I own a couple of sports cars. If coerced by a stranger I will reveal their existence, staring at the floor, waiting for the questions which inevitably come and ruin his initial impression of me.
What are they?
Well I have an rx7.
Really?!?! Like Tokyo drift?
No, like, well nothing you’ve seen.
Is it turbo?
No its carbureted. It’s the first rx7 model.
Well its fast right?
Well...... no. It’s not fast.
At this point the persons attention is gone, it left so fast it crashed through the wall with an “oh Yea!” to the other side. It flew out the window, left a little hole, and ended the president’s life. It ran out, crushed some brews, and did some dry humping in the name of relief. It went base jumping, the fastest sport in the world brah, just so it could get away from you faster. Gone.
I don’t blame them. It’s a niche viewpoint in an already niche interest group, it’s impossible to explain without injecting a mixture of hallucinogens and uppers directly into the artery that feeds their heart. You squeeze their arm and look into their rapidly growing pupils, “see Jason, that’s what it feels like to drive a dilapidated 1986 300zx.”
But you’re here, a person that may have feelings, stomach tingly feelings, even anus moistening feelings, about a certain hunk of worthless garbage; or very valuable garbage I don’t know you. And to you, random potential enthusiast, I present my explanation, along with a description of how I feel, of why I love cars.
I may be in traffic. I may be on a long stretch of highway with no cell service. On a dirt road between endless fields of cereal crops. On a windy strip of pavement through a mountain pass. Just taking it all in. The weather conditions are perfect, your car burning just the right amount of fuel, giving you your exactly desired response. The glass and pillars melts away around you, your eyes looking every direction at once. The vessel in which you were riding becomes one with you, the tires your hands, trading aspiration for intake vacuum, spinal flexibility for chassis rigidity. You’re no longer a person in a car, a moving obtuse shaped instrument, grasping for precision; no, you’re a vessel of omnipotent energy, moving and changing direction telepathically, feeling every rock, every crack, every slip of traction, right in your spirit, your soul, and you respond without fear or hesitation, only to swell with more excitement and happiness with every passing microsecond. Your biological body was never able to adapt to speeds and feeling such as this, so you free yourself from it, and become one with the road, one with the moment. Every moment. Every little moment. You live for this, more than alive when it happens; dreading the moment when it ends, feeding off it like its the last bit of IV fed sustenance before the tube is yanked violently from your arm and you’re kicked back out into the “real world,” a place that seems cold and grey after what you just experienced, even on a beautiful mild summers day. You, it, that ethereal feeling, will eventually stop, pulled back into your mortal self by road construction, slow moving or unpredictable traffic, or, if you’re lucky, reaching your destination. Maybe you’re OK with it stopping, maybe you’re upset, maybe you have to jump right back in/ turn down a side street/ drive right past your destination just for another quick hit of that momentum fueled cocaine. But alas, you are not the master of your dopamine release, and feelings can’t simply be manufactured by recreating events, so you get robbed, starved, and head back where you were going, slightly sad your brain stem will have to go unstimulated until the next perfect arrangement of events provides your next high.
And so sports cars, what do they have to do with this? I’m not saying pushing limits and filling receptors is not possible with a different configuration of automobile, but RWD, low, slender cars simply make the feeling more attainable, you hit that high more often, more easily. When enthusiasts, when FRS and Miata and S2000 owners, respond to accusations of unimpressive power figures with, “you don’t understand”, this is exactly what they are referring to. Adding power, and subsequent weight to keep that power down, is counter intuitive to chasing the high. With more power comes speed, and with speed comes danger, fear for your life, and the ever present possibility of local law enforcement burning your permission to thrill right in front of you, with the smirk filled attitude of someone “protecting the public” and “keeping the roads safe for everyone, not just some mindless hoon.” You can’t get high if you’re, like, worrying all the time, man, it’ll mess it up. Lack of power, and lightness, makes accessible limits thrilling, and you may even be able to handle it without killing someone!
So, I believe I have made my point. What are you waiting for? Get out there, buy a 1982 Toyota Celica, and chase this high with me. It’s OK if other people are doing it!