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.
State Route 76 (Missouri)
Located in southwest Missouri between U.S. Route 60 and U.S. Route 63 at Willow Springs and the Oklahoma state line near Tiff City, State Road 76 is 200 miles of ups and downs. Since the road runs through the Missouri Ozarks, it is very hilly. And, while it does have some hairpin turns, it mostly consists of big sweepers, so you can build up quite a head of steam. The scenery is also spectacular. Much of the time you are driving under a canopy of oak and maple trees, which means the road can be treacherous in late fall. Head here in summer and hit the gas.
Credit: T. Rob Brown / The Joplin Globe / AP