One surprisingly warm April morning, Adam woke up as usual, got dressed and sat on the couch ready to start the day. Today was the day. Test driving time, baby. He was excited to try out some of the cars he and Leah picked out, and hopefully it would be pretty fun too, given the sporting nature of their selections - he pulled his converse out of the closet, and then went back to the bedroom and snuck into the night stand…
“Put those back,” a sleepy wife said. He’d been busted.
“They’re sports cars, why can’t I wear my driving gloves?”
“They look ridiculous,” she continued as she rubbed her eyes and yawned. “Let me get ready and we can go, when is our first test drive?”
“9:30, I think. Just get ready quick so we can go early!” They had called and scheduled ahead at each of the dealerships ahead of time, so they could knock it all out in one day. Ten cars, one day to do it, and no driving gloves, apparently.
After an excruciating hour of waiting to leave while Leah got ready, they slipped on their shoes and walked out the door. Adam opened the passenger door for Leah, and closed it for her - and then did a sick James Bond style slide across the hood to the driver’s side, slid into the plush leather seats, and hit the button on the dash marked “START,” and the engine roared to life. It slid into reverse, and they pulled away.
Test Drive 1 - The Veldora
They pulled into the Veldora dealership after a drive out of town a little ways, more towards Detroit. The building looked large, upscale and new, with flat sides and tall windows. A large V-shaped logo adorned the front. They parked close to the building, where a shining blue Doragon GT was waiting for them. An older gentleman walked out upon seeing the silver Talbot, and extended an arm with a friendly grin on his face.
“Good morning! Thanks for coming on out! I’m Rich,” he said, happily. He seemed excited to show the couple the new car. They shook hands. “What do you think?” He asked, turning and making eye contact with the two.
Leah spoke: “It’s pretty! The blue is nice, it looks really shiny. May I?” She walked over, and popped open the passenger door.
“By all means! You two check it out, I’ll grab the keys and we can go for a drive,” Rich said. Adam walked over and met her inside the car. They looked around and admired the interior. This is pretty top notch, Adam thought. Everything was rich, chocolate leather, and in the few spots there was plastic to be found, it was screwed in tightly. A decent sized screen sat in the middle, and a knob sat in the center console, presumably to operate said screen. Rich returned with the keys, and as he climbed into the back seat, Adam hit the button and fired the flat-six to life.
On the test drive, they were first impressed with the smoothness of the ride. This car was smaller and lighter than the Talbot, but had an excellent way of smoothing out the bumps. The infotainment was also very easy to use, if not a bit laggy in certain places. At a stoplight, Leah looked around, noticing that they were alone in their lane.
“How quick is it?” she asked. Adam waited for the light to turn green and answered her question with the thud of the gas pedal. The engine revved, the car lurched forward, and after about a half a second of gaining momentum, there was a squawk from the tires and they surged ahead. After a little under 6 seconds, they were at 60. Not bad. Shortly thereafter, Adam made a turn onto some B-roads, and tried out a bit of the cornering capabilities. He was let down a bit - the same suspension that gave them a composed ride and handling also allowed the car to roll a lot in the corners.
They returned to the dealer, thanked Rich for the lovely experience, and got in their car so they could make the next appointment.
Test Drive 2 - The Kinusoka
They drove back into Ann Arbor and found the Kinusoka dealership on the main stretch of road with the most car dealerships. They pulled in and parked up, got out, and walked inside.
“Good morning! I’m Jan,” a young lady in a suit walked up and introduced herself. “How can we help you?”
“We had an appointment to test drive an Osprey?” Adam asked.
“Ah yes! Adam and Leah, then?” she shook their hands with a smile. “We have the car out back, how about I meet you in front with it?”
The two obliged, and walked back out front. Within a minute, a Cherry red sports sedan pulled around. It was even sharper in person - clean lines, a flattering color, a refined edge. Jan climbed out and handed over the keys, so they all climbed in and checked out the car. The interior wasn’t on the same level as the Veldora by any means, but it was still very nice. Quality felt more consistent in this one, and everything fit together perfectly. The infotainment in this one was just as nice looking as the previous car, and was also a bit smoother and easier to use. After being satisfied with the interior space, they set off, with a squeal from the tires and a tiny bit of sideways action pulling out onto Jackson road, the ESC kicking in and keeping things in order.
