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Rodan Dork
11/16/20 8:59 a.m.

In reply to ddavidv :

One of those Royal Enfields had a record at a buddy's dyno shop back when I was racing bikes.

The guy with the Enfield was the friend of a guy who had his drag Harley on the dyno and had showed up to watch.  The H-D blew up on the dyno, so just for fun we rolled up the Enfield and strapped it down.  It put down 18.5hp... the lowest HP my buddy ever saw on that dyno.  But it didn't blow up... cheeky

93EXCivic MegaDork
11/16/20 9:22 a.m.

My Honda Element. I bought it wanting something with rear seats, reliable and practical as well as an automatic in case I injured myself mountain biking. It kind of sucks to drive and it doesn't get the greatest gas mileage. But the practicality and clever touches of it just blow me away every time and make me wonder why more small suvs haven't taken it as inspiration.

aircooled MegaDork
11/16/20 10:50 a.m.
spandak said:

In reply to amg_rx7 (Forum Supporter) :

I don't think I've ever heard of someone calling a rotary reliable...

Uhm... what?  Clearly you have never talked to anyone with an un-boosted 12a or 13b (they made a LOT of them).

Tom1200 Dork
11/16/20 11:01 a.m.

My Datsun 1200 I bought it for $270 and sold it to a friend the next day because I deemed it ugly and unworthy. We did a road trip about a year later and I was blown away by how much hooligan fun you could have in a 68hp car.  We started autocrossing in it in 89 and took it road racing in 91 and I still enjoy driving it despite having race cars that are 15-30 seconds a lap faster.   At most tracks it's 8-10 seconds a lap slower than the Spec Miata lap record but it's just so much fun to 4 wheel drift everywhere.

Powar (Forum Supporter)
Powar (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
11/16/20 11:08 a.m.

BG Protege. So much so that I've had two of them and would absolutely love to have another if the right condition/price/location combo popped up. I don't regret selling the previous two since doing so allowed me to play with some other fun stuff, but both my wife and I really do miss the second one.

LopRacer Dork
11/16/20 12:02 p.m.

2008 Honda Fit (not the boy although he is also a pleasant surprise and I still have him too) originally purchased at my behest for my wife to drive and really lean three pedals. I have inherited and it is every bit as fun as my old 80's Civic and CRX. Honda captured the fun of driving again.

RACEC4R New Reader
11/16/20 12:07 p.m.

1990 Nissan 240SX

I originally bought it due to being such a great deal, and planned to flip it back in 2008/09(ish).  But kind of fell in love with how clean it was (funny how clean cars give you such a good ownership experience). 

It has proved a competent autocross, daily, and HPDE car in all of its many forms and engine combinations.  I had planned on going upmarket and getting a GTR or a 996 Turbo, but I just can't seem to part with the 240. Hard to part with something that works so well, can drive 9 months out of the year, is long paid off, turns heads, and skeet skeets with about anything else on the road today.  Not to mention it is how I met @Robbie at autocross!

It has had its current  HCI LS/T56 powertrain for the last 5 years, and it has been the best money I have ever spent on a car in my entire life.  I have yet to fix anything really (outside of design flaws that I personally committed). Car makes 435whp/450wtq.  Without AWD its about as much as can be driven on the street without running the Drag Radials daily.

Doubt I'll ever get rid of it unless it gets rid of me, which has been a pleasant surprise!

bobzilla MegaDork
11/16/20 12:10 p.m.

We've had a few really great little people movers. Probably the first big surprise was the 2000 Accent GL sedan we bought for the wife to finish her masters. She was putting 100 miles a day, 4 days a week and 75 on the off day. 475 miles a week. We paid $2k for it with 105k miles. Put a new wheel bearing. She drove it daily for 7 years, we put an additional 150k miles on it and sold it for $1100. AC was still cold, engine ran great. All in that car literally cost us pennies to own per mile. After the springs/struts and new tires it was a true momentum machine. Never lift was it's motto.

The second was the 2010 Forte SX. Unbelievable car. Did everything well. Still regret selling it. 

Third is Tubey. God I love that little E36 M3box. I didnt like them when they were new. I made fun of them mercilessly. I was wrong.


mtnbiker4evr13 New Reader
11/24/20 1:34 p.m.

79 CJ7. My dad was supposed to buy it, he had many growing up and an 84 on 38.5 Boggers when I was young for local mud trails. Saw in the craigslist ad that it had a T18 transmission shifter (granny low 4 speed which is very rare in CJs). Rust wasn't bad and was very original but no power brakes or steering so he backed out. 

