Posted by: futurevehicles | June 2, 2009

The joy of driving- this one is for Edwin.

Edwin, a fellow classmate, is an absolute car nut. It’s a wonder he hasn’t blown all his savings on a Ferrari of some description. He speaks passionately about the joys of driving and what this experience might be like in the future. Here is my take on it.

Driving with passion, I think, can be compared to playing a musical instrument with passion. Each decision you make as far as the operator input will result in a different reaction from the vehicle or instrument. Driving with joy and passion should involve a connection with the vehicle- an understanding of the way it works and the way it will respond when you push it to the limits. It’s like controlled chaos. Driving in a spirited manner is, depending on the car, a really violent thing. You get flung about on occasion, you feel the G-forces pulling you in all directions, and you feel like you are in control of a wild animal when the accelerator pedal is hammered to the floor.

I’ve had a lot of experience working on cars in the past few years. My brother and a dear friend of mine are both building INCREDIBLY serious Toyota AE86 race cars, and I was fortunate enough to go for a ride in one recently in order to witness what true driving passion is all about.

The car in question, a 1984 Toyota AE86 Sprinter, has evolved from a completely standard road-going car to an untamed track weapon. GONE is the interior, GONE are all the standard features. GONE is the sound insulation tar. GONE are the standard 5-inch wide wheels. This car now has a heavily modified 1.6 litre engine, a seam-welded chassis, 9 inch wide wheels with racing slicks, a straight through racing exhaust- and a driver that is a complete NUTCASE.

SDC10532

Though the drive was brief (AND INCREDIBLY ILLEGAL), the work involved in merely trying to navigate this car through suburban streets is ridiculous and inspiring at the same time. Speed humps are impassable objects; traffic islands are considered chicanes; and straights are considered an opportunity to deafen the neighbours. With no interior other than a driver and passenger seat, the car is loud, uncomfortable, inconvenient and uses fuel like a jet plane.

But does all that really matter? The sheer thrill of being able to experience this amazing car outweighed the fact that I was hallucinating from petrol fumes and that my ears were ringing. Watching my friend jerk the steering wheel and power through  the gears while at the same time trying to watch the road ahead was a truly great motoring experience.

So, the joy of driving comes in all forms. I personally, would take the loud, uncomfortable, inconvenient race car over a touring car any day- but that is just personal preference. Whether someone buys a big Jaguar or another person builds a race car- either way it’s because both people want to experience the joy and freedom of driving.

Keep your eyes peeled for a full feature on the white AE86 soon.

Peace

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Responses

  1. Thank you, Leon. That is a great post. It makes so much sense.


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