JohnRgt

evo's "100 Best Drivers' Cars"

28 posts in this topic

They didn't compile a list of the best handling, the fastest, most influential or most striking -- such lists have been done to death. evo's list is made up of the "cars [that] give their greatest moments of joy when they're paired with a fantastic road and you're driving them."

100-91

I'll try to post links to each installment.

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Very cool. I love the huge Jag' XJ220.

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KOENIGSEGG CCX By the end of this month we will finally know if Koenigsegg is the new owner of Saab, the brand I have the greatest emotional attachment to. I really want to own the just revealed (Frankfurt) Saab 9-5. For the first time, Saab will not be the poor relation of some larger entity.

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50-41

#50 is the Porsche 968 Club Sport. If any of the motorheads here ever get a chance to drive either a base 968 or one with the factory sport suspension, by all means take it. It is one of the great cars of our time. Unfortunately, due to the global economy's slowdown in the early nineties and the near demise of Porsche AG around the same time, only around 3000 968s were brought to the US. They sell for prices that cannot be justified when the cost of maintaining an older Porsche is factored in, a testament to the greatness of the car which, until the Boxster/Cayman platform was introduced, was Porsche's handling benchmark.

#43 is the Toyota Mr2 Roadster. It's a blast. Equip one with a Rotrex supercharger and adjust the suspension and braking systems accordingly, and the resulting fun-to-cost ratio will be off the charts. (How embarrassing for the West that it didn't make a best seller out either of the three MR2 incarnations Toyota brought to market. These are wonderful, performance focused cars with passionate, hands-on followings.)

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That's a great list. I'll need a big garage when I get rich...

I would have liked to see the Nissan 350z replaced by the 180sx. Not because the 350z is bad car. It's a very good car, but also a bit... well, boring. While not as fast the 180sx is pure fun(especially sideways), it's easy to tune and it's a bit of a classic. I may be a bit partial here though.

The Alfasud is also a really fund car. I've owned a couple of it's sucessor, the 33. Worthless build quality aside, the engine is amazingly responsive and the chassis is very well balanced making the car easy to control with the throttle - which is rare for a fwd car.

As number one i'm hoping to see my favorite car, which is the Corvette ZR1.

#50 is the Porsche 968 Club Sport. If any of the motorheads here ever get a chance to drive either a base 968 or one with the factory sport suspension, by all means take it. It is one of the great cars of our time. Unfortunately, due to the global economy's slowdown in the early nineties and the near demise of Porsche AG around the same time, only around 3000 968s were brought to the US. They sell for prices that cannot be justified when the cost of maintaining an older Porsche is factored in, a testament to the greatness of the car which, until the Boxster/Cayman platform was introduced, was Porsche's handling benchmark.

How does the 968 compare to the 944? I've driven a couple of those with slighly adjusted suspension, and that's some great handling for a very affordable price(around here it's almost half the price of a 968).

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How does the 968 compare to the 944? I've driven a couple of those with slighly adjusted suspension, and that's some great handling for a very affordable price(around here it's almost half the price of a 968).

I tried to find an article I remembered that compared a normally aspirated 944 S2 to a 968, but I couldn't find it (it may have been an essay posted on the Porsche Club of America website, which is only accessible with both a paid club membership and ownership of a Porsche, so I couldn't Search there.)

The last normally aspirated 944 of note was the 944 S2. When Porsche decided to unleash its engineers on a final version of this best seller, they redesigned something like 80% of the parts, gave the engine Porsche's ingeniously simple Variocam MkI, upgraded the intake, and moved assembly from VW to Porsche, a huge plus in those days. The car was so much better than previous 944 that management authorized a new model.

I can't tell you if paying the 968 premium is the smart move, as this is a personal evaluation.

However, the 968's engine is killer, it came with a 6-speed manual instead of a 5, while the fit and finish, interior appointments, and all stock suspension components are all a cut or two above what we see in 944s. On the other hand, I've seen 944 Turbos upgraded in ways that made C5 and C6 Vette owners weep, while maintaining superior balance and a decent, stealthy ride. I've also seen some amazingly focussed upgrades for normally aspirated 944s that made them even more fun to drive without touching much more than key suspension components, the ECU, intake and exhaust systems. (Choices, choices...)

