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mad_machine
mad_machine MegaDork
8/30/18 7:49 p.m.

Both my 318ti and the Abarth. The first time I took a corner in the Ti, I finally understood all the fuss about BMW 3 series cars.

The Abarth.. none of the videos I watched made me realize what a eager little license ruining machine it would be

Cotton
Cotton PowerDork
8/30/18 8:25 p.m.

My 87 930.  I bought it with a ppi,  but without driving it.  I had owned a non turbo 911 for 17 years prior to buying the turbo and I was blown away.  It’s just a beast....paper numbers do not do these cars justice.  It’s really something you have to experience.

My 360 Modena.  The first time I took it down some country roads.  Listening to the engine with the windows down,  hearing the clink of the gated shifter while rowing through the gears.  That car gave me chills.

There are others,  but those two really stand out.

 

 

Floating Doc
Floating Doc HalfDork
8/30/18 8:33 p.m.

I had learned to drive in VW vans, drove some beetles and my 60 Plymouth Suburban wagon, when at age 16 I got to drive a 1953 xk120 with a freshly restored drive train. 

It had a surprising amount of body roll; I suspect that the suspension hadn't been addressed yet. Still, amazing balance in turns, and oh, that engine! 

We got on the interstate coming home, and as I pulled out onto the highway from the entrance ramp, the owner said, "Leave it in third." The faster it went, it seemed like the harder it pulled. 

I few years later I drove a 69 Plymouth GTX, 440 six pack, 4 speed. Burned an entire tank of gas in two hours, without even hammering the throttle. At least not very many times.wink

I expected it to have a lot of torque, but it really was a beast.

I had a 79 LTD (the first year panther) that I drove my last year on the horse track, all through college and vet school, and for another 3 years. I went through a couple of builds, ended up with a 302 with ported E7 heads, Holly carb, Edelbrock intake, comp cam, crane roller rockers, headman headers, and a built C4 with a wide ratio gear set. 

I junkyard scrounged the P71 suspension parts and speedometer, had it painted and installed some bucket seats from a cougar. I thought it was pretty good, for what it was. 

Then I bought an actual P71. It was a 95 so I jumped forward a lot on the engineering. The old LTD would flatten off after 100, even with the built engine, but the 95 would pull way beyond where I was willing to go.

My next trip to the auction, I met a mechanic from thge county, turned out that it was the car the Sheriff's department used as their "chase car." I had wondered why they were replacing the tires every 8,000 miles. 

Finally, I have to agree with some of the other posts... Miata. 

irish44j
irish44j UltimaDork
8/30/18 8:34 p.m.

My 924S. When I bought it I figured it would look cool and be ok in a clunky 80s kind of way to drive. Because in my experience, all those cars that I found so cool in the 80s turned out to be mild letdowns (e30, XJ Cherokee, and some others). But the 924S has turned out to be far and away my favorite car to drive of any car I've ever owned (including my GT6, 300hp WRX, and e30). I really like to drive it anyplace.....highway cruising, twisty woodland roads, or just around town. Too bad it has vintage plates so I have to keep the driving to "occasional pleasure driving" per Virginia law :)

I love the torquey big-4, the smooth high-speed manners, the complete inability to make it slip in any kind of cornering with the big grippy tires on it, . And now that I have a non-stock steering wheel on it, I love the steering feel as well. The WRX is set up perfecly after a decade of work, and is totally intuitive and never surprises me. But the Porsche is just so well-balanced and well-mannered it's both fun and relaxing to drive at the same time. There's a reason that almost everyone I know who has a 924/944 has more than one of them in driving condition. And it's not "to have a parts car" ;)

 

 

Toebra
Toebra HalfDork
8/30/18 8:50 p.m.

1998 Integra GSR Sedan- Did everything I wanted, 8000 rpm redline and 4 doors, handled better than I thought a front wheel drive car could.  Very sporty, but practically invisible in white with a trunk.

 

2.0 914-Best handling car I have ever driven.  You can feel every detail of the road through the steering wheel, and the entire world is rotating around your right back pocket.  How you can generate a decent amount of lateral G on bicycle tires?  Put them on a 914.

sevenracer
sevenracer Reader
8/30/18 10:22 p.m.

Recently rented a Gen 3 spec racer ford.  First purpose built race car i have driven, and man everything was just so right.  The steering, the shifting, the brakes, the engine note.  Always wanted to try one.  Was not disappointed.  Makes my 2300 lb race rx7 feel like a pig!

spandak
spandak Reader
8/30/18 11:57 p.m.