“Woah, sorry!” Adam said. They didn’t expect the 3.6L to be as lively as it was - not as smooth as a flat-six, but definitely more responsive to the foot. Everyone laughed it off, and Adam was impressed so far. They took it down the road and through some Michigan potholes, and noticed that it handled them well. You could feel every one of them, but the car always felt stable and controllable. The rough ride paid off in other places though - moving onto some curves, the Osprey felt like it was on rails, and slowed down with confidence. It really did feel nice to drive.
They took the car back to the dealer after a fun experience with the Osprey, and headed off to the next one.
Test Drive 3 - The Olsson-Vector
They drove across the road and pulled into a complex of a few different dealers that they would be visiting: first up was the FUCKING TANK.
A young man walked out of the modern-layered looking building and greeted them. His name was John, and he was one of Adam’s good friends from high school.
“What’s up man?” Adam dapped him up, and Leah shook his hand.
“Not much! Been waiting for you guys to show up, let’s go check this thing out!” He handed them a set of silvery keys and motioned for them to come inside. They saw a silver 6300 sitting in the lobby, looking pretty. “What do you think of that?” Adam asked Leah. She walked around it, admiring the car. At the back, she paused, and said, “This is definitely the coolest angle of the car. It looks like some spaceship.” She wasn’t letting onto it, but she was really into the way the Olsson-Vector looked. Gotta play it safe with dealers, ya know?
They climbed in, and John opened up the pair of huge glass doors. He motioned for Adam to fire it up, and he did - the car crackled to life. It sounded sweet, those fancy exhausts at the back must be real. He pulled out onto the pavement, let John in, and they talked through the interior. It really was a tank - everything felt solid and weighty, very nice indeed, if not a bit cramped. 4 seats was a little strange, and the oddly shaped D-pillar made rear visibility tough. Luckily, the infotainment screen was large and very nice to use, and had a stellar backup camera. They took off on a drive.
Under way, the Olsson-Vector felt hefty - it had a very solid ride, but it did make for something a bit floaty. It turned in pretty well though, and held its own for 4400 lbs. They noticed that the DCT was a little odd to get used to, and Leah wasn’t really into that part as much as she was the looks, unfortunately. It felt strange to her on takeoff. Another thing, unfortunately, was that the AWD system wasn’t the greatest ever - Adam stood on the gas at a stop light, and the tires spun while TCS fought to keep the power in check - but good god did this car haul ass.
They returned to the dealership, overall impressed with the Olsson, if not for a couple setbacks. They thanked John and went on their way.
Test Drive 4 - The Evgenis
Next up, they drove down the road to the classically-styled Evgenis dealership. Outside were an array of sedans and crossovers, in various shades of blue, black, white and silver. Another kind, older gentleman walked out upon seeing the large Farox park up.
“Good morning sir, ma’am!” he said. “Are you two here for the test drive?”
“Yes!” Leah said. “Martin, right?”
“Indeed, madam. Adam and Leah, good to meet you guys. I’ve got a lovely car in store for you today.” They followed him inside, filed some paperwork, and they came back outside and walked over to the small pedestal that had a Basilisk 5.0 V8 Executive parked up on it, in a shimmering Evgenis Sky Blue. As Martin backed the beautiful blue sedan off the ramp, the two admired its details. It looked essentially British, very luxurious. They climbed inside and discovered the same details on the outside, carried over into the interior. This one felt just as luxurious as the Veldora.
On the road, the Evgenis continued to be a posh luxury car. It wafted over bumps, and a smooth and torquey V8 engine felt solid when paired to the silky smooth 6-speed automatic. It was confidence inspiring - but when pushed a bit too hard, it did have a tendency to understeer a tad, and when coming out of the corners, the ESC did have to prevent one of the rear tires from spinning, thanks to an open diff. The car was as expected - a very luxurious, comfortable sedan that handled well enough to inspire a large amount of confidence, but let down when it was pushed past its comfort zone.
They parked the car back at its dealer, thanked Martin for the opportunity, and set off to number 5.
Test Drive 5 - The Mont Royal
They headed to another dealer in the area, this time the Cascadia/Mont Royal dealership. Upon parking, the salesman, Ron, they spoke with on the phone came out and greeted them.
