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Slow(er) cars

JSG1901 JSG1901
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 02/09
Posted: 02/01/09
04:40 AM

Just finished reading Preston Lerner's "The Joy of Slow" and I just wanted to say I agree with him. Back in the late 80's I had a brutally-fast 911--basically a street-legal race car--that was very fun to drive except you couldn't push anywhere near its limits for more than a few seconds without being entirely too deep into go-to-jail-go-directly-to-jail territory.

On the track, it was brilliant. Everywhere else, awful. Too fast, too brutal. You could outrun anybody but you couldn't enjoy it.

Some years later, I had a Boxster S. Much less capable, much more fun. You could actually use the performance every day. You had time to savor running it up through the gears. You could slide it around entrance ramps. THAT was a great and fun car.

Recently, I counseled a friend into not buying a 911 GT3 or Turbo and, instead, getting "only" a new Carrera S, for the same reason. Granted, the Carrera S is probably close to the capabilities of my old honking 911 back in the day, but the GT3 and the Turbo? Great cars, but you'll need a race track.

I keep looking at old Miatas thinking, "there's a little extra room in the driveway...."  

dbgrubbs dbgrubbs
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 02/09
Posted: 02/01/09
03:57 PM

Fantastic read. My wife and friends have never understood my car selection. At present I own a 1991 BMW 318is and a 1987 Alfa Romeo Milano. Neither are fast cars but both push my buttons just right. I've owned a long line of "not so fast" cars. My favorites have always had a bit of character and were a challenge to drive at their limits. This article explains my feelings for my cars much better than I've been doing for the past 30 years!!!

Now, back to the next Alfa project car!  

MarkHiatt MarkHiatt
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 02/09
Posted: 02/12/09
01:37 PM

I loved Lerner's piece on The Joy of Slow.

Through the middle 1970s, I drove a 1973 Volkswagen Sport Bug. This was the first of the limited-edition Beetles VW built, milking that old sedan until the Rabbit would arrive. It was sort of precursor to the modern GTi. It was a standard Super Beetle, with an around-the-back-and-down-the-sides racing stripe, featuring Porsche 914 wheels slightly wider than stock, Racemark fat steering wheel and Recaro-style seats and blacked-out chrome. They only came in two colors. Mine was that particular shade of silvery-blue, Marathon Blue they called it, that looks so good on German cars. There was nothing done to the engine, transmission, suspension or heater to make it a better or faster car.

So like any other Super Beetle of the day, it had a top speed aero-limited to under ninety miles per hour. Later SunBug and other editions were likely slightly faster than the Sport Bug, owing to their narrower wheels. With literally dozens of horsepower on tap, you could do anything with the car and never get into too much trouble. Very often mashing the throttle resulted in almost no additional acceleration or speed--things just got louder. But it was a great car to learn energy conservation in the way fighter pilots use the term. Once you built up a good head of steam you didn't want to do anything to disturb it. I learned more from driving that car hard than any other car I have ever owned.

A friend of mine at the time drove a 1974 Corvette and once told me that he was envious of me and my 'Beetle. He said he would get out on the highway at 55mph and was just bored, knowing he was getting only about three-tenths out of his car, whereas I routinely drove my Sport Bug at six-tenths and eight-tenths of its capability and nearly always had fun doing so. For sure, it's a lot more work, challenge and fun driving a slow car fast than it is driving a fast car slow.  

OlderNow OlderNow
New User | Posts: 1 | Joined: 02/09
Posted: 02/13/09
05:56 PM

Lerner's article was great. The car I drove the longest was a 1971 BMW 2002 for ten years. Like people are saying, you could use a lot of it's performance potential in routine driving and be responsible and mostly ticket-free. I've owned a number of cars. Had an Acura 3.0 CL coupe which was great for early morning commute lead-footing it to work on a sparesly populated freeway and an absolute pain to drive in stoplight to stoplight urban traffic.

I went to an auto show last week and took a quick look at an Infiniti G37 sedan. I politely asked the sales guy what people were going to do with 328 bhp and he just smiled an rolled his eyes.  

Edward A. Sanchez Edward A. Sanchez
User | Posts: 211 | Joined: 06/06
Posted: 02/18/09
10:53 AM

I can relate. I have a Mazda Protege5. Not the fastest car I've owned. (That would be a GTI VR6) but I have a coilover suspension on it, and performance wheels & tires. The most fun I have with it is getting on on-ramps, and getting off off-ramps. Straight-line, not so much. Like the saying goes, "it's more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow."  

PhillyJake PhillyJake
New User | Posts: 43 | Joined: 10/07
Posted: 02/24/09
02:49 PM

My not-so-fast car was a '96 G20.

I'm just wondering how they do this piece without a blurb by Kittman?  

aaa911 aaa911
New User | Posts: 7 | Joined: 11/10
Posted: 11/07/10
03:34 AM

I also want to know more information on car-related  

ChristopherModel42 ChristopherModel42
New User | Posts: 5 | Joined: 01/11
Posted: 01/25/11
08:45 PM

So if you had 15K to spend, what would you buy and what modest mods would you have done to it to make it fun?  What are today's sleeper fun slow cars?  

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