Welcome to this month’s edition of Ask a Gearhead, our Q&A series with enthusiasts and influencers in the automotive space. Here, we talk to journalists, personalities, and gearheads to bring you varying perspectives on driving and life. Each month features a different face but the same set of questions. Last month we spoke with Matt Farah, and this month we are pleased to feature Chad Phelps!
Chad Phelps is a Porsche enthusiast and founder and CEO of GTCon, a new event for automotive influencers, social media icons, and people who love cars. GTCon will serve as a conduit to the evolving automotive community, promoting conversation and connecting fans with their favorite online personalities. GTCon will be held at the Anaheim Marriott on July 13-15. Anyone can attend — you can check out their Facebook page or register here.
WHAT WAS YOUR FAMILY CAR GROWING UP?
I come from a car family so I had a lot of different family cars. But the first one I remember was a 1979 Ford Bronco, which was green with that faux wood paneling painted on. It was named Kermit. Kermit was eventually stolen and taken to California, and was never heard from again.
WORST THING YOU’VE EVER DRIVEN?
Let me think about this for a second because I’ve driven a lot of bad cars… I would probably say the worst car I’ve driven was a blue 1986 Chevy Cavalier stationwagon. My parents owned it. It was actually the car I learned to drive on and it was a manual 4-speed. My brother and I used to deliver newspapers out of it. When I was 13, my older brother, who was 15 and also shouldn’t have been driving, taught me how to drive the manual. So I would drive and he would throw the papers out of the back.
IF YOU COULD OWN JUST ONE CAR FOR THE REST OF YOUR LIFE, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I would have a Porsche 997.2 Turbo S. And the reason I would pick that is that it’s the best all-around sports car. I’ve had three of them, and you can drive it around town, you can take it to the track and have fun with it, it’s all-wheel-drive, and you can put snow tires on it and drive it in the snow in Colorado. You can take it to the dragstrip and run 10-second quarter miles with essentially a stock car. So that car is just a fantastic all-around supercar.
FAVORITE ROAD TRIP?
I would say the driving in the southwestern United States. Probably my favorite road trip is going from where I live in Fort Collins to Las Vegas with my wife. We’ve done that trip too many times to count. But it’s a ton of fun for us to just get in the car and drive to Vegas instead of jumping on a plane. You drive through the Rocky Mountains on I-70, you drive through the canyons of Utah, then you can head south on 15 towards the canyons of Arizona. It’s a lot of fun. If I had a second one, driving on the Autobahn in Germany, of course, is spectacular.
YOU’RE DIRECTING FAST & FURIOUS 9. WHAT’S THE HERO CAR?
You know I’m a Porsche guy through and through, so the hero car has to be the forthcoming 991 GT2 RS. It’s a rear-wheel-drive car and it’s going to have roughly 650 hp and should be the ultimate road and track beast. It’s only going to weigh 3,000 pounds too, so the horsepower to weight ratio is off the charts. It’s definitely light enough to jump.
WHAT WOULD BE THE BEST ANIMAL TO RIDE IF IT WERE SCALED UP TO THE SIZE OF A HORSE?
A savannah monitor, the lizard. One, because if it was the size of a horse it would be really fast. Number two, it would be kind of a wild ride because of how lizards move. And three, I’m a huge Star Wars nut and it would be kind of like riding a dewback in Star Wars.
IS IT ACCEPTABLE TO WEAR FLIP FLOPS WHILE DRIVING? WHAT IS YOUR PREFERRED FOOTWEAR?
I do not wear flip flops while driving and never would. My preferred footwear is old-school Adidas. I probably have something like 75 pairs of Adidas tennis shoes and that’s what I wear every day. I wear them to business meetings, I wear them to bum around town, and I wear them to the track. So I’m constantly in Adidas.
WHAT DO YOU KEEP IN YOUR CAR AT ALL TIMES, JUST IN CASE?
I keep an Escort Max 360 (radar detector) in every car. So that always goes with me because I need a radar detector. I live in a place without much traffic where we’re able to open up the cars a little bit and have fun, and you need a radar detector because the cops know we like to do that. Other than that, I travel pretty light. Mostly just the detector and a phone charger.
WHAT’S YOUR MARIO KART CHARACTER?
I almost said Luigi but I stopped using Luigi a while ago. This is a tough one because it depends on who you’re racing. If you’re racing against someone aggressive I use Bowser, because you can knock them around through the entire race. Others might be faster but you can knock them off course pretty easily. If I’m going for speed and consistency, though, I use Luigi. For brute force I’m going with Bowser.
WHO WOULD PLAY YOU IN THE BIOPIC OF YOUR LIFE? AND WHAT IS IT CALLED?
Tom Cruise would play me. He’s slightly older than me but we’re both short so that helps me. And I can pretend I’m better-looking than I am if he plays me. If I could steal a title from another movie it would be the “Pursuit of Happyness”, just because I have a similar background as a single dad. I raised my daughter as a single dad from the time I was 16, and now I have a wife and a son and what I believe is a very fulfilling and happy life.
IF YOU HAD AN ICE CREAM TRUCK, WHAT SONG WOULD YOU PLAY FROM THE SPEAKER?
I would play the Cantina Theme song, again, because I love Star Wars. It’s happy music, kids love it, and I think everybody would identify me pretty quickly because of the Star Wars angle.
WHAT IS THE VERY LAST CAR YOU RENTED?
It was a Toyota Corolla in Orlando. It was just a few weeks ago when we took a family trip to Disneyworld. And when you go to Disneyworld you just need a car you can grab from a rental place and drive around and not even worry about it.