QOTD: What Car Scared You?

Corvette ZR1
Photo: Chevrolet

Over the last several years, I’ve been lucky to be in a position where people hand me the keys to very fast cars. Usually, they’re modern cars with a lot of power, a lot of tire and a lot of careful traction control tuning. Usually, they aren’t inclined to get squirrely unless you’re trying to get squirrely.


But even in our modern age, not every car is going to take care of you if you hop in and start mashing on the pedals. Some of them even demand a little respect. The last Corvette ZR1 is one of those. GM let me borrow one a few years back so I could use it as a course car at the Empire Hill Climb. It’s wildly powerful and wildly grippy once the tires heat up. Before that, though, you have to be a little judicious with the throttle lest you find your rear tires headed toward the front. I was one of the first non-GM employees to drive a C7, I went on the launch for the Z06 and I felt pretty confident that the ZR1 wasn’t going to try to kill me. I remember hopping on the freeway, squeezing the throttle, feeling the rear tires get loose at around 70 or 80 and saying, “oh, ok” out loud.

When I saw this topic in our big bag of QOTD subjects, the ZR1 was the first car that came to mind. It’s docile and comfortable enough to toot around in, but it’s also one of a few cars that, even after a couple of days driving it, still had me actively thinking about what gear I was in, how warm the tires were and where I was pointed before I mashed the throttle. I still had a little voice in my head saying, “Hey buddy, be careful.”

What about you? What’s a car that’s given you that little twinge of fear? What’s a car that scared you?

Jalopnik EIC '48 Willys CJ-2A, '84 Porsche 911, '15 VW GTI, '07 Lexus GX 470.



The first gen Viper. I had a few opportunities to hammer on some Vipers over the years, but nothing prepared me for the sheer madness of the first one. No nannies, no airbags, no windows, no nothing to keep you from rolling it into a fiery ball.

The most recent scary drive was my first time driving a Hellcat (which happened to be a Charger version). I hadn’t driven anything that stupidly overpowered before although it was way more fun than scary.

Pro tip: Hitting the throttle even a little at freeway speeds with cold tires is not a good idea.