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    Thread: Is Your Car Visceral?

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    1. Member 4th Branch's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 06:16 PM #1
      I'm curious to know what TCL thinks of as the most visceral car they have owned or driven? Is visceral and analog the same thing? Is it based on age, performance numbers, weight, catagory (muscle, classic, supercar, etc)? Can an EV be visceral? Since this is The Car Lounge let's ignore motorcycles.

      HEMMINGS FEATURE
      Is Your Car Visceral?

      "Visceral" is a word that goes all the way back to the days of the ancient Romans. Over the past few thousand years, its descriptive meaning has been modified several times, and finally, the current agreed-upon definition seems to be, "Affecting inward feelings." So, were those early Romans visceral about their chariots, and does your car produce a visceral reaction in you? When you look at your muscle machine, does it affect your inward feelings? During the 1940s, visceral was popularly used in the art world to describe how a viewer reacted to the modernist artwork of the day.

      The next time you attend a car show, think in terms of the visceral. If the word's definition is accurate, then when you leave the show, you should be muttering, "Wow!" "Cool." "Yuck!" "Ugly." "Whoa!" etc. Those are definitely expressions of automotive "visceral-ness." Which is probably not a real word, but you get the idea. You can develop your ability to sense the visceral by looking at the car(s) in your own garage. Once I nailed down the meaning of the word, I turned on the garage lights and experienced my first real blast of the conscious visceral: I wanted to hug them! Is that visceral enough for you? Go ahead, put down this magazine, go to the garage, truly look at your car(s) and experience your own "inner feelings."

      I think there are positive and negative visceral feelings. Positive visceral feelings occur, for example, when you feel so happy that your muscle car is clean and running great, while you experience a negative visceral response when it has been sitting all winter, and it's dusty and needing some TLC. You're reacting viscerally to your mechanical artwork.

      I have a friend who owns a nice collection of restored GM muscle cars. He usually buys those listed for sale as "completely restored," but then proceeds to minutely inspect the car and replace anything that is not perfect. He's visceral about their appearance and consequently very rarely drives them. Would you consider that the bad kind of visceral? Do his inner feelings about each vehicle prevent him from really enjoying the driving experience available from each one? We've all seen articles about mega muscle car collections, all restored and sitting in a museum that's not open to the public. I guess if your greatest enjoyment is simply looking at them, owning them and polishing them, that's a different kind of visceral-ness altogether. But in my book, definitely the bad kind.

      Conversely, I would have a really difficult time leaving a barn find muscle car as it was dragged out of storage in Anywhere, USA. After countless years asleep, it would definitely be an original piece of automotive history, but like they say, "A pig with lipstick is still a pig!" I couldn't get good inner feelings about a pig with lipstick, or a seriously ugly half-century-old flat-tired muscle machine. But if it was restored, that's a different story. It doesn't have to be a 100 percent perfect resto, just "as delivered" condition with no lipstick would do nicely.

      Past visceral feelings really fuel the hobby. In my case, as with many of you reading this, our original visceral feelings made themselves known when our muscle machines were new. That was when these feelings were the strongest. Then, after many years, the desire to recapture those experiences with them again resulted in our purchasing the same make and model car decades later. Feeling a little visceral now, maybe, for those seemingly carefree days of 50 years ago?

      A muscle car you've owned, worked on and preserved for years is really a member of your family. I've said this before, but you can definitely develop sincere feelings for your metal sibling. Several years ago, a friend had his restored '69 big-block Camaro damaged while in a convenience store parking lot. The passenger-side door was severely dented by a teenager, who was not concentrating on the other cars in the lot, and backed into the Camaro. My friend told me he actually cried on the spot when he saw the damage to his beautiful muscle machine. You might call that an overreaction, but think about it for a minute. I completely understood how he felt, and sympathized. I file that under visceral-ness of the first order.

      We all have different relationships with our favorite vehicles. I know guys who drive beat-up, ugly pickups and other non-muscle machines who wouldn't trade them for anything. If that pickup were damaged like the aforementioned Camaro, the owner would also be hurt or have negative visceral feelings about the experience. A favorite driver doesn't have to be restored or even pretty, it just has to make you feel comfortable when you drive it, regardless of what others think.

      So, when you leave that next car show thinking "Yuck!" or "Ugly!" about some vehicles you saw, remember that the owners of those vehicles feel the same way about them as you do about your restored or original muscle car. Visceral-ness is not only felt for the undeniably beautiful, but for whatever you personally have inner feelings for, regardless of its year, make, model or condition.
      I have not driven that many different car models throughout my life so my answer, like everyone elses, will be limited to what they have driven and/or what they can afford. In more recent times, my day behind the wheel of an early Lotus Evora with the base 276hp Camry motor is what I would consider to be the most visceral driving experience primarily due to being lightweight. Many years ago I drove a late 90's Viper that evoked similar feelings.


