All that any Jalop ever wants is a fun car. It's hard to define what "fun" is, but it doesn't always mean it's the fastest down the straight or the quickest around the corner. It's just something that makes you happy, and lets you have a great time. And sometimes, you don't have a choice in the car.
We all know that feeling when we see a car we have absolutely no desire to drive. It's often an obligation when we do get to that point, when a car is driven out of a sense of duty rather than excitement. It's disappointment at first, but once you actually get behind the wheel, it can turn into elation.
Here are the ten cars that provided fun where you least expected it.
Derided by Top Gear as a "hairdresser's car," mini4x instead called it a "62 HP menace to society." If he had one car left to drive for the rest of his life, this would be it.
I've never even seen one on the roads, but Jonee swears by it:
I bring it up all the time, but the Vespa 400. I love microcars and I find them all a blast to drive. They're always slow and often times quite clunky and unrefined, but the Vespa is just lovely. Wonderful, smooth gearbox; nice suspension for such a tiny thing. I could drive it all day.
You know I'm beginning to think the Nash Ambassador is a theme with you people.
Trike brings up a great point, both about comparison tests and the sometimes inverse relationship between speed and fun:
I remember reading one of those comparison tests of small cars, probably in Car & Driver, that pitted the original MR2, CRX and Alfa Romeo Spider (as well as a couple others) against one another. The Alfa got creamed in nearly every category, yet despite having the worst numbers they picked it as their favorite.
A few years later I bought a used '84 Spider Veloce on a whim. They were right. Numbers be damned, that is an amazingly fun car to drive.
When the whole car costs only a few hundred bucks, you won't be constantly afraid to mess it up. Plus the car barely weighs anything at all.
Everyone know the 1600's faster sibling, the 2002, but the 1600 can hold its own. If you don't trust the readers, you can always trust Patrick George.
Sometimes what starts off as an econobox can become so much more:
I bought a Mazda 323 GTX in the hopes to turn it into a rally car. After gutting it, I found that it was too rusty to cage. I ended up just using it as a rallycross car. I had an inkling that it was going to be fun, but never knew how much fun it was really going to be. Short wheel base, 4WD, 132HP Turbo, and only 2,600 lbs. THAT'S fun.
Think you need a Nissan 240SX with a stonkin' engine to drift around corners? With a RWD Ranger, some snow, and nothing over the back end, think again.
I'll let Desu-San-Desu explain this bucking beast:
It understeers. And then it oversteers. And the engine doesn't really get going until 4,000rpm, at which point it's like it has turbo lag and just spooled up. The suspension is soft and stiff at the same time and it bounces in the weirdest ways. The front tires scrabble for grip, spinning and then suddenly catching yanking you forward with no warning whatsoever. The engine wails like I dying gazelle on a bad acid trip. The wind noise over 50mph is deafening. The exhaust is leaky and backfires and puffs like an asthmatic weedeater.
But, the pedals are PERFECT for heel-toe and left-foot braking action. The steering is damned near telepathic. The limits are incredibly gradual and allow you to just keep it on the edge the entire time. The engine loves to be revved high. The back end swings around on command any time your left foot decides to give the brake pedal a kiss. The visibility is mindblowing, allowing perfect apexes every time, grip permitting. Getting the car sideways is easy, but recovering is even easier, even without power steering. And this car is LIGHT. Like, Miata-level lightweight. But it still has a back seat. and a huge trunk. And a proper roof with a working sunroof. And actual room for elbows and scalps. Oh, and it looks damned mean with the headlights closed.
No one will ever understand your first car like you will. Mine was a Honda Accord similar to the one above. It's not only about how hard you can thrash it around a corner, it's about the adventures you have and the places you go while you're in it. Your first car is that first taste of freedom, the first part of being an adult. And what can be more fun than that?
Welcome to Answers of Last Weekend - our weekly Jalopnik feature where we take the best ten responses from the previous week's Question of the Weekend and shine it up to show off. It's by you and for you, the Jalopnik readers. Enjoy!
Topshot credit: pyntofmyld