“How are you guys today?” he asked, smiling. “Adam and Leah, right?” He brought them inside and filed the paperwork. He grabbed a set of keys and handed it to them, and the three went outside. Parked a couple spaces away was an MV Sport in Ink Black. It looked sinister. Adam was intrigued.
Inside the MV Sport was a very nice interior, on par with other premium brands, right up there with the Farox. No squeaks or rattles, and every button and the screen in the middle felt solid. They fired up the 5.0L V8 with a roar, and set off.
The first thing they noticed was how seamless this 8-speed was. One of the first of its kind, apparently, and very well done. It was very smooth, even just pulling out of the parking lot. Additionally, the MV was large, allowing for plenty of interior and cargo space, which was nice. It was closer to the Farox than the others they had driven prior. Once they got moving, they quickly discovered that the V8 had a lot to give. 0-60 in under 5.7 seconds on paper, and it felt quicker. The 8-speed was smooth and crisp. Over bumps, however, the car had a tendency to become unsettled, and it showed its weight in the corners.
Upon returning to the dealer, they were impressed with the MV Sport for the most part, and thanked Ron for the drive.
After 5 cars, it was now 2 in the afternoon, and nothing had been eaten since breakfast that morning at about 7. So, after a quick bit of lunch, Adam and Leah pulled into the Seikatsu dealership.
Test Drive 6 - The Seikatsu
“Man, all these Seikatsu’s have grilles on them, don’t they?” Leah said. They did indeed, to varying extents, have a certain design to them which some might get into, and some not. Leah maybe not, but it was working well enough on Adam.
“Kinda like a Japanese Audi maybe,” he said. The salesman came out to greet them.
“Kent, nice to meet you two!” he said. The three did the paperwork, keys, you get the idea. They climbed into the Prince, and admired the quality. It had nice details and elements that took it up another point from the prior vehicles. It was pleasant. The turbocharged 3.2L inline-six fired up immediately and silently.
On the road, the Prince continued to impress. It was well controlled over bumps, and smoothed them out pretty good. It took corners pretty well too, as the compliant suspension was also set up well. Wide tires meant it had plenty of grip off the line and once you got through a corner, and despite a heavy rear bias in the AWD system, it did have a tendency to understeer on turn in. Additionally, the 7-speed automatic took some getting used to. 1st gear was short, the turbo hardly had time to spool, leading to second gear wheelspin. But, because of that, it was quick in a straight line, shoving to 60 in just a hair over 5 seconds.
They took the Prince back, thanked Kent for the ride, and headed to the next location.
Test Drive 7 - The Tevian
The Tevian dealership gleamed in the sunlight. It was bright and white, and looked pretty upscale. It wasn’t a large dealer, on the smaller side of things. It gave the lot a more niche feel, more personable. A younger woman greeted them as they stepped through the door.
“Afternoon! I’m Stacy, what brings you guys down?” she asked, with a gleam in her eye.
“Well, we’re here to check out the Elambra, we scheduled a test drive.”
“Ah yes! Right this way,” she said. They walked to her office space, filled out the papers, and headed back out front. A Segulata Blue Elambra GT rolled into view, and as the driver put it into park and got out, he handed them the keys.
“Enjoy!” he said, with a smile.
They climbed into the fastback-style sedan and looked around. Inside was just as bold and pretty as on the outside. It reminded them of the Olsson-Vector, had they spent more money on luxury rather than quality. It even had a 4 seat config as well. This was a very nice interior, and it felt like it already had character in it, fitting the personable charm of the dealership it came from.
As Adam rolled out of the lot and onto the throttle, he looked over at his copilot.
“Man this thing moves too, just about as quick as that Olsson!” he said, giving it more gas. It sounded a bit better, too. “This also has the DCT, right?” Stacy smiled and nodded.
“One of the most seamless in the business!” She was right - this one had one more gear, and somehow it made a world of a difference. It traded a good transmission for a bit of ride quality, however. It was a little overdamped on Michigan potholes. However, going through some bends, the Tevian cornered beautifully. Like most of the cars they drove earlier, this one still couldn’t hide the weight, but it wasn’t as rolly-polly as the others either.
They went back to the dealership, parked the car, and thanked Stacy for the test drive. They left, satisfied, and went to check out the next car.
Test Drive 8 - The Edelgard
The Edelgard dealer came into view, as did a lot full of very muscley looking vehicles. Yep, it was time for the most American car they had chosen to come look at - and also the most powerful by far.
