Car enthusiasts. They compromise a sizable portion of the car industry, but unfortunately, many car companies just don’t give the products they so desire. The kind of cars that are different, the kind of cars that are mavericks of the mundane “Point A to Point B” ideology of cars. The cars that spark emotions and undying passion for the ones devoted to drive and care for them to the fullest.
Though it seems dreary, that the majority of cars on the road are just ordinary, uneventful cars that suit the needs of uneventful people, there are car companies that produce amazing performance cars among their ordinary line of vehicles or brands made wholly to satisfy, induce or invigorate the passion of car enthusiasm to both themselves and the lucky people who get to have them.
Here are 10 of many cars that were clearly made for car enthusiasts.
1. Mazda RX-7 (All generations)
Since conception, the RX-7 was certainly an oddball masterpiece from the Japanese car maker. It was powered by the famed rotary engine that was highly commended for it’s uniqueness, capability in track racing and amazing power-to-displacement ratio: Over 200 horsepower from a 1.3L engine, stock!
Whether you want the FB, the FC, or the FD, any generation of the RX-7 was clearly made in a way only a car enthusiast would love. Its finicky to work with, the rotary engine has questionable reliability, the interior can get hot due to heat radiating from the engine making its way to the inside, particularly the FD. Its also quite impractical, not so luxurious, loud, burns more oil than BP from 2010, and is more complicated to operate than a cylinder-based car, with essential principles like shifting gears from 4000-5500+ RPM, redlining at least once every hundred or so miles and constant apex seal maintenance.
Despite all these complications, the owner would be rewarded with a beautiful car that has 50/50 weight distribution, a great sounding engine, fantastic agility, significant street cred, and huge levels of fun and adrenaline from driving a car that’s main mission is delivering driver enjoyment and focus.
2. Any car from TVR
Who could possibly make a list of cars for car enthusiasts without referring to TVR? The British based company has always been well known for their exotic, unforgiving yet highly rewarding to drive cars. It had little to no driver aids, not much room for luxuries, simplicity was key both inside and out, and sported powerful naturally aspirated engines for that instant power and linear acceleration.
Whether you want the Grantura, Griffith, Tuscan, Vixen, Cerbera, Typhon, Sagaris… Any Trevor for that manner, you will find yourself driving a car that will change your perspective on how a proper driver’s car is to be made. And TVR excels in that craft.
3. Ford Focus RS Mk3
This image acknowledges the other 2 generations of the Ford Focus RS because those two were also clearly made for enthusiasts in mind. However, the current generation of the Ford Focus RS has to be the most enthusiast-based Focus RS. It has aspects that most car enthusiasts these days desire; delightful power, which is based off the Ford Mustang Ecoboost’s engine, practicality, as a 5 door hatch, functional dynamics that help in driving, driver aids that are more for the refinement of driving than it’s impediment, AWD that promotes grip for maximum cornering and viability in rough conditions, and most importantly, driving fun. It even has a “Drift” button that makes the automotive showboat of drifting easier than ever before yet feel insanely fun doing so!
Also, you can get all of this for a surprisingly inexpensive price. Ford really hit the spot when they made the amazing Focus RS: A fun, practical and powerful car that can be obtained for a price lower than competitors yet still provide as much greatness as higher-end competitors, if not, more. A true “bang-for-buck” car of the 21st century.
When making this list, it was difficult compiling the many, many good performance cars out there, but of course, the legendary Dodge Viper has to make it to this list, particularly the first one, the Viper GTS.
This Mopar masterpiece with it’s Lamborghini derived 8.0L (!) V10 engine in all it’s raw beauty should be driven by car enthusiasts before they die. The Dodge Viper is not like other sports cars. Its raw, deadly and unforgiving, but provides sublime power and poise, much like an actual viper. It hisses and bites at those it does not deem worthy, but if you can master it, you are going to be a force to be reckoned with.
