What’s Your Favorite Rear-Drive Chassis?

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Dec 18, 2019 | BMW, Formula Drift, Royal Purple

We just got an announcement from Royal Purple about their involvement in Formula Drift as the official oil. Mazel tov all around. 

The release features an E46-chassis BMW set up for drift. So that got us chatting: What is your favorite rear-drive chassis? Is the answer still Miata or is there something else?

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ebonyandivory
ebonyandivory PowerDork
12/18/19 11:13 a.m.

E36/E46 BMW

Big enough for the whole family to enjoy drifting.

 

"Ahhhhhhh, daddy STOP! Dad, people are looking at us! Dad, do it again!)

NickD
NickD PowerDork
12/18/19 11:13 a.m.

Just curious, as someone who follows FD, who was the driver?

Miata is still up there, but I drove an MR-S at an autocross this summer and that thing really got in my head too.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/18/19 11:14 a.m.

In reply to NickD :

You know, the last MR2 is a car that often is overlooked. 

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise Dork
12/18/19 11:15 a.m.

Sw20 MR2.

_
_ Dork
12/18/19 11:28 a.m.

In reply to mr2s2000elise :

Pfff... biased. Lol. 

Dr. Hess
Dr. Hess MegaDork
12/18/19 11:32 a.m.

Stevens Esprit.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
12/18/19 11:59 a.m.

frs

mr2s2000elise
mr2s2000elise Dork
12/18/19 12:05 p.m.

In reply to _ :

smiley

 

Given the $38,000 one sold for on BAT yesterday, and I have two with less than 10k miles, since new, mint, market may be agreeing with me devil

ShawnG
ShawnG PowerDork
12/18/19 12:05 p.m.

So far?

MGA. I can use up absolutely everything it has and still not go to jail.

wearymicrobe
wearymicrobe UberDork
12/18/19 12:13 p.m.

ZB II 2008-2010 Viper. But I am highly biased. 

chaparral
chaparral Dork
12/18/19 12:26 p.m.

Tony Kart 401.

For street use? C5/C6.

Brett_Murphy
Brett_Murphy GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
12/18/19 12:49 p.m.

Apollo rockets.

 

parker
parker Reader
12/18/19 1:00 p.m.

86

thedoc
thedoc GRM+ Memberand Reader
12/18/19 1:09 p.m.

S 197 mustang, better with a  supercharger.  Miata is really good as well.

LanEvo
LanEvo Dork
12/18/19 1:18 p.m.

Based on cars I've owned and/or driven extensively:

  • E30 M3 with "J-stock" suspension
  • 190E 2.3-16 with fresh suspension bushings
  • Lotus Esprit S4S bone-stock

All of those are very neutral and forgiving on the limit.

DirtyBird222
DirtyBird222 UberDork
12/18/19 1:20 p.m.

G-body. 

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/18/19 1:29 p.m.
DirtyBird222 said:

G-body. 

Winner. 

Mndsm
Mndsm MegaDork
12/18/19 1:48 p.m.

Mazda rx8, specifically the shinkas. HorseE36 M3 engine but I've never felt a better chassis. 

JesseWolfe
JesseWolfe Reader
12/18/19 2:10 p.m.

Never driven one, but a Locost.  Everything about the chassis, looks, the bare bones nature of it appeals to me.

spandak
spandak Reader
12/18/19 2:10 p.m.

So far, my Boxster. 
But the R6 powered FSAE car I drove some years ago was epic. 

Fitzauto
Fitzauto Dork
12/18/19 2:20 p.m.

AE86 is my favorite. Both stock and highly modified they are a blast.

NOHOME
NOHOME MegaDork
12/18/19 2:26 p.m.

I learned to drift in the snow in one of these. So from a nostalgia trip point of view, it is the awesome-most RWD.

Nick_440
Nick_440 New Reader
12/18/19 2:28 p.m.

1957-1966 Imperial: Comfy, fast, and good looking. Either that or a Lotus 7 / Caterham.

dps214
dps214 Reader
12/18/19 2:30 p.m.

Anything with the engine in the right place. That's "behind the driver", either side of the rear axle is acceptable for me.  Specific placement depends on what exactly you want out of the car.

SVreX
SVreX MegaDork
12/18/19 2:36 p.m.

Eco boost F-150. 

 

Oh wait...

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE HalfDork
12/18/19 2:50 p.m.

ZZW30 MR2- the Third gen Spyder. Might be one of the greatest driving cars that doesn't cost over $100K.

