I have been told that I have a disease where cars are concerned. I can’t remember when I was first told that, because I’ve heard too many times. Somewhere, in a pile of pictures, there exist a photo of me as a toddler, “Cheese-ing” at the camera, both hands tightly gripping the steering wheel of a VW Super Beetle. To say that I started young is an understatement.
While not 100% sure, it is safe to say that the total number of automobiles that I have owned is north of thirty..... easily. For that matter, twenty have been VW’s alone! Wait.... I need to count:
- 2 VW Foxes
- 5 VW Jetta’s
- 1 1972 Porsche 914
- 1 1979 Porsche 924 (Still have it.... its the car I learned to drive a manual with)
- 1 1983 Porsche 944 (Current race car)
- 3 VW Beetle’s
- 1 2000 New Beetle (The “Roach”)
- 3 VW Scirocco’s
- 1 1990 VW Corrado
- 5 VW GTI’s (All ‘83-’84)
- 1 1980 RX-7
- 1 1988 BMW 325i
- 1 1974 Toyota Landcruiser FJ 40
- 1 1989 Toyota Tercel
- 1 1990 Toyota MR-2 (I loved that car)
- 1 Ford F-150 (Kinda Weird, I know.... Gotta haul parts)
- 2 Volvo XC90’s (I got kids, man)
- 1 Volvo V70
I wont spend much time talking about the diverse collection of cars. Just know that, in general, each one served a particular purpose, or scratched a certain itch. There are several, however, that have relevance to this blog, and give context to my current love affair I have with my newest arrival. I have highlighted those cars in red.
You see, I have an intense love for sporty cars. They could be coupes, hatches, sedan’s. The engine could be in the front, middle, or rear. Didn’t matter. If the car stirred the soul, I was/am attracted to it. In my earliest days, I never had an outlet for this kinship. The perfect marriage of capable cars, and LEGAL venue happened when I discovered the enabler that is the SCCA. Autocrossing only advanced me from stage one to.... like.... stage six of the disease.
I soon discovered the difference between driving and really driving. The highlighted cars taught me many lessons about cars that were simply good for going to and from the store/work/home, and ones that had you looking for the next corner/on ramp/back road/ apex. While none were particularly powerful, ALL were regarded as the cars to have for a pure DRIVING experience. ALL of them were unabashed as to their true intent, and ALL had/have a fiercely loyal following of individuals that might invite you “out back” if you choose to denigrate the car that they were passionate about.
Which leads me to the current object of my vehicular desire. The 2014 Subaru BRZ. The BRZ has the unenviable job of living in the shadow of it’s highly sought after sibling, the WRX/STI. The WRX/STI is kind of like the “jock” back in school: Fast, powerful, popular, but not really mentally challenging. Don’t get me wrong, its awesome, but it should be. Its blessed with a turbo, and has the automotive equivalent of claws in the ground with its AWD system. Like many of the cars that I have owned or experienced, the BRZ isn’t particularly “fast” in the (unfortunate) conventional sense of “What does it do in the quarter?” It is peculiar in that it isn’t equipped with Subaru’s “Symmetrical All Wheel Drive”. The crown jewel of Subaru’s technical achievement. It doesn’t even have a turbo. In this day and age of 1001hp Veyron’s, 707hp Hellcat’s, 435hp Mustang GT’s how could you POSSIBLY call this a “Sports Car?” Even the base model of it’s stable mate, the WRX, has 260+hp. What gives?
This is a fixed top return to a car that we have not seen the likes of on these shores in many many many years. Most who would read this series of blog post may be too young to even remember the cars in MY list, let alone the great line of cars that (no doubt) inspired the BRZ’s design. Front engined, light weight, high-revving engine, low center of gravity by way of low engine placement, rearward seating position, firm suspension, limited slip, rear wheel driven. That is the PURE sports car formula.
Ferrari 250 Europa
Porsche 944 S2
“Yeah, but it doesn’t have a turbo.” I know, it doesn’t need one. It needs a driver. In many of my own cars, I knew not to tangle with the guy next to me who had 2-4 more cylinders than I had (or cylinders PERIOD as was often the case when I had the RX-7). Sweet revenge would show up the INSTANT the streets got a little.... well... wrinkly, and the other guy had to wrestle that heavy beast around a corner.
Lets take the last example listed. The Porsche 944 S2. It was wonderfully balanced, naturally aspirated, handled beautifully, weighed 2800lbs, was four cylinders (albeit HUGE at three liters), and made just a shade over 208hp. It is STILL highly sought after by Porsche enthusiast in the know. Why do I point out this car? It has almost identical specs as the BRZ. In fact, I have called the BRZ the modern interpretation of the S2: 2700lbs, wonderfully balanced, 200hp (out of TWO liters). Combine this with a modern direct injection, chain-driven Subaru flat four (Known for reliability), and you see why I feel like you cant lose by going the direction of the BRZ.
This is just the beginning of my journey, I will give you my impressions, likes and dislikes of this car. Additionally, I will showcase a few tasteful modifications to my BRZ to both personalize and improve this amazing car.