The latest gen Mazda 6 blew me away. It’s not anything special on paper but it felt so balanced and competent for a big 4 door sedan with a small 4 cylinder. It’s a perfect daily 

frenchyd
frenchyd SuperDork
8/31/18 3:30 a.m.

In reply to nderwater :

My AHA moment came when I drove my first  Jaguar XKE. Up until that moment I had read about them and lusted after one but as the auction ended and I paid my money I’d never even sat in one. 

The first surprise is the key did nothing but turn the car on. You had to push the starter button. Sounds so simple but set up the ritual. Key in  flick it on, slide the choke lever down according to the weather and how recently it’d been run and then the moments pause as you touched the starter button.  

Properly tuned up it burst into running instantly settling down to its idle speed without any fussyness as if to say,”OK I’m ready, let’s go”

This was the new 4.2 with the full syncro  gear box and it just snicked into gear, unlike the older Moss box with it’s non syncro first gear that required you to slide it into 2nd before dropping it back into first with either a clunk or a bit of grind depending on your finesse. 

The first actual sensation was sliding over the wide door sills.  Sills that while they afforded an awkward entry did such a nice job of snugging you into the seat. ( also women in Minnie skirts could not help but expose a lot of leg and maybe more getting in) 

The Convertible with the top down, you could just drop in but the fastback required you to sort of fold yourself in half and insert unfolding as you sat down. 

The thin wooden steering wheel and those Smiths gauges spread across the dash with that neat row of switches to control with a casual flick as you learned what each did gave such a feeling of a fighter jet cockpit, armed and ready.  

Steering was light enough but no power steering. Not that you felt the need of it. Even completely parked the steering wheel turned easy enough.  Just a light pull back and the parking brake clicked off. No need to push a button or release anything.. Pull back and you were done with that, let it drop. 

Everything just screamed of quality, finesse, and class, while being beautiful and elegant.   The chrome wire wheels sparkled as they lightly danced over the bumps in the road without jarring or bouncing the occupants. All the while providing smooth, yet astonishing phenomenal cornering power. 

Braking  pulled the car down from any  speed in short order without fuss or fade.  But the real Joy was that lovely engine. Quickly accelerating to speeds only race cars had been capable of previously.  While remaining smooth and dignified.  No  drama, no fuss, just elegant competence. 

While the design had been out for over 4 years at this point and had been developed from an 11 year old style of the first D Type  it never failed to get a stare or look of admiration.  

Life doesn't  afford many such moments, but my first Jaguar  XKE  was  exactly that

ddavidv
ddavidv PowerDork
8/31/18 6:35 a.m.

E30 BMW. Why did I wait so long to get one?

Early Porsche 911. Difficult to drive well but when you get it right...oh man.

S197 Mustang. This was a big one for me as I had lusted for one of these cars for ten years. I was certain it would suck, coming as I did from a Euro car world. But it didn't/doesn't. I could drive this car for the rest of my days and be happy. Yes, there are some things that are mildly annoying but overall it is just a really nice package.

Sanchinguy
Sanchinguy Reader
8/31/18 7:02 a.m.

Honda CRX Si.  My aunt bought one because she thought it was “cute”.  The test drive was a revelation - so good...

dean1484
dean1484 MegaDork
8/31/18 7:07 a.m.
84FSP said:

A C5 Z06 Vette back in 2001.  Was just amazed that it was so well balanced and amazingly fast.  As a fwd euro car kid it was a mind blowing experience.  

I second this. 

Brian
Brian MegaDork
8/31/18 8:02 a.m.

6th gen V6 Accord. My first taste of “power” in a world previously capped at 150-160HP.  The surprise came to me the first time I put my foot down to make a pass on a 2 lane road. Thinking it was like the Vulcan powered Taurus it replaced, I gave it all it had and hoped for the best.  It immediately dropped 2 gears, hit V-Tech and before I knew what happened I was doing 90 in a 55.  The the engine sung, but was not overbearing. The push was unexpected, but the total feel was as smooth and composed as cruising at 60.  It was deceptive. I later theorized that it would have eaten interstate miles at triple digit speeds with no more drama, but I never felt like risking my license to find out. 

A total opposite of the the mustang I described in the “other” discussion. 

gearheadmb
gearheadmb SuperDork
8/31/18 8:17 a.m.
¯\_(ツ)_/¯ said:

S197 Mustang GT Premium- I expected another clunky Mustang with some gimmicky interior bits, but found myself in a legitimately a fun to drive, decently quick, comfy, nice place to spend time.

This. I hated being in every mustang since the mustang 2. I went in expecting crap, but I loved the s197. Even if you take away the power and handling, these are just nice cars to be in. Comfortable, good seating position, good visibility, good ergonomics. Plus they brought back being easy to work on. 

