Wiggle the steering wheel. Blip the throttle. Check the distance between it and the brake. Slot the lever from first gear to second to first. Observe the shift distance.
Light changes. Green means go.
Note the clutch take-up. Roll halfway into the throttle, then mat it. Slight giggle as the rear tires pay lip-service to the concept of traction. Slight giggle from the passenger as her seat tilts back with the force of acceleration, forward with the brakes.
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.
When most folks talk about travel it tends to revolve around the destination. People willingly sit aboard tubes of jet propelled aluminum for hours on end, just to look at some buildings that are different from the ones at home. People spend thousands of dollars to wake up with their body clocks still set to night when the sun in front of them is rising, to eat foods they saw once on Pinterest, and to check-in on social media in order to craft an online persona that’s more cosmopolitan than their suburban hometown would suggest.
To each their own. My aspirations are a little different.
Once upon a time the majority of new cars had these funny things called carburetors, devices that would dump into a motor some guesstimated amount of leaded fuel that would mostly combust before being ushered through the catless exhaust and into the lungs of the guy behind you. During this time those fancy automatic transmissions were a dammed expensive option, so the car in your driveway most likely had four speeds that required you to work three pedals to direct drive to the rear two wheels. During this time, also referred to as the Mid-Sixties, that driveway might have been occupied by that sweet, new Rambler powered by a 290ci ‘Typhoon’ V8. Or maybe you wanted to be a little different and parked-up a nice Barracuda with a more sedate but adequate Slant-6.
Or…maybe you went with one of them there foreign jobbies.
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?
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.
The aural pleasure of a pinned throttle ebbs as you look through the next turn. Just past the hero point you prod the brakes, bringing weight onto the nose and shifting grip for that rotation drivers live for. Deftly, your foot rolls to blip the throttle while the other simultaneously disengages the driveline from the motor. One hand leaves the wheel, pulling the gear lever from third to second as tho…
You rushed it into gear. What, you don’t like your synchros? Cause they sure don’t like you right now. It’s ok. Slow it down, take a breath, and we’ll try again in the next corner…