      Last edited by 4th Branch; 09-13-2020 at 06:28 PM.

    2. Member Crispyfritter's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 06:46 PM #2


      Yes.

      But I was hearing the Backstreet Boys sing “Am I visceral?” Yeaaaah.

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    3. Senior Member 6cylVWguy's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 06:52 PM #3
      I think it's a relative answer in many cases. For me:

      Grand Cherokee SRT: No
      E92 M3: Kinda
      Corrado SLC with mods: Yes

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    4. Geriatric Member ValveCoverGasket's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 06:56 PM #4
      hmm... how about this?



      i didnt own it per-se but i helped build it originally, and it lived at my shop and at my house for quite a while, and i eventually rebuilt the top end on it.

      not really enough suspension travel for the street


      as far as stuff i own now? the mg is fairly visceral. it has really quick ratio steering, it weighs almost nothing, and everything is manual.

    5. Member shftat6's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 07:02 PM #5
      What's the motor in that thing? Subaru? Looks like it would be a hoot!
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    6. Geriatric Member ValveCoverGasket's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 07:08 PM #6
      Quote Originally Posted by shftat6 View Post
      What's the motor in that thing? Subaru? Looks like it would be a hoot!
      It's a formula sae car - honda cbr 600rr motor in that one as I recall. Cbr f3 I think.. it's restricted per the rules but it still makes 60 or 70 hp I think. Plenty couple inches of suspension travel, super short gearing, and a rear lsd make for a fun time....

    7. Planters (fasciitis) peanuts. Dang dogg Sold Over Sticker's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 07:34 PM #7
      Both of my cars do, but for slightly different reasons.

      Evora 400 because of feelings and not logic. It's a pile of crap sometimes, but you drive it and you don't care. It's illogical not really smart to pick it over a Cayman GT4, until you drive the Evora. It just burrows into you, and gives you a bigger emotional response, since it's just different and special and delicate.

      Visceral can also mean dealing with basic or simplistic emotions. SS fits that. Hard to not smile you hang the car loose, then bark 3rd gear on the upchange. It appeals to the inner child who still enjoys simple, crude fun.
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      09-13-2020 08:21 PM #8
      Quote Originally Posted by ValveCoverGasket View Post
      hmm... how about this?



      i didnt own it per-se but i helped build it originally, and it lived at my shop and at my house for quite a while, and i eventually rebuilt the top end on it.

      not really enough suspension travel for the street


      as far as stuff i own now? the mg is fairly visceral. it has really quick ratio steering, it weighs almost nothing, and everything is manual.
      random. my brother in law went to school there and built a car for that program as well. i went and visited the program the year he completed. there was a VERY "interesting" car they had stashed away. do you happen to know the one I am talking about?
      1+3+3=7

    9. Member Stevo12's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 10:35 PM #9
      Quote Originally Posted by ValveCoverGasket View Post
      hmm... how about this?

      As a former FSAE driver I had the pleasure of piloting our school's older machines during test and tune days, which included some turbo/ethanol R6 power for a while. The cars were a bit overbuilt and thus heavy for a FSAE application, but yeah it's about as visceral as it has gotten for me. A few years ago, I got together with a few alums who'd gotten their hands on the '04 car and brought the R6 powerplant back to stock (NA + 4 individual carbs) and took it to an autocross. The car lost oil pressure and we eventually blew the motor, so we got to tool around the course in a beautifully-built Factory Five Cobra.

      That car and another FFR Cobra that I'd driven in college was also a pretty visceral experience.

      Of the cars I've owned, the most visceral might have been my M3. It had a full complement of poly rear end and transmission mounts so you heard a lot of driveline noise. It had swapped strut mounts for more static camber, and turn-in was most excellent - unfortunately it also followed grooves in the highway, but it just made the journey that more, um...exciting.

      The stock exhaust + AA intake noise were pretty intoxicating...plenty of noise in the cabin but not a lot of exterior clues as to how badly you were breaking the speed limit.

      When I originally bought the car, the PO demonstrated it by doing donuts before bringing it up on the lift for an inspection, and I further tested the driveline integrity by doing burnouts in front of his shop. I was sold because that car begged to be driven like an a**hole.

    10. 09-13-2020 10:54 PM #10
      If it has guts, yes.


      (Several years of studying Latin to thank for that humorous comment, which makes me a cunning linguist)

    11. Member crashmtb's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 10:57 PM #11
      Land Rover is visceral and “analog” - because there are garden sheds with more structure and better handling. Analog for the same reason.
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      09-14-2020 07:01 AM #12
      Quote Originally Posted by crashmtb View Post
      Land Rover is visceral and “analog” - because there are garden sheds with more structure and better handling. Analog for the same reason.
      Ha! Yeah, you reminded me of my FJ55. Basically a metal box with a chevy 350 bolted into the engine bay. Big, long throw shifter, you could hear and feel the gears working in the transmission and transfer case, it had that old car smell, the body was so boomy with zero sound insulation. It was visceral and analog in every way.

