Step One: Find A Fun Car To Drive
Green With Envy

I’ve watched the Mustang RTR evolve from being a concept car to something you can purchase in a dealership, and eventually to the Speedhunters interpretation of what a modern Mustang should look like. It’s been a pretty wild ride, but up until now I’ve not had a chance to really spend a day with the Mustang RTR Double Down. That changed when Elizabeth suggested I take it out for a spin and see what sort of trouble I could get into. Of course, I took that as a challenge…

For me, the most fun part of Monterey Car Week is not Pebble Beach or the Monterey Historics at Laguna Seca – it’s driving around town meeting with fellow car nerds. So what better car to do it in then, than our show-stopping ‘Stang. It’s very loud and you can lay frame – what more could you want in a cruiser?


The Mustang is a far cry from the overabundance of Porsches, Ferraris and Lamborghinis that you see on every street in Monterey at this time of year. Which means that it’s hard to turn heads in a regular old 458 or 911, but not so in this Mustang – it broke necks. Everywhere I went people asked how I could possibly drive a car that was so low.


The best part? A six-speed manual gearbox with a very heavy clutch. Okay, so it sucked driving in traffic, but it was unbelievably easy to break those massive rear tires loose.


While my Porsche 991 press car was very subtle and blended in with the crowd, the Mustang was so loud that random fans followed me. This guy was brave enough to drive his SR20DET-powered S-chassis around, but as soon as he saw the RTR he pulled up beside and flagged me down.


There were three spots I wanted to stop by to see what sort of cars I could find. First was the Quail Lodge. While those Italian bulls were nice looking, they had 4×4-like ride heights compared to the lime green machine.


Apart from a bunch of million dollar cars sitting around there wasn’t much going on, so it was time to take a drive into the canyons.


While there are many nice windy roads in and around Monterey, one in particular was extra busy with automotive eye candy driving back and forth.


On this road, at any given moment you could be tailing a Porsche 918 or equivalent supercar.


There were a constant stream of Lamborghinis on the road, with both journalists and potential customers taking them out for some spirited drives through the backroads of Monterey.


So what did I do? I tagged along, of course. Sometimes there would be six of them all driving in a single-file line… followed by a green Mustang.


While the Aventador and Huracan were pretty loud, the exhaust note on the RTR really resonated through the hills.


Sometimes we would all get bunched up at a stop light, and one by one each Lamborghini would wait for a gap and then punch it. I would follow suit. Fun times were definitely had by all. I had to laugh though, because as the Lambos passed by people on the street seemed to be oblivious to the fact, but as soon as they saw me in the RTR, they would point and sometimes give me a thumbs up.

So Thirsty

I managed to burn through a full tank of fuel pretty quickly while chasing the supercars around, so this Mustang is definitely thirsty. As always, it seems like no matter which service station you pull into during Monterey Car Week, there’s always something cool to check out.


My next drive was a slow and low cruise along the coast on the famous 17-Mile Drive.


I found a nice spot to park along the beach and slammed the Ford to the ground. There’s no better way to enjoy the ocean view.


But it’s tough to get a clean picture when supercars keep getting in the way of your shot.


Not even one minute had passed when a Chevy Impala full of car dudes rolled by and then proceeded to make a u-turn.


The guys said they had never seen a Mustang like the RTR Double Down before, and wanted to take a few pictures of it.


I just wanted to check out their land yacht. It was amazing how clean it was.


The interior was absolutely perfect. What a way to cruise around Pebble Beach!


Apparently it was previously owned by a pilot working out of Edwards Air Force Base in Southern California. He certainly kept it in great shape.


It also turns out that the guys were fans of Speedhunters. We took some photos and gave them some stickers. They drove up from Southern California just to hang out for the week.


It’s great to meet fans of all walks of life, because that tells me that our project is working. We are bringing car culture to the masses, no matter where you live in the world. On top of that it’s all free. What more could you ask for?


Just like the boys in the Impala, I hit the road again.


This time I came up behind a ’32 Ford taking the scenic route. It must have been cruising along at 10mph.


It turned out to be a movie car from the Indie film Deuce of Spades, and it was out at Pebble Beach for a special screening. Driving the ’32 was the film’s producer, Faith Granger.


It’s interesting that both cars are made by Ford around 80 years apart. We chatted for a little bit and I told her about Speedhunters and once again I was off on my own.


To get back to town you have to drive through a forest. While the roads were nice and twisty, you can’t really go fast. The speed limit was very low and it was mostly a residential neighborhood.


I drove through the city, but it was incredibly busy because auctions were taking place and there was nowhere to park. So I headed back out to the canyon road I was at earlier.

Canyon Carving

This time it seemed even busier. I met up with some guys who had the same idea – to sit on the side of the road and watch nice cars drive by.


