cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Hagerty
Hagerty Employee

Don't underestimate the fun of driving fast in a slow car | Hagerty Media

To relieve the COVID cabin fever, the pilots down at my local airport have been organizing leisure drives almost every weekend since March. Once-sometimes twice-a weekend, the security gates slide open and out files a procession of the kinds of classic and exotic rides that hide in the hangars of every small airport in America.
https://www.hagerty.com/media/magazine-features/its-more-fun-to-drive-a-slow-car-fast-than-a-new-car...
109 REPLIES 109
Jeff_C
Pit Crew

I agree 100%. Unless you are on a drag strip or race track there are way too many slow vehicles, kids, animals (deer where I live) and just plain crazy people on the road. The only place I get a tiny thrill from my fast cars is the freeway on-ramp if there is no one in front of me. But my slow old Jaguars are agile, comfortable and beautiful. Slow down, roll the windows down, relax and enjoy the ride.
Punk
Detailer

This is why I Love my 64 E Type. I can go slow around town and it is perfectly happy. I don't even slow down for speed bumps because the ground clearance and suspension easily absorb them. Or I can go 100 (that's legal, right?) and its happy there too. And on the twisty bits, it loves to slide its tail. Why are modern performance cars so unusable?
DAdams
Intermediate Driver

Interesting. I have seen E types of similar era trying to get out of parking lots grounding out on humps that make an ant hill look like a mountain.
KenO
Pit Crew

10-4 on crazy people.
JDull139
Pit Crew

I agree!I have a 1960 Morris Minor with a screaming 37 HP.When I drive it I wind it up in every gear until it screams all the way to about 60 mph.(Only guestimating my speed,speedometer bounces around a bit).LOL🤣
Aquadave
Intermediate Driver

I find driving my 1930 Model A a whole lot more challenging than any of the "fast" vehicles I've driven. I had a 1980 Honda 750 and found that it was too much power in most circumstances. Except for when I wanted to avoid one of the morons in a 4 wheel vehicle that disliked 2 wheelers.
TinaBird
Intermediate Driver

I have a 1931 Model A roadster that I agree is insanely exhilarating (and challenging) to drive at 35 mph. It’s a blast! I believe it’s impossible to not smile when operating a Model A.
I also have an ‘82 CB750!
Chickenman
New Driver

I rode Harleys for years until I got tired of holding it up (I'm 71) and took many 3,000+ mile road trips with the guys. Sold the last one and bought a 1967 Honda 305 Scrambler for around the neighborhood. It's a hoot with straight pipes.
ModelT
Advanced Driver

I almost fit in right here. My first motorsicle was a 150 Honda. My young wife had to get off and walk up steep hills! She'd say things under her breath I can't repeat here! The last time she rode with me was the time she slipped off the rear, hit the license plate, and bruised her rear!
From that little black white walled mean machine we went to a 1950 Harley hydraglide with a tank shifter. Her and I rode 100 miles west and up the Missisippi River to where it sorta begins. We crossed over and came down the east side, sometimes actually seeing the river. The next year we drove that 100 miles west, took back roads and 2-lanes all the way to the mouth of that same Mississippi River. This time, we came back north near Peoria, Ill. camping together in a tiny pup tent or cheap motel. We rode that same old Harley down to the Smokies and even across "The Tail of the Dragon".
Never in a hurry. Always havin fun and sharing our stories.
My first old car project was a worn out 1931 Model A coupe. Like a fool, I sold it before I got it finished. Yes, we had lots of other Model A Fords over the years. But our dream was to someday own a red 1931 2-dr phaeton. Sixty years later, after my wife passed, I finally found OUR red Model A. This one cost more, was farther away than I'd planned, and the little 201 ci engine has been replaced by a small 260 V-8 and 5 speed tranny. All hooked to a Model A rear and mostly Model A drive train.
I bought it just before winter came but did get to take a few short drives. I can't imagine ever going over 55 MPH in that car! But like the Honda and the Harley, it won't be how fast I get someplace, it will be how much fun the trip was.
drm101
Intermediate Driver

