At the risk of exposing a bit of my deviant behavior from my first day of junior high through my high-school graduation era, was it just me or did you scout out some of the parents dropping their kids off in a game of “Would You?” with your friends. Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about. Mom, 42, older Dodge Caravan without the wood siding or the sport package, little yip-yip dog cuddled up in non-driving arm, wearing insect-eye sunglasses meant no. Mom, close to 50 but wearing her age well, rolling up in an Impala SS, her daughter has had your eye since your first class together, yes. And it works both ways, I know. There was one distinguished gentleman who drove his skater punk brat to school in a RENNtech-modified Mercedes that sounded like German heavy metal but looked like a million bucks. I know that the girls had it out for him. The girl I was dating told me that I didn’t have a prayer if he was an option. Gee, thanks.
Judging the book by the cover is absolutely and utterly horrific advice when it comes to relationships, either the long game or the pay-by-the-hour variety. But with this stupid little game, my mix was car-slanted…the ride said quite a bit about personality and the mentality of the individual target. The Caravan driver was cheap, frugal, only interested in utility and would probably irritate me to death if the dog didn’t bite me first. Impala Mom was probably off of the menu, but twenty bucks said that she’d be more fun to hang out with than her daughter would be and that she probably had some badass stories in her “back in the day” catalog. Mr. Merc was obviously well-to-do, but he had that edge that he never shook off from his days as a hell-raiser. Sure, he wears suits now and has the salt-and-pepper look to a model’s perfection, but he can probably drink you under the table, would beat your ass in a fight, and would do it all with that proper gentleman elegance.
Now…meet the Saleen Explorer XP8. My high-school years were lousy with these things…though, they didn’t wear Steve Saleen’s name, but instead Eddie Bauer’s. Built between 1998 and 2001, and numbering somewhere in the 200s for production, the XP8 was based on a V8 Explorer, which meant that you got the 286 horsepower GT40P-headed 302, automatic, and either rear-drive or all-wheel-drive. You also get into a vehicle that has no support from Saleen since 2001, one that has no aftermarket support for any body panels, and one that you will pay out of the nose on if you break anything. A full Racecraft suspension, Borla exhaust, and a striking green color that doesn’t make one think of a woodsy hike gives this Explorer a new attitude.
Wonder what the person driving it is like…