It became a sort of an improv car meet. All manner of cars began pulling over to check out what was going on.


A few of the dudes were Speedhunters fans, and by this point I was running out of decals! It turns out they are friends with the owner of a certain Rocket Bunny GT-R that I recently photographed.


Every time anything remotely cool drove by we would either egg them on to go faster or motion them to pull over so we could hang out.


An all black, lightly-tuned McLaren MP4-12C drove by and the GT-R took chase. They went back and forth up and down the mountain a few times, chasing each other just one car length apart.


Eventually they decided to cool down and pull over for us to check out the car.


While the MP4 was fast it only had a few mods, versus the GT-R which had some heavy handling upgrades and some very sticky tires.


It’s always refreshing to meet owners of supercars who actually drive them. This enthusiast lives in Florida and he shipped his car to the other side of the country just to drive it around on the streets of Monterey… and get into tussles with GT-Rs. Must be nice, eh?


When a Pagani Huayra drove by everyone waved to get them to pull over. But due to the lack of ground clearance there was no way they were going to drive onto the dirt shoulder. So I took chase…


I followed them down the mountain and that is when they pulled into a service station. It provided a perfect opportunity for me to take a closer look.


I’ve never seen a Huayra in the wild and neither had most of these people – so a crowd grew quickly.


Parked in the next stall and also getting fuel were other some interesting cars, including this Caterham Seven.


I was so jealous when Bryn told me he was doing an epic road trip with a 485S version.


Well, interestingly enough the guys who are importing them into North America are fans of Speedhunters. I can see a Dream Drive of my own coming up soon…


The company is actually Hillbank Motor Corporation, and they build cars like this Shelby Cobra replica. But right now they’re doing a heavy push for Caterham in the States.


The Cobra was utterly clean, and on any other week I’m sure it would have been on the receiving end of all the attention. But the fact that it was parked next to a Caterham, and a Mustang and a Pagani… well, it became a little lost. That could only happen during Monterey Car Week I guess!


While I saw it last year at SEMA, it’s so crazy to see the all-carbon Huayra version up close, let alone actually hear it. Just amazing! Although, I will be forever jealous that Dino had the chance to flog it on the Pagani test track.


The sun was setting, but I still had one stop to make – the place that’s always packed to the brim with cool cars every night of the week during Pebble Beach. I headed to Baja Cantina with my new friends to check out the scene.


It’s literally a first-come, first-served car show. As soon as a spot opens up it gets filled by another cool car.


If you want to be seen then all you have to do is roll through the parking lot.


It’s really hard to convey the excitement I had just being there. It was a symphony of a variety of cars hitting redline and shifting up a gear. You could just close your eyes and listen to all the miraculous machines far and wide.


Although, I can imagine that it gets a bit annoying for locals who aren’t really into car culture. But what did they expect? Laguna Seca is just a few minutes away. If one moves to a historically significant area for car culture, then you have to expect some craziness at least one week out of the year, right?


All I can say is that it’s kind of like a car culture utopia. If you like rare automobiles, and you want to visit California, I’d say Monterey Car Week is probably your best bet. While there are many different events you can come and check out, just driving around town will probably be the most fun you’ll have. After all, it’s not always about the cars – the people behind them is what makes it all so enjoyable.

Larry Chen
Instagram: larry_chen_foto



Comments are closed.


by Oldest
by Best by Newest by Oldest

Larry - mad props. You captured a slice of Monterey Car Week in amazing style. The photos were great as usual with a bit of playfulness -- and the writing was effortless to read. Great stuff. Keep on keeping on!!!


When I see RTR, I think Real Time Racing.

These people have no clue the significance of that, do they?


wow you got to see some pretty cool cars!


Ah man Larry, what a great day of Speedhunting. I miss the Double Down RTR, but I'm glad you guys are having fun with it!


"4x4 ride heights"??? Seriously? Rather that than a silly air ride suspension. 
Amazing vehicles along the way, especially that silver Cobra, my dream ride. Awesome post fellas.

Fabrice Carpentier

I'm à french car-maniac! I always heard about these week for the official side! Thanks for this article about the backside! If i Could compare to something i know it's le mans parking lot!


Thank you very much for the pics Larry Chen. It was an epic time spent on those roads that afternoon. And what way to time capsule this first trip down to Carweek. By getting on speedhunters this is super awesome...thanks a bunch. Ricko Black gtr.
And the 12c was a mso edition. Claims he shipped back to France for the mods...great guy named Carlos
We chased aventadors , ferraris, 12cs
Everyone was first class on that road and great sports about being tailed by a stockish gtr....but they swore I had the switzer kit. Lol
Thanks to my tunner eq tunning for the power to run with the big boys.
Thanks again Larry I'm still in disbelief.