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
12/18/19 4:45 p.m.

67-72 C10 pickup. Yeah, I said it.

Streetwiseguy
Streetwiseguy MegaDork
12/18/19 4:51 p.m.
Appleseed said:

67-72 C10 pickup. Yeah, I said it.

Damn.  Too late.  I was going to say 2000 Silverado, because it's good at towing my fwd racecars.

buzzboy
buzzboy HalfDork
12/18/19 5:30 p.m.

Mercedes Benz cars feel special. I don't know what it is about the chassis dynamics but every 1970s-1990s MB I've driven has had a unique feel that I can't find anywhere else. So I'm picking my favorite Benz. If they made a diesel C126 I'd choose that but the AMG will have to do.

 

Runner up goes to E36/5

irish44j
irish44j MegaDork
12/18/19 6:01 p.m.

I would love to say E30, but for pure driving Dynamics it doesn't even come close to my 924S. So I would probably have to say something like a 944 S2.....

Patientzero
Patientzero GRM+ Memberand Reader
12/18/19 6:06 p.m.

Nissan S14 chassis.  The S15 is good too but more twitchy and not as easy to drive.

My LS3 might end up in a 240sx at some point if I can find one that isn't rusted and beat to death.

yupididit
yupididit GRM+ Memberand UberDork
12/18/19 6:15 p.m.

987 

NickD
NickD PowerDork
12/18/19 6:21 p.m.
GIRTHQUAKE said:

ZZW30 MR2- the Third gen Spyder. Might be one of the greatest driving cars that doesn't cost over $100K.

I drove one this summer and they are soooo good. I immediately hit craigslist/Facebook marketplace to find one. 

nderwater
nderwater UltimaDork
12/18/19 6:26 p.m.
yupididit said:

987 

As a 987 driver I was going to say Miata, lol, but the real answer here is Ferrari.

LanEvo
LanEvo Dork
12/18/19 8:07 p.m.

In reply to buzzboy :

Benz does "big coupes" like nobody else. I ran a C124 chassis 300E-24 as a daily for a couple of years. Stock except for H&R Sports springs and KYB dampers. Loved that car

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
12/18/19 8:26 p.m.
NickD said:
GIRTHQUAKE said:

ZZW30 MR2- the Third gen Spyder. Might be one of the greatest driving cars that doesn't cost over $100K.

I drove one this summer and they are soooo good. I immediately hit craigslist/Facebook marketplace to find one. 

I sure love mine. It's so much lighter than the 2nd gen it's a completely different vehicle. Also way lighter than comparable Miatas of the time, so even with similar power output they're faster. They're also wayyyy less practical, having zero trunk, basically no frunk, and a cubby behind the seats that is hard to access and small.

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke UltraDork
12/18/19 8:50 p.m.
SVreX said:

Eco boost F-150. 

 

Oh wait...

Is she a great big fat person? #silenceofthelambs

Mike
Mike GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
12/18/19 10:11 p.m.

mad_machine
mad_machine GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/18/19 10:52 p.m.

I agree that the E36/46 should up there. I will also add the Alfa 116 and the Porsche 901

Appleseed
Appleseed MegaDork
12/19/19 1:09 a.m.

In reply to Mike :

Mike wins at everything. Forever. He's now a made man. Untouchable.

 

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
12/19/19 6:41 a.m.

Spitfire.  Because every other RWD car I've driven requires "go to jail" speed to be fun.  

dropstep
dropstep UltraDork
12/19/19 6:52 a.m.

Foxbody , but the disclaimer is I'll I've ever done Motorsport wise is drag race 

Mazdax605
Mazdax605 UberDork
12/19/19 9:08 a.m.

I know it's not a great chassis compared to others listed, but I love my 79 SA22C RX-7. Light, sorta nimble, and stupidly simple. Coupled with a rev happy magic spinning Dorito engine, it feels just right.

captdownshift
captdownshift GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
12/19/19 9:16 a.m.

Chassis, just chassis and nothing else about it, the RX8 is pretty special. 

zordak
zordak Reader
12/19/19 9:20 a.m.

I don't care what most people think, I favor GM F body cars. Haven't driven the vette enough have an opinion yet.

pinchvalve
pinchvalve MegaDork
12/19/19 9:21 a.m.

I had an AW11 MR2 and did not prefer the handling to the FWD Civics that came before it. My only other RWD experience (outside of vans and suvs) has been in 70's domestic iron. So my favorite RWD chassis is the 1977 Impala.

