I rarely mention this crazy hobby when I first meet people. I don’t say much about cars and I drive like a grandpa. Introducing people to their first fast car is always fascinating though. I’m fascinated by different people’s reactions to the hobby. The things they notice, the things they don’t, and whether or not I was able to guess if they’d like or hate speed.
Last night I drove a couple new friends into the city. Both are in their late twenties but one doesn’t like driving and the other doesn’t have a car. They were people who I had pegged as not interested in this sort of thing whatsoever. The car makes every tuner noise imaginable and I have an accessport hooked up for boost/coolant temp monitoring so the jig is up as soon as someone hops in. I broached the subject of doing a pull cautiously and they both revealed that they’d never been in a fast car before but were down to experience a little booooooost. My 2009 WRX weighs 3100 LBS and has around 320 horsepower/300 tq so its not insane but definitely pretty quick. I’m not sure what the 0-60 is now because I won’t launch it but it was 4.7 stock and the car is up 45HP/55LB-FT from there. I’m an extremely cautious driver when I’m not on a mountain road and also very cautious about not being “that guy” so we just did a couple 1-2-3 pulls onto the highway.
I gave them plenty of advanced warning on the onramp but quickly realized that amusingly, I had to explain exactly what was going to happen so they’d be ready. One was still sipping her drink and the other was using his phone. “Um... you might want put that soda down, we’re gonna get pushed back into our seats.” Not gonna lie, this made me feel like Vin fucking Diesel telling Paul Walker how it is in Fast and Furious 1.
I gave us plenty of space and let the revs hang at 3k RPM in first before going full throttle. As I alluded to earlier the car makes every tuner noise imaginable. The catless downpipe cracks and pops, the Nameless exhaust has tiny 5" mufflers on it that blare the sound of my vaping, flat-brimmed people, and the short intake makes the turbo sound like a jet engine taking off. Would it be to much? Or would they get it?
...They got it! Instant visceral cave man adrenaline reaction: “WHOOOOAHHHHMYGOD!!!” The second pull was just as fun, they had asked for another so they were expecting it again but reacted the same way. Very good sports. The grandpa driving resumed after that. And now for the interesting part. What does our madness look like to an ousider?
Things they didn’t comment on:
- the turbo/BOV noise. Beyond the extra power this is my favorite part of the new setup. It’s so ridiculous. Not a word about it though!
- the cracks and pops. They’re pretty loud at WOT upshifts
- it took several minutes of driving before they asked if it was a stick (lol!)
Things they noticed:
- “The seats are cool!” I was very surprised by this. That comment came from the dude sitting in the back. The WRX’s back seat is barely different from an econobox but does have a bucket-esque design in that you’re not really meant to sit in the middle. Even the fronts are very mild buckets, but those were commented on as well.
- “Wow! It’s like time travel!” (referring to covering distance so quickly compared to a normal car).
- “I like the red lighting in the gauges and stuff” Again, I was surprised that this was an element which stood out to these non-enthusiasts in a way that the jet engine under the hood or the firecrackers in the exhaust didn’t.
This was a fun treat. The car hobby is so much harder to describe to people than it is to simply demonstrate. Just gotta let the brap and the g forces do the talking.