Then I drove a shelby version of the s197. All the stuff I said above except it has so much power you are constantly aware that the car is ready and willing to murder you. It's the reason I wasn't even a little surprised by all the videos of people wiping out in them. Normal people don't have the talent to drive one of those in anger.

flatlander937
flatlander937 HalfDork
8/31/18 8:47 a.m.

Jaguar F-Type R... I thought they looked cool and sounded good from videos/etc... But dear God in real life it's nuts. One came through work and needed an ABS light diagnosed so took it on a test drive.

It took several weeks to shake the want/lust after driving that car. Spent a long time trying to justify buying one I really can't afford (even used). The exhaust note those things make is pants-tighteningly incredible. They look awesome too of course.

 

A few weeks ago we had one show up for our club Dyno Day... Bone stock put down 490whp... And sounded amazing doing it.

Curtis
Curtis UltimaDork
8/31/18 9:04 a.m.

Early 911 turbo.  Still air cooled.  I forget the year.  In order to mitigate heat issues, they oversized the turbo and boost came on late.  I thought I would hate it, but dang... 4000 rpms and that thing took off.  Gearing ratios were set low and close, so when you were hard on it shifts brought you right back to the sweet spot.  I was impressed with the engineering to get an air cooled motor to live without overheating with a turbo.

Yamaha R6.  I had ridden an R1 and was not impressed.  That was a case of just too much power.  They had to dumb it down with a really small sprocket which made first gear a real pain.  If you lowered the ratio with a different sprocket, then it was just dangerous.  Great for race, not for street.  Then I bought an R6.  THAT was heaven.  I could lay as much of my 200-lb belly over the tank that I could, but at full throttle in first, the front would start to lift at about 9000 rpms.  Light, handled like a dream, sipped fuel, sounded amazing with Yosh pipes.  It was also way more comfy than the CBR it replaced.  I could pretty easily ride 300 miles without much fatigue on the R6, but the CBR puts the exhaust right under your right butt cheek and had next to zero padding on the seat.

Jag XJR 308.  Aside from headroom issues, I have yet to find a better combination of big luxury and performance.  How it was able to hold curves as well as it did and then ride like a marshmallow on the highway was what made me love them.

 

 

bobzilla
bobzilla MegaDork
8/31/18 9:19 a.m.

The FZ-09 was about the only thing I've driven in recent years that exceeded my expectations. Torque for days, 11krpm redline, light, nimble, great brakes. It makes me grin every time I twist the throttle. 

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
8/31/18 9:32 a.m.

I was test-driving cars around 1990 with Mom looking for a new DD.  Moving from 70's American Land Yachts, then to Domestic Crap like Celebrities, we started with the Toyota Tercel EZ...a horrible waste of natural resources.  Then we drove a 1990 Honda Civic DX Sedan.  Wasn't expecting much from this stripper (the car, not mom) with no A/C, no radio and no passenger side-view mirror. But man what a riot to drive!  Light, peppy, simple and straightforward.  Had I driven the Si I probably would have melted.  

759NRNG
759NRNG SuperDork
8/31/18 9:39 a.m.
mazdeuce - Seth said:

I was 100% not ready for the violence that is a second gear roll in the CTS-V. It was beyond anything I could imagine at the time. 

This when I had the opportunity to do the Cadillac driving experience(before they started charging$$$$) at MSR (south of Houston) in the 'V' wagon no less.......oh and having Johnny O'Connel and John 'the rocket' Heinracy present wasn't too shabby...... wink

LanEvo
LanEvo HalfDork
8/31/18 9:49 a.m.

BMW M2 (with carbon brakes and SMG gearbox)

Was invited to the launch at Lime Rock. Did not expect to like it (the M3/4 left me cold).  But it felt like a “real” BMW. If I could justify $60k for a 5th car, it would be mine. 

 

Lancer Evolution

First drove a Lancer Evo VI Tommi Mäkinen Edition in Istanbul in 1999. Completely blown away by the steering feel, explosive acceleration, brakes, and overall dynamics. Ergonomics were perfect for me. The active yaw control was an eye-opener. I was first in line when we finally got an Evo back in 2003. The US-market Evo VIII was watered down compared to the “6.5 TME” I drove, but it still had the same DNA. First new car I’ve ever bought ... and I still miss it :(

racerdave600
racerdave600 UltraDork
8/31/18 11:25 a.m.

I've had a few over the years, but the couple that stand out are the BMW 1M, and the original Miata.

