The freeway entrance ramp gave me a clear path to open it up for the first time. From a slow roll, I barely cracked the secondaries and within a few seconds was passing the 70-mph traffic as I merged and quickly left them behind. I've taken this same freeway entrance ramp in this manner with several new high-performance cars, but found that Goldberg's '65 Dodge handles as well or better in straight-line acceleration than the modern high-zoot sports cars. I eased back on the throttle and settled into a righthand lane cruise with the tach indicating about 2,600 rpm. Oil pressure was steady at 60 psi, and the water temperature was 180 degrees. I didn't find anyone to race, but got several thumbs-up from people in other cars. On one long open stretch of freeway, I pressed down on the accelerator and watched as the speedometer quickly climbed to well over 100. It wanted to go faster, but my fear of the CHP and of having the car impounded (with a subsequent pounding from Goldberg) made me ease up. I was amazed at how smoothly this Hemi engine accelerated-no hesitation and no complaining in any rpm range. It just runs hard and begs for more.
Back on the surface streets, the engine was quite docile and could, with restraint, be driven like any other average passenger car. While stopped at a light, the torque converter gave a steady light tug when pedal pressure was required to keep the car from creeping and engine temperature edged up to 200 degrees; but as soon as traffic started to move, it settled back in the 180 range. The transmission shifts in traffic were firm but not harsh. While user friendly, this car never lets you forget that you're holding a hand grenade with the pin pulled.
On my way back to Goldberg's, I stopped to add the gas I had burned up on my drive. Even at $5 a gallon for 91-grade pump gas, driving this car is a better bargain than any amusement park ride. While I was filling the tank, a guy in a new Charger SRT8 pulled in and got out to look the car over. He asked if it was a Hemi, and I answered in the affirmative with the coolness of a professional poker player. He then said, "That is one bad mother!" I smiled and nodded as if the car were really mine. I wish.