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Thread: Leave your car stock

  1. #1
    Idling - Listen to it purr...
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    Leave your car stock

    After many years of performance driving on the street, I've had a revelation. Today's tires are so good, suspensions are so good, and performance parts are so good that--unless you intend to track your car--you should leave it stock. Moreover, forget summer performance tires and get all season tires, which ride much better. Some guys I know, here in St. Louis, are even buying 'crappy tires' on purpose. Why? Interesting story. Two years ago, I drove a new ND and was totally underwhelmed by the handling. Huge body roll. What was going on? What was Mazda thinking? I went to the Fiat dealer and the 124's were MUCH better handling. I bought one. Two years later, I realize that Mazda is much smarter than me. They recognize that modern tires/parts are so good that you can come nowhere near the limits of a modern sports car on the streets. They designed in the huge body roll ON PURPOSE. I've come full circle and I now have no interest in improving the handling. I WANT the car to roll, I want all four wheels to slide. You can test your limits, and the cars, at safe speeds. It's not about ultimate speed--that's for the track and why they use stop watches there. It's about FUN. And you can't experience that if the car is just going fast, with no drama, and not much input on your part. I sold the Fiat ND to Carmax (for $5000 more than I paid for it) and bought a low mileage, one owner NB, with every receipt from new. I'm VERY happy with it.

  2. #2
    Ninja Messiah kung fu jesus's Avatar
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    I have an estimated 200 hours of track and competition driving under my belt.

    There is some merit to the post above…especially for a dual use car (street and track).

    I do not time my laps anymore. I prefer to make use of what I daily to work with what a particular car gives me to learn how to make it faster. #1 goal is reliability, so I go to great lengths to keep my vehicles in top operating condition.

    If I track the car, I will use pads and fluid that can handle that stress. I will also address know failure points preemptively.

    This gives me a near 1:1 translation from track to street from what I learn. At the track, I working a lot harder managing the tire heat, suspension, and stock characteristics of the car than masking my deficiencies. It’s pretty eye-opening.

    I’m not the fastest, I don’t try to be. I’m out there to learn the limits of the car, build skill, learn and test new techniques, be safe, and have fun.

    There are few people I track with regularly that know this about me. They love telling others who point me out that my car is dead stock. I usually get asked to give somebody a ride or follow me so they can see what I’m doing to make my car ‘fast’.

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  4. #3
    Idling - Listen to it purr...
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    I concur with what you're saying. And you use your car for street AND track, so what I said does not apply to your case. My post is about cars that are never tracked.

    The most fun I've probably ever had driving fast is driving rental cars in the Alps, in Europe. You know what the world's fastest car is, don't you? A rental car. That's where many guys learn car control and how to drive fast.

    All the 'improvements', that many members are making to their street cars, are just making them less exciting and more boring to drive. If you REALLY want an exciting drive in the country, take a stock 1992 NA, with Chinese tires, and drive it as fast as you can on a country road. THAT is thrilling. Not driving a no body roll, super low profile, Michelin Pilot Sport, Koni shock, chassis braces everywhere, huge roll bar, track car on the street.

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    Ninja Messiah kung fu jesus's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by commonsense View Post
    If you REALLY want an exciting drive in the country, take a stock 1992 NA, with Chinese tires, and drive it as fast as you can on a country road. THAT is thrilling
    That is irresponsible AND dangerous. I would be extremely careful where you take this.

  6. #5
    5,000 rpm - there be torque here! MaRcOp01o's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kung fu jesus View Post
    That is irresponsible AND dangerous. I would be extremely careful where you take this.
    I agree. That is very dangerous.

  7. #6
    6,000 rpm - mere mortals would shift HarryB's Avatar
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    That's an interesting take. Especially given that most aftermarket parts out there make the car worse than OEM in the grand scheme of things. We commonly laugh with good friends about this, as the Greek word for "tuning" is something along the lines of "improving", or as we say "more like worsening". That being said, while you can most certainly mess up the balance between comfort/NVH/reliability and performance, you can definitely improve upon OEMs that have picked cost over performance. In addition, modern engineering tools and materials have the potential to vastly improve older platforms (take brakes and tires as an example here).

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    Individual-1 ☚ ☻ ☛ Agent☣Orange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HarryB View Post
    That's an interesting take. Especially given that most aftermarket parts out there make the car worse than OEM in the grand scheme of things. We commonly laugh with good friends about this, as the Greek word for "tuning" is something along the lines of "improving", or as we say "more like worsening". That being said, while you can most certainly mess up the balance between comfort/NVH/reliability and performance, you can definitely improve upon OEMs that have picked cost over performance.
    That's been my problem in the past. In my zeal to buy all the performance parts I could, I ended up with a street car that was noisy, stinky, rough and uncomfortable.


    No todo que es oro brilla.

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  11. #8
    Ninja Messiah kung fu jesus's Avatar
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    The only Miata I modified and made more comfortable while also improving the performance was my ‘99 white. The new carpet and heat insulation made it more comfortable, the upgraded ignition made it more reliable, the top-shelf coilovers actually rode better than stock and enhanced the driving characteristics.

    Driving a friend’s stock NB felt primitive in comparison.

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  13. #9
    6,000 rpm - mere mortals would shift HarryB's Avatar
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    Agreed, but your example is maybe 10% of what happens in the automotive "tuning scene", and this is because you know what you are doing and you are approaching everything from a critical view standpoint.

  14. #10
    Ninja Messiah kung fu jesus's Avatar
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    Flattery gets you nowhere sir, but I appreciate it. ;)

  15. #11
    3,000 rpm - starting to feel the power atlex's Avatar
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    Just waiting for the post where we're given yet more common sense advice. giggle.

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  17. #12
    Idling - Listen to it purr...
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    This Ted-Talk sucked.

    If a stock car makes you happy. Great.

    If modifying your car makes you happy. Great.

    Don't tell other people to do with their cars unless they ask you.

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