      It was a real pile, I don't know I how I managed to get it running right and legally inspected, but I sold it shortly after.

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      09-14-2020 12:31 AM #13
      Quote Originally Posted by ValveCoverGasket View Post
      hmm... how about this?

      [CSB] C&D and Northwest Composites were clients of mine until the early 2000's [/CSB]

      Visceral was driving my old 1965 Bug downhill from Big Bear on Highway 38 with skinny tires, worthless high-fade drum brakes, no lap belt and snap oversteer.
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      09-14-2020 12:28 PM #14
      I think the Scirocket is the most visceral car I've owned. The BRZ does a nice job, but it is still a street car. The wagon is very visceral for a hulking behemoth of a vehicle, but it is still a giant station wagon and visceral was very much an afterthought.

      The most visceral car I've driven is a Formula Ford/Skip Barber. It was so easy to drive because I could feel everything. It was quite joyful to be that engaged with the road. Well, track actually. I remember being a bit afraid of it at first, and then realizing that it was so much easier than I expected.

      I am comfortable saying that once you have driven something like a Formula car or at least a fully-prepped racecar, it is hard to compare other vehicles. Formula/prepped cars are orders of magnitude more visceral.
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      09-14-2020 02:08 PM #15
      Whoever wrote that Hemmings article shouldn't have gotten that by the editor. That was a real POS. Improper usage of the word visceral.

      It's what stirs your insides, in a primal way, that's visceral. Like if a car scares the cr*p out of you, constantly. The examples of a Lotus 7/Caterham, Formula SAE car, etc. are good examples. Or something like an AC Cobra. Or an _old_ race car, like the GP cars from the thirties to the fifties (fast, loud, could die at any moment).

      I know that's highly subjective.

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      09-14-2020 02:39 PM #16
      Quote Originally Posted by atomicalex View Post
      I think the Scirocket is the most visceral car I've owned. The BRZ does a nice job, but it is still a street car. The wagon is very visceral for a hulking behemoth of a vehicle, but it is still a giant station wagon and visceral was very much an afterthought.

      The most visceral car I've driven is a Formula Ford/Skip Barber. It was so easy to drive because I could feel everything. It was quite joyful to be that engaged with the road. Well, track actually. I remember being a bit afraid of it at first, and then realizing that it was so much easier than I expected.

      I am comfortable saying that once you have driven something like a Formula car or at least a fully-prepped racecar, it is hard to compare other vehicles. Formula/prepped cars are orders of magnitude more visceral.
      I think you have to fully separate street cars from race prepped and formula cars. The gap is just too wide. Even an AW11 MR2 tuned for autocrossing, which is a blast of a car, is going to seem soft compared to a true track car.
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      09-13-2020 07:01 PM #17
      I think both of mine qualify.


      The F150 with the supercharger it is just way faster than anything that size should be. The feeling as all of that weight pushes you to stupid speeds reminds me quick of why I upgraded the brakes.


      The ZL1... It is just the complete package. The handling and braking to go with the power makes any drive entertaining. Now if all of these storms would leave so I could have a decent dry day to drive it.
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    18. Member 4th Branch's Avatar
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      09-14-2020 03:50 AM #18
      Quote Originally Posted by 6cylVWguy View Post
      I think it's a relative answer in many cases. For me:

      Grand Cherokee SRT: No
      E92 M3: Kinda
      Corrado SLC with mods: Yes

      Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk
      That's an interesting take, I'm car shopping and the E92 M3 is on the list to experience. How long have you owned your Rado? I owned a G60 in high school that I would've described as visceral at the time and a few years ago I picked up a SLC to relive the younger days but was highly disappointed, it was posted for sale within months. Tastes change over time or do they?

      Quote Originally Posted by shftat6 View Post
      I think both of mine qualify.


      The F150 with the supercharger it is just way faster than anything that size should be. The feeling as all of that weight pushes you to stupid speeds reminds me quick of why I upgraded the brakes.