This is how pathetic my life is. I have never even driven a Miata. Have mercy on my soul.

TheV8Kid
TheV8Kid Dork
12/19/19 9:23 a.m.

I know everybody was thinking it, so I thought I would just come out and say it. The answer to that question can only be... Studebaker Lark.

Curtis
Curtis GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
12/19/19 1:36 p.m.
DirtyBird222 said:

G-body. 

[/thread]

Not a performance chassis in stock form, but so easy to make it wonderful.

Curtis
Curtis GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
12/19/19 1:39 p.m.
buzzboy said:

Mercedes Benz cars feel special. I don't know what it is about the chassis dynamics but every 1970s-1990s MB I've driven has had a unique feel that I can't find anywhere else. So I'm picking my favorite Benz. If they made a diesel C126 I'd choose that but the AMG will have to do.

 

Runner up goes to E36/5

I always appreciated the fact that my W210 handled very capably and still rode like a Camry.  How they make it so compliant and cushy and quiet yet still be fun in the corners amazed me.

rslifkin
rslifkin UltraDork
12/19/19 1:43 p.m.
Curtis said:

I always appreciated the fact that my W210 handled very capably and still rode like a Camry.  How they make it so compliant and cushy and quiet yet still be fun in the corners amazed me.

I've always taken that to be a mark of good chassis design.  XJ40 Jags fall into that category and I'd say the E38 7 series is in that realm as well.  I think the keys are low center of gravity, wide track, good suspension and steering geometry.  And then some work to keep unsprung weight reasonable and good spring and shock selection.  Done right, it allows good handling without needing overly stiff suspension to keep things controlled.  Lower unsprung weight and well matched shocks both go a long way to helping ride quality as well.  

KyAllroad (Jeremy)
KyAllroad (Jeremy) UltimaDork
12/19/19 1:57 p.m.

In reply to DirtyBird222 :

https://www.facebook.com/Malibeast/

I've autocrossed this one, you may very well be right.  It's stupid fun.

(and I've autocrossed 20+ various cars including CSP and Monster Miatai)

GIRTHQUAKE
GIRTHQUAKE HalfDork
12/19/19 1:58 p.m.
dculberson said:
NickD said:
GIRTHQUAKE said:

ZZW30 MR2- the Third gen Spyder. Might be one of the greatest driving cars that doesn't cost over $100K.

I drove one this summer and they are soooo good. I immediately hit craigslist/Facebook marketplace to find one. 

I sure love mine. It's so much lighter than the 2nd gen it's a completely different vehicle. Also way lighter than comparable Miatas of the time, so even with similar power output they're faster. They're also wayyyy less practical, having zero trunk, basically no frunk, and a cubby behind the seats that is hard to access and small.

They were- from the start- always meant to be a toy per "MR2: The Complete Story" by Nigel Burton. They are the one car I have never heard of anyone dailying for any length of time.

There's also folks in the fandom who've 2GR swapped theirs, putting 300 horse/300 torque to the wheels through headers and an unlocked ECU. With how light a ZZW30 can be, I can't imagine a car like that.

KyAllroad (Jeremy)
KyAllroad (Jeremy) UltimaDork
12/19/19 2:02 p.m.
captdownshift said:

Chassis, just chassis and nothing else about it, the RX8 is pretty special. 

Since it's just a stretched NC Miata with an extra 500 lbs you may as well go with the roadster.  (which is a pretty fabulous chassis to be fair)

ZOO
ZOO GRM+ Memberand UltraDork
12/19/19 2:48 p.m.

I really love the F87 chassis on my M2.  Stiff, but compliant for the roads around here, and ever so capable on track.

slowbird
slowbird Dork
12/19/19 2:50 p.m.

Obligatory MN12 homer here. I know it's underpowered and overweight and everything else, but I really enjoy driving one of these when it's not broken.

Wizard_Of_Maz
Wizard_Of_Maz Reader
12/19/19 3:25 p.m.

E36/E46 with emphasis toward the former. It's accessible, capable, and communicative beyond most else. A blast
RX-8. Already mentioned in this thread, and after being lucky enough to race one over the last year, I whole-heartedly agree. If I thought I could take care of it, I'd own one already.

CyberEric
CyberEric HalfDork
12/19/19 6:55 p.m.

In reply to clutchsmoke :

Hahaha, i have a friend who says this religiously when people say “oh wait.” Didn’t know it was a thing other people said!

DHBomber
DHBomber New Reader
12/19/19 7:19 p.m.

