This van includes a presence. Photo by Murilee Martin
This is a crew van with 144-inch wheelbase and low roof. It’s not as big as the Sprinter gets, not surprisingly, however it is still quite an imposing monster of a van to the narrow streets of my Denver neighborhood. Still, as it turns out for being surprisingly effortless to drive and park, with good visibility but not much sense of overwhelming bulk if you find yourself inside driver’s seat.
You won’t see many genuine cigarette lighters and ashtrays in new US-market automobiles in 2018 (in truth, it’s a 2017 model-year Sprinter), but this van was ready for hard-smoking van drivers. Even though I don’t smoke, this hardware jogs my memory of your smoke-filled Chevy Beauville van of my childhood.
Once my fellow Race Organizers flew in from California, we ended up to your workplace loading gear to the Sprinter. First thing inside was my 1980 Honda Super Cub motorcycle (termed as a Passport C70 in the usa, because Piper got the Super Cub name first), on the list of 100 million Super Cubs made since 1980.
Lemons Assistant Perpetrator Nick Pon and Lemons Chief Tech Guy John Pagel are tall to stand up within the low-roof Sprinter, however they did not have to hunch over much to find the Super Cub tied town. The Sprinter is loaded with lots of tie-downs, in good locations.
I can’t imagine a less strenuous pre-race packing experience than this.
High Plains Raceway has considerable unpaved position for camping, thus i drove to the side of the home to set up camp where I wouldn’t need to focus on teams grinding welds the whole night. I’d like to declare that the Sprinter’s four-wheel-drive system chose to make this possible, but I did exactly the same drive previously with a low-ground-clearance, front-wheel-drive 1992 Honda Civic. I set up a tent, with intentions to dive within the Sprinter if hail, high winds, and/or thunderstorms hit.
The best pit parties in the Day of Lemons world be held at Carolina Motorsports Park and Plains Raceway, and so i did my part on Saturday night by bringing the Sprinter to the party and cooking up some rice noodles with peanut sauce in my trusty Coleman stove. Nothing compares to having the nearly unlimited cargo space of the industrial-grade van to do this kind of thing.
The weather stayed calm, if hot, so I never had to sleep within the van (though I am certain it’d are actually great for this purpose). The Sprinter was simply about the ideal vehicle to provide as our headquarters at a race, thus was prepared to suffer the pain of a lot of Eastbound and Down-style driving unpleasantness for the 90-minute trips from Denver. Apparently , the Sprinter 4×4 may be very comfortable traveling, with plenty power through the 3.0-liter turbodiesel V6 engine to keep up with traffic. The 5-speed automatic transmission (sorry, no manual to be found in the US-market Crew Van Sprinter, so that you can’t emulate the “Hang On your Hardhats” TV commercial over here) waits and a heartbeats than necessary before downshifting, however, this might be lived with.
June would be a rough month for heat in non-mountainous Colorado, with Denver tying its all-time high-temperature record two weeks once the race. To cool the lining of the Flame Red van of which large volume would’ve required a monster air-conditioning unit of the sort not generally contemplated for workhorse vans in Germany, therefore i sweated at temperatures above about 90F (below 90 degrees, the AC worked pretty well). At 104 degrees, the Sprinter’s HVAC took the sting off of the heat which was approximately it.
I managed all around 19 miles per gallon in mostly highway driving (18.7 mpg, to remain exact), we think is superb for that tall four-wheel-drive brute with automatic transmission. Overall Race Organizer verdict: one of the greatest all-around vehicles Personally i have tried for the purpose of using a road race.