I tend to hold on to my cars for a long time. I appreciate quality, and I upgrade conservatively, so I'd probably go for a 968 from an original owner who has really pampered the car from Day One. The problem with that idea is that an immaculate 968 from the last year the car was made, would cost between $16-18K; more if it were black with the light grey interior and had the factory's sport suspension (A last year 944 S2 in similar condition would cost ~$12-14K.)

But that would be ~$20K for a fifteen year-old 968, in a market where $35K gets you a 3-year old, still under factory warranty Cayman S. I have to think that a huge chunk of the price difference between the 968 and Cayman S would be made up by savings in maintenance over the next 5-10 years, the rest being justified by the Cayman S' even better handling, far more powerful and flexible engine (the 3.4 liter in the Cayman S is the sweetest of the flat-sixers currently offered by Porsche in anything this side of a GT3), a better interior, superior fit and finish, etc., etc. The only downsides I see to the Cayman S would be the fact that its mid-engine layout is inherently less stable at high speeds than than the 968's front-engine, rear-transmission approach, and the lack of interior space which makes the Cayman S both less comfortable and practical for long trips.

Cayman S it is, then!

LoL

I hope this rant was worth your time, Red.

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I can't tell you if paying the 968 premium is the smart move, as this is a personal evaluation.

The 968 also had a factory limited slip differential.

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I hope this rant was worth your time, Red.

It certainly was! Thanks! :D

The 968 seems like a very interesting, and potent, car. Looks like a pretty big improvement over the 944, which is a rather popular track-day car around here. I'll have to make sure to try one.

It's also interesting to note how very different the american market is compared to the swedish. Browsing through some used cars ads the most expensive 968's I could find cost $28K, and the cheapest ones less than half of that. The more expensive ones were Clubsport versions with $20K worth of tuning. A well kept stadard version would perhaps cost a little less than $20K. So, I guess that's about the same as in the US. However, a Cayman S would be alteast $60K. Then the insurance would probably be something like $5K per year, while I suspect that one could get an enthusiast insurance through the Porsche Club for an older car which would be less than $200.

And yes, in case you wonder, i'm trying to convince myself that getting a Porsche would be a perfectly rational thing to do once i'm finished with my studies and have a job(soon, soooon i'll finally have a real car again! :D ).

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[...] the 944 [...] is a rather popular track-day car around here.

A while ago, Excellence ran an article by the late, great, know-all-things-related-to-Porsche-guy, Jim Pasha, in which he referred to a low-cost, but super fun one-design racing league in Australia that's based on near-stock 944s. His idea, and it was great, was to start a similar racing division in the US, but based on searly Boxsters, cars that are now a dime a dozen over here (I'm referring to 2.4 and 2.7 Boxsters).

And yes, in case you wonder, i'm trying to convince myself that getting a Porsche would be a perfectly rational thing to do once i'm finished with my studies and have a job(soon, soooon i'll finally have a real car again! ).

In case you wonder, I don't own an RGT. I chose my nick and avatar out of love -- obsession, really...LoL

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30-21

28 PORSCHE 911 2.7 RS

The original and in many ways still the best. Just 210 horsepower but just 980 kilos. The light engine and light five-speed gearbox means the rearward weight bias is similar as a percentage, but a much lower overall figure. That allows lower spring rates which means the balance can be exploited via unassisted steering which is sooo sensitive. Still the most involving of the rear-engine Porsches for all these reasons.

I've wanted one of these rare masterpieces my whole life. Around 1998 they sold for about ~$50K, >$70K for an immaculate original. Now, the collectors' level restorations run around a quarter of a million dollars, with flawless all-originals running at multiples of that figure.

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In case you wonder, I don't own an RGT. I chose my nick and avatar out of love -- obsession, really...LoL

Always thought that was your car. It's clearly a car worthy of obsession though. And of course, the best way to cure obsessions is to get get what you desire. I think... yeah, definitely.

