I get to drive and photograph some very cool cars for a living, and for that I consider myself very fortunate. In that regard, Chris Harris is a much more fortunate. But, when you’ve experienced as many cars as Mr. Harris, do you become prone to making some absurd comparisons? Simply based on the title this latest video, comparing a 911R to a Peugeot 205, (and not even the top tier GTI 1.6) may be evidence of him losing his way a bit [or, it could simply be click bait]. On balance, however, I think Chris Harris has it exactly right. I love a good hot hatch, and it’s heartening to see one compared as a tool for bringing driving joy to one of the greatest modern 911s.
So yes, in every measurable way the 911R will annihilate the Peugeot. I won’t try to argue that, and it would be a patently ridiculous claim to make. On a track, the 911R will leave the little Peugeot gasping. But when it comes to fun, there is something to be said for needing to wring a car’s neck to experience anything approaching brisk performance. On a winding, back country road, I’d wager a nicely sorted 914 or 356 will give at least as many smiles per mile as the 911R. There is something joyous about taking a car out to redline in the first three gears, and barely exceeding the legal limit, then trying to haul it down and coax the same car into a corner with antiquated brakes and skinny tires. While you can turn the nannies off in the R, the limits are so much higher that it becomes a trickier proposition in the real world.
Before buying Project 944 GTS, my last fun car was actually my first car. It was a lowly Mk. III Volkswagen Golf 2.0L that I owned for about ten years. Yes, I’m talking about the most derided Golf in seven generations. I eventually bought a Saab 9-3 which relieved the Golf of daily driver duties, and the Golf received coilovers, sticky tires, big sway bars, corner balancing and careful finessing of the alignment. It was horribly slow, but after driving countless performance cars since, I still miss it. It was balanced, light, easy to rotate for a front wheel drive car, and is to date the most fun car I’ve ever driven in heavy snow.
None of this is meant to be to the detriment of the 911R. It’s a brilliant machine, possibly only exceeded by the new 911 GT3 6-Speed in the current 911 lineup. If your priorities don’t lean toward out-and-out performance, perhaps it’s worth discussing your favorite slow-car-fast. In your car history, what is your favorite car in terms of driver involvement, not just performance? Let us know in the comments.