      The ZL1... It is just the complete package. The handling and braking to go with the power makes any drive entertaining. Now if all of these storms would leave so I could have a decent dry day to drive it.
      I have rented a Hellcat via Turo a few times, the supercharger whine is addictive and extremely fun but I wouldn't describe a Hellcat as visceral but different strokes and all. There's no right or wrong answer, it's interesting to see the wide range of answers

      Quote Originally Posted by Sold Over Sticker View Post
      Evora 400 because of feelings and not logic. It's a pile of crap sometimes, but you drive it and you don't care. It's illogical not really smart to pick it over a Cayman GT4, until you drive the Evora. It just burrows into you, and gives you a bigger emotional response, since it's just different and special and delicate.
      I have fallen in love with the Evora, type of driving experience I would make an excuse to go out for a errand using the long way back. I've only experienced the slow version and am seriously thinking about picking up a 400 but hard to finalize when 911/GT4/GTR/AMG GT can be had in the same range

    19. Senior Member 6cylVWguy's Avatar
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      09-14-2020 09:16 AM #19
      Quote Originally Posted by 4th Branch View Post
      That's an interesting take, I'm car shopping and the E92 M3 is on the list to experience. How long have you owned your Rado? I owned a G60 in high school that I would've described as visceral at the time and a few years ago I picked up a SLC to relive the younger days but was highly disappointed, it was posted for sale within months. Tastes change over time or do they?
      The beauty of the e92 in stock form is that it is fairy refined and yet, has good feel as well. It's a really balanced car from that perspective. The stuff that makes it refined is the stuff that fights against being visceral. I've owned the corrado for 20 yrs. And I completely agree with your assessment. I LOVE the styling of the corrado, but in stock form, the SLC version is a disappointment. I didn't like it much when pushed hard when I got it in 2000. In stock form, I prefer how the G60 drives (although, I'm a much bigger fan of the VR6 as an engine than the G60). My dad had a Corrado G60 and I learned to drive stick in it in HS---I had good fun in that car. The current state of my Corrado is quite different than stock---very stiff suspension for the street with a large solid RSB---the car will go sideways very easily. It has a peloquins LSD and a supercharger. I've removed about 100 lbs of weight from it as well. Athough the steering is much slower in the corrado than the m3, the corrado drives best when driven hard and it's not great when just puttering. The M3 drives well in all situations---probably has the best ride out of the cars I own (Hyundai, Jeep, said VW).

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      09-14-2020 09:53 AM #20
      My car is the polar opposite of Visceral.

      Sometimes, when the moon is right, the windows are down, and the air is cool, you can get a whisper of the turbos working, or the distant growl of a V8 winding out, but other than that, it's silent.

      Wouldn't change a thing.

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      09-14-2020 10:08 AM #21
      I think my 280Z is an honorable mention in this thread. Besides the fuel injection and the power brakes its a very analog car. You feel every pebble on the road, kickback in the steering. And that roar of an inline 6 with a intake, 3-2 header, 2.5 inch pipe to an apexi n1 muffler.

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      09-14-2020 10:52 AM #22
      Qualifies






      .

    23. Planters (fasciitis) peanuts. Dang dogg Sold Over Sticker's Avatar
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      09-14-2020 06:34 PM #23
      Quote Originally Posted by 4th Branch View Post

      I have fallen in love with the Evora, type of driving experience I would make an excuse to go out for a errand using the long way back. I've only experienced the slow version and am seriously thinking about picking up a 400 but hard to finalize when 911/GT4/GTR/AMG GT can be had in the same range
      If you don't experience the fast version, you can get the NA car for a ton cheaper, and basically fully depreciated. Throw a Larini exhaust on it, and enjoy. If you experience one of the fast versions, you can never go back to the NA car though. As you said, by time you're at 400 or GT money, there's a lot of better over all cars, even though the driving experience of those cars isn't as good.

      If I had to keep it long term, I'd be in a GT4 and not a Lotus.
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      09-13-2020 08:36 PM #24
      Visceral--Probably my Cayman. Cornering ~1G doing 120 at the top of the WGI esses is an insane feeling. I've probably driven more visceral cars, but I haven't done that in them so they can't compete in my mind.
      Analog--Suzuki Jimny. Thing drove more mechanical than our garden tractor. It felt every bit a tool meant to do work and I loved it.

      Quote Originally Posted by 4th Branch View Post
      Is visceral and analog the same thing?
      As above, IMO they are related but ultimately quite different.

      For something that's visceral but not analog, the GT3 RS (sorry, only ridden in) makes a good example. It screams at you and shakes you and makes you feel like you're in a rocket ship. But it's not analog--there's probably dozens of ECUs working together to make that happen, and nobody is ever going to feel a synchro at work.

      For analog, I think of something like an MG B or an Austin Healey. You're just very close to metal--you can hear every bit of what's going on, it's all mechanical and there's really nothing electronic about it. It might border on visceral, but at the end of the day you're just not going to get the g-forces and excitement many other cars get.

      Further, I think that difference is really important, because there's not many cars that max out both. And the ones that [supposedly] do are typically worth $$$$$--e.g., Porsche 930 Turbo, Ferrari F40, Shelby Cobra, etc.

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      09-13-2020 09:05 PM #25
      My NA Miata is certainly the most visceral car I’ve owned. Very little interference between you and the machine. You can see , gear, smell, taste everything as you drive.

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