I picked it up to flip, sell the T18 and then sell the rest of the jeep. But then I drove it offroad and really enjoyed it. Mind you, I am a Toyota/Samurai guy so the Jeep thing is to be made fun of... but this one is cool. Been to Moab, Ouray, Potts Mtn in VA, Slade KY etc. 

buzzboy Dork
11/24/20 3:20 p.m.

I'm a huge fan of the T18. It's about as agricultural as they come but the gearing works really well offroad. What winch is that? Also, really like your tire fitment.

frenchyd PowerDork
11/24/20 3:28 p.m.
ddavidv said:

Just slightly OT, I bought this 2007 Royal Enfield Bullet with the engine apart as a cheap project.

1955 technology and riding experience still made into the 2000s. Which means it's both awful and buckets of fun. Owning this makes exactly no sense but it's the bike I will grab for a quick after-work jaunt around the local back roads.  I've become so enamored of it and the brand I wrote a book about this one and just bought a 1964 Interceptor.

It was in the later 60's I bought a Royal Enfield 750 TT interceptor. I can't tell you how much I loved that bike. But I did some things that the police really didn't like and was told by a friendly police officer that next time I was caught I would do jail time. 
I reluctantly sold it. 
     Still check the ads looking for one.  

mtnbiker4evr13 New Reader
11/24/20 7:39 p.m.
buzzboy said:

I'm a huge fan of the T18. It's about as agricultural as they come but the gearing works really well offroad. What winch is that? Also, really like your tire fitment.

I basically built it around the patina"d original steel wheels every one ditched first thing for craigers or modulars. T18 makes it a trail rig, everything else is more subtle. Wide track axles,Full float AMC 20 rear end, with locker, front locker, dual diaphragm boosted brakes, 4 turn steering box, full cage etc.. 

Winch is a 70s era Warn 8274. Cut the mount to look like the Jeep factory option winch mount of the day. That old winch is also a pleasant surprise, turns out holding 150ft of cable and fast line speed is awesome!

MrFancypants Reader
11/24/20 9:43 p.m.

22 years ago when I started earning enough money that I could start thinking about playing with cars I never imagined that I'd end up holding onto a FWD hot hatch.  I always wanted to go as fast as I could for the amount of money I had to spend with dreams of Corvettes and RX-7's.

11 years later I still enjoy tinkering with and driving this car, which has been surprisingly reliable and has never left me stranded.  The only major repair I've needed to lay out cash for was the air conditioner, and given that I've lived far enough south to need to run it every time I drive it I consider it fair.

JohnnyBquick Reader
11/24/20 11:11 p.m.

My daily driver. 189,000 miles with only an alternator gone bad. Dependable and just a nice driver.

TheRX7Project HalfDork
11/25/20 7:54 a.m.

1995 Escort wagon. It was a beater with crappy heat and surprisingly good A/C. For $400 I got to drive it for 2 years.

I suppose my RX7 fits this category as well. I never thought I'd still enjoy it 12 years later. I can't believe it's been 12 years.

TheRX7Project HalfDork
11/25/20 7:56 a.m.

In reply to Powar (Forum Supporter) :

I had a BG for a while also, it was a decent car. Mine was only a SOHC, same color as yours (weren't they all either this teal color or white?). Over 200k on the clock when the CV joints started making horrible sounds and I decided to let her go and get something newer.

gunner (Forum Supporter)
gunner (Forum Supporter) GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
11/25/20 8:28 a.m.


I bought this in 2001 because I was selling toyotas and the 1999 civic I had was already over 100,000 miles so I figured I could get a new car with no miles and represent toyota at the same time. What I didn't figure on was how fun the car was to drive. Funny story, I wanted an "S" model, fully aware it was just an option package basically. I wanted that dark blue color, and having access to the inventory sheets for the whole sector I found one in South Dakota with a manual transmission(the one must have not negotiable option.) I was all prepared to drive up and get it when I found a silver manual S on the sheet. I traced over to where it delivered, and it was at the lot I was working at already, so I bought it instead, with 3 miles on the odometer. Long story short, I still have it, and it will absolutely double any yellow suggested curve speed sign in the area. It's still slow, with the original engine but it still handles as well as it did when I was racing autocross with it back in the mid 2000's. 232,000 miles currently and right now I plan to keep it till its at least 20 years old, but probably longer.

scooterfrog Reader
11/25/20 8:58 a.m.