I was pretty much an Alfa snob when the Miata was launched and of course thought they were just cute little cars, not with the Alfa prestige of course.  One drive changed all of that and I've owned maybe a dozen over the years.  

When I bought my Fiat 600D, I absolutely wasn't expecting it to be as much fun to drive.  You expect it from higher end cars, but not something as lowly as a 600.  It wasn't fast by any measure, but I haven't owned many cars as fun.

buzzboy
buzzboy Reader
8/31/18 12:01 p.m.
gearheadmb said:

This. I hated being in every mustang since the mustang 2. I went in expecting crap, but I loved the s197. Even if you take away the power and handling, these are just nice cars to be in. Comfortable, good seating position, good visibility, good ergonomics. Plus they brought back being easy to work on. 

Then I drove a shelby version of the s197. All the stuff I said above except it has so much power you are constantly aware that the car is ready and willing to murder you. It's the reason I wasn't even a little surprised by all the videos of people wiping out in them. Normal people don't have the talent to drive one of those in anger.

I've driven a bunch of Mustangs but only one S197 and they've all been great except the 2004 V6/Auto. My favorite though has been the 2004 Mach 1, closely followed by the 2001 Cobra. I found the Terminator to be a bit too much car on the street however the one I drove was putting down 690whp. The owner wanted to hear what it sounded like from the outside so I pulled onto the road and the tires started spinning at 1/4 throttle in 2nd gear. I gave the keys back soon after.

Nathan JansenvanDoorn
Nathan JansenvanDoorn Dork
8/31/18 7:46 p.m.

Probably similar to many here:

Mazda Miata- I vividly remember  the way the line could be slightly adjusted on an on ramp with small throttle movement.

BMW E36 M3 4 door. steering. Loved it. Needed work when purchased, but still a great car. Miss this one.

Porsche 964. Everything. Smells, sound, different steering and brake feel than anything else I’ve Driven, checking the oil only when hot (huh?). Weird, fun.

e30 325i. Great balance and sound. Paid nearly nothing for it as my first foray into BMW. 

Neon acr 1g with good alignment and moose rear bar. These cars are a hoot.

Fiesta ST - fun, economical dd

Floating Doc
Floating Doc HalfDork
8/31/18 8:33 p.m.
buzzboy said:
gearheadmb said:

This. I hated being in every mustang since the mustang 2. I went in expecting crap, but I loved the s197. Even if you take away the power and handling, these are just nice cars to be in. Comfortable, good seating position, good visibility, good ergonomics. Plus they brought back being easy to work on. 

Then I drove a shelby version of the s197. All the stuff I said above except it has so much power you are constantly aware that the car is ready and willing to murder you. It's the reason I wasn't even a little surprised by all the videos of people wiping out in them. Normal people don't have the talent to drive one of those in anger.

I've driven a bunch of S197s and they've all been great except the 2004 V6/Auto. My favorite though has been the 2004 Mach 1, closely followed by the 2001 Cobra. I found the Terminator to be a bit too much car on the street however the one I drove was putting down 690whp. The owner wanted to hear what it sounded like from the outside so I pulled onto the road and the tires started spinning at 1/4 throttle in 2nd gear. I gave the keys back soon after.

First year of production of the S197 was 2005. Model before that, known as the "new edge" was an SN95. Very different cars.

Linky

Boost_Crazy
Boost_Crazy HalfDork
8/31/18 9:21 p.m.

1990 Eagle Talon AWD- first turbo car I'd driven, first AWD. The power and grip were eye opening.

Stock Evo VIII- was expecting it to drive like a mildly modified DSM, was shocked by how much better it drove. 

Evo VIII part 2- drove the same Evo, on track with a lot more power, brakes, well sorted suspension, on Hoosiers. Expected it to be fast, but also expected it to lose some of the balance and easy to drive traits from stock. Was completely wrong, it was stupid easy to drive ridiculously fast. 

'95 Miata. Pretty much settled on buying it before I drove it. Was not disappointed. Still one of my favorites. 

2009? Shelby Mustang. Was expecting a crude, in your face monster. Was the complete opposite, very easy to drive and underwhelming. Light clutch, predictable throttle response, smooth and relatively quite. Felt slower than it was, the most obvious sign of it's power was the rate that the speedo needle swept across it's face. I was veryimpressed how well they made such a fast car feel normal.  

bmw88rider
bmw88rider SuperDork
8/31/18 9:31 p.m.

In reply to LanEvo :

Hush...:) I've been doing all I can not to smuggle one in and enjoy it. I really think I'll import an Evo III here in a year or 2. Be fun to drive a real one and not a USDM conversion we built in a barn. 

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