I know… it’s been a while since I’ve written, but I’ve got a good excuse. No, really… I do. See, I went on the Hot Rod Power Tour and before that, Bosch’s DCX Tech Fair. Vehicles, meetings, logistics, details and way too many “what ifs” make Johnny a dull boy. It’s as if I’ve been a cross between the proverbial one-legged man in a butt-kicking contest spliced with a chicken with its head cut off. Sort of a one-legged chicken-man with no head trying to kick some butt if you will. See the problem?
Anyway, after all the pre-event preparation, my first tour of duty was the tech fair that I mentioned earlier. The DCX in the title stands for Daimler-Chrysler (what’s the “X” for?) and it was held at the Pontiac Silverdome’s parking lot which is just around the corner from the Chrysler’s headquarters and support buildings in Michigan. Our partners and friends at Bosch put this little shindig together to showcase some of their technology that’s available to O.E. manufacturers for use in the build of their vehicles. A big part of it was Bosch’s diesel systems and a ride and drive in some of the most advanced diesel powered passenger vehicles available today (most of which aren’t sold here in the states). So, why show something that I can’t buy here? Simple, it’s one way to get the automakers thinking out of the box and forget the yucky memories of the bag of crud Olds engine that resonates in so many of their minds. These vehicles are quiet, get great mileage, have enough power to accelerate the vehicle so quick that you feel like you were punched in the kidneys… and make you smile like a little school girl about it. Slick and guiltless power that is on tap whenever you want it… from a diesel, and all with the creature comforts that one has come to expect from today’s modern automobiles. Vehicles as small as the .8 liter Smart (yes… that’s not a typo) to sexy sequentially-turbocharged BMW 5 Series were all on tap for a romp through the course in the parking lot.
Joining the troops on the field was our Sidewinder All-Terrain Dodge Ram, which was really just for display. Or was it? Seems that the folks who visited the Bosch event all wanted to do one thing first before they drove the cars… drive the big red truck. So, who am I to disappoint executives who we’re trying to impress? “Let’s go for a ride” I’d say, and indeed they did take it out for a drive… like it was stolen. I felt like I was in the movie Smokey and the Bandit riding along with power the mad fiends at the wheel. Tire smoke, squeals and the deep tone of the exhaust were what I experienced with every test drive along with the foreground sliding from left to right. One crazed individual even started to drift the truck! For a raised truck with off-road tires it took every bit of punishment, and triple dog-dared them to do something worse. At the end of each ride the driver spilled out of the truck with that kind of grin that tells you they got more than they bargained for, and loved it. Of course the other cars were next on the list of conquests.
Did we convince them? I hope so, because while our Ram is a kind of super truck, the other samples there were no slouches, all of which were stock production. We need vehicles like these, so the power hungry tenant in all our brains can get along with the conservative tree hugger who resides there. Who’d imagine that Felix and Oscar could ever get the chance to live in peace and harmony.
Oh yeah, I almost forgot to mention that the Sidewinder Dakota was there on display as well. “Did anyone get to drive it?” you ask. Ahhhhh, no… not so much.