I just read both of these threads and i am not surprised at all.

the expected tot love but hated run towards high power cars that people found heavy and uninspiring except in a straight line.

the unexpected to love cars run towards light cheap cars that end up being fun.  (excerption, cars that end up on the track.


about 4 years ago i asked what made a fun car,  for me i realized it was light, dynamic.  i have had xjs (2 light for what it is)  loved  buicks hated Hondas,  92 accord loved, 2008 accord v6 HATED,  passat wagon (liked when it ran)  e36  (mixed)  early rabbit (loved)  mini cooper s ('12) saab 99 and 900 loved 9000 meh

i like my daughters 2008 corolla would be better with a 5 speed.


i think it woudl be easier to make a light care quick enough  mor easily that it would to make a heavier care handle wel enough to be fun



Tom1200 Dork
11/25/20 10:32 a.m.

So on single seaters I initially get excited about driving them but then the reality of maintenance intervals set in and I get tired of them and off they go.  The F500 has been a pleasant surprise. I've now had it for 6 years and the fun of the weird little car hasn't worn off. I enjoy just as much at autocross as I do vintage racing.

Steve New Reader
11/25/20 11:18 a.m.

My 2003 Vibe GT that I bought as what I later learned was semi-basket case condition for 750$. But, still drove it home, so maybe not that bad.

It's like a modern day B13 SE-R of which I have fond memories of, without the limited slip, but with cupholders, side air bags, a hatchback, latch anchors, another gear, and obviously, rear doors.

I figured for the price, I couldn't lose. I had to put a lot of time into it (6th gear, clutch, VC gasket, timing cover gasket, chain tensioner o-ring, basic stage zero stuff etc.). Looks like a very boring, bug like early 2000's NUMMI product, but it never ceases to amaze me how pedestrian it can be around town or sitting on the cruise control while commuting, but then how absolutely dialed in the drive can be when you stretch it's legs . Tight, direct steering, more lateral traction than should be allowed with the all season tires on there, an off throttle intake burble, and enough power to get yourself into a whole lot of trouble, that is, if anybody cared about the gray plastic cladded Pontiac with a bike rack on the back. 

It's been the home base for lots of muddy adventures with my toddler, a spot to have a post MTB ride beer, while also satisfying my desire for a high revving Toyota powerplant. Wins across the board!


DeadSkunk  (Warren)
DeadSkunk (Warren) PowerDork
11/25/20 11:55 a.m.

My wife's 2006 Scion xB. Zero excitement level ,extremely practical, comfortable, and it's been the least costly car to maintain that I've ever owned. One dealer repair for the cam sensor and I think (not sure) I did the front brakes once. It's still on all original suspension and exhaust and shows no rust, which is pretty good for Michigan. Other than that, it's on the 2nd set of summer tires and a 2nd set of snows. The phrase "as dependable as gravity" certainly fits.

Edit: ....and it was $16,400 out the door.

Pete. (l33t FS)
Pete. (l33t FS) GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
11/25/20 2:22 p.m.
aircooled said:
spandak said:

In reply to amg_rx7 (Forum Supporter) :

I don't think I've ever heard of someone calling a rotary reliable...

Uhm... what?  Clearly you have never talked to anyone with an un-boosted 12a or 13b (they made a LOT of them).

Yep... the RX-7 12As were good for about 250k, give or take fifty.  Usually longer than the chassis lasted unless you were in the southwest, or northwest, especially if you removed the rear sway bar, which allowed the geometric bind in the rear suspension to rip the upper links off the tub.


Something like six million 12A RX-7s.  Solid mechanicals (it's largely the same as Miata) and good dynamics.  Just replace the fuel filter and spark plugs more frequently than "never".

This thing is the most fun I've had in a car at under 50mph ever.

Jay_W SuperDork
11/25/20 8:08 p.m.

My bride's 2011 C300 4matic. I thought it was gonna be horribly dull and boring but it has enough go to what is asked of it, it corners amazingly flat and competently, it's practical and civilized and atomic bomb proof dead nuts reliable. That last bit has been the ongoing biggest and most endearing surprise. I've done, cor unscheduled maintenence, headlamp bulbs, and secondary air pump. That's it.

calteg Dork
11/25/20 8:26 p.m.

Surprisingly loved my first gen Fit. Tossable, practical, could nudge near 40mpg highway. I thought I'd love my second gen but absolutely hated it and sold it within a few months.


I drove a well maintained Suzuki Aerio (digital tach!) and loved it...not enough to own one, but it was pleasantly surprising. 

Loved the driving dyanmics of my Elise, but staring at the lug nuts of every pickup/SUV at stop lights was a little unnerving. Also knowing that any damage to the clam shells were going to total the car killed it for track use, and I was constantly paranoid about being rear ended at stop lights

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