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Driving Slow Cars Fast

Whilst the title is a little ambiguous, it holds the key to the ultimate driving experience and will make sense once you watched the following video.

I fervently follow Jalopnik and their YouTube /DRIVE channel, knowing my automotive needs will be satiated with either interesting news or all-out mayhem.

It obviously comes down to personal taste in what you look for in a car’s chassis, but I have to go with the Toyota MR2 or the Mazda MX-5 (Miata) for slow(ish) cars you know you can throw around and experience that feeling of speed due to the car’s compact size and the minuscule gap between you and the tarmac.

Whilst both of these cars are RWD and excellent for kicking out the rear (the MR2 perhaps too easy due to its mid-mounted engine), you may prefer FWD or AWD, the ability to attack corners without the risk of spinning or ending up in a ditch more suited to your style.

Check out the video below and tell me your favourite slow car you know feels fast when it is either sideways or zipping along bendy country lanes.

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The Totally Awesome RX-7

Having watched this clip 5 or 6 times over the past few days, I came to realise this is the perfect video to show non-car people – maybe they’d understand a little more as to why us car guys and gals see a car as more than a means of transport.

Over a two year period, this 19-year-old put every last buck delivering pizzas into his powerful rat-look Mazda RX-7. He doesn’t realise it yet, but in another 19 years he’ll look back with fond memories of his build. Even if he makes it in the world and is driving around in the latest Ferrari, it’s this RX-7 that would’ve given him the greatest thrill and buzz.

He may hear a song on the radio that was popular during the time he spent labouring away in his garage and be transported back to the days of delivering pizza, or he might catch a scent of combusted petrol and burnt rubber and suddenly find himself enveloped in a memory of sunny summers and adrenalin fueled near misses.

How do I know this?

My first car wasn’t as insane as this beast, but I did opt for an MGB GT. It had a re-bored engine, wire-wheels and sat slightly higher at the rear – a look that was once the in thing. It looked pretty mean and my father (a non-car guy) surprisingly let me have it. Whilst I was taking lessons in a pathetic 1.0-L Rover Metro, the MG sat in the garage. During the hot summer the garage was a cool retreat where I would just sit behind the wheel and marvel at the dials and the low down seating position. Because it was as old as me at the time, it smelt of petrol, and this combined with the scent of vinyl is a concoction unmatched by any other car I’ve owned.

I crashed the poor thing on my first legal day on the road, spinning it one way, over-compensating and spinning it into a station wall – luckily I had 100% compensation as I suffered the usual whiplash and a shredded shoulder.

You’d have thought I’d learnt my lesson, but like The Toad from The Wind In The Willows, sitting in the road and repeating “poop poop”, I was hooked. Although I became more obsessed with cars, I went on a few driving courses, the best dealing with wet surfaces and skidding.

My next car?

A 1983 2.3-L turbo Ford Mustang – unusual for the UK but I loved it!

Anyway, check out this kid’s skills in creating this rather special RX-7:

A Coupe That Isn’t, Drifting And Dogs

For those of you following my blog you’ll know I like drift cars and wasting many many hours of my life surfing (window shopping) for cars. I also love small technology that produces big power. Well today I stumbled across a car that first grabbed my attention because of its suspiciously low price. Further investigation and my attention transformed into incredulity as I learned of its stats. This then led to total excitement as I read and watched reviews – had I found the perfect drift car that I could pop to the shops in with my girls (dogs) in the back?

So what is it, I hear you ask.

The Mazda RX-8

Before you snub it as just another Jap sports car, I beg you to stay with me for a little while. It doesn’t boast the same twin-turbo bhp as the legendary RX-7, but nevertheless, its displacement, power and redline numbers are beyond impressive.

This is thanks to its 1.3-L Wankel engine. That’s right… 230-bhp from a 1.3L engine that revs out at 9000-rpm. Sounds too good to be true, and in a way there is a draw back that attributes to its cheap second hand pricing. This 1.3-L unit doesn’t just drink fuel; it downs it as though in a drinking competition. You would expect an average 1.3-L engine to do around 45+mpg (combined) but the RX-8 will only do 24-mpg – that’s less than my 2.0-L turbo Subaru!

Apart from its thirst, the rest is all good. Due to the RX-8’s unique doors, it appears to be a coupe on the outside, but pull a catch hidden on the inside and rear doors open like suicide doors, albeit small (enough room for the girls though). The power is fed to the rear wheels via a (LSD) Limited Slip Differential, perfect for drifting.

So, all in all, this car offers looks, the right set-up for drifting and enough room for my dogs.

And before any animal lovers start complaining, my dogs like drifting – I had a lot of practise in an icy car park earlier this year and they loved it. They told me so…