I am in your camp as well. Our '47 Willy's CJ2A is a blast to drive fast. Fast being 50 mph. I love tooling around town in it. The added bonus is we can run the back roads and get it dirty, and even go off-roading. I'll never forget my son and I running down a local flat, straight paved road, GPS in hand, flat out, setting a new Clarkston, MI '47 Willy's top speed record at 54.8 MPH. It was epic.
DougC
New Driver

Exactly! The very reason I bought my 110 hp 65 Corvair to resto-mod. Next, I'm gonna scratch my itch for a track roadster with a 1600 4 cylinder.
ModelT
Advanced Driver

Our Corvair was an UltraVan. It had everything, including the kitchen sink!
bhankinsonn
Intermediate Driver

Amen, amen!! wholeheartily agree on every point, as an older driver/rider with all the resulting limitations in agility, eyesight, hearing, etc.
Dmain9348
New Driver

I agree whole heartedly. I have three old Land Rovers that are slow and I love driving them on the back roads and around town. It makes me smile just as much as blasting around in my 2013 Audi S4!
charvak
New Driver

I love driving slow cars fast. I didn't do it in my 1938 Plymouth because that car is for cruising around, not racing, and you have to treat it with respect. But my 2000 Honda Insight manual gives me some of the best racing experiences in everyday driving. The skinny tires and low power mean you have to carve perfect turns, plan your shifts, manage momentum. And the car is narrow enough to squeeze around inattentive drivers who do things like stop at a yield sign.
Oldimpala
Intermediate Driver

There's a 2CV and a TD in the garage, for exactly that reason. Combined, they still have less than 100hp.

Doing more than 45mph in either feels like you're full throttle in a McLaren. They never fail to put a smile on my face, and unlike a lot of other vehicles, they never fail to put a smile on the face of other drivers. Many times, I choose these over other muscle/sports cars for exactly this reason, they're actual driving. It's you and the machine. Nothing to distract you from, well, driving!
TomBrattin
Intermediate Driver

I waiver back and forth between the two camps. My adult boys do not understand why I love driving my 103 HP Versa Note with a 5 speed manual transmission around town. It is hard to explain how much satisfaction I get pulling ahead of the 400HP monsters next to me from stoplights, while still getting better than 30MPG.
On the other hand, I do get a thrill opening up the throttle on my BMW 335 or my 1968 El Camino SS (both manual transmissions). I think that they are just different thrills, but both are satisfying.
Guitar74
Gearhead

Most days, I drive my wife's 2013 Fiesta to work. That car is a blast to drive, handles great, gets 36 mpg combined, and the six speed trans makes it feel fast.

ModelT
Advanced Driver

The slowest cars I ever owned was my 1957 VW Beatle and 1987 Ford Escort. The fuel mileage on each was worth the extra time it took to get there.
gsbeliever
Pit Crew

The author is correct that motorcyclists already know this. I've owned dirt bikes, crotch rockets and cruisers, but the most fun was participating in a Moto Giro event, where the bikes basically have to be at least 40 years old and 305cc or under.
Jim1969
Intermediate Driver

I have a 69 Chevelle SS, and a 68 Corvette. Both of them pretty fast in their day. They’re plenty fast enough for me right now. Once in a blue moon, I kick the gas peddle, only for a very short distance to knock out the cobwebs.
Most of the time I drive the speed limit or less. I agree with the the other comments. There’s Too much traffic to speed like we did as teenagers.
Honestly, now days, my wife and I enjoy cruising in our daily driver. We drive slow and enjoy seeing the countryside.

Guitar74
Gearhead

I don't romp my classics too much except to blow them out like you. If I were still in central Illinois where there is 1/100 the traffic I drive in everyday (metro Atlanta), it might be another story altogether. It's where I found out how light the front end of my Cougar gets above a certain triple digit speed.

