Letter From the Editor: Riding the Wave
by Will Stewart
TSL Extra, Issue #22

Dear Readers:

Back in 1987 or so, I had the pleasure of test driving a Buick Grand National. For those of you who don't know what a Grand National is, it's a car that Buick produced in the mid-late 80's that was based on the Buick Regal. Sounds tame, but the Grand National had a turbocharged 3.8 liter V6 engine in it that made it insanely fast.

Back in 1987, the fastest American-made cars were the Mustang GT (one of which I owned), the Pontiac Firebird/Chevy Camaro, and of course, the Corvette. In 1987, the Grand National was faster than all of them, making it the fastest American-made production car of its time. Later on, Buick would produce an even more powerful version of the Grand National called the GNX, a car so fast that the FBI ordered 500 of them for Bureau use.

I wasn't interested in swapping my Mustang GT for a Grand National (okay, I admit it, I was, but finances prohibited it), but despite that, I talked a Buick salesman into letting me test drive a Grand National. He readily agreed, and took me out to a pretty deserted stretch of straight road near the dealership.

The road was actually a long straight stretch that ended in a cul-de-sac, and the salesman took me down to the end of the cul-de-sac, pointed the car back down that straight stretch of road, and traded places with me, putting me behind the wheel.

"Punch it," he said.

Punch it, I did. The car leaped off the line, and as the turbocharger kicked in, the Grand National positively rocketed down the road. There was a moment where the car seemed to swell, accelerating wildly, and I felt as if all four wheels would leave the pavement at any second, launching the Buick into space.

Then the turbocharger was completely spooled up, and the acceleration settled down and became more manageable.

I'll never forget that initial rush of acceleration, though, and how it felt as if the car might careen out of control. It was akin to riding the crest of a wave as it breaks; you're not sure if you're going to be able to stay in control, or if you're going to wipe out.

I'm reminded of that Grand National test drive every year at this time, because the TechSideline.com web site does the same thing. Traffic on the web site builds as the season approaches, it swells almost out of control, but then, inevitably, I'm able to ride the crest just barely. I manage to stay on top of things, but it's always by a thin margin, and things never seem to stop moving fast, just like that car.

That's my fancy way of apologizing for this issue being so late. The wave started to crest, and it caught me off guard, and I wasn't prepared to release the issue at the same time as I usually do. But rest assured, we'll be back on track next month.

Also, I'll give you a heads up and tell you that the other reason I'm late with this issue is that we've been working on some really neat stuff that will greatly enhance your enjoyment of your TSL Extra subscription and make it much more of a screaming value than it already is. A lot of the things we're working on and getting ready to put into place are things that you have been requesting for a long time, and you're in for a treat.

But that's later. For now, enjoy issue #22.



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