By on September 4, 2011

The arrest of 13 young supercar drivers near Vancouver, British Columbia is not necessarily the sort of piece I’d jump all over right away, but it did inspire quite a number of emails from readers tipping us to the story. I’m always intrigued by stories that inspire a lot of tips, but after reading the Vancouver Sun follow-up, I was even more disappointed with the story. To wit:

The drivers face charges of driving without due consideration for others, which comes with a $196 ticket and six driver penalty points, which will trigger a $300 penalty point premium.

Gaumont said there is a lot of disappointment that the drivers face only $196 fines, but there is not enough evidence to charge them with the more serious offence of dangerous driving.

“We don’t have police officers who observed the offence, and we don’t have lasers and radars that have the speeds,” Gaumont said. “We have to really depend on third-party individuals who had called in.”

If I’ve got this right, we’re supposed to be outraged by young people in fast cars, and society’s inability to stop them from wreaking their  “speeds upwards of 200 km/h” terror. For me, though, the overriding reaction to this story is “how uncool doess this make the supercars look?”

Once upon a time, cars like this would create stories just like this one… in the hands of Steve McQueens and James Deans. People who bought cars like the Jaguar XK-SS and Porsche 550 because they had an appreciation for what they could do. Now supercars are so, and pardon the rock ‘n roll metaphor, commercialized that every kid in Vancouver whose parents have a couple hundred million to rub together gets a Gallardo for their sweet sixteen. There can be no greater indication that the image of the supercar has become utterly divorced from the reality of what actually makes it a supercar, than the story of a dozen 21 year-olds, half of whom still have to have “novice” decals on their quarter-million-dollar rides, driving in a group on the freeway. If stories like this one keep popping up, it seems to me that it’s only a matter of time before supercars lose their cool.

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90 Comments on “Ask The Best And Brightest: Is The Supercar’s Cool Wearing Off?...”


  • avatar
    Educator(of teachers)Dan

    Yes supercars are becoming stereotyped as the rides for the spoied super-rich who don’t know if the car is RWD or AWD or how many cylinders the engine has. Honestly most of the time I see a supercar my first thought is not “enthusiast.”

  • avatar
    hreardon

    Yep. My first thought when I see one is:

    douchebag

  • avatar
    rdlviper

    At least some of the cars were “tastefully modified” … I have seen too many supercars that have some nasty gold paint, or jewels from Dubai… while they shouldn’t be driving that fast on the road, and while we may envy their money, at least they were not weaving in-and-out of traffic (they kindly blocked traffic so they could stage their race)…. a video which has some good shots of the car… The gallardo and R8 were both very nicely done.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/video/video-bc-mounties-seize-13-luxury-cars-from-street-racing-youths/article2151516/?utm_medium=Feeds%3A%20RSS%2FAtom&utm_source=Home&utm_content=2151516

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    I can’t help but think that given that no law enforcement types actually SAW these brats doing anything, that Mommy and Daddy’s high priced lawyer is going to get these charges dropped in about 1/2 of a nanosecond.

    But I agree, with very, very few exceptions, anything that can be labeled “supercar” = “douche-mobile”. After all, no one can use 10% of the available performance on the street. I can drive my Spitfire absolutely flat-out all the time, and nobody notices. It’s WAY more fun to drive a slow car as fast as it will go than a fast car slowly.

    • 0 avatar
      namstrap

      I found that out when I bought a $500 1993 Suzuki Swift beater.
      Had to do a timing belt and water pump, but it’s the funnest little ride I’ve had in a long, long time. Too bad about the rust on the fenders and rockers. Now I’m in a quandary. Do I put more money in it, or just drive it till it drops?

  • avatar
    redliner

    This reminds me of a similar image problem that sporty motorcycles have. I personally NEVER pulled a wheelie or woven in and out of lanes on public roads. Yet most people I know who don’t ride, despise motorcyclist because they say that they cause undo risk to themselves and others when they ride dangerously.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      Cyclists get the same thing, admittedly deservedly.

      As a cyclist, I have to admit being ashamed by the number of douchebag cyclists on the road. The worst part is that I’ve had to listen to (and cringe at) cyclists who use the douchebaggery (or even existence) of drivers as some kind of excuse.

      It isn’t, nor does having a lower carbon footprint offset a higher douchebaggery footprint.

  • avatar
    eldard

    Supercars should be made without safety cages.