Nitro is better :)

The FD3S is my golden standard as to how it can/should be. Nothing quite matches the way it makes you feel like the weak link in the best of ways.

Tom1200
Tom1200 Dork
12/19/19 9:19 p.m.

My favorite is a Yamaha TZ250..........oh wait this is a car forum.

I've driven everything from Vipers & 911GT3 RS to X1/9sto Porsche 356s and Miatas and any Miata is still my favorite. The turn fast enough lap times to be amusing but are just so user friendly you can't help but love them. Yeah it's an unimaginative pick but you like what you like.

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
12/19/19 10:16 p.m.
GIRTHQUAKE said:
They were- from the start- always meant to be a toy per "MR2: The Complete Story" by Nigel Burton. They are the one car I have never heard of anyone dailying for any length of time.

There's also folks in the fandom who've 2GR swapped theirs, putting 300 horse/300 torque to the wheels through headers and an unlocked ECU. With how light a ZZW30 can be, I can't imagine a car like that.

I've daily driven mine for two years now, from spring through fall. As long as the weather is consistently above ~30 degrees, I'm driving it. Of course I came from a motorcycle so having a passenger seat area to toss stuff seems like an unbelievable luxury to me. Still, I think the lack of storage probably played a big part in why it couldn't compete with the Miata when it was new.

300hp in one would be bonkers.

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 Dork
12/19/19 10:16 p.m.

Kinda hard to pick a favorite RWD chassis, there are sure a few I don't like, but when I put my money down, it was the X1/9. I couldn't afford an Elise, which had just hit the US market. I sold my Elan to keep the X1/9 too, but not because it is a bad design. The Miata is a better front engine RWD than an Elan though.

NickD
NickD PowerDork
12/20/19 5:18 a.m.
dculberson said:
GIRTHQUAKE said:
They were- from the start- always meant to be a toy per "MR2: The Complete Story" by Nigel Burton. They are the one car I have never heard of anyone dailying for any length of time.

There's also folks in the fandom who've 2GR swapped theirs, putting 300 horse/300 torque to the wheels through headers and an unlocked ECU. With how light a ZZW30 can be, I can't imagine a car like that.

I've daily driven mine for two years now, from spring through fall. As long as the weather is consistently above ~30 degrees, I'm driving it. Of course I came from a motorcycle so having a passenger seat area to toss stuff seems like an unbelievable luxury to me. Still, I think the lack of storage probably played a big part in why it couldn't compete with the Miata when it was new.

300hp in one would be bonkers.

I rode in fellow GRM'er Carbon's, which is midlly lightened and making ~225hp. It was an absolute rocket.

EricM
EricM SuperDork
12/20/19 11:13 a.m.

Jordan Rimpela
Jordan Rimpela GRM+ Memberand HalfDork
12/20/19 3:09 p.m.

W126, natürlich. 

 

BlindPirate
BlindPirate Reader
12/20/19 7:07 p.m.
pinchvalve said:

I had an AW11 MR2 and did not prefer the handling to the FWD Civics that came before it. My only other RWD experience (outside of vans and suvs) has been in 70's domestic iron. So my favorite RWD chassis is the 1977 Impala.

This is how pathetic my life is. I have never even driven a Miata. Have mercy on my soul.

I had a 1977 Impala.Ex police car. I remember it being a fun car. My vote goes to Miata though. But I am going have to try a MR2 to see what the fuss is about.

Mike
Mike GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
12/20/19 10:04 p.m.

It's not brilliant,  but it's incredibly silly, and that has to be worth something. 

dculberson
dculberson MegaDork
12/20/19 10:55 p.m.

In reply to Mike :

Best platform for a roadrace plane ever.

Mike
Mike GRM+ Memberand SuperDork
12/20/19 11:04 p.m.

In reply to dculberson :

If I found a clean one for a reasonable price again, it'd be hard to not scoop it up. It's such a great use of space, and it's the silliest thing to drive. Just motor past the turn, spin the wheel like you're trying to keep the bus over 55, the whole thing wobbles and takes a set, and the super light rear walks out a little... and you were doing twenty. They say the spines of astronauts expand in space, making them a little taller... I think drivers of the Van get the same effect driving over train tracks.

racerfink
racerfink UltraDork
12/21/19 12:18 a.m.

GM’s Alpha chassis.  In either V8 or V6tt form.

Ranger50
Ranger50 UltimaDork
12/21/19 2:46 p.m.

