Thursday, July 25, 2013 | 11:11 p.m.
Editor’s Note: While Robin Leach takes his traditional summer vacation under the Tuscan sun in Italy, many of our Strip personalities have stepped forward in his absence to pen their own words of wisdom. We continue today with Robert Britton Lyons, who portrays Carl Perkins in “Million Dollar Quartet” at Harrah’s.
I have always loved cars. Like many young boys, I had a poster of a white Lamborghini Countach on the wall of my bedroom. I would often stand in front of the magazine rack at my local pharmacy reading any automobile publication I could find, imagining myself behind the wheel of a Ferrari, Lamborghini or Mercedes.
Because most of the cars I lust after are far above my pay grade, I had always resigned myself to fantasy. That is until recently when my castmates from “Million Dollar Quartet” at Harrah’s and I were invited by World Class Driving to experience a day behind the wheel of some incredible cars.
The setup was simple. Arrive at their spacious showroom and sign in. Sit through a short and informative tutorial about the habits each car in the group has (paddle shifter behavior, how heavy a particular clutch pedal feels, etc.) and then pile into a van with other like-minded folks and head out to the cars.
Oh, yes. The cars.
Stepping out of the van, I was confronted with a line of five of the world’s finest. From front to back, there was an Audi R8 V10, Ferrari 458 Italia (red, of course), Jaguar XF R-S, Corvette Z06 and a Ford Shelby GT500.
All the engines were on and idling, filling the air with anticipation and carbon monoxide. We were told to pick a car for the first leg of the drive and get in. The Shelby was calling my name. Blue with white racing stripes down the length of the hood and 662 horses just begging to be abused.
Pulling out into traffic, I realized that I was in a serious machine. The clutch and gearbox felt right out of a tractor, heavy and strong. The sound of the engine was low and rumbling at idle, but when I opened up the throttle en route to Red Rock Canyon, all of those horses arose into an angry symphony. All brute. No refinement. Nothing but fun.
After a stretch of unnecessary downshifts and bursts of speed, we pulled off the road for the first of four stops where we took photos and switched cars. Next came the Corvette, then Jaguar and Audi, all amazing in their own ways.
Finally, I climbed into that absurdly beautiful Ferrari. I saved it for last, and I’m glad I did. Crazy steering wheel-mounted controls, F1-style paddle shifters and a lousy air conditioner. Who cares? I have never felt more in control behind the wheel.
Every adjustment of throttle and steering was instantly rewarded with an almost telepathic change of speed and direction. The sound from the gorgeous V8 directly behind my head was every bit as beautiful as I had always imagined. That car will forever haunt my dreams.
In one afternoon, World Class Driving took care of a large chunk of my bucket list. Check them out. You won’t be sorry.
Check out our other guest columns today from Robert’s co-star in “Million Dollar Quartet” at Harrah’s, Marc Donovan, and David Myers, chef and owner of Comme Ca at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, and Friday from Life is Beautiful founder Rehan Choudhry.
Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.
Follow Robin Leach on Twitter at Twitter.com/Robin_Leach.
Follow Vegas DeLuxe on Twitter at Twitter.com/vegasdeluxe.
Follow VDLX Editor Don Chareunsy on Twitter at Twitter.com/VDLXEditorDon.
Just as distinctive as it's famous neighbors Caesar's Palace and The Venetian, Harrah's Las Vegas has been entertaining guests since 1973. The 87,700-square foot casino is filled with 1,520 slot machines and 107 gaming tables. Outside the casino, guests are able to experience fun in a street-fair atmosphere at the Carnival Court, an outdoor lounge with live entertainment (including the bartenders), food stands and outdoor shops.
At Harrah's comedy is King, and that has never been more apparent then the comedy acts of Rita Rudner, the Mac King Comedy Magic Show and the Improv Comedy Club. After the show, guests are more than welcome to laugh at their friends at The Piano Bar, famous for its dueling pianos and karaoke. Most recently, Harrah's added tribute show "Legends in Concert" to its list of entertainment.
Restaurants like Ming's offers Asian cuisine, while Ruth's Chris Steak House offers guests fine steaks and fresh seafood. Toby Keith's I Love This Bar is a country-themed bar with a restaurant, live music and the occasional appearance from Keith himself.