A Skeptic's Story of the Adrenaline in Adrenaline Motorsport

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   Mike wrote a great review of probably the most expensive test drive in recent history. I can add a little from my nearly 45 years of driving experience in which - in a period of 36 years - I purchased 36 cars in a never-ending effort to seek the most fun from driving. I am what Neil Yates calls a petrosexual.

   When I decided to go to England with Mike I did not want the trip to be ruined by high expectations so I was ready to accept anything.  That way I could laugh if building Murtayas in a barn was a joke.

   After Neil took Mike out in the car he offered to take me for a ride.  Within a few hundred yards I was utterly convinced that this Murtaya was by far the most fun car I could imagine...and I was not even driving it.  I have never ever been so intoxicated with "adrenalin" in my life as I was on that drive with Neil Yates.

    If I was willing to pay $1,000 dollars to take a Ferrari on a test drive then I would eagerly pay $10,000 to be with Michael Schumacher as he pushes that Ferrari to its limits.  On this drive Neil Yates was Michael Schumacher for the Murtaya...and without coming close to the limits - that the car, Subaru-like, simply does not seem to have - he took me on the most impressive drive I could ever imagine.  I have not only never been that high on adrenalin but I would not have believed that a drive could ever give anyone such intoxicating doses of adrenalin.

    To put this phenomenal dose of adrenalin into some perspective I have to go back over my 45 years of driving experiences.  This adrenaline of Adrenaline Motorsport finally explained to me why a few cars in my life - of relatively little monetary worth - have given me a FUN to drive that no expensive cars could ...no matter how much exotic power they have.  So much so that it seems that the more power exotic cars have the more they drive like dogs compared to the few fun-cars I have driven.  And of all the fun cars I have driven by far the most fun car is the Murtaya.  And I did not even drive it.

Before the story of what makes the Murtaya the most fun-car imaginable, a few things about the drive.  I keep reading in car magazines about how a new model car has been redesigned to make it 30%+/-, or more, rigid.  After the ride in the Murtaya I can say that none of the writers for these magazines have any idea of "rigidity."  I say this because until the drive in the Murtaya the word "rigidity" for me was always an imaginary figure or number in a car magazine.  But in the Murtaya the word "rigidity" is a feeling that is so overwhelming that it leaves little for the imagination.

    When I stepped into the Murtaya it felt so secure...like a person would be in the center of a large suitcase surrounded by a very thick layer of Styrofoam...the case weighs next to nothing and with 4WD and independent suspension nothing on the road seems to get through to flex things.  Nothing seems to get through from the road, not even the noise...the feeling of security is so impressive that it is difficult to explain, it can only be experienced...and the car follows the road like it was on rails.  In corners you need a speedometer to tell you that any other car following would have left the road long ago.

    The temperature was around 5C between 40-50 F...without a top the heater kept us comfortable even at over 100mph.  Compared to the convertibles I have owned and driven there was relatively no turbulence in the Murtaya.  At over 100mph I easily carried on a conversation with Neil without having to shout...The room inside...I would have no problems going on long trips in the car, even if it had the same seats that had no padding.

    After this phenomenal drive I kept trying to figure out WHY...what was it about the Murtaya that made if far, far more enjoyable to drive than anything I had ever driven before.

Piecing the FUN together.  It all boils down to burden called weight...a burden that no amount of power can negate.  Add to that 4WD and independent suspension and a LIGHT super-rigid composite-fiberglass body and you have the most fun car imaginable.  A car that will never have any competition - at ANY price - as long as manufacturers keep increasing the weight of their cars with more and more power that needs more and more mass for safety and more and more mass to control and stop..., and even more mass to dull their cars with luxuries.

    When I was nineteen, 1966, my sister and I rented a Mini 850 (640kg/1400lb) to tour the South Island of New Zealand.  To this day it was the first and probably the most fun car I have ever driven. Compared to the original Mini the new nearly twice as heavy BMW mini is an obvious dog.  This is not my opinion**.  It was not until Neil Yates took me out in the Murtaya did I realize what made the fun cars of my life FUN.

    Since that Mini I have been seeking to find the magic and joy that came with that Mini 850. In this seeking I took a Porsche Carrera for a test drive around 1985.  And as impressed as I was with the Mini 850 that is how utterly disappointed I was with the Carrera.  TO ME IT WAS a Volkswagen Beetle, at best a Carmen Gia, on steroids.  Somehow what made my old VW beetle fun to drive (its light weight 1698lbs, 770kg/new Beetles: 2711lbs ) made the relatively heavy (2300 lb) Porsche feel like a dog, even though it had at least three times the power.

    Then in 1978 my wife and I visited Europe and I ended up renting a BMW.  It was a very basic middle-of-the-road stripped down four door...and even though it was very different from the Mini it was just as much fun to drive - especially on the Autobahn.  After I drove that BMW I knew what made the BMW so popular.  I would also learn that most people who own newer, bigger, more powerful and fancy BMWs have absolutely no idea of the fun that made those early BMWs popular.