ModelT
Advanced Driver

I learned to drive and street race in central Illinois. My 1965 Mustang fastback laughed at Cougars. Now back here puttering in my classics, my antique, and my late model Impala. The only Cougars I see now are hangin out on Main Street.
VicW
Pit Crew

My first was a MG Midget. With over 60 screaming HP it felt like the most exciting toy I have ever had in my life.
gster
Pit Crew

I have a Porsche 914 and even though it's not a "fast" car it's so small and low to the ground it feels a lot quicker than it really is. Basically a fancy go cart.
dhaugh
Intermediate Driver

I couldn't agree more. I have an old Lotus Elan Plus 2 that has about 100 hp though it feels much faster since you're riding so low to the ground. Even with speed limits of 35 it's a blast to run through the gears, tach up on down shifts and go around corners at slow speeds, and even that feels fast. And getting out for a ride to nowhere is pandemic proof and pandemic relief all at the same time. Motor On
DaveA
Detailer

I completely understand. I feel the same way about my DeLorean. It’s been modified, and has a few extra ponies than it left the factory with, but you’ll never beat anyone in a race. And I couldn’t care less. It’s small, wide, lightweight, and low, and a blast to drive at any speed. I like it so much that I drive it more often than my ‘19 Mustang.
noah300g
Intermediate Driver

I have a couple of Chrysler 'Letter Cars' that have 375HP and gobs of torque, that I hardly ever put my foot all the way into anymore. It's nice to know it's there, and there are still places on isolated entrance ramps to interstates that they can 'breathe' for a bit, but to really get the adrenaline flowing, my silly little 72 MG Midget with its 1275 cc engine, somewhat worn suspension, and bucket of bolts engineering is the most fun you can have at 35 mph. You can terrify passengers and neighborhood pets without breaking the speed limit!
MoparMan
Advanced Driver

I love driving my 5 speed Honda Fit Sport. It's so satisfying to carve your way through traffic, sometimes frustrating the higher horsepowered competition! Nothing beats winding through the gears, taking an on/offramp at speeds different from the posted signage. All this FUN while achieving 36 mpg around town!! 🙂
RobMason
New Driver

Absolutely more fun! I autocross a '99 Miata - thought that was fun until I got my '57 MGA on the road. Now that is a blast to autocross. Driving an old sports car to the limits of it's capability and "relatively" hanging with the new cars in class is more fun than even the Miata (a "slow" car in itself). Only mods to the MGA to get it competitive are wider wheels, sticky tires and a front sway bar. Both are fun to throw around small and large courses, and generally are faster than most Porsche drivers lol.
Robson
New Driver

Absolutely! My garage has a 912 and a bunch of old small displacement motorcycles and scooters. Several of them are veterans of the Giro d California event, which I trailered them 1000 miles to attend. All of the riders are true believers that life is better at 35 mph!
My DD is a Macan. I prefer the 912.....
Oldimpala
Intermediate Driver

I had a 912E.

Absolutely the best Porsche I've ever owned for pure fun and enjoyment. Balanced, fun, and a blast to drive. The necessity of keeping the little 4 high in the RPM range to be able to spring out of corners, without the nasty pendulum effect that the older 911s had with the big, heavy 6 out back.

I sold my 912 for a 911. Regretted it immediately. That's the only Porsche (other than a 356, which are great, but not worth their current asking) I'd like back in the garage.
Guitar74
Gearhead

I had no idea the 912s had gotten that high. It doesn't seem like that long ago that they were pretty reasonable.