5. Jeep Wrangler Rubicon
This one is for the off-road fans. Yet another Mopar masterpiece, the Jeep Wrangler in any form is an off-road hero much like the Toyota Land Cruiser or the Land Rover Range Rover, but the Rubicon is quite the champion next to the Landies. It is stripped down from factory: No A/C, no doors, no power windows, no heated seats, no cruise control, no safety and luxury based gizmo to inhibit driving, and is also equipped with essential off-road armor, equipment and modifications to make sure it is a world-beating off-road vehicle it always was since it’s birth.
The Wrangler Rubicon stands as a testament on how a commercial off-roader should be made. Jeep continues to be a resonating name in the world of off-road car culture.
6. Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution/Subaru Impreza WRX STi
The iconic Japanese car rivalry, these two wonderful AWD sports sedans were certainly unlike other. Since the 1990s and when they locked eyes in the WRC, for 20 years, the war between the STi and the Evo lasted until the latter left the building, an event that many a car enthusiast lamented about.
Depending on who you are, either one would give you huge amounts of fun. Both are very popular. The Impreza WRX STi gives tons of fun and rough condition viability while retaining refinement, comfort, and the ire of your quiet-loving neighbors. The Lancer Evo, though not as refined or as luxurious as it’s rival, it can provide a lot, if not, more driver intensity and fun with it’s amazing driving dynamics and S-AWC AWD system that helps you adapt to the terrain depending on the situation.
Both are also popular tuner cars either for track or rally use, since both cars are perfectly fine with both environments. For the non car enthusiast, the Impreza WRX STi and the Lancer Evo are just overpriced iterations of what they originally are, unnecessarily fast and sometimes uncomfortable for living with. But to those who know better, they are highly rewarding to drive and own, a performance car that has budget-level pricing that has impressive practicality and good enough for every day living apart from Euro performance dailies like the Audi RS4, BMW M3 or the Mercedes C63 AMG.
7. Nissan S-Series
The Nissan S-series of cars. The cars synonymous with drifting and JDM. The Nissan S-Chassis were sports cars that are almost impossible to see in a stock form in the long run anymore, because almost everyone who buy them turn it into a completely unique creation to each his or her own way. It can be considered a blank canvas to car enthusiasts, because in it’s stock form its rather unremarkable.
Its like Nissan predicted or even made the S cars this way mainly because they were aware of the existence of car enthusiasts. Its like they released the S-series as a message to people like us like this: “We know people like you like cars and being unique in owning them. So here’s a car that you can make completely to your own standards! The rest is up to you!”
Stock project car or an indirect result of aftermarket car culture? You decide.
8. Porsche 911 GT3
The 911 was already a fantastic car on its own, perfectly blending the aspects of German engineering, high end luxury, extreme speed and dynamic driving mechanics into one pretty little package. How Porsche did this so well, we may never know.
Then came the day when Porsche decided that the 911 just wasn’t enough, so they turned it into the darling of car enthusiasts and collectors everywhere; The GT3.
These widowmakers of 911s are basically factory race cars that are viable for the road. They get enhanced engines, serious weight reduction and race derived technology, as well as a stock roll bar set! How cool is that?
Whether you like the 996, 997, or the 991 GT3, any of these would make even the most stoic of drivers weak in the knees. The brilliant eggheads at Porsche struck gold when they came up with a Porsche that only a true car enthusiast would love.
9. BMW E46 M3
Want luxury, performance and refinement but you’re too poor for a Porsche 911? The BMW E46 is here for you. CarThrottle’s prized heifer is no doubt an awesome car, mainly because of it’s budget-level price for a BMW next to the E36, simple but beautiful styling, questionable subframe quality and a decent straight six engine noise that makes you want to drive this thing to the max on a tunnel. BMW has always been known as a car maker that can do anything in the name of German engineering and cars, and the legendary M cars have always stood out as a testament to the greatness of the Motor Works. It has tasty performance, all the while retaining typical BMW luxury and refinement, as well as good practicality so that it’d be perfect for every day living.
