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    Thread: Is Your Car Visceral?

    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.

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    3. 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.

      | 20 Ram | 13 Altima | 00 Tahoe | 94 Integra GS-R | 74 SuperBeetle | 62 Ford Unibody |

    4. 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

      Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk

    5. 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.

    6. Member shftat6's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 07:01 PM #5
      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.
      '16 F150 5.0 S/C, '18 Honda Goldwing

    7. Member shftat6's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 07:02 PM #6
      What's the motor in that thing? Subaru? Looks like it would be a hoot!
      '16 F150 5.0 S/C, '18 Honda Goldwing

    8. Geriatric Member ValveCoverGasket's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 07:08 PM #7
      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....

    9. Planters (fasciitis) peanuts. Dang dogg Sold Over Sticker's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 07:34 PM #8
      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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    10. Member adrew's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 07:40 PM #9
      I get gear whine in 1st, can hear the synchros spinning up if I don't double clutch for a fast downshift and can hear a little shhhhhh from the brake pads squeezing if I have the windows down.

      That's about as visceral as mine gets, haha.
      Improving the signal-to-noise ratio

    11. Member Senior Member's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 07:45 PM #10
      The most "Visceral" car I've driven was the C4


    12. Member jreed1337's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 08:21 PM #11
      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

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      09-13-2020 08:36 PM #12
      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.

    14. Senior Member Sporin's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 09:05 PM #13
      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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      09-13-2020 09:12 PM #14
      I would say my Hawc-spec Cayman is. It takes commitment to drive quickly, it makes the right noises, and it feels like there is a direct, nearly unfiltered connection between my cerebral cortex and the road.
      Quote Originally Posted by 20aeman View Post
      No, the real enthusiast vehicle would be the RX8. It combines V12 Lamborghini gas mileage with Hyundai Genesis 4cyl. performance.

    16. Senior Member JustinCSVT's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 09:17 PM #15
      My GTI? No.

      My C5 and Mustang Boss 302? Very. Both of them modified, were ear splitting at WOT and had to be manhandled to make them dance.

      Last edited by JustinCSVT; 09-13-2020 at 09:26 PM.

    17. Member 948's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 09:43 PM #16
      Most visceral was a 1987 944 Turbo with an LS1 that I built. Manual steering, manual brakes ( two MC with a balance bar) coil over shocks upgraded sways and many other upgrades. That car was alive, you could feel everything through the pedals, wheel and seat. I sold it two years ago and now the buyer is selling it. Thinking about buying it back.
      2010 Porsche Cayenne GTS

    18. Planters (fasciitis) peanuts. Dang dogg Sold Over Sticker's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 09:45 PM #17
      Quote Originally Posted by 948
      I sold it two years ago and now the buyer is selling it. Thinking about buying it back.
      Oh really. Have more info handy in case you don't decide to buy it back?
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      Quote Originally Posted by Phillie Phanatic
      SoS - please shoot a message when Brendan & His Retarded Sycophants has another gig. I’ll be there, front row.

    19. Member The_Real_Stack's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 09:53 PM #18
      I would say both of mine are visceral. And analog too if we’re asking that.
      Quote Originally Posted by Volkl View Post
      My wife wanted a SUV with a manual transmission. I suggested a Wrangler, she said no way, too masculine

    20. Semi-n00b
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      09-13-2020 10:06 PM #19
      I consider my W204 C63 visceral, even if not analog.

      The 6.2 V8 makes all kinds of nasty noises you would not expect from a Mercedes and it howls all the way up to 7200rpm, which may not be that high, but still impresses me given the size of the engine.

      The car is quick, noisy and has the brakes to back it up.

      It certainly feels visceral to me coming from a string of 2.0T VWs that, while quick when tuned, always felt a bit clinical and unable to put their power down.

    21. Member
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      09-13-2020 10:24 PM #20
      IMG_20200331_213621967 by Armen Badeer, on Flickr

      1500 lbs, not a single piece of rubber in the suspension anywhere, all metal heim joints on everything. 12.3:1 compression 4-cylinder engine with no balance shafts and shackle-mounted straight to the chassis.

      Yeah, it's visceral.

      Most people would probably consider my other stuff to be visceral as well - a '66 Corvair with a bunch of mods to make it faster, lower, stiffer, and louder - and an ITR. But the Locost 7 really resets comparisons to anything that could be considered a "car".
      Quote Originally Posted by sosumi on the B6 S4 V8
      It sounds like a giant shotgun and then like a bunch of ground up Yugo's in a cement mixer followed by weeks of silence interspersed by wails from the owner.

    22. Member Stevo12's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 10:35 PM #21
      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.

    23. 09-13-2020 10:54 PM #22
      If it has guts, yes.


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

    24. Member crashmtb's Avatar
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      09-13-2020 10:57 PM #23
      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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      If someone at GM is reading this, if you give me a Corvette and $28.5m, I'll hand-paint the body of it, I'll breed it with an AIBO, I'll convert it to a boat and drive across SF Bay, I'll drive it through the lobby of Mazda HQ in LA, I'll ship it to China and invade the Forbidden City in it, then I'll drive up to Baikonur in Kazakhstan and have it fired to geosynchronous orbit on a Zenit-3SL rocket.

    25. Senior Member Lwize's Avatar
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      09-14-2020 12:31 AM #24
      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.
      TIL Motor oil doesn't come from motors.

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      09-14-2020 12:51 AM #25
      Most visceral car I’ve driven? A ratty old Super Beetle.

      Second most? Possibly the S2000 my father so graciously allowed me to drive as a teenage punk.


      My current cars (a tuned S4 and a relatively stock E30 convertible) are both 5/10tents on the visceral scale, but for different reasons. The S4 has liberal amounts of 1st-3rd gear thrust and the complimentary loud noises, but is otherwise fairly buttoned-up and sterile as is the German way. The E30 has old-car smells/sounds/noises that permeate the cabin, especially with the top down... but it’s not a particularly -thrilling- drive.


      They both serve different purposes and scratch different itches. I’m not quite sure what the ideal car would be... if there even exists -ONE- car to rule them all. Until then, I’ll have at least a 2-car stable to satisfy as many of the automotive needs/wants I may have at the time.

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