Driving slow cars fast -- comment from BAT - Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums
 3Likes
  • 1 Post By 180OUT
  • 2 Post By gprocket
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-23-2017, 11:52 AM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
Gary Williams's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Washington State
Posts: 1,750
Driving slow cars fast -- comment from BAT

I found fascinating the following comment on BAT regarding a GT Junior that's for sale:

"200mph 1,414
@GaryGTV You’re of the “more displacement, more power” school; and yes, 2000cc swaps are very popular. However, there is a certain joy in driving a slow car fast. My Alfa was a 1600 (w/domed pistons & Veloce cams). It needed to be wound out to 4000 or so in every gear to make pace, and was FUN to drive that way! That Alfa and a 1070cc Mini Cooper S were among the most fun cars I’ve owned… because you really have to DRIVE them to go fast !"

This comment stems from someone selling a pretty, non-stock GT Jr and an ensuing discussion about keeping cars stock versus adding MORE POWER! I commented on BAT that I've had Alfas with 1300, 1600 and 2L engines, but prefer a hot 2L for the power it makes ... and its ability to quickly wind into the 6500-7000 rpm range.

200mph then thoroughly confused my aging brain. First, he talked about driving a slow car fast. That seems like an oxymoron to me. It's a slow car that won't go fast, which is why it's called a slow car. I think he means he likes to drive slow cars as fast as they will go. I get that.

Second, he talks of stretching the limits of his Alfa with 4000 rpm shifts. If that's where he normally shifts an Alfa twin cam, he's upshifting right when his engine is beginning to make power. He's driving a slow car slowly.

Third, it is entirely possible to drive a slow car as fast as it will go and a fast car as fast as it will go. Driving a fast car fast takes more skill than driving a slow car fast because things happen more quickly and mistakes at higher speeds bring worse consequences.

Fourth, a slow car can only be fast relative to another slow car or a slow driver.

My conclusion, if we can call it that, is to modify'em if you want to or don't if would rather not. Scuderia Non Originale (SNO) members aren't going to nitpick your choices either way.

These are the types of things that run through my head when reading BAT on a slow, grey, drippy Thanksgiving morning.

Gary Williams
Washington State
'67 GTV
Gary Williams is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-23-2017, 12:59 PM
BB Janitor
Platinum SubscriberSuper Moderator
 
ghnl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Mebane, NC
Posts: 16,063
Garage
Quote:
... it is entirely possible to drive... a fast car as fast as it will go.
But perhaps not on public streets.

- - Eric
don't read this
~ 1984 Spider Veloce ~
- -~ 1981 GTV-6 ~
Mebane, North Carolina


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
ghnl is online now  
post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-23-2017, 01:15 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: San Antonio, Texas
Posts: 3,985
We really ought to put the "drive a slow car fast" thing in perspective. A couple of days ago, I had the Super out for an afternoon drive. Everytime I go out in the Super, driving is a blast. While it started life as 1300, I bought it with the intent of eventually putting in a hot-rod 2 liter. That I ended up driving it for several years with the 1300 can be seen as a testament to how enjoyable a little 1300 can be but finally, even with the installation of a genuine TI Super (105.16) close ratio gearbox, I got tired of getting passed by mini-vans. So, I built a hot-rod 2 liter which, combined with the c/r 'box, is an absolute blast to drive. In all honestly, I think putting a 2 liter in a Super dramatically changes the character of the car. Once you drive a 2 liter equipped Super you quickly understand why Alfa studiously avoided making that combination a factory option.

While my Super can be said to be "fast" relative to other Supers, GTV's, and Spiders, it can't be said to be "fast" in the sense that modern fast cars are fast. I had this proven to me the other day. I was coming down an off ramp, double clutching into lower gears and making a glorious---this-is-a-really-fast-car-noise---when a seriously fast modern Mustang blew my doors off. When we were sitting at the light, he looked over, grinned, blipped his engine and took off. That was a fast car being driven fast. My Super in contrast is a faster, but still relatively slow, car being driven fast. But, that's OK. It a fun ride nonetheless.
horsewidower likes this.

