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[LSNN] City Driver Magazine - Test Driving the Bravado Banshee


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By: Berta K. Torres


When the American power meets Japanese precision: who said that American cars cannot be good at cornering and straight lines at the same time?


As any motorsport amateurs might now, the eternal dilemma with cars is one: power or grip? Straight line speed or cornering speed? Huge acceleration or huge braking power? And a large etcétera. And some maybe will ask: and why can’t both coexist? Good question. Usually happens that the fact of having a more powerful engine brings with an easiest chance of having wheelspin on the driven wheels; or a higher weight usually onto the front wheels, which can cause oversteering and an uneven weight distribution. And happens something similar when trying to improve the grip of your car: the use of spoilers will add drag, which will make your car be slower. Better aerodynamics may require smaller shapes, which will reduce space for a big huge engine… And we could be like this the whole day. So, given the circumstances, the car manufacturers use to choose one between two options: having a extremely fast car on straight lines and being weaker on the cornering, or be great on accelerating and cornering, but not being able to achieve that high top speeds. The market is full of that kind of examples: A Schafter V12, for instance, a four-door sedan capable of achieving surprisingly high speeds thanks to the huge V12 engine that mounts, but not able to have a single corner without suffering a huge understeering. And then we have the other edge: the Sutan RS, great at cornering, really precise and great acceleration optimization thanks to its perfectly-tuned chassis, great for a quick tour around a curvy road but… honestly a Schafter V12 will kick him hard in a drag-race.

Let’s accept it: unless you’re talking about super-sports cars, is impossible to build a powerful but grippy car.

Really is it?






I was having a walk around Murrieta Heights when I discovered a new second-hand dealer in the corner between Supply Street and Vespucci Boulevard. I decided to approach and have a look at what were they having in stock. They are still growing, so not a lot to choose from. But even though, there were some interesting pieces: some huge off-road cars, for example; a classic Coquette, or the main character of this test drive: a Bravado Banshee. I was very well attended by the owner: George.

He was more than happy to cooperate with us for this article. Thank you for it!






Yes, I have to say it: personally, I always loved this car’s aesthetics: the long nose to fit a monster V10 engine, the two-seat cockpit and the short rear-end. Low vehicle, as it’s expected on a sports car, wide wheels. And you can easily detach the hard-top, to have a funny roadster to enjoy the summer in Blaine country. And with an engine more than capable to crush yourself against the seat when going at full throttle. But also and honestly speaking, and considering that this is an American creation, I never thought this would be my choice to spend a day on a race track: too much weight in front thanks to that American V10 masterpiece, perfect for understeering… And oversteering at the exit of a corner, due to all that power provided suddenly to the rear shaft. That was the theory. Would it match with the reality?

We start the engine and we start our mission to find some curvy roads through which test the beast. I have to recognize that the city driving is more than satisfactory for a car like that: the fuel consumption is not a big issue; despite being high. Nothing out of the normal considering we are speaking about an Atmospheric V10. Also, the long gearbox relation avoids you to having to shift many often and the suspension doesn’t feels really hard, so it results comfortable. It has an acceptable trunk too, so I would say that is a car more than suitable for being driven in a daily basis. Despite the exhaust tail is a bit loud. But again, nothing out of the normal.







Finally we do reach a curvy road. The electronics are quite basic so no track or race modes. The car is always ready for some action… so let’s give her what she expects: pedal to the metal now. The first conclusion is obvious: the car is great at accelerating. Greeting to the massive V10 engine that provides 550 BHP. But there’s something that surprises me: despite not having traction control and being a bit aggressive with the throttle pedal, there’s almost any wheelspin. We approach the first corner, and I’m quickly surprised on how responsive and precise the direction is. I was a bit afraid of the speed, so I significantly dropped the speed at the corner entrance. But no signs of understeering. On the next one I try harder, and even though there’s no understeering. Only being very aggressive, it appears. However it can be easily corrected by straightening and steering the wheel again. If you are in the correct gear and entering the corner at the right speed, of course.






The corner exit is not an issue if you are gentle with the throttle. Here you will be thinking: “you see? Typical American car problems”. Well, if you do so, big mistake, beloved reader: you are speaking of a car with 550 BHP rear wheel drive and without traction control. Other cars oversteer with just rubbing the throttle pedal. Not in this case. You must be really brute when throttling in order to make the tail to want to overtake you. And in case this happen the car will let you know, as it will slide in equilibrium; so you can correct with a proper counter steer. Indeed, I was wrong: the car is so fast in straight lines but can be also really fast and funny to drive in curvy roads. American power, with a dash of Japanese precision.


So, coming to my initial reflection: is still true that big engines compromise grip. And often increasing grip will decrease top speed. However, and leaving super-sports middle-engine cars behind, I do think that today’s test drive was the one closest to the perfect compromise between us. Who said that American manufacturers can build quick cars in both straight and corners?



Further Reading 








Edited by BertoV
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Username: domin8me

Comment: Wasn't this car built to compete with european supercars? Not sure what "japanese precision" is but theres nothing precise about a truck engine strapped to a fiberglass bathtub. Car is still a riot. Glad u liked it. Always wanted 1.

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7 hours ago, Fast said:

Username: domin8me

Comment: Wasn't this car built to compete with european supercars? Not sure what "japanese precision" is but theres nothing precise about a truck engine strapped to a fiberglass bathtub. Car is still a riot. Glad u liked it. Always wanted 1.

Username: Berta Torres


Comment: the expression "Japanese precision" refers to the fact of Japanese manufacturers being the ones most capable to build the most responsive chassis and the best cars to drive on a race track which is not oval. Even more than the European brands. Was meant to be used in a metaphoric way, only.


Don't take me wrong: never said this car has anything of Japanese. All the aesthetic line, the engine, etc match completely with the identity of American sports cars. However, this one has some work made on the chassis and the aerodynamics that erases that sensation that, and for the fact of being an American sports car, its going to kill you.


If you want one, is a good purchase.



Edited by BertoV
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