Having grown up in a certain era, I was always 100% convinced the ultimate car was the 1977 Pontiac Trans Am, complete with gold screaming chicken on the hood.

I had the Matchbox version, the Revell model kit, every permutation of the thing a boy not of driving age could have.

My license-eligible years came, but, for years, I never had the chance to strap one on and indulge my inner Bandit.

Then, one day, I got to drive one.

6.6 liters of Detroit fury, delivering literally tens of horsepower through a three-speed automatic rejected by a Latvian tractor manufacturer, propelling a chassis tuned to a precision not seen since the Ingalls’ buckboard wagon made all the children blind via rock vibration.

As the red light turned green I stomped the pedal, bracing myself for the face-distorting acceleration. As I watched the tailgate of the Toyota Sienna that didn’t know it was racing me shrink into the distance I noticed a turn with a recommended 55mph speed approach, so I smooshed the wide pedal to the floor, hearing the shriek of the rusty drums more than feeling the stopping power.

As I returned the car to my friend’s cousin so he could get to his shift at Big Lots, I sagely decided such power is best not trifled with, and returned to my Mazda 626, which, in comparison, felt like a F1 car with a Saturn V strapped to its ass