Jim . . . '72 Super 1300, '70, 1750GTV, 2nd series,
'62, Lancia Flaminia Zagato3c, 2nd series

Last edited by 180OUT; 11-23-2017 at 01:18 PM.
180OUT is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-23-2017, 01:29 PM
Registered User
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Newport Beach, CA and Melbourne, Aus.
Posts: 1,229
Gary - must be the Washington gloom doing strange things to your mind ��. 81 and blue sky here in SoCal ☀️

My fondest track time memories are with a 1300/1600 Junior and then a 1.6/2 litre Alfetta GT both of which I co-owned with my best friend. Not the fastest cars but trying to beat each other with the same equipment on the same day, that’s challenging. And a heck of a lot of fun.

Come to think of it, our family 850 Mini on cross plies taught me a lot about car dynamics. As did my sisters Fiat Bambina. I’d argue you learn a lot more that way than throwing in some hp and bolting on some wide rubber.

Alister
1973 105 GTV (Alfa #6 of 19 owned)
Aggie57 is offline  
post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-23-2017, 06:40 PM Thread Starter
Registered User
 
Gary Williams's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2003
Location: Washington State
Posts: 1,750
Quote:
Originally Posted by Aggie57 View Post
Gary - must be the Washington gloom doing strange things to your mind ��. 81 and blue sky here in SoCal ☀️ My fondest track time memories are with a 1300/1600 Junior and then a 1.6/2 litre Alfetta GT both of which I co-owned with my best friend. Not the fastest cars but trying to beat each other with the same equipment on the same day, that’s challenging. And a heck of a lot of fun. Come to think of it, our family 850 Mini on cross plies taught me a lot about car dynamics. As did my sisters Fiat Bambina. I’d argue you learn a lot more that way than throwing in some hp and bolting on some wide rubber.
You misjudge me, Aggie57. I'm a native Californian, who bought my first Alfa as a college kid in 1966 ... when I lived in the heart of what is now known as SillyCon Valley. I loved that slow little Giulietta Spider and its single carb 1300 Normale motor. I spent every available hour learning to drive it as quickly as possible on the then largely wide open winding roads of the Santa Cruz Mountains. On rainy nights, I often took it out to industrial areas that had paved roads, but not yet any buildings or cars. There I would slide around on the rain-slick roads to my heart's content, learning car control in the process.

Later I bought a GTC with 1600 motor, a '67 GTV I still own, also with 1600, and a couple of 1750 Spiders. They were all fun, but eventually my skills improved and I wanted to go faster. That led to Shankle cams and, finally, to the GTV's improvements that include its pumped 2L motor.

I am fully aware that suburban mommy SUVs often are faster in a straight line and that there are plenty of other cars that perform considerably better than my 50-year-old Alfa, even with all the suspension, braking, motor, tranny improvements.

Our Audi Avant "sport wagon" would probably keep pace with the Alfa on a track, with super stereo system going, AC blasting, and passengers in the back seat. What the Audi can't offer is a connection between car, driver and road that is Alfa's special gift to driving enthusiasts.

Double-clutching, heel and toeing, 45DCOE Webers gulping air through low-restriction filters, quick shifts and rapid engine response, direct road feel and so much more make the Alfa experience exceptional, especially when carefully made modifications take the car to an even higher level.

I do not street race and am careful to do my fast motoring when it is safe for me and others on the mountain roads I now enjoy in Washington State. The sticky tires and other improvements are for my enjoyment, not because I feel it important to prove that my car is faster than that of some stranger.

Now that you know I have 51 years of Alfa driving experience, maybe it is easier to understand why stock spec Alfas don't hold the same magic for me that they do for more recent converts to the marque.

Gary Williams
Washington State
'67 GTV
Gary Williams is offline  
post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-23-2017, 06:43 PM
Senior Member
Platinum Subscriber
 
alfaparticle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Columbia SC
Posts: 12,470
"There is no substitute for horsepower" - Richard Jemison. Almost all cars are more fun to drive when they challenge your driving ability. I was inspired to build a 170 HP spider motor when I ate the dust of a VW new bug on the way to work one morning.

