Almost all of us have done it. There’s a moment when you’re carrying just enough speed through a turn. Maybe it’s a wide open intersection or maybe it’s a tight corner you know well. You’re feeling sly, suddenly aware of all your driving talent, and you punch the throttle enough to step the tail out. If it was the first time you’ve done it this afternoon you might immediately lift off and flail at the steering to settle the car back down. If it was midnight in a rainy nowhere you’d probably been doing it for the last half hour and you keep the throttle pinned until the telltale flare of wheel spinning revs levels out, your grin so large it threatens to shatter the side windows. For those few yards, you felt you were drifting.
Being constantly connected to the internet, whether through my phone, my desktop, my laptop, or my Gameboy SP (takes a while to connect…) is as dangerous to my wallet as leaving your unlocked phone around friends is dangerous to your Tinder profile.
Mid-engined, fuel injected, open topped, and available only with a manual transmission. Such a feature list is music to my ears. Music that sounds nearly as good as the horizontally opposed engine that powers this normally unloved canyon carver.
Is it a Porsche? Yes. Does it have a numerical designation? Yes. Is it a 718 Boxster?
The road snakes this way and that, hoping to outrun you on the next bend. It changes direction, comes up and down, tightens radius to the right and sharply snaps to the left in a rising hairpin. Trees fillet the sunlight, playing tricks as to if the road surface is damp or merely shaded. There’s a smattering of fallen leaves leading up to a blind crest; it might be followed by a long straight, a break in the trees, or a gravel filled sweeper.
I’ve always had a leaning toward older cars. As a kid I drooled over the FD RX-7, Corvette ZR-1, and E36 M3 that were then new. But I’d have equal, if not more enthusiasm for the odd Audi 4000Q, Nissan Maxima (4 Door Sports Car!), or even the humble Toyota Corona.
There are enthusiasts that can never leave well enough alone. A car might be perfectly fine stock, but once we catch sight of the same car with some tastefully done mods it’s all downhill. Then there’s the engine. It starts with an intake, maybe a header, but then you come across a magazine where someone managed to marry two unexpected ingredients.
It’s all good and well to commit to whatever stock lump is taking up space under the bonnet. But once the what-ifs start flowing, even I tear off into Neverland to build all the things I would if my wallet, significant other, or the California Air Resources Board would allow it.
Filtering only for manual transmission and a max price of a few thousand dollars, Craigslist presents vehicles that few others will cross shop. You get rare MX-5 Edition Miatas, automatic 240SXs that are somehow drift ready but “never abused”, Fieros that ran the last time they caught fire, and RX-7s whose owners insist they pass smog but won’t do it themselves.
What I enjoy most from an engine is the last couple-thousand RPMs in its rev range, and the immediate application of the throttle after an upshift. Often I’ll find myself downshifting in traffic, or holding onto a gear a little longer just to experience it. It’s the induction noise that gets me, and there’s a lot of it here.