GRP_Photo
Instructor

I think top speed in my '61 Econoline delivery van is about 55. I stick to the side roads and don't go far. Right now, it's buried under a snow mound and I stick with my 4WD.
Bunka
Intermediate Driver

I am a regular attendee with the local Porsche dealership on their monthly rallies. Or I was until they all got canceled last year. I drive my 74 hp 356B. A couple of years ago I went through a toll booth with a GT3 next to me. I put my foot on it leaving the toll booth. I don't know if the GT3 driver did the same, however, about 200 feet from the toll booth the GT3 was long gone and I checked my rear view mirror to see if my engine was laying in the road somewhere behind me. It wasn't, thankfully. The Honda behind me seemed perturbed that I was in his way. Yes, driving a slow car is fun. I have to row through the gears at least 2-3 times as much as a 911, however, sometimes its a bit embarrassing. I used to have a lot of fun down shifting and passing the line of Boxsters and 911s in front of me with my little engine at 5,000 RPM. Then one day I realized that they were just letting this old man have his fun for the day, or maybe they just didn't want to be on the front page of tomorrow's newspaper.
JerV8Flat4
Pit Crew

I get people being irritated behind a VW Bus (which I love). But a 356? Unless someone is a total blackhearted Grinch, they should be happy to spend a few extra seconds taking in the beauty of a car like that.
Guitar74
Gearhead

I can describe some irritated people behind me. It was at the drive through of the local sonic when I realized that I just needed to bite the bullet and finally replace the valve seals in my '65 Galaxie. I felt bad enough for the guy behind me that I shut it down until the line moved. Next weekend? Valve seals.

HASCpres2019
Intermediate Driver

I have a pair of 1920's cars ,a 1921 Chevy roadster-pickup and a '25 Buick coupe. Both are a joy to drive in the 25-45 MPH range. With manual spark and throttle levers, and in the case of the Buick, a reverse H shift pattern, there is always something to keep you focused. Fortunately, I live in a rural area where speed and traffic aren't a major issue.
FrankFF47
Pit Crew

I agree. I learned to drive in a 50 hp 1962 MG Midget. I certainly could drive it harder than the 2016 Boxster S I now have.
Flashman
Instructor

I'm glad you said what needed to be said; no phony machismo for you. If I drove my Porsche 968 in the manner for which it was intended, I'd be arrested. Truthfully, I have more fun in my brother's MX-5; you can wind out the first 3 gears and still be travelling at a reasonable, albeit exhilarating, speed.

So, did the boss make any comment about your mountain-biking reference?
Balocco
Pit Crew

My ‘74 Spitfire somewhat fits this category. Fun in town and feels spirited enough for speed limit driving.
ThomasC
New Driver

'72 MGB for me. A couple of years ago I was toying with the idea of updating the half century old design, live axle rear end with a multi-link rear suspension kit. Then I realized I'd be spending a lot of money just to miss out on opportunities to deftly controlling that skittish rear end around some of the tight, lumpy corners near my home.

Close to 50/50 weight distribution, skinny tires and underpowered even by modern econobox standards; you really know you're driving!
ed
Detailer

I assume you mean the GT3 is BEHIND you, not in front?
MuirWoods
New Driver

There's a lot to agree with here. I'm going to put it down to two major factors, tire width and acceleration.

Tire width: I've owned a series of British, Italian and German sports cars, but the starkest contrast on this point was when I went from an aging Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT to a new Porsche 944. Both front engine, rear transaxle designs with similar power to weight ratios. The Porsche was the better car, as reliable as an anvil, while wife and I had a rule that we never drove the Alfa further from home than we were willing to walk back. And while the tire width on the 944 looked like twice what the Alfa wore, and could go around any corner faster, the Alfa was twice as much fun to drive near it's limits. It slid and squirmed around, gave you all kinds of messages about what was going on, and when it did let go, you could catch it. The Porsche had almost nothing to say about how close you were to the edge, until it let go and then went ballistic. Not much for the driver to do at that point but just sit there and wait for things to stop moving. You learned not to test it with obstacles around.

