THE MAN: E.W. "Skip" Finley Jr., 42-year-old president and general manager of urban-contemporary-formatted WKYS-FM (93.9) and self-described "middle-aged adolescent." THE CAR: A black 1987 Buick Grand National -- one of fewer than 21,000 built -- bearing D.C. license plate "VADER." COST: $16,500, used, in January 1989. HOW IT HANDLES: "You gotta be in this sucker when you light the candle. You will grin ear to ear. You feel like you're in a jet fighter. Your head snaps back, and the blood runs from your toes to your forehead. You can feel the G-forces in your chest." SPECIFICATIONS: "Just over 300 horsepower with a turbo, a special rear for more torque, a trick air scoop and high performance shocks. And it does zero to 60 in 4.9 seconds."

FINLEY'S MODIFICATIONS: Removing the dashboard microchip that cut off fuel flow at 126 mph, increasing top speed to an estimated 155 mph. BOAST: "The only cars that will beat me are the Corvette ZR-1s. I can take down all the 'I' cars -- Ferrari, Lamborghini, Maserati -- in zero to 100. Anywhere. Anytime."

SOUND SYSTEM: Standard General Motors AM/FM with cassette stereo, occasionally heard to crank out the Who's "Pinball Wizard." Favorite radio station: WKYS. But preset buttons also fixed on rock stations DC101 and WCXR-FM. REACTION FROM FELLOW MOTORISTS: "You pull up alongside them at a light, and they look over expecting to see a long-haired suburban white kid. But they see a middle-aged black guy in a square business suit. The look is priceless." FINLEY'S OUTLOOK ON LIFE: "You can't do what I do for a living and take yourself too seriously." FINLEY'S MEMORY OF GIVING WKYS MORNING HOST DONNIE SIMPSON A RIDE: "He left fingerprints on the dashboard. He won't ride with me anymore!" SIMPSON'S MEMORY OF THE RIDE: "It was pretty frightening. I certainly wouldn't drive like that down Van Ness with ice on the street. At 11 in the morning. No one does that! He really should be taken off the streets. He's a wild man." SIMPSON'S SECOND THOUGHT: "Maybe it was to let me know who was in control."