(As a side note, it's a bad idea to listen to me in such matters. If someone tells me they're going to sell their house, quit their job and divorce their wife to get a new car, i'm kind of guy who will go; "Awesome! You're making the right choice buddy, let's go to the dealer right now - i'll give you a ride!").

30-21
28 PORSCHE 911 2.7 RS

The original and in many ways still the best. Just 210 horsepower but just 980 kilos. The light engine and light five-speed gearbox means the rearward weight bias is similar as a percentage, but a much lower overall figure. That allows lower spring rates which means the balance can be exploited via unassisted steering which is sooo sensitive. Still the most involving of the rear-engine Porsches for all these reasons.

I've wanted one of these rare masterpieces my whole life. Around 1998 they sold for about ~$50K, >$70K for an immaculate original. Now, the collectors' level restorations run around a quarter of a million dollars, with flawless all-originals running at multiples of that figure.

When it comes to old rear-engined Porsche's though, I don't know... Sure they are great cars, it's just that puting the engine behind the rear axle sort of makes the car want to kill you. It's fun if you can handle it(I can't, so maybe that's the problem), but these cars mean buisness. Newer 911's just seem a little nicer.

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When it comes to old rear-engined Porsche's though, I don't know... Sure they are great cars, it's just that puting the engine behind the rear axle sort of makes the car want to kill you. It's fun if you can handle it(I can't, so maybe that's the problem), but these cars mean buisness. Newer 911's just seem a little nicer.

Just to clarify for those who may not know: The engine is behind the rear axle on all 911s.

What makes newer 911s behave better are the advancements in tire technology over the last 10 years or so, the fact that Porsche has been continuously refining the rear-engine layout since at least 1948, and an endless array of nanny-like electronic safeguards.

I owned a 1973.5 911T that I lightened significantly in the few years I owned it (the ".5" denotes Porsche's Continuous Fuel Injection system, an EPA mandated compromise over the previous, feel-packed, hyper Mechanical Fuel Injection system). The rear did have a tendency to want to come around if I tried to drive it like a "normal" sports car. But you learn quickly to follow the design's lead -- it's that, or drive it like a family sedan. When you automatize the layout mandated techniques, and doing so can be both challenging and - cough, cough - expensive, the results are both worthwhile and gratifying. (Lightening the rear did lessen the tendency to oversteer, as did blowing a small fortune on lightening and stiffening the rear suspension.)

While the younger 911s are quicker and more able overall, their weight and the million and one layers of systems and safeguards that stand between driver and engine and/or chassis, has deprived them of a lot of what "real" sports cars are about. What would be interesting is a 911 that taps into the advancements that have been made since the early 911s, but with the attitude and overall theme of the older cars (rolling back DOT regulations would make this car even more fun.)

For an idea of what such a car would be like, consider reading this comparison of the Lotus Evora to the Cayman S (the third car in this test is a joke.). The Evora's feel can only be achieved by keeping weight down by drastically scaling back the luxury cruiser appointments that have become standards on contemporary "sports" cars. (BTW: the Evora chassis was designed so it could be used as the backbone of the new Lotus Espirit. Rumor has it that the Espirit could get a detuned version of the awesome V10 Toyota is putting in the Lexus LFA. It's that, or a Lotus redesigned version of the great V8 Lexus put in the IS F (these engines would be fitted longitudinally, eliminating the Evora's rear "seats".))

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When I think of "great cars" I think of cars that get 40 mpg and go 150,000 miles without needing a major repair. Different folks have different standards.

I am waiting for an electric car that I can afford. Silent and simple. Plug and play.

Gasoline is so... so....retro. Like steam engines on railroads. Quaint and all that but behind the curve.

I want a car that runs on electricity produced by a nuclear power plant. A car for the atomic age.

Bob Kolker

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When I think of "great cars" I think of cars that get 40 mpg and go 150,000 miles without needing a major repair. Different folks have different standards.

I am waiting for an electric car that I can afford. Silent and simple. Plug and play.