Also, with the explosive popularity of the M3 in all generations, that means aftermarket support for the car is massive, and, particularly for the E46 M3, you could modify it to be a track racer, show car, or drift missile depending on your taste. It can be anything you want it to be, and it will do it nicely. No wonder its an every day sight in the Green Hell.
In the end, the BMW E46 M3 is an excellent choice for the scrappy car enthusiast who wants a proper car without having to settle for less.
10. Ariel Atom
This is a pretty obvious choice here. The once-obscure British motorcycle company Atom decided one day on 2001 to make a car that would take the car enthusiast world abuzz, with the marvelously minimalist Ariel Atom.
On what is essentially a ready-to-go track car, this supercharged Honda powered Atom is probably the true embodiment of what a car enthusiast’s vehicle should be; A no-nonsense, stripped down track-ready car that delivers insane levels of performance without having to deliver ungodly levels of horsepower or unnecessary driver aids. It is extremely agile yet blisteringly fast that can outperform many cars that are far beyond it’s price range. It was one of the fastest cars to grace the Top Gear Test Track, and is said to be so entertaining to drive, that, like mentioned before, even the most mature of drivers would turn into a bubbling puddle of giggling and invigorated joy.
The Ariel Atom is a car that just screams “Less is more.” And it cannot be any more true. The Ariel Atom is a car that every car enthusiast must drive before they die.
BONUS: Mazda MX-5
Also known as the “Answer”, it would be unfair to leave out the Mazda MX-5 Miata from this list. The classic tiny Mazda roadster that took the world by storm and the go-to car choice for budget performance car hunters, the MX-5 proves that size doesn’t mean everything.
To make up for an intentional lack of horsepower, it does with fine agility and light weight that makes it loads of fun to drive even without that much power. And, as it is extremely famous, it is no doubt that tuner companies provide expansive aftermarket support for the little car so that you can either turn it into a featherweight track missile or you can go crazy and turn it into a powerful, stripped down monster drift car.
The MX-5 is a small, impractical car that can get uncomfortable to live with if your main goal is refinement and practicality in every day living. If you are okay with that, then the MX-5 is the right car for you to suit your needs in life. The MX-5 is a car that is synonymous with “fun”.
This is my first article in a long while. I hope this is good for you all.
Also, the comment section is open for other cars that fit this category. If they are good enough, another one of these lists will be made.
Thank you for reading this article all the way! I hope to provide you all more content in the future.
Thug Bird, out.
So the guy I kept stealing from sold his car, so I've found a new, remarkably similar target.
This content was originally posted by a Car Throttle user on our Community platform and was not commissioned or created by the CT editorial team.
Great post you gangster aviary creature!
Well written, fun to read, and well thought out.
Cheers from the house in New Orleans!
Oh ho, thank you very much. I hope I can make more of this!
And the rising sun. Do you see it coming? Beating down upon many a poor boy?
They should have put Thug Bird on Top Gear instead of Chris Evans. That way people would watch it and be entertained.
Lol! Thanks for the words, but I’m still not at that level yet. Maybe one day…
Great read man! More of this please ;)
Wouldn’t be surprised if this becomes a car throttle video great article
Haha thanks! Though I’d be so happy if they did.
No top 10 list without M3 and Miata…
S2000 definitely should be on this list!
I agree! Noted that for another list in the future.
Halfway through the article i forgot that this was not an editorial
It was that good
Thank you for that compliment :D. I hope I can make more articles like this for you all!
Mclaren f1, sitting in the middle to drive it and was design to be the ultimate driver’s car
That has been noted for another time :).
Is it possible to find a list on CarThrottle that doesn’t actually include a Miata? The world may never know.
It is always the answer, so of course the MX-5 appears almost all the time ;).
Yay TVR (._.)/