Ed Prytherch
79 Spider
85 GTV6 3L
76 Suzuki GT500
2011 Jaguar XKR

A little government and a little luck are necessary in life, but only a fool trusts either of them. - P.J. O'Rourke
alfaparticle is online now  
post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-23-2017, 07:40 PM
Registered User
 
Sfizio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Norwalk, Connecticut
Posts: 254
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by 180OUT View Post
We really ought to put the "drive a slow car fast" thing in perspective.
I have to agree with 180out about perspective. My Honda Odyssey is relatively (weight, horsepower, drive train) a lot faster than my 82 spider and I actually enjoy driving the Honda, particularly on highways at cruising speeds although not really fun to drive around town. My Afla is not particularly fast out of the gate and tops out just north of 85mph (the limit of the speedo). You would think a light car with a 2 Litre engine and a 5 speed trans would be faster but it's not. And while I can appreciate alfaparticle building a 170 hp motor to compensate, that's not something I am able to do. I did, however, get a new appreciation for driving a slow car fast this past summer in Montreal during the autocross at Sanair. I won my class and placed third overall, about one second behind a 4C. It was only the second time I tried autocross so I don't attribute my success as a driver as much as to the merits of a car that was built to do exactly what autocross offers as a challenge and is likely typical of driving on Italian roads in and out of cities, which is not speed but agility. I think this is the true joy behind driving an Alfa.

Spending my kids' inheritance one mechanic at a time.
Sfizio is offline  
post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-23-2017, 08:06 PM
Registered User
 
alfa2go's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Brisbane, Australia
Posts: 2,637
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sfizio View Post
I did, however, get a new appreciation for driving a slow car fast this past summer in Montreal during the autocross at Sanair. I won my class and placed third overall, about one second behind a 4C. It was only the second time I tried autocross so I don't attribute my success as a driver as much as to the merits of a car that was built to do exactly what autocross offers as a challenge and is likely typical of driving on Italian roads in and out of cities, which is not speed but agility. I think this is the true joy behind driving an Alfa.
Got any footage of you autocrossing the Montreal?

66' Giulia Super, '67 GT Veloce, '72 Montreal

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
www.montreal.alfa-male.com
alfa2go is offline  
post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-23-2017, 08:08 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by alfaparticle View Post
"There is no substitute for horsepower" - Richard Jemison...
While I generally agree with this statement I must admit that for me there are limits. A number of years ago I had a 550 hp Viper. It was exhilarating at times and downright scary at other times. I never got comfortable driving it knowing how quickly things could get out of control. I don't have that same sensation driving my Alfa and I'm old enough now not to miss it.
Gordon Raymond and Sfizio like this.

The Brad Davisson Memorial Scholarship Fund:

To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
gprocket is offline  
post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-23-2017, 09:22 PM
Registered User
 
Sfizio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Norwalk, Connecticut
Posts: 254
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by alfa2go View Post
Got any footage of you autocrossing the Montreal?

Actually, I do, thanks to Peter Faccin of Stile Magazine, who was at the track that day taking photos and videos. And if I can figure out how to post it, I will. To watch it is amusing in that it is apparent that I am driving rather slowly. At the drivers meeting, they explained that autocross is a fast drive in second gear. Turned out, that was good advice. Shamelessly, the AO article about the same event is attached.
Attached Images
 
Attached Images
File Type: pdf AO Article.pdf (136.1 KB, 28 views)

Spending my kids' inheritance one mechanic at a time.
Sfizio is offline  
post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-23-2017, 09:39 PM
Senior Member
Gold Subscriber
 
Subtle's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Vancouver, B C
Posts: 6,163
Slow car at slow speed but feeling too fast.

!954 MGTC 1250. I graduated in 1962 and got a job underground at mine up Vancouver Island. The winters include a lot of rain and with bald tires, it was slippery enough on the pavement. But the bridges were covered with wooden plank decks, which in the wet had virtually zero friction.

However, as the rubber was worn down to the fabric, the traction improved.

Got sideways a few times but never exited a bridge going backwards.


Bob,
Avatar is the 68 Super, bought new.
Subtle is offline  
post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-24-2017, 07:28 AM
Senior Member
Platinum Subscriber
 
conedriver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Lexington, KY
Posts: 3,497
The full quote that I remember is attributed to Bob Lutz (of Chrysler and later GM) after a stage in the California Mille rally. Lutz drove an original Chrysler 300 in front of Keith Martin (Sports Car Market letter) who was really exercising a Giulietta Spider trying to keep up. "It's more fun to drive a slow car fast, than a fast car slow".

