Off to Pebble Beach Driving a...

August 14, 2013—This year the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance is honoring the Porsche 911, just as the Amelia Island Concours did, for its 50th birthday. Which makes our 1977 Porsche 911S perfect for this drive. As has been now been pointed out countless times by countless Porsche enthusiasts in countless emails and Facebook posts, we “shortsightedly” sold the 911 two months ago. Mea culpa.

Covered 1996 Dodge Viper GTS

What is Wide Open to do? How will we write a road trip story without our trusty Porsche sidekick? Well, we’re not sure this will replace it, but we’re fairly certain that 450 horsepower and 490 pound-feet of torque will go a long way. Introducing the 766th Dodge Viper GTS ever built. This car was originally purchased by a gentleman in Nebraska, then sold to a Air Force firefighter in Pensacola, FL. I purchased the car (on Ebay, unseen with no reserve, thank you very much) before the firefighter shipped off to Afghanistan in 2008. I flew to Pensacola with a friend and drove it home to SoCal.

1996 Dodge Viper GTS

Snakes eat bugs. And try to kill you.


In spite of myself, I’ve managed to keep it out of the weeds, trees and Jersey barriers. I don’t think it hates me, but the Viper has tried to hurt, if not kill, me a few times. For instance, last time I drove it—I made the mistake of turning right while applying mild throttle through a puddle that contained less water than one square foot of the Atacama Desert. Sideways I went through the intersection of Lincoln Blvd. and Washington Blvd. in Marina del Rey. Weeeee!

The previous two times driving the trusty Dodge, the brakes failed completely at altitude on Angeles Crest resulting in the most prolonged butt-clenching drives of my life (and I used to drive miles through the 'hood in Baltimore on a regular basis). Judicious application of the throttle, ample downshifting and following distances you could safely land a 747 in got me home safely.

Anyhow, the brakes have been properly sorted, oil changed and an exciting event waits on the horizon. And for you Porsche-philes, fear not: contributor Ben Shahrabani will follow along in his 993 until it needs a new muffler bearing or turbo encabulator. This will probably happen within the first ten miles. [kiWO]

Porsche 911s

Ben's Porsche 993 on the right