Acceleration: I have to say, the new fast EVs are a hoot, once or twice, but the fun in getting shot out of a cannon has it's limits, especially if you're shooting into a crowd, which is the modern world of driving pretty much everywhere. But here's the thing. Acceleration is fun, and it's nice to have the fun last a while. It took my MGB so long to get to 60 mph you could time it with a calendar, but in some ways that was better than my new Mercedes, which gets there so fast the fun is over almost before you notice that it's started. Unless you want to be talking to The Man in the black car with the red and blue flashing lights. I'm old enough to have paid all the speed taxes I ever want to.
JerV8Flat4
Pit Crew

Yep. I daily a ‘66 VW Fastback. If I drive the snot out of it, I keep right up with traffic and don’t get in anyone’s way. With old slow cars in particular, you’re really interacting with physics and vehicle dynamics in a way that is partly programmed and damped out of modern cars. I love power and speed, but in the real world, driving a slow car fast is where the most fun is.
Swamibob
Instructor

I'd never heard of that bike. That's really cool!
I do like the idea of driving slow cars fast. My best slow car was an '86 S10 V6 5-speed that I had to keep full wound up whenever I was on a bigger road. It was fun. For me anything with a manual is always more fun to drive than any auto.
With the Covid thing, the roads have been a lot more open for driving, so that has been a benefit. I do drive my '64 Chevelle more door (with the screaming 194 ci six cylinder) as my daily driver in the summer, it just needs a 5-speed.
I really dig the Austin seven. .
hyperv6
Gearhead

Not only is a slow car fun but also the cars that either are not perfect in handling or have off things that make them more a challenge to drive faster hold value in fun.

My 85 V6 Fiero is not the fastest thing around. I have upgraded the suspension to eliminate the understeer but I still have bump steer. That bump steer makes this car a challenge to drive on the back roads and make you really work to extract that perfect line. I find a lot of joy in this as while I am not traveling at super high speeds I have to hone my skill to get that perfect line. It is like being on the edge but not at a speed that you endanger everyone around you.

Now on a smooth track the car is a lot of fun and can even exhibit some drop throttle oversteer that makes you think differently.

I have owned and driven some well tuned cars that can take these uneven roads at insane speeds and make even an average drive very fast. But the truth is you really can't do that and not remain out of jail. Often it becomes a bore as at normal speeds they are not challenging the driver at all.

Let's face it most of use get little if any track time and the challenge we find on the roads are what we savor.

I love my car and the challenge it can be at times. It makes the average drive much more interesting. I have had it at over 115 MPH at Indy and it felt like a ride down the interstate. But I have a back lake road that I learned every bump and reaction of the car to challenge this section at speeds that would not attract attention.

It is not the speed but the skills needed. This is why I also love Autocrossing. I have run everything from a Zo6 and SSR to a Sonoma GMC ZQ8 around the cones. That is the cheapest and most fun any driver can have. I also have drag raced and driven stock cars but you really have to pay a price for the thrill vs. just taking out a daily driver for a run.
whooziss
New Driver

Me, too........ I had been wanting an old age, 2nd childhood, mini-racer for years, probably a Mustang convertible with a four speed. While killing time on the local Craig's List one day about 5 years ago, I stumbled across a pristine 2003 VW Turbo Beetle, loaded with every option in the book and a FIVE SPEED STICK!!!!!! Pretty blue color, inside and out......... Only 60k miles on it. I checked in to it a bit and found out the engine was a 5 valve/cylinder, DOHC unit actually made by Audi, not VW. I was hooked........ Best lil toy I've ever had!!! Get to play Dan Gurney and never go more than about 50 or 60 mph. Have never had any "po-lice" trouble with it. Not yet, anyway....... 😉
bradleydad
Pit Crew

It's like the license plate frame on my Leaf says "I'd rather be driving a real car". I've recently added a Model A to my little fleet and it is a hoot. I was having much more fun if traffic yesterday than the folks around me in their pretentious rides. The same applies to airplanes as I'm sure your friends all realize. A few years ago I was flying up the coast from San Francisco in my brother's 172. My brother was texting a friend who was at flight level 35 or better and at at somewhere faster than .8 Mach in the pointy end of an Air Bus. I asked who he thought was having more fun as I turned a steep 360 over an interesting point of sunshine, surf and rugged coast. My brother texted a couple of pictures and we made our point. These past few months have really shown us the wonderful luxury and slowing down and smelling the fumes!