Great write up. Looks like a ton of fun! Wish I was free to go down there last weekend. So many of my buds were either shooting the historics at Laguna or at Pebble. I have ridden in that exact Huayra and later, two of my lucky friends actually drove it down PCH! I could have driven it as well, but sadly, I was overseas at the time.
Although I would not personally buy one, I appreciate the heck out of the attention to detail. The car truly is a work of art down to every little fastener. The interior is so freakin wild! A bit too gaudy for me haha.


Wow awesome write up! I'd be driving 10mph too if my car didn't have a windscreen and I had long hair!
any info on the supercharged Hudson? What motor was he running? The placement of the supercharger suggests it's still running a straight six.

Gianluca FairladyZ

i swear to god, if i win a million i let my car ship over to monterey and i want to do exactly the same thing :) It's so nice to have such a good comunity! Great write up! Thumbs up!


Best post in a while (just my opinion)
It really shows the spirit of a bunch of petrolheads randomly meeting and just talking about cars ;)
Nice job Larry!


Cool Larry! This looks like so much fun! Damn that Huayra is gorgeous.


Great article! Fun day for Ricko without even having to pay for an event. Nice! Long live Godzilla!


That GTR and the Mustang RTR picture reminds me of the Fast 5 ending Challenger vs the GTR haha


I could have sworn that Step One was "Cut a hole in the box"...
You learn something new every day I guess.


Larry great photos. What a great looking place to get to driver around. Faith looks like a badass lady in that '32 Ford. I have to say that I think it awesome for someone to admire your car enough to flag you down on the street. Thats a real car guy.


That red Cobra... definetly need one in my life :(


veecee8 Thanks for the support as always!


KeithCharvonia You miss my face.


Fabrice Carpentier You should come check it out one year.


rhayward Nice to meet you guys, hopefully I can come visit your house full of car guys one day.


Artsee Yeah, It took them 5 minutes to pull out of the service station, because it was too low.


@Sam Dude was busy so he left quick, but I snapped a few.


Gianluca FairladyZ Or you could just rent a car and cruise around anyways :D


Nick Elias I'm sure it's the same way with your friends, but no matter how hard I try when we go out to eat, we always end up talking about cars.


TopRev Free to chase till you get caught. haha.


PowerTryp Best comment of the month right here.


Make sure you guys check out presentation mode if you are on a computer.


Larry Chen Artsee Haha I am sure that caused an even bigger scene!


Larry Chen KeithCharvonia I miss your telephoto lens.


You talk about the amazing sound ... but there is no video .... you are killing me!


kphillips9936 You are certainly entitled to your opinion.  But unfortunately for you, more and more people are discovering the versatility of air suspension to not only attract a crowd, as Larry mentioned several times, but to actually rip up those canyon roads like a champ.  I bet the guy in the Huayra would have loved a little lift instead of spending 5 minutes getting out of a gas station!

And I do agree with you: awesome post!


What does "lay frame" mean?

Omer (beercoozie)

Laurales Grade is a great road. Carmel Valley Road is another good one.

You guys really should roll into to Salinas for Rod Powell's Picnic in a couple months.


Pancakes  Basically means lay the framerails on the ground. That car is one air so he can do so whenever he feels like.


Well I guess I have some plans for next summer already.

Gianluca FairladyZ

Larry Chen Gianluca FairladyZ  Okey let's do this :D


Out of all the supercars... I would take the least unlikely car, the impala


Hi fellow SpeedHunters, I am a SpeedHunter from Kenya and I have an odd request. I am looking to get into automotive photography and I have been nominated by Samsung for a chance to win a Samsung Galaxy K Zoom. Please head to the @samsungmobileke Instagram account and vote for my photo (@zollz13) by liking it. Means alot to me. Thanks :-)


Larry Chen Thanks!


Awesome write up Larry.  Big pleasure meeting you at the gas station.  I will give you a call this week and hopefully we can schedule a time for you to come play in the Caterhams & Cobras.  



Mustang is too low, I'd take the "land yacht" over it any day.


JohnKrzeminski No such thing as too low if you can raise it up when you want to :D


Nick Nehrir Joy.


Next year if you come up Bring the z! So i wont be the only sr20 powered car around here.
Hopefully by nexy year ill have enough power to hang with the exotics haha.
Ill show you some nice roads next time too.


That dude in the S13 probably wet his pants when he realized LARRY EFFING CHEN was the one he flagged down. Awesome coverage! I was driving up the PCH during that, saw many amazing machines.
All the best,
David Lindauer


"Very heavy clutch," eh? Does a high-performance clutch HAVE to require massive leg effort? I've heard on good authority (Patrick Bedard, long-time technical editor at Car and Driver Magazine) that the technology existed as far back as 1969 to allow light pedal effort in racing clutches, but supposedly, most manly drivers find that their manhood demands heavy exertion.