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gary Williams View Post
I found fascinating the following comment on BAT regarding a GT Junior that's for sale:

"200mph 1,414
@GaryGTV You’re of the “more displacement, more power” school; and yes, 2000cc swaps are very popular. However, there is a certain joy in driving a slow car fast. My Alfa was a 1600 (w/domed pistons & Veloce cams). It needed to be wound out to 4000 or so in every gear to make pace, and was FUN to drive that way! That Alfa and a 1070cc Mini Cooper S were among the most fun cars I’ve owned… because you really have to DRIVE them to go fast !"

This comment stems from someone selling a pretty, non-stock GT Jr and an ensuing discussion about keeping cars stock versus adding MORE POWER! I commented on BAT that I've had Alfas with 1300, 1600 and 2L engines, but prefer a hot 2L for the power it makes ... and its ability to quickly wind into the 6500-7000 rpm range.

200mph then thoroughly confused my aging brain. First, he talked about driving a slow car fast. That seems like an oxymoron to me. It's a slow car that won't go fast, which is why it's called a slow car. I think he means he likes to drive slow cars as fast as they will go. I get that.

Second, he talks of stretching the limits of his Alfa with 4000 rpm shifts. If that's where he normally shifts an Alfa twin cam, he's upshifting right when his engine is beginning to make power. He's driving a slow car slowly.

Third, it is entirely possible to drive a slow car as fast as it will go and a fast car as fast as it will go. Driving a fast car fast takes more skill than driving a slow car fast because things happen more quickly and mistakes at higher speeds bring worse consequences.

Fourth, a slow car can only be fast relative to another slow car or a slow driver.

My conclusion, if we can call it that, is to modify'em if you want to or don't if would rather not. Scuderia Non Originale (SNO) members aren't going to nitpick your choices either way.

These are the types of things that run through my head when reading BAT on a slow, grey, drippy Thanksgiving morning.


To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 0 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.

George Schweikle

1976 Spider (Dedicated Autocrosser, "SPICA, No Carbs")
1991 Spider Veloce (Retirement cruiser)
Scuderia Non Originale
conedriver is offline  
post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-24-2017, 05:24 PM
Registered User
 
Sfizio's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: Norwalk, Connecticut
Posts: 254
Garage
Quote:
Originally Posted by conedriver View Post
The full quote that I remember is attributed to Bob Lutz (of Chrysler and later GM) after a stage in the California Mille rally. Lutz drove an original Chrysler 300 in front of Keith Martin (Sports Car Market letter) who was really exercising a Giulietta Spider trying to keep up. "It's more fun to drive a slow car fast, than a fast car slow".
That comment from the man who took the top time in that same autocross.

Spending my kids' inheritance one mechanic at a time.
Sfizio is offline  
post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 11-24-2017, 07:22 PM
Moderator
Platinum SubscriberModerator
 
Alfajay's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: San Juan Capistrano
Posts: 9,543
Quote:
Originally Posted by conedriver View Post
The full quote that I remember is attributed to Bob Lutz (of Chrysler and later GM) after a stage in the California Mille rally.
I associate that quote ("It's more fun to drive a slow car fast, than a fast car slow") to Martin Swig, the founder of the California Mille. But I don't know whether Swig coined it, told it to Lutz, or heard it from Lutz.

It makes perfect sense to me, and many of the opinions and anecdotes outlined in this thread illustrate it well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 200mph
My Alfa was a 1600 (w/domed pistons & Veloce cams). It needed to be wound out to 4000 or so in every gear to make pace
Yea, that doesn't add up.

Jay Mackro
San Juan Capistrano, CA

'63 Guilia spider
'65 Guilia Sprint GT
'67 Duetto
'91 164L

Last edited by Alfajay; 11-24-2017 at 08:12 PM.
Alfajay is online now  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Options

Register Now



In order to be able to post messages on the Alfa Romeo Bulletin Board & Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.

User Name:
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.

Password:


Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.

Email Address:
OR

Log-in










Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page
Display Modes
Linear Mode Linear Mode



Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

 
For the best viewing experience please update your browser to Google Chrome