Gasoline is so... so....retro. Like steam engines on railroads. Quaint and all that but behind the curve.

I want a car that runs on electricity produced by a nuclear power plant. A car for the atomic age.

Bob Kolker

Well, then go and build it yourself as most people in the market do not want such things. Do you remember Say's law?

I would also offer that there have been cars built that have come close to meeting your standards already. I owned a 89 Chevrolet Beretta which averaged 35 mpg and I put 168,000 miles on that car and the biggest repair was an alternator. I also owned a 88 Chevrolet Sprint which averaged 40+ mpg and between myself and my brother (who I sold the car to) we put almost 200,000 miles on the car.

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When I think of "great cars"

Interesting how you omitted "drivers'"

I think of cars that get 40 mpg and go 150,000 miles without needing a major repair.

There have been several such cars that are a blast to drive. See the Hoda CRX's cult-like following, for example.

Different folks have different standards.

And, in acknowledgment of this fact, internet forums give us the option of launching separate threads to accommodate varying standards.

Q: Why do insist on posting about matters that fall well outside the explicit and implicit purview of this thread, on this thread?

I am waiting for an electric car that I can afford
.

Well, maybe if DC taxes you even more in order to subsidize both the R&D and sales of such vehicles, you'll be able to afford one soon.

:D

That's assuming, of course, that the companies offering these vehicles, usually done in order to postpone there demise at the hand of regulators from today to tonight, don't go out of business. (Toyota still looses around $12K per Prius, about what Ford makes on each F150 pick-up truck. See the Prius' environmental footprint versus the F150's for a laugh.)

Silent and simple.

Most of what makes modern cars complex will carry over to electrics. Further, there's nothing simple about building the infrastructure needed to support electrics; especially since those who created the pseudo-market for electrics, such as it is, oppose almost everything it would take to make such a transition possible.

As for silent: the major players in electrics are debating whether or not they need to add audio tracks to these cars in order to let people know that a car is coming, to enhance the experience for the driver, and because auditory signals are a great way of letting a driver know what's going on with his power-plant.

Plug and play.

Tell it like it is, brother. It's more like plug, wait...wait...wait...wait...play a bit, then wait...wait...wait...wait...

Gasoline is so... so....retro.

Gasoline holds incredible advantages over all other transportation energy sources. The fact that we'll probably go electric at some point, in and of itself, does not make the tech that currently dominates retro.

Quaint and all that but behind the curve

Given the performance of electrics in the foreseeable - measure it any way you like -, gasoline powered autos are far more than "quaint".

I want a car that runs on electricity produced by a nuclear power plant. A car for the atomic age.

But thanks to the people who are pushing the electric car at all cost, we never had a real Atomic Age. They detest nuclear plants for the same motive that has them making up nonsense about the internal combustion engine's shortcomings.

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Gasoline is so... so....retro.

Gasoline holds incredible advantages over all other transportation energy sources. The fact that we'll probably go electric at some point, in and of itself, does not make the tech that currently dominates retro.

Indeed. My old structures (?) lecturer had an awesome lecture, where he spent 10 minutes tracing the power losses over the electricity network right to the electric car, and compared it with the energy losses incurred whilst operating a standard IC engine. I believe the numbers were 30-40% efficiency for the IC engine, and something like 2% (or was it 0.2%?) for the electric car - that is, about 2% of the energy is converted into kinetic energy. Irrelevant to his course, but awesome nevertheless just to watch the face of the girls (they were always girls) who came to class with recycled bags etc.

In that light, oil derivatives (and I do not mean the paper kind :D ) are still the most elegant way to propel a vehicle. Although my personal obsession is with Cold War era extremely high thrust/weight fighter jets, I still appreciate this in cars.

[This may have been the same lecturer that started a 9am Monday lecture by a video showing a girl blowing up buildings, and screaming "this is better than sex!" (welcome to England) - followed by a slide saying "ENGINEERING IS BETTER THAN ........." - if all the lecturers had been like him perhaps there is a small chance I wouldn't be on my way to Wall Street :D]

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