|STEVE MACNAULL/The Daily Courier|
Grace MacNaull, 10, designed a muscle car inspired by the Chevrolet Camaro she's standing beside at the reimagined Test Track Presented by Chevrolet ride at Disney World in Florida.
The Daily Courier
Bling-bling wheels; a cockpit-like interior; a jacked up back end and power to spare. At age 10 my daughter Grace is quite the car designer. We were at the grand reopening of the Test Track Presented by Chevrolet ride at Disney World in Florida, and Grace was one of the first try out the new design-your-own-car feature of the attraction.
"In the past, Test Track was more industrial," said Erin Youngs, the vice-president of the Epcot theme park where the attraction is located in the Future World section.
"The re-imagined Test Track is now more about design and the ride experience."
A big party launched the new Test Track, complete with a concert by the band OneRepublic, whose hits include Apologize and All the Right Moves.
I decided to stand back and let Grace fashion her own
vehicle on the computer monitor.
Remember, this is at Disney World, so there's lots of computer monitors and a line-up behind us going through the same display of Chevrolet concept cars that we did.
The Miray concept car is silver, low and aggressive-looking, while the EN-V Electric looks like a covered Segway scooter.
Would-be designers get some brief instructions - be creative and take inspiration from the concept, but remember it's still a car that has to be road worthy.
Then they get five minutes to put together a prototype of their dream car.
Grace chose the muscle car chassis, a metallic green exterior and embellished it as only a 10-year-old girl with no idea about car design can.
It looks hot, but how would it perform on the Test Track ride?
The ride itself is a lot like climbing into a roller coaster.
But there is the added bonus of riding while your car
design is put through its paces at the same time on the same course.
The ride took off like a bat out of hell and was immediately into hairpins and straightaways.
There was lurching braking in the rain, skidding on ice and a screeching near miss with a jack-knifing 18-wheeler.
Along the way, racetrack signs let you know how your car design would have fared in these life-or-death situations.
Grace's ultra-sports car scored a disappointing 40 for
capability and 39 for efficiency.
Responsiveness was a little better at 56, but, thanks to
incredible acceleration on the racetrack straightaway her design netted a top 72 in the power department.
Off the ride and into the automotive laboratory, she scanned her memory card to find her car scored an overall
Oh well - she can think about efficiency and capability next time around.
The memory card with the design still on it also allows Grace to make her own car commercial on another computer monitor.
She had her metallic green beauty zip through a moonscape set to disco music while an announcer with a cowboy drawl outlined its attributes.
Of course, she used the email option to send it to herself and her friends.
The last stop is the futuristic showroom where all the 2013 Chevrolet models are on display amid ever-changing lighting.
"It's not meant to be a sales experience," Youngs pointed out.
"But there is a product specialist there if you want information or would like to be directed to the Chevrolet dealer in your home town."
Grace gravitated toward the Camaro, saying it resembles her concept car, only a little tamer and butter yellow.
Of course, she got her picture snapped with the Camaro while a skyline at night sparkled in the background.
All the other cars look good in this setting, from the little Spark, to the electric Volt, economical Sonic,
stylish Malibu sedan, the Traverse SUV, Silverado truck and top-of-the-line sportscar Corvette.
Naturally, it was red, cue the Prince hit Little Red Corvette.