A 401 CJ
A 401 CJ Dork
12/21/19 5:55 p.m.

Early CJ-5.  Before Saginaw steering (prior to ‘72).  Because it makes you appreciate EVERYTHING else.

b13990
b13990 Reader
12/21/19 6:09 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens :

I keep looking at this thread and trying to come up with an answer. I was born in the middle of the 1970s, though, and was a young adult in the time when FWD was still ubiquitous.

The few RWD cars I've owned have had all that unfortunate setup where two dinky arms connect the top of the differential housing to the car. I don't think that's even optimal for drag racing.

nimblemotorsports
nimblemotorsports Reader
12/21/19 7:21 p.m.

My RX8 has the best chassis, but i would prefer to drive my 914 instead..if it could be driven.  lol   

But as a real-world favorite, I'd have to admit is a Ford Explorer, since I've owned more of them than any other vehicle.

Carbon
Carbon UltraDork
12/26/19 11:15 a.m.

So far, 05 ford gt on penske coilovers. 

Gearheadotaku
Gearheadotaku GRM+ Memberand UltimaDork
12/26/19 11:31 a.m.

Third gen Firebird/Camaro.

1988 Fiero after that.

Knurled.
Knurled. MegaDork
12/26/19 11:38 a.m.
parker said:

86

I'd like to say MkII Escort, but thus far nobody's allowed me to drive theirs yet.  Supposedly the 86 was Toyota's attempt to copy the MkII.

 

Nothing feels better to me than a first series RX-7 ('78-80) that hasn't been berked with.  Weighs about the same as an NA, makes about the same power as an NA, feels a lot more tossable and "mechanical" than an NA.  Most of the remaining ones have been berked with, with people putting on huge wheels that kill steering feel, or they remove the rear swaybar (18mm on series 1s) which makes the handling go from tossable to "understeers horribly until it snap spins because the rear suspension hates being allowed to move".

iansane
iansane New Reader
12/26/19 12:06 p.m.
Gearheadotaku said:

Third gen Firebird/Camaro.

This. But not for any logical reason.

wspohn
wspohn Dork
12/26/19 12:26 p.m.

This was the chassis of one of my race cars. Very light, well designed and a front mid-engine layout. This is a slightly later chassis than mine, which used a bit different mounting for the differential.

Had it under 1800 lbs. race weight.  Sadly, mine lacked the twin decorations shown on this link (not posted to maintain family standards)  https://www.mgexp.com/phile/47/75291/sex4.jpg

 

poopshovel again
poopshovel again MegaDork
12/26/19 12:28 p.m.

Dollar for dollar, pound for pound, I'll take a nice V1 over a clapped out E36/E46 all_day. Hell. I'll take a clapped out V1 over a nice E46.

Personal preference, but I guess I'm a BFH kinda guy.

G_Body_Man
G_Body_Man UltraDork
12/26/19 1:53 p.m.

E39 M5. Sure the steering isn't great but the whole thing moves fluidly with neutral balance and has that duality of shrinking around the driver in the twisties yet still being spacious and smooth during highway cruising. A chassis that can really do it all.

dean1484
dean1484 GRM+ Memberand MegaDork
12/26/19 1:56 p.m.

I have driven so many over the years. But my 87 928s4 was probably my all around favorite for both the track and the street.  
 

My 86 greymarket 951 was also a fantastic platform. More nimble than the later 951s. Kind of had more Miata in it than the later 951s. 

TurnerX19
TurnerX19 Dork
12/26/19 3:33 p.m.

In reply to wspohn :

Gotta love Martin Lilley's marketing strategy!

Dootz
Dootz Reader
12/30/19 6:46 a.m.

You know, I've been thinking about MN-12s for a while and they're really cheap to find right now. How well do they drive (for the enthusiast)? Lot of things that need to be done or is it just minor things before it's ideal? I know the aftermarket for the Thunderbirds is well past its prime, and that the most easiest way to get more power is through a PI-Explorer swap, but an LS-swap would make it work as a poor man's SC400

Raze
Raze UltraDork
12/30/19 3:47 p.m.
racerfink said:

GM’s Alpha chassis.  In either V8 or V6tt form.

This, but both the 2.0T and N/A V6 are are awesome in this platform with a 3rd pedal, having driven every variant and own one.

DrBoost
DrBoost MegaDork
12/30/19 4:19 p.m.

A clssic mini going backward

759NRNG
759NRNG UltraDork
12/30/19 7:50 p.m.

my avatar....

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