When we last saw the little gray Chevy Cobalt that is occupying the shop that Cleetus performs his magic in, they had finished installing a device known as a Torqamp. Effectively, it’s an on-demand turbocharger that is electronically controlled, and on dyno testing, the Cobalt showed marked improvements over baseline testing every time they hit the switch. It’s not a 300 horsepower commuter car, don’t get it wrong, but the numbers showed a nice kick in the pants for what would otherwise be a rental car that would bore you to tears.
Strapping a hair dryer with an overachieving personality to a rolling penalty box is one thing on the dyno, but what about a practical test? Would the Cobalt actually turn an improvement in open air at Bradenton? And if it does improve, by how much? And could an improvement in power actually be a problem? How much power could you throw at some basic tires before you just turn them into greaseballs? Actually, that’s a real question: how many power runs can you make on a base Cobalt’s rolling stock before the tires just turn into a slimy mess?