Hooniverse Asks- Is it Really More Fun to Drive a Slow Car Fast Than a Fast Car Slow?

The old saying goes that it’s more fun to drive a slow car fast than a fast car slow. Having driven my share of both slow and fast cars, I can say that it’s most fun to drive a fast car fast, but that opportunity doesn’t come up all that often. Usually driving with any alacrity is constrained by traffic, stop signs, and those guys in the Smokey the Bear hats. But that’s not to say there isn’t a lot of fun to be had while eschewing warp drive for impulse power.
So, what say you- Do you think that there’s fun to be had in a car of limited means when you are hitting 11/10s of what it’s got? Or does fun only come with an appreciable dollop of horsepower on the side?
Of course some people make their fun themselves-
Image source: [kingoffunny]

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  1. P161911 Avatar

    The closer to 10/10ths that you can drive the more fun. A fast car can only be driven at 4-5/10ths on the street without being a danger to yourself and/or others and/or attracting the attention of the law. A slow car can be driven 7-8/10ths on the street without too many problems, if you keep the tire noise to a minimum. Of course the slow car has to at least be nimble. Slow and big usually aren't going to be fun unless you get stupid. As points of reference my 120hp ish 87 MW 325e was as much fun on an average commute as my 300hp 94 Corvette, but my 150hp '88 F-150, long bed extended cab, usually isn't fun to drive, but it gets the truck jobs done. All of these vehicles have manual transmissions. I think this was sort of what Graverobber was saying.

    1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

      …but meanwhile, there's nothing wrong with 'getting stupid' as long as it's in an unoccupied area. My car's not excessively fun on pavement – it's a good time, but the body roll and snow tires limit it, as does the lack of power. However, on a fairly smooth gravel road, it becomes a rally car; kicking out the tail at 35 around a sandy corner isn't terribly unsafe, but it is a good time.

  2. joshuman Avatar

    Getting the very most that a slow car has to offer is something that is exhilarating to me. The consequences of such hoonage rarely include fiery death and multi-hundreds of thousands of dollar repair bills. Some of the stupidest and most fun things I have done while driving were in a $500 1979 Subaru hatchback at the tender age of 16.

  3. skitter Avatar

    Chalk me down for "slow car fast", due to some small amount of license preservation instinct. If I have a fast car, I will drive it fast. Not to say I don't know restraint, but six or seven tenths in anything remotely quick is deep into 'go directly to jail, do not pass go' territory.

  4. JeepyJayhawk Avatar

    Slow car fast. I have driven a few painfully slow cars, but the manual and decent handling make things fun.

  5. Maymar Avatar

    I'd lean towards slow car fast, but it's dependent on the slow car. Saddled with an automatic, my future Accent isn't much fun to drive, no matter what. It just feels like I'm fighting the thing. Now, on the other hand, a fast car is more likely to be nice to drive, even at slow speeds.

  6. Tim Odell Avatar
    Tim Odell

    For slow-car-fast, it has to be the right slow car. I'd rather do 30 in a CTS-V than 65 in a minivan.
    When it comes to driving, it's definitely slow-car-fast. But that doesn't make me want to buy a slow car more than a fast car.

    1. Alff Avatar

      You are right on. I have an Alfa that is slow and I would prefer to drive that over mostl vehicles. On the other hand, if I never have to drive another Kia Spectra it will be too soon.
      As for the minivan thing, I too would prefer to drive the CTS-V at low speeds. However:
      1) I don't consider a minivan to be a car. The few times I have referred to one as such the term has been preceeded by the words "my wife's".
      2) Most modern minivans aren't particularly slow.

  7. PowerTryp Avatar

    It really depends on your definition of fast or slow, where are you going fast and how are you acheving that feeling?
    Personally I'm preferencial to handling and corners so power doesn't play into it as much leading me to a "slower" car. Balance is what the name of the game really is, some guy could hav 700HP and a lousy suspension setup and my little 942 Turbo that is known for it's prowess in the corners can hold onto his rear end like a highschool football star does to his chearleader girlfriends ass. Then the second we exit the corner he becomes the "fast" car and takes off.
    My answer for me would be "slow" but I do hope someone here plays the drag racer and comes out to tell every one that power is all you need.

  8. Bret Avatar

    Solidly in the Slow Car Fast camp. Were I made of money, I’d be able to afford to drive a fast car fast (at track days) and know pure enjoyment. But, until I win the Lotto, it’s the joys of maximizing the available performance for me.

