Lean, Mean Racing Machine

Lean, Mean Racing MachineThe Eagle Roadster Drives Performance 

By Dave Terry

Aerodynamic,” “head-turning,” “eye-popping” and “sexy” were the words that came to mind as I sat behind the wheel of a custom-made Eagle Roadster while tooling along U.S. Highway 98 at Sandestin. Although it wouldn’t look out of place on a Formula One racetrack, the Eagle Roadster, I soon discovered, is completely street-legal – and a babe magnet to boot.

“The Formula One style is all about looks,” said Devan Dockery, who designed the car and owns the DeFuniak Springs production facility where it was built. “This is not a race car. It’s an ‘I look good in this kind of a car’ car. I take mine to the golf course, and my wife loves to drive it to the market. If I want to go to the racetrack, I’ll bust out my Lamborghini Diablo.

“But the Eagle Roadster gets much more head-turning and people stopping me for photos than the Diablo,” Dockery said.

The Eagle Roadster certainly looks fast – and in this case, looks aren’t deceiving. It can go a quarter-mile in 4.3 seconds and can decelerate from 70 mph to zero in a mere 182 feet. Its 253-horsepower, V-6 engine is governed to a limited speed of 152 mph. In a car weighing just 1,960 pounds, the Roadster’s 3.5-liter Chrysler engine certainly is capable of getting a person from Point A to Point B in a hurry.

And, if you’re like me, you’ll be only too happy to wear the four-pronged harness that pins you into the driver’s seat.

“On the highway, one police officer who pulled me over said he’d waive the ticket for creating a disturbance if he could get a photo of himself with the car!” said Glenn Williamson, Eagle Roadster’s executive sales director.

I’d had the same feeling the moment I first saw it on U.S. Highway 98 in front of the Silver Sands Factory Stores. A year ago, the sales manager of the Eagle Roadster dealership had passed me while driving it. I chased him down and pulled him over into Sandestin, begging him to let me take some photos.

After driving up to DeFuniak Springs, I sat in the Roadster’s stable and gawked at 10 of the low-slung ponies, all in different stages of development. The factory hosts some serious production tools, including an Electric Plasma computerized torch and a 100-ton Iron Worker, which can pop a hole in one-inch steel like a paper punch or sheer off a 1- by 12-inch piece of steel. It’s a regular automobile production facility in the small town.

“Growing up in Flint, Mich. (66 miles north of Detroit), I’ve been around auto production since childhood,” Dockery said. “When I was 12 years old, I got to go to Indianapolis. Since then, I’ve always admired the Formula One style of auto, and about five years ago, I saw a formula kit car, tracked down the owner and purchased it. Realizing its value when people continued to gawk and pull me over for photos, I spent a couple of years building one to offer to the public. And it’s been a great experience.

“A couple of years ago, we drove up to Indianapolis,” Docket said. “I got up the nerve to take the Eagle over to the Indy 400. Outside the track, just driving around, we were literally stopping traffic! They were taking pictures, and I felt like a celebrity! I had goose bumps and couldn’t wipe the smile off my face. It made me feel really good to go home and know my car was so well perceived.”

The Eagle Roadster is a fiberglass and metal work of art, that will turn the head of almost every other driver on the road.

“One time, I’m at a red light,” Dockery said. “As the green light turned, a guy in the other lane actually stopped to see me launch from the red light. I get a lot of head-turning with the Eagle. My Lamborghini Diablo doesn’t begin to attract attention the way the Roadster does.”

For this story, Dockery and Williamson strapped me in and made my dream come true. Unfortunately, they said I could not take the Eagle Roadster home without giving them a deposit on the base price of $43,000. Oh, well … a writer can dream.