Larry Chen JohnKrzeminski All those air systems do is add unnecessary weight to the vehicle.


JohnKrzeminski Jesus, man, take a hint! Do you realize how insulting you are to the Mustang's owner/creator/driver? Noone goes to such effort and expense without a clear vision and purpose! And that purpose is not to please you, who cannot appreciate the flexibility, practicality and style of adjustable ride height. Just because you don't like it, doesn't mean you have the presumed right to flap your lip in that fashion.


totophi JohnKrzeminski I have every right to "flap my lip in that fashion." If people don't want opinions of their vehicles to be shared, don't put it on the internet. I don't understand buying a sporty car and then making modifications to take away from its purpose. It's like back in the late 90's/early 2000's when import guys would spend money on performance parts and then drop 100+ pounds of stereo equipment in that negated all of the performance add ons. What's the point of having a Mustang if you're going to slam it to the ground or mod it with heavy air suspension bits. The unpainted front lip makes it look cheap, like an "ebay-built" car. This car is nothing but a lame show car that isn't good for much than cruising down a boulevard and having dummies be impressed with it, and doing loud, obnoxious burnouts and revs. Show cars are lame. I'm not saying everything has to be a track beast, but at least if you're going to modify your car, modify it so it's better, not worse, at its intended purpose, which is to drive... whether that be strictly on the street or on a track, or wherever. This is all obviously just my opinion, and I wasn't even going to get into it until you said I don't have any right to voice what I think.


JohnKrzeminski Don't oversimplify, tool. There are nuances in spoken language that allow a difference of opinion while maintaining respect. You crossed that line. It's exactly as though I were to criticize lead-sled customs as useless because they are "grossly overweight," or rat rods because they have insufficient suspension for anything but absolutely smooth and flat pavement.


Sorry @JohnKrzeminski The air system as installed is actually 6.7# LIGHTER than the stock suspension we removed. This includes all wiring, manifold, tank and compressor. This is due to our lightweight struts/shocks and air springs. So the unsprung mass is significantly reduced, which is a great thing for ride and handling. Too bad you have never ridden in the car to understand that. You are lacking in the one thing that would prop up your argument: experience.


meet on need for speed world larry i challnge u 2 a drag in the game


>.> tonight


ill be waitting


^.^ btw im only 14 and im japanese so pls come pls be here on need for speed world somewhere around 7:00 pm plssss


AirLift_Brian Even if what you say is true, you destroyed the functionality of the car just to look cool sitting in a parking lot. Have fun impressing the 15 year olds at the next local mall parking lot meet. 
@totophi I don't like those cars either. I don't have any respect for the modifications done to this car, hence the lack of respect in my post.


@JohnKrzeminski. Destroyed functionality?
Did you read Larry's post at all or just look at the pictures.. ? No 15 year olds to be seen. Rather adult car enthusiasts from all walks of life stopping to check out the car and swapping stories. You may want to reference the title of this story too: "find a fun car to drive".
I've tried to enlighten you here and present some of the facts, at least on the suspension. Whether you like it or not is up to you. Just don't confuse the facts with your opinion.


@hoyin Next time :)


Omer (beercoozie) Shhh...don't tell everyone.... : )


I sooooo wish this article was at least 4 times longer.... Excellent article and one hell of an experience Larry!




AirLift_Brian hey i just wanted to say to you and larry chen that this guy is not worth replying to. all us true nfs world fans are anjoying this car just like all the other speed hunters posts you show us. there will always be that 1 b ad apple who wants to spoil the fun for everybody else to share. i say ignore/block/ban him from here. that seems like fair justice to me! :) 
never insult racing legends from behind a computer Mr keyboard warrior hero they can just ban you forever if they feel like it. and i would be laughing everytime i saw speedhunters posts id think of that 1 dumb guy who wouldnt keep his mouth shut. like my momma always used to say" if you dont got nothing nice to say dont say nothing at all" tell that line to almost 99 pct of youtube too.....


I think cars that people find fun varies. People like fast cars because they're loud, shouty & makes them fizz but on the other end, I have a 1988 Ford Fiesta. Not an XR2, but an 1100cc popular plus & that car, in corners is fantastic fun, third gear gets that old Kent crossflow singing beautifully & never a day goes by when people come up to me & say "that's a lovely car" or "I remember these when I was a kid". As a personal view, if you want a real sporty number, forget the mustang (the new ones look a little sad eyed for me), get a classic TVR, like a Taimar or 3000M. As an alternative, if you want one of the best sounding V8 cars, a Triumph Stag. Come on lads, when are we going to see these bad boys in NFSW


soorrry soorrry sorry ----> firstly you need to find money... :(