The speed and agility of modern cars are wasted on too many roads. In same way that off-road vehicles can't be tested by peastone driveways, souped-up sedans can't be pushed to their limits on suburban cul-de-sacs. In order to drive – truly drive – a car, modern commuters have to head out of their way to one of the rare stretches of American asphalt designed to push vehicles to their limits. These winding, curving sections of tarmac not only give great cars a chance to show off the muscle under their hood, but also give great drivers a chance to remind passengers why the American road was once considered the purest embodiment of freedom.
Lower Wacker Drive (Illinois)
Lower Wacker Drive, named for the great civil engineer Charles Wacker, is a 2.2-mile multi-tier thoroughfare on the south side of Chicago. While Upper Wacker handles local traffic, Lower Wacker is for faster-moving through-traffic. And it just might be the most famous road on this list. Despite a distinct lack of loveliness (it's encased in concrete), Lower Wacker has served as the setting of so many Hollywood car chases that it deserves a star on the Hollywood walk of fame. 'Batman Begins,' 'Wanted,' and most notably 'The Blues Brothers' – to name just a few – all feature action segments shot on Lower Wacker. Before renovations removed some of the pillars from the drive last year, barriers and other hazards made Lower Wacker extremely dangerous. Rumor has it that most locals would close their eyes, hit the gas, and hope for the best when trying to navigate the twisting, tunnel-like roadway. There may be a fast lane now, but it is only for the experienced and for career criminals careening toward Daley Plaza.
Credit: Terrence Antonio James / Chicago Tribune / MCT