They got out and checked out the Brilliant Silver Empress GTX that was parked, waiting for them. If the Mont Royal wasn’t a sporty looking thing, then this definitely was. Walking around the car, they admired the details, and how much care was put into the design. It worked well. Adam started telling his wife about some of the specifics.
“So… 480 horsepower? How much does our car have?” Leah asked nervously.
“About 370, so this will be very fast. But, at the same time, it’s one of the easiest to drive, and also insanely reliable. These last a long time.” Adam did his best to reassure her. “It does look really cool, like an old muscle car.” She eased up a bit and decided to trust him. Then, the salesman came out of the building, extended his hand, and introduced himself as Samuel.
“Thanks for coming out! You’re gonna love the Empress, I knew it ever since you called me on the phone. It’s perfect!” he said. They got the keys, and sat inside the car. It was really well done inside, a premium space that felt great to the touch, and like the reliability claims, felt like it would last a long time. The infotainment was excellent as well, housing lots of various functions from the heated seats, to SiriusXM radio, you name it. The turbocharged OHC V8 fired up with a super quiet rumble from the exhaust - a huge engine making more power than everything else, and the most silent yet. Leah relaxed in the plush seats.
They maneuvered out of the parking lot and accelerated down the road - the engine building up through the revs in a quiet and calm manner, with a subdued, throaty sound. It was super quick, the fastest on the highway and from a roll yet, but incredibly, pretty easy to drive. It handled the road as well as it handled wheelspin from a stop, turning in and holding a corner very well. The ride was very stiff, however, and a bit springy. As much as Adam loved the Empress so far, Leah didn’t seem to be the biggest fan of the driving dynamics, regardless of how much she liked the design or the interior.
They made their way back, and parked the car out front. Adam, Leah, and Samuel all got out of the car.
“Pretty nice, isn’t it?” he asked with enthusiasm. “Very solid cars, easy to drive, right?” He smiled. “I know I appreciate how comfortable they are, too.”
“We’ll do some thinking and get back to you. Thanks again!” Adam said. They got back into the Talbot and left. Onto the next.
Test Drive 9 - The Jinhe
They arrived at the large, recently built Huangdou-Jinhe dealership. It was the only one in the area, but it was massive. They had a few ramps up at one end of the parking lot, and a few small podiums up by the main entrance. Upon one sat a brand new Jinhe Qingxiu, in a glorious shade of Executive Red. As they walked up to it and began to check it out, they heard a door open and close.
“Hi! I’m Jim,” the representative said. “Are you two Adam and Leah?”
“That’d be us! We’re here for the Qingxiu,” Adam said.
“This one, right?” Leah asked.
“Absolutely! Follow me, I’ll have someone prep this one for you, and we can go get some paperwork done real quick.”
Another sales rep came and carefully maneuvered the Qingxiu down the ramp. The three of them climbed inside after one more walkaround, and admired the style of the interior. Elegant matte wood trim flowed across the dashboard, and supple leather greeted them. In the middle was an infotainment screen (what a surprise) that worked surprisingly well. First impressions were good.
“And the sticker price on this is how much?” Leah asked, turning to Jim.
“This one as we have it here, the S 346T, is a tiny bit over 47 grand,” he said with confidence. He was right to; this was the cheapest car they looked at all day, and so far, it felt like one of the nicest.
They set off on a test drive. All the same praise they read online held true once the car was moving. The 6-speed felt crisp and confident, and the AWD system prevented any sort of wheelspin after a quick chirp from the tires on launch. The engine provided a good amount of thrust, managing the speed limit in about 5 ½ seconds, and it did even better on the highway - a flat and plentiful torque curve helped with that. On the way back, the car handled very well, and had a very nice balance to it. The weight was hidden, but only just. It was a composed and refined drive, and great for a luxury car - not quite a sports car, but that was alright.
Adam and Leah were very impressed with the Qingxiu. A great handler, performer, and luxury car - but there was still one more to try out. They shook hands with Jim, pleased with the Jinhe experience, and set off for the final test drive.
Test Drive 10 - The LMC
They arrived at the LMC dealership - another modern building, this one with a more avant-garde edge to it, finished in a bright silver. It looked nice.
Up front was a Sky Blue Scylla GT, looking very pretty indeed. Leah and Adam both walked over to it and checked it out. There were impressive details on the badging, head and tail lights, and chrome accents here and there. It looked as good in person as it did at home on the computer. A sales rep came out to meet them.
