a friend who said her two sons were huge Batman fans and that it would make their day if I would stop by to let them see it. We all know Batman wouldn’t just let them look at it, especially once I heard the boys had come home early from a birthday party so they could see it, and so rides were in order.
The guys were in no way bashful about their excitement for the ride or to ask me to snap selfies to show their friends for the first week of school.
Luckily, the open air cockpit of the Slingshot makes even moderate speeds feel dang fast and both boys told me they wanted to go “medium speed,” which I was more than happy to stick to. Those children’s hospitals have all that red tape for good reason.
The final request came from my girlfriend two weeks before either of us knew I’d be getting the Slingshot: “I want to learn to drive a stick.”
She’d wanted to rent a car to learn in because she said the pressure of possibly hurting my car stressed her out too much, but I assured her press vehicles were completely disposable and it was fine even if she lit it on fire.
All knowing and never-wrong boyfriend that I am, she did great and now wants and is able to drive my Mazda hatch all the time. She also made me promise to let you know that she didn’t even stall once and to not make fun of how hard she’s concentrating in that first picture of her.
In addition to the above, I:
- Answered the question “is that a car or a motorcycle” with “I dunno” no less than 37 times
- Answered the questions “do you have to wear a helmet” with “I dunno” no less than 18 times
- Had my picture taken (by someone I don’t know) no less than 72 times
- Was given a thumbs up or had “cool car” yelled at me no less than 121 times
- Did no less than 44 donuts
- Drifted no less than 101 corners
Sadly, the Slingshot is gone now and all I have to show for it are these crappy pictures and a new love for open wheeled kart things. The good news is I think I can convince CJ to get one and let me put a supercharger on it.
More thoughts on the Slingshot coming soon, but leave any questions you have on is performance or ride quality/characteristics in the comments below.
Sean MacDonald is the brand spanking new Editor of Lanesplitter. He likes long walks on the beach, searching for the best new burger spots to ride to, and his girlfriend says his snoring sounds like “braaaaap.” Follow him and his adventures on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.