Before you call me a clown, at least skim through this article first…
We live in a world today where 800 to 1,000 brake horsepower or 200mph and more is the norm for supercars. Since the beginning of the automobile, it was the main goal and achievement to keep making cars faster and faster and more technologically advanced. But In my opinion, adding more speed and power had to come with an unfortunate sacrifice.
As Jay Leno says, the most fun happens around 50mph and 100mph, anything over that gets you in jail. And that’s the truth. Fun isn’t only supposed to occur on the track, the road and driving experience is also a significant part of automobiles. Where is the fun when you can’t unlock a car’s full potential on the road because in 3 seconds you’ll probably be behind bars for speeding. Speed and power are very important in sports and supercars, but in my humble opinion, it isn’t the main factor or the thing that gives you the most satisfaction. Now don’t get me wrong, I am a very big speed fanatic and love everything race cars, but for the best driving experience, it isn’t something that truly impresses me.
Photo Credit: Petrolicious
I’m all for going fast, but the most important part of a car isn’t the speed or power, even though it’s immensely quick, extravagant, and impressive, it isn’t about the statistics or numbers, it’s about the experience. The experience, the engagement, the satisfaction, how the car is able to represent emotions, feelings, passion, and how it is able to extract those same emotions from the driver. And I feel as only analog cars are able to do that.
Yet again, I’m not saying modern cars are not able to extract emotion from you, but analog cars and race cars are able to give you an indescribable feeling, even just by looking at them and their coach-built curves. They are a challenge to drive that’s for sure, as you have to fight against the steering wheel, and push the car to the edge to get the maximum performance, but I like the challenge.
I think engagement should be the most important and looked at feature in a car. Engagement is what connects the driver and the car to each other. It’s the feeling where you pop it into fourth gear with your gated Ferrari shifter while you successfully heel and toe to match up the revs in your non-synchromesh gearbox. It’s difficult, but true satisfaction comes from doing and succeeding at something difficult. You can have a Porsche 718 RS 60 with 170bhp, but you can throw it around, beat it up, push it in and out of corners, and take it to its limits without breaking any limits. In fact, you can have a 1913 Bugatti Type 22 and still be enticed and memorized by how the car drives and how the sweet sound of pre-war superchargers fills your ears. You will realize how mechanical and how involving it is, with the gear shift on the side of the car and with the thin and flexible chassis surrounding you, it is a feeling that lingers for quite a while.
Photo Credit: Car and Driver
All I need is some spoke Borrani wire wheels, a wooden Nardi steering wheel, exposed rivets, and a beautiful simple car. That’s what draws me most to cars… the emotion, the story behind it, the character, the passion. Without those characteristics, to me, the car is dull. Since the beginning of the automobile, what everyone wanted is for cars to become easier to drive and maintain. Yes, they are thankfully much safer and definitely more efficient, but to achieve those things they had to take away the beauty and passion that makes cars. Most sports cars back then didn’t have ABS, traction control, launch control, power steering, anti-lock brakes and-so-forth, but that’s what made it fun and thrilling.
It is fun to hear that click and to feel satisfied after making a gear change, it is fun going 60mph and hearing that roaring V12 behind your ear, and it is fun when you push the car to high revs, high gears, and decently high speeds without exceeding your limits. Analog cars want you to push them, and you can be able to push them without achieving tremendous top speeds. A modern supercar can only be pushed on a track, but I want my car to be pushed wherever there’s a winding road full of bends. I don’t need a car that goes 280mph, I want a car that speaks to me. I know it sounds cheesy, but hey, that’s my opinion and this is an opinion article.
The time period when race cars could be driven to the track, win the race, and be driven back home. The time when cars didn’t grip because of their thin tires, and when they generated lift instead of downforce, the time when cars were moving mechanical pieces of art. It doesn’t have to go 200mph to be impressive. After cars became easier to handle, drive, control, and once cars included electric systems, and now self-driving systems, analog cars have become more meaningful in this digital era. I want to drive the car, I don’t want the car to drive me. Bugatti and Koenigsegg break records every year, and they don’t fail to impress me, but they fail to satisfy me.