The Magic of Driving a Slow Car Fast

Don't judge a car by its HP.

I’ve often heard the saying that “driving a slow car fast is more fun than driving a fast car fast.” While I unfortunately have yet to experience the latter, I have spent plenty of time doing the former. Gather around the fire and let me spin you the tale of my slow car.

When I was 16 I somehow managed to get lucky enough to get my driver’s license. Shortly after that came my first car. That first, and still only car, is a 2013 Toyota Corolla LE (dubbed Corrie) which I debadged after a friend said that “having an LE means that you didn’t buy the base L trim but also didn’t have enough money for the S.” While that certainly made sense to me at the time, my cares have since moved away from how my grocery-getter makes me look to other people. She has four doors, wheels and a pedal and frankly that’s all a car like this really needs.

Since this was the only car I got to drive on a regular basis, her four cylinder 132 HP engine was the unfortunate recipient of all my YouTube and anime-fueled abuses. That meant trying to drift around corners like I was delivering tofu through a mountain pass or doing burnouts as if I was driving a much faster car than I really was. Of course the only result of these escapades were some less-than-desirable sounds from both the engine and tires but everything was fortunately fine in the end.

The lack of any sort of guts didn’t stop me from having as much fun as I possibly could with my car. I took her to car meets where I got the occasional comment of “Brooo what is that?!” and “Yo is that the new Lambo?” I took that small Corolla to triple digit speeds more often than I want to admit. Seeing that needle climb up the speedometer and the engine doing its best impression of a wildcat in pain brought me a sort of pride in Corrie.



See the thing is that when you buy a car that is made to be fast like an LP640 or a Veyron or any other supercar, you EXPECT it to go fast. You expect that when you smash that gas pedal like you’re making puree, the car will subsequently smash you against the seat in revenge. But when you smash the gas pedal in a car that was never meant to go faster than a posted speed limit and you see it actually getting to those highly illegal speeds, it’s like “Woah no way, I can do this?!”

It’s a strange feeling of accomplishment like when you achieve something you never thought possible. It also brings you closer to your car because you become more familiar with what it’s capable of. I encourage everyone to get a slow car and just rip it down some roads (safely of course) and see just what I’m talking about. I love my slow car and even if/when I get a faster car, I will still daily drive her for as long as I can drive. Her many scratches, dents and dings are merely reminders of the fun we've had together. Long live Corrie!

Do you guys have any exciting slow car stories? That sounds like an oxymoron but I'd love to hear from people in similar positions!

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Comments (96)

  • The memories are the most important. As long as the car means something good to you, then that's awesome 😊 I have more good memories in slow cars than anything faster.

      10 months ago
  • I love hustling low powered cars around. I had an 87 M6 and drove it to the fullest extent of it's capabilities daily. Which, lucky for me it was the early 2000's so no streets cams in Memphis - where I was at the time. 142 daily every day (long drive from nowhere into the city - no traffic). Now I have a Camry and enjoy driving slowly, smoothly with occasionally hot foot session. What I found was that an 03 Camry handles much better than it has any right to. It can be lots of fun to jam around turns. It's funny when the people behind you do not expect to have the Camry in front of them take off into the twisties and out drive them at every apex. Always had fun in my VW's. GTI, GLI, Passat wagons are always a hoot. Hell I had a Volvo 850 estate an that is one of my all time favorites that I have owned. Lots of fun when you put it in Sport and hit the loud pedal. Five cylinders growling away and the passive rear steering helping in the turns. Good times. CARS!!

      10 months ago
    • David, your comments often pluck a certain string for me. I always said those Passat wagons were more fun than they had any business being. I heard folks scoff at that over the years, but for the (used) price, they are a hoot. All that said, I am...

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        10 months ago
    • I've seen a lot of people powerslide 03 Camrys like nobody's business

        10 months ago
  • I do agree 100%, especially cars with manual transmission. It is such a fun to mark change points and discover the limit of each gear.

      10 months ago
  • I remember once my father took our Celerio to 160 kmph(It tops out at 180 kmph),and I was like:-

    Dad is going at 80kmph,nice.Then,one look at the Speedo,and I Fainted

      10 months ago
  • My first car was a 1.2l, 2006 fiesta, with only about 69hp (when it was new, who knows what it actually was). I had plenty of fun throwing it around corners and driving down the infamous “Dundonald hill” where I stay. It did the job as a first car, but was sooooo slow (0-60 in like 13s.) and just felt really sluggish trying to accelerate.

    I was so glad to purchase my current car, earlier than expected cause I planned to keep the fiesta another year, but I had the money to buy my current Audi a1 - and it’s better than I could’ve ever expected. It’s probably still slow in comparison to most cars on the road, but foot to floor acceleration is just completely different.

      10 months ago