A couple guys up ahead have already met The Man and proudly display no fewer than eight tickets between two of them. From what I've seen, they probably deserved 20. A few laps around the Pocono track lets the Brabus stretch its legs to 150 mph. It barely breaks a sweat.
By 1:30 we have our next location mapped: the Toronto Hilton. A 911 Turbo leads our four-car train, as it is equipped with a half-dozen radar detectors, police scanners and several radios. The road to Canada is curiously empty. I'm certain it's a trap. Every bush holds a cop, each panel van is a photo-radar station and every aircraft a police spotter plane.
"What the hell are you worried about?" asks Claus. "You're going 58 mph." If I'm going to get nabbed, I might as well make it worthwhile. Despite its size, the Brabus responds instantly. Acceleration is like entering a wormhole and in many ways just as unnerving. Nothing this quiet should be so fast. The scenery becomes a smeared mess of green and black, like the world is melting around the car. Within a few hours we reach the border; the mist from Niagara Falls makes the car look sweaty.
A Mosler sits conspicuously in front of Hotel Gansevoort.
Here's a safety tip: don't get out of your car at the border. Doing so will result in guns being drawn and much screaming.
Nighttime in the Toronto Hilton is a blur, probably because my glass is never empty of champagne. Again, Bullrun credentials open doors. The club is so packed it's impossible to move. I climb onto a partition and pretend to be a gargoyle. A few others follow suit until the entire wall collapses. I pick myself up and a drink magically appears in my hand. Good times.
Sunday, July 22
Toronto to Chicago, via West Windsor
The idea for the morning is a stealthy departure. We will leave from the basement and exit through the alley to avoid the Mounties milling around the hotel's entrance. Great idea, except for the dude in a Corvette who decides to perform smoking spinouts at the first intersection. We don't so much leave Toronto as escape it. A Ford GT blazes a trail to the nearest interstate. Next stop: the Windsor Casino in West Windsor.
Bullrunners plan an alternate route due to Heat-induced heat.
It must be a holiday for law enforcement types; we see little evidence of their presence. The road is wide open, so we take full advantage. This Mercedes is the most stable car I've ever driven, especially at high speed. It feels like the car is Velcroed to the road. There's also a pronounced weight and balance to the steering, so you never lack for feedback. And despite its 4500-pound curb weight, the K8 has all the supple grace of an Olympic gymnast. The Brabus treatment does great things to the suspension without degrading the ride quality, and after 1200 miles one becomes sensitive to a car's faults. I notice this as people get out of their cars at rest stops-the overtly sporty vehicles expel their occupants beat up and exhausted. We leave the Brabus feeling like those guys in soap commercials.
The Windsor Casino is host to the most incredible buffet in the world. Buffets typically conjure images of macaroni salad and green jello. This one is different. I gorge on tuna sashimi and wash it down with the best cioppino ever. I'd come back just for the food.
On to the House of Blues in Chicago, and drivers seem hell-bent on getting there in the least amount of time. Bad idea. The moment we leave Canada, word filters down of an APB for "racecars on public roads." We pass a half-dozen Bullrunners pinched by The Man. The K8 slips through as though it has a Klingon cloaking device. Later, the bulletin is modified to include "any car wearing Bullrun decals." We swap the main highway for back roads, like we're the Dukes of Hazzard.
The Spyker in its natural environment.
Our lucky Troy Lee painted VW FAST, who we dubbed 'Schnell.' Schnell told us high speed is good, and good for you.
Our lucky Troy Lee painted VW FAST, who we dubbed 'Schnell.' Schnell told us high speed is
Bullrunners partied in the shadow of the St. Louis Arch.