8,250 RPM

Poetry In Motion

I wonder what 8,250 RPM looks like in the hand-built 5.2L V8 — nicknamed Voodoo for its dark magic, menacing and intoxicating allure.

I know what it feels like, sounds like. The heart-pounding, adrenaline-rush of a roaring beast unleashed.

Wicked as a banshee in heat.

That quivering, giddy feeling rushes through your veins as she hustles you into the forbidden, uninhabited regions of triple-digit MPH.

But if we could see inside, at the vitals of this ferocious, naturally aspirated, savage hoodoo heathen, what would her 8,250 RPM look like?

Injectors spitting volcanic toxin, like the angry lashing tongue of a venomous serpent.

The explosive energy and hellish brilliance of internal combustion up close and demonically frightful.

Its crazy flat-plane crankshaft revving at bedazzling revolutions, its pistons pounding with punishing force, its dual cams rocking their resiling valves.

Is there a sharp definition to this dinosaur feasting mechanical monster churning eighty-two-fifty to the naked eye? Or would it appear as a spellbinding blur on the precipitous verge of disintegration, bracing to fly apart?

How these mechanical marvels hold together is an engineered feat.

Feature image from Ford Authority

Where It All Started

It’s 1970.

I’m 16.

And an addict.

Like dragons, I’m psychologically dependent on shiny things. Things like sparkling fast cars, and the shinier and quicker they are, the more my need, not to mention expense.

It began with this ’69 Mustang Mach 1, 428 CU IN, 330 HP, Cobra Jet.

That’s my mother (RIP) and me in my Levi high-water jeans and Bass wingtips. Not exactly a teenage sex symbol, but the chicks dug the car. I don’t think they noticed the groovy shoes. Or me, for that matter.

A friend of a friend painted the Cobra Jet on the rear fenders. I thought it looked hip at the time; not so much today.

Well, all things come and go.

The year was sliding away, and my addiction to shiny fast things became somewhat sedated. A flame diminished but never extinguished, which I attribute to the beginnings of a family that grew into three kids, 7 grandkids, and soon-to-be 7th great-grandchild. See, there was a gal whose fancy I caught after all. She said it was my long legs that attracted her. But don’t let her fool you; it’s not my legs she’s referring to.

Enter 2017…

I’ve been lusting over the new 6th generation Mustangs for a time when suddenly, one day I snapped, a relapse, and I found myself inexplicably at a local Ford dealer. How I got there, I haven’t a clue. But there I was, dazed and spun-eyed, chuckling and salivating over an orange Mustang like a drooling inbred.

Here’s me and the same chick from fifty years ago, posing by our 2016 Pony Car. It’s not a GT 5.0 Mustang, like the salesman tried to sell me, but then who needs 435 HP anyway?

Secretly I yearned.

There was a smile on my face, but inside, I burned with desire: I needed more; more horsepower, more torque, more handling, more RPM, more top-end.

I needed racing strips.

And a shiny black spoiler.

Tinted windows.

Salvation came on a Sabbatical Saturday, January 2, 2021, as I heard angels sing hallelujah from the heavens.

And here she is, the last of the breed, a 2020 GT350 Shelby Mustang. I call her GT VUDO after the engine’s Ford given nickname, Voodoo. She’s a naturally aspirated beast possessed with 526 HP, 429 LB-FT, spinning a flat-plane crankshaft that redlines at 8,250 RPM. (That’s no typo.) Cut loose the rein, and she’ll scream like a banshee and dart like a jackrabbit chased by a Coyote while she cradles you snugly in her grasp.

Orange too.

Whatever happens here on, I’ll die happy: the right woman, the right car, an extended family, and a good home. A man would be a fool to ask for more.

But then, there is the new GT500…



Remember when you got your driver’s license? The excitement. I live that. I’m an automotive enthusiast, love to drive, love to tinker, and polish. I’m one with the vehicle, a cyborg.

Driving is recreational, if not medicinal, a chance to get out and see the countryside or cityscape. Whether it’s a quiet morning commute or rocking out to the Rolling Stones on the way to grab some vegan fare. Or perhaps a little Esteban on a slow Sunday cruise with the wife in her Beetle—top down, sun shining. The Beetle’s top-down, dude, not the wife. Get your mind out of the gutter. Although we do occasionally… well, here ain’t the place.

I enjoy the hours driving cross-country, seeing new places, RV in tow, which can sometimes prove challenging on back roads and crowded gas stations designed for little more than a Fiat 500 (cool little car, BTW). It all made for some entertaining tales, those experiences. But as the old saying goes, smooth seas don’t make skilled sailors. Ditto for drivers on the open road.

What I like best—on a summer-like day when the heat of the blacktop gets blistering hot and the Michelin Pilot Sport Cup 2 tires get gummy like glue and adhere to the road like proverbial stink on shit—is a spirited sprint in the GT350. I call her GT Vudo (as in Voodoo, Mustang owners get the allusion)—the ripping, roaring thunder of 526 naturally aspirated horses unleashed. The exhilaration of acceleration. It’s damn near orgasmic. No forced induction required. Although I consider the mod. Shh, mum’s the word.

No matter what or where or how I drive, courtesy and safety are important. I might punch the gas and burn a little rubber now and then, but I’m rarely over the speed limit. Unless there’s a begging stretch of lonesome interstate. Then all bets are off.

Most drivers, at least a significant number, are cautious and courteous. Others are rude if not downright dangerous or dangerously distracted. It seems most everyone’s in a damn hurry. A hurry to go where? To do what? Get to a job they don’t like. A hot-foot home to watch boob-tube propaganda, YouTube maybe.

Slow down, be in the moment.

I’ve seen people get all giddy shopping for a car, buying new air-conditioned, comfortable, sleek-looking mechanical marvels that set their hearts on fire, then when at last they’re behind the wheel, seems they can’t wait to get out.

We’ve all seen the impatient driver while we idle away in a traffic jam. They’re going nowhere fast, but still, they try, riding your bumper, swapping lanes, cutting you off, and all-out general rudeness. Relax, spin the tunes, count your blessings. Better stuck in a traffic jam, than the one caused a traffic jam. Stay calm and you’ll reach your destination. That person up ahead might not be so lucky.

Drive safe. Be courteous.