  9. engineerd Avatar

    Like many of the greatest questions of philosophy there are many answers, none of them wrong, and all of them hotly debated. What is the meaning of life? Are humans inately good or inately evil? Mounds or Almond Joy? Are the Lions or Browns the worst teams in the NFL? As such, they offer us a chance to expound on our beliefs and debate the merits of each viewpoint.
    Therefore, I'm going to say fast cars slow. Here's why:
    First, while it is true that driving a slow car fast will offer enjoyment on a regular basis, that slow car can only offer you the exhilaration it gives while getting up to speed on the freeway or taking a 45 mph curve at 55 mph. It doesn't offer anything more. The limit comes fast and easy, but that limit is mundane.
    A fast car, for example a Ferrari 599 GTB, driven slowly may seem a waste. However, it isn't. You see, at a moment's notice, that slow car going fast in the next lane could be left in the dust…because you're faster. When the opportunity presents itself, that fast car can accelerate past most speed limits and into the realm of "reasonable and prudent". That fast car can also outrace anything on a track. Yes, the opportunity to do all this won't present itself as regularly as the opportunity to push a slow car to its limits, but for the times it does it is so worth it.
    Second, the looks you get can make the slow driving worth it. When you are cruising at Mach 1.2 in a fast car, mortal drivers don't have a chance to appreciate the car you're in. When you are more earthbound and mingling in traffic with said mortals, they can really take in the car you're in. The way the quad pipes are grouped on a Pagani Zonda. The angularity of a Countach. The flowing curves precisely directing the air for maximum downforce and minimum drag on a Ferrari. Even the ugly-yet-desirable Gumpert Apollo can be fully appreciated. Driving the fast car slow let's people drool, aspire, and congratulate you.
    Finally, would you rather say you own a Spyker or a Hyundai? Yes, the Hyundai may handle great and be fun to drive and easier to drive at the limit, but at the end of the day it's still a Hyundai.

  10. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

    My Volvo may be gutless, but it's fast enough to be fun in the right circumstances, and the rear-wheel-drive, ground clearance, and tough suspension ensure good times on gravel.
    Also, I had my long-standing suspicion confirmed on Saturday night – got clocked at 66 in a 50 before I had the chance to brake, was civil, understanding, and slightly apologetic… written warning. "No priors" had something to do with it, but so did "stodgy car", "brown fedora", and "respect".
    It was a learning experience for a few reasons, not least of which being "I didn't know it could go that fast on that stretch of road". (I usually take it at 55.) Anyway, the point I'm trying to make is that if your car looks responsible – even with a broken windshield – and doesn't smell like filthy hippie, you have an advantage over ricers and sports cars.

    1. PowerTryp Avatar

      I love my silver '03 Taurus DD for that, I've never had a ticket in it dispite breaking the law on multiple occasions and due to that fact I've dubbed it "My Invisible car". I'm alot more cautious on the road in my Toofa than the Taurus.

  11. _Tomsk_ Avatar

    Slow car fast, hands down. Unless it's something that can't corner to save its own (and your) life.

  12. CptSevere Avatar

    Oh, man I love this question. I've had so many weird, old and gutless vehicles that I can truly say slow car fast. Now, my '69 Cutlass was not slow by any means, and I wrung her out to 120 once or twice. That's fast by anyone's estimation. But, drive a Deuce and a Half (never had one personally, but drove them while in the Guard) 65 plus MPH, and you're hauling ass. I used to ride Honda 350 twins, and once I had my CB up to 85 for about thirty miles, and that was 9/10ths driving at its most white-knuckle. Hell, my current '66 F100 at 75 is giving its all on a straight road. Off the pavement, it shines, and that's technical driving at maybe 15 in first gear. It depends on what you're driving, and your love of driving. Coupe Z 600 wrote quite eloquently on this subject lately on (REDACTED), talking about his little Honda beercan. Something about hooning the hell out of the little twin while the cops laugh at him, he's nowhere near the speed limit. Try the same thing in a Bitchin' Camaro, and you're explaining your misbehavior to the authorities. Slow car fast, good humor. Driving a fast car to the limits of its abilities has the potential to get you in serious trouble, while wringing out every bit of speed and handling from a slow crock is shits and giggles.

  13. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    Handle it up! That's brilliant! Woman gaga! I love it! This material is pure gold!

  14. Sumflow Avatar

    When you spend a hundred thousand dollars on a Honda, you still have a Honda. Buy the Porsche!