the car, the experiance, is it the maker or other?

Many of us love car’s, I do. I have been thinking about the total experience of late, the look, sound and feel of a particular car. We prize some exotics because of their reflected status, a(some) Ferrari for example as well as their look and sound. There are others that just “are” like Morgans. Cars are becoming so sophisticated now are they losing some of their “carness”? I took a drive in a 1970 TR 6 this weekend, and by all that is holy it was a freaking blast. No sat nav, no anti locks, no 0-60 in 4 seconds. no this or that but my ghod it sounded great, handled well and just made me smile. The TR is not that exotic, and most Honda are faster, but the connection to reality is there in that old iron that many cars have lost. I bring this up because I have been considering alternative autos, you know the replica cars that have the looks of a classic such as a California spider or a daytona but underneath its soul is something much more practical. I saw a beautiful 250 gto “Ferrari” replica, and if you knew the car you knew it was not real, but if you didn’t it was damn close. The car was badgeless, just pure form, not trying to hoax anybody. I asked the owner “why?” and his answer was this " To me its one of the most striking auto’s ever made and the real ones are priced like they are made of gold. I got the privilege of driving a real gto at a car show and it was great but not THAT great, not even as fast or nimble as my RX8. I thought a long time, and decided it was OK to build one, to enjoy the look and sound, just as long as I didn’t try to BS people that it was real." So what do think folks, kool or un kool?

I think it’s completely legit if you want to build a kit car. The fact that he didn’t try decorating it up with badges is actually a better attitude then the types of people who buy one car, then try to “Badge it up” to something it’s not. Like the “BMW M5” owners who own a base 5 series with some new wheels.

A better example is probably the AC Cobra which is often imitated and rarely original these days, but the principal of driving it is the same. Big engine, small car, loud noises always means fun.

There are still plenty of cars out there that are plenty of fun, even if they’ve been overpriced and tamed down over the years. The GTI and Mini probably are the better examples of that. The new Hyundai Genesis coupe is also a great contender for the “fun car for not a lot of money”. The auto entushiasts haven’t had a cheap RWD platform since the days of the Nissan 240SX. so it’s a very good step in the right direction for the Koreans to come to market with a product like that. Shows they really are the ones right now who are really starting to get it while the Americans and Japanese are fumbling around.

I watch top gear, love the show but you know how clarkson always wants MORE well I want less. I don’t want 29 computers or 16 settings on the differental. I don’t want 5 suspension settings from inside the car. Satnav, damn when I go on a drive, give me a paper map and If I am feeling lost, pull over and take a look at it or ask some local. There are 2 schools of thought, connection and cocooning with the latter the fully auto driven, computer controlled autobot that moves you from A to B. The former is a experience, a journey, something to be enjoyed. I supposed the daily commuters out there will say “give me that auto bot” and hey, they have been around for a long time…they are called bus’s, train’s or subway’s. As to your cheap rwd platform, you forgetting the Mazda mx5 (miata) truly a channeling of the original lotus elan.

You want just the raw car, the real feel of the road in the steering wheel and your seat. No cushy suspension or drive/fuel by wire. Seems the closest you could get to that is in hobby/amateur level open-wheel car racing. You, a frame, a braindead simple pinto engine, a bunch of wings and fibreglass, and a hard plastic shifter with an inch of throw.

But there’s a reason cars are getting more cushy. You’ve been at work all day dealing with frustrating BS and maybe a bit too much coffee, a bit too little lunch. Would you pick the racing setup car to go back home, or the comfy appliance car?

Different cars for different people. Before going back to school, I used to have 2 cars. My daily practical car and my fun classic car. Driving my classic car is a blast, but I wouldn’t want to drive it everyday for reliability, conservation, and paranoia reasons. When I did drive my classic on a daily, it was more stressful to me on the “what if”, but I could careless if the “what if” scenarios happened on my daily. Also what I look forward to at weekends or evenings is different from what I want when driving my daily rush hour commutes.

Also what some classic cars have to us, there’s no way modern cars can replace because of one important thing modern cars can’t ever have; the nostalgia that only time can bring.

Sorry, Miata slipped my head at the moment. My sister has one and it is a great car, though at 6’4 me fitting into one is pretty impossible. S2000 would fit into the same catagory (as I’m sure would others that I’m missing).

I feel the same way, my Acura is a great daily driver, all the technogadgets to heat my butt up, control my 18 audio sources, and it’s still fun to drive, but doesn’t do much of anything for an adrenaline rush. That’s why I got bored and bought a Corvette. But the same thing applied, driving a 500 horsepower car with a big clutch and rock hard suspension to work everyday was not a pleasant experience.

Not really I raced scca, its a whole different thing. What I am referencing is a rational balance, like the old 240z, miata and such, good engineering, not over the moon pricing and ok performance. I guess for me it will be a kit car, and “roll my own” in the best tradition of hot rodding.

I completely agree with you zippy. This summer, I drove only my '90 Miata. Now, I’m back in my Focus.

The Focus is far superior. Great stereo, comfy ride, far more grip, ABS, ESP, power everything, AC. On the other hand though, it feels like it is loaded. It is so heavy that everything feels like it is covered in honey, the steering, the brakes, the way the car leans. I’ve only had the Miata in the garage for a week and I’m already missing it. The lightness and the fact that it doesn’t do anything nearly as well as the Focus.

From the perspective of manufacturers, I understand this. Even the smallest volume cars are billion dollar projects. Every trend in the industry is pointing to a more isolated driving experience. What exec would run the risk of going the opposite way?

As for kit cars, I’m divided. I think a Cobra, Lotus 7 or 356 speedster is very cool. Like someone else said though, these are very close to their origins. A Ferrari kit car…ugh. Did it have a v12? I just can’t imagine it feeling like anything else than a Fiero and that’s pretty lame. Do you know what I mean?

I know what you mean about the motor, this one had me fooled because it sounded like a “something” not a v8 not a 6 or a 4 but 12 ish. I asked the owner of the GTO and he said, listen and you tell me. He fired it up and it sounded 12 ish rapped up like a 12 too. I figured it was a v12 jag or something but I was shocked when he popped the lid to show me a 13b rotary. I asked “why?” and he said it HP and torque curves were close to a vintage 12 but was far cheaper and easier to maintain. I asked about the sound he told me that he played with the exhaust system for months to get the sound close I seemed to have 3 small pipes from each port, then they disapperd under the car, but it don’t matter it sounded as I said “12 ish”. Interesting notion though, the sound and smoothness of a v12 with out the price.

THAT is a thing of beauty! Take an engine you can afford, make it sound like what you want and let people decide what they want about what it really is. To me, if you’re going to build a kit car, you may as well have a little fun with it. Since he certainly wasn’t claiming it to be a true Ferrari, I appreciate the direction he went. Sure you’re purists are likely grinding their teeth at the atrocity before them, but the rest of us just say, “Really? A Wankel with tuned exhaust? Nice.”

ya i am thinking hard about it, now what car?