    When I got back to the States I would keep going back to BMW dealers to find a car that was as much fun to drive.  Since then I have driven about 5-6 BMWs, M5's, M3's, and...And the only thing certain was that since that first BMW each BMW I drive seems to be a bigger dog than the last.  This dog-factor is not subtle.  And the more power they have the bigger the dog seems to be.  Again: not until Neil took me for a drive in the Murtaya did the fun-factor / dog-factor all fall into place.  What helped to make it fall into PLACE WAS a Car and Driver March 2007 magazine that test drove three high performance production cars -- Corvette Z06, 3180 lbs, 505 hp -- Lotus Exige S 2060 lbs, 220 hp -- Porsche 911 GT3, 3240 lbs, 415 hp and compared them to three "Track Cars": Noble M400, 2500 lbs, 425 hp -- Ariel Atom 2, 1431 lbs, 245 hp -- Superformance Brock Coupe 2940 lbs, 485 hp.

    On the track the Ariel Atom 2 at 1431 lbs with a very modest 245 hp left all the others - mostly with more than twice the power - in its dust.  It was not subtle.  The 1500 lb car made the 3180lb 500 hp Z06 Vette look like it was a SUV. The 2500lb Noble M400 had nearly twice the hp of the Atom 2...all that extra HP did not negate the extra 1000 lb burden of weight.  When weight gets up to 3000 lb or more, the extra weight turns the car into a bigger and bigger dog in which more power can only make an even bigger dog.

    Then in 1985 I had to buy the first production car with a multi-valve engine the MR2, 2380lb/1050kg.  It was a joy beyond words.  At the time I worked with a surgeon who drove a very exotic 928 V8 Porsche and I remember telling him that he has no idea of what fun is until he drives a MR2.  To him penis-size and Porsche-size meant so much that to this day I don't think he knows how much fun driving can be, but not when penis-size and Porsche-size determines the fun.

    On more than one occasion I left the MR2 with my father when I went traveling.  My father was never a "petrosexual," he was never much into cars.  For him they were transportation.  And yet when I told him that I was going to sell the MR2 to buy a 4Runner (that I needed for hauling) he looked at me as if I was crazy because for him it was obvious that the MR2 was by far the most fun car he had driven.  Again...not until Neil took me for a drive in the Murtaya would it all fall together.  Now I laugh at the joy of the MR2.  Today if money was no object I would eagerly pay $100,000 to get a Mini 850, an old 1978 middle-of-the-road BMW or a MR2 to get that fun...and then drive a Ferrari, Lamborghini or Porsche or Vette or Viper just to remind myself what a DOG is...because compared to these FUN cars any car that is much more than 2500 lbs has to be a dog, and giving the dog more power can only make it into a bigger dog.

    The way weight works in cars is the same as the weight/mass works with birds.  If a Formula one car is a humming bird then the Murtaya is a Swallow or Swift.  The heavier cars get the more they turn into pigeons, hawks, eagles....The size/mass/weight of these birds prevents them from flying around like a swift or swallow.  Size is an absolute obstacle; you can give an eagle all the steroids he can take...and no matter how much power it has it will never be able to fly around like a swift or swallow.  So too with cars.

    It is this absolute obstacle that makes the Murtaya by far the most fun car I have ever been in.

    It has four wheel drive...it has all the power four wheels need to move it around like a humming bird and yet it is light enough...

    Again, weight is an absolute handicap that no amount of power can overcome...extra power only increases the handicap.  That is the reason that all the BMWs I drove since 1978 always feel like bigger dogs...because their weight keeps going up with luxuries and accessories that no amount of increase in power can negate.

What makes the Murtaya even more phenomenal: with a Subaru engine-drive it can be driven around like an ordinary car with no more maintenance than any other reliable Subaru.   Exotic cars that cost 100,000++ that can never be as much fun to drive, nor as nimble or quick...and lose 30-50% of their value in the first year...and cost tens of thousands of dollars to maintain ...will never be competition for the Murtaya...and they will never be competition as long as luxuries and the need for more power, bigger tires, bigger brakes, keeps increasing their weight far beyond the 1000kg of the Murtaya.

    But most of all what the trip to Cornwall has done for me is... I now enjoy my 2002 280hp Subaru WRX far more than I can imagine because with over 100,000 miles it has cost next to nothing to be more tight and more solid...and far more fun to drive than it was when it was new.

    The extra 1000lbs might not allow my WRX to be as much fun as a Murtaya but it is the next best thing...(the same Subaru) that makes the Murtaya the best thing.


** New Mini: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MINI_(BMW): "Dr. Alex Moulton, designer of the suspension system for the original classic Mini, is reported to have said of the new MINI, in an interview with MiniWorld magazine, "It's enormous  -  the original Mini was the best packaged car of all time  -  this is an example of how not to do it...it's huge on the outside and weighs the same as an Austin Maxi.  The crash protection has been taken too far. I mean, what do you want, an armoured car?  It is an irrelevance in so far as it has no part in the Mini story."[11]

Many classic Mini enthusiasts are sharply critical of the new MINI, citing the fact that it is two feet longer, a foot wider and almost twice the weight of the classic car  -  yet it has less rear leg room and less luggage space."

A comment from Neil Yates, Managing Director of Adrenaline Motorsport and driver for Geza's ride in the Murtaya:

"Along with your Dad by the looks of his article, I am pleased that he was impressed as well.  Also if they were his impressions from a gentle drive I would love to show him the limits of the car!!"

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