“Good afternoon! How are you two doing today?” she asked. “My name is Allison.” She shook hands.
“We’re here for the test drive! Sorry if we’re a bit late,” Leah said.
“No worries! Follow me, we can go get started inside.” She took them into the building and they did the paperwork, got the keys, and headed back out.
Upon climbing into the Scylla, the couple found the nicest interior space of the day. This one was genuinely a top spec interior, and it felt very solid indeed. Leather everything, a high-resolution screen that was responsive to the touch, and classy real aluminum and real wood accents to be found throughout.
“This is, wow…” Leah said. “Nicer than our car!” Adam agreed. He was wowed too, but he was more interested in driving it and finding out what this “LMC magic” stuff he read up on was all about. He started the engine - a turbocharged, 3.1L V6. They barely heard anything, and it was pretty smooth, but you could definitely feel it a little more than they were used to - especially after the numerous straight-sixes they had tried out earlier. They didn’t mind it too much, the rest of the interior made up for it.
They turned out of the lot, onto the main road, and punched it. The back end squirmed a little, but the traction systems guided the car back into place with ease. They hardly felt any hesitations. The V6 got them up to speed in a respectable amount of time, on par with other cars, if not only a hair slower. It didn’t feel slow on the highway though - the surprisingly light weight of the car, along with a crisp 6-speed automatic, allowed for immediate downshifts and a good surge of passing power. All the while, the car was completely silent, from the engine to the insulation. Good premium sound system, too. Leah turned on her cooled massaging seat.
On the way back to the dealer, Adam turned onto a certain twisty road that ran alongside one of the lakes. The car shrunk around them, and the Scylla turned in immediately, and used its trick high-tech traction system to pull the car through the corner.
“Wow, that’s definitely the easiest to corner,” he said, coming off the throttle and onto a quick straight.
“Yes, LMC devotes extra R&D into the technology of their cars,” Allison explained. “Active suspension works with clever on board computers to deliver a really sporty drive when you need it, and then the rest of the car works its magic when you’re cruising.”
They turned back towards the dealership and pulled into the lot. They were very impressed with the Scylla. They were faced with a seriously tough choice, as this was the top of their budget… They thanked Alison for her help, and parted. They climbed back into the Talbot.
“Well what are you thinking?” Adam asked Leah.
“I really like that one… it’s pretty and now my butt has been massaged.”
“You have me for that, though!”
“But the car can do it too 🥺 And it was easily the most comfortable we’ve been in today.”
“Also the sportiest to drive…” Adam thought. That was, in fact, the reason they were getting a new car. If they could find one that cost them no more to own, was sportier than, and just as comfortable as the Talbot, then that would be perfect. They were really playing Goldilocks here… was the Scylla worth the extra price? That Jinhe was pretty comfy inside and was just as smooth to drive, but the way it handled wasn’t quite there… The Edelgard? The security of reliability, and a sweet engine. What about the Tevian…? So many choices.
But, after a bit more conversation, they had decided.
They got back out of the car, and went to find Allison again.
8th: @MasterDoggo and @GetWrekt01
Adam and Leah couldn’t resist it. It was such a tough choice, it really was - so many cars were not only similar in stats, but also engine choice and tuning. It genuinely was a lot of thinking, but in the end, the LMC won their hearts.
They still have it to this day! It’s only given them a tiny bit of trouble, as it wasn’t said to be as reliable as the Edelgard or even the trusty Jinhe’s, but Allison was there to help them with the warranty. Silly active sway bars, keeping the roll under control and then throwing a fault code. Other than that, the lovable LMC has been an excellent car that the both of them could enjoy to the fullest.
Author’s note: This was a lot of fun! And it really was tough for me to decide. So much was similar but I sat down and thought through it the second I was done recovering from entering 60 entries into my hack-job spreadsheet. Holy cow I have the record now, not sure if it was worth it LOL
But in all seriousness, thank you all so much. It was an excellent labor of love hosting this challenge, and it was awesome to see that through two f*cking months and a “game update,” I got so many awesome entries from you people. This was pretty sweet. Some of my favorite kind of cars from one of my favorite eras, these are the ultimate Adam cars, and that’s pretty cool to see. So thank you!! Good luck to the next host!!