  • avatar
    SherbornSean

    I am much more excited to see a Miura, Daytona or even a Dino than a Gallardo, Godzilla or that new gullwing Benz, which all say more about the owner’s wallet than their passion.

    Of course, I still think Cheryl Tiegs and Christie Brinkley are hot, so what do I know?

  • avatar
    L'avventura

    When in discussion of the what makes something cool we need to take a subjectivist’s perspective. “What’s cool to you, ain’t cool to me”. “What’s cool now, isn’t cool tomorrow”. There is a philosophy to cool, and a massive industry attempting to manipulate and market ‘cool’. There are merchants of cool.

    For supercars, that isn’t practical by any definition, being cool is the business of exotic cars. There is however a paradoxical relationship that exists in that exotics only need to be cool to the people that can afford it, yet to sustain their business they need to appeal to plebeians who can’t, so that potential wealthy buyers can use that exclusivity and appeal to feed their inner-extrovert.

    While ‘true’ enthusiast buyers may scoff at such buyers, much like derision seen of these kids in Vancouver in this article. The prerequisite of buying a supercar is money, not being an auto-enthusiast or being cool(in fact, these kids may very well be better auto enthusiasts than that gentleman in his mid-life crisis buying that Ferrari to impress his gold-digging mistress).

    Attitudes towards transportation obviously has changed from the time of Steve McQueen and James Dean. James Dean? Most kids probably never saw any of his films. Its no longer aspirational as it once was, people are thinking about the environment. Kids look more towards gadgets like iPhones and iPads than Mustangs and Camaros. Harley Davidsons are consider loud, obnoxious, and for old fat people. Many see Ferrari as for rich arrogant people that kill the environment rather than awesome individuals with impeccable taste.

    The real story here maybe that fact that these 13 cars were owned by Chinese students, paid for money their rich papas made in the Middle Kingdom. Reverence for supercars, and the aspiration for transportation, seems to be alive and well there. The future of the supercar is in the East not West.

  • avatar
    Brock_Landers

    supercars need to go back to their roots. Totally impractical, b*tch to drive in everyday traffic, sensational jaw dropping exterior design, no luxuries inside but state of the art engine and suspension tech, rwd, manual gearbox, minimum weight, no electronic nannies – traction is limited only by skill of the driver and size of the rear tire, very high price to guarantee rarity of the car. Lamborghini under VW rule has played the largest part in devaluating the whole supercar concept. But I guess it is the inevitable outcome when turning a struggling supercar company to a financial success story.

    • 0 avatar
      eldard

      Same here. The only Ferraris I desire are teh good ole Testarossa which is a childhood dream as I had the matchbox and that new FF. Both in red. The only Lambo I want is the Countach. In yellow as I also had the toy with the same color.

      Give me an S-class any day. Or an XJ, a Range Rover, a GL or a Ghost. 2 doors do nothing for me. And I’m only 30.

      • 0 avatar
        bunkie

        Funny that you should mention this. Yesterday I saw a perfect red ’87 Testarossa parked right across from me in the local Wal-Mart.

        It’s sort of a metaphor for the times, I think.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      Yeah, but then rich douchebags won’t drive them. Which sells better: Porsche 911 or Lotus Elise?

      And, honestly, I can’t blame ‘em one bit. I’d probably feel stupid spending $100,000 on a car without A/C.

    • 0 avatar
      namstrap

      Totally agree. When the Nissan Z cars and the Mazda rotaries got bigger and heavier they called them “touring cars”. They lost the reason for their existence.

    • 0 avatar
      psarhjinian

      You can still buy an Atom, X-Bow, Caterham 7 or Elise. The issue is that the kind of people who would buy any of those aren’t the people whom this article is concerned with.

      Supercar makers learned that you can make a lot more money making, effectively, GTs than they ever could making track-day specials that would be the third or fourth car in the stable of someone who makes truly obscene money. It’s the same reason the Panamera exists, and why Mercedes has the SLS: not everyone is Jay Leno or shares his interests, but a lot of people want to be (like) Paris Hilton.

      So have they lost their cool? No, not really, they’ve just become fashion-appliances for the rich. You may as well ask if obnoxious wrist watches are uncool.

  • avatar
    Rican5.0

    Supercars really do nothing for me. I would rather have something in primer and dog-dishes. I’m not gonna hate on those that can afford an exotic, it’s their money, I just can’t bring myself to care about that type of vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      gessvt

      I’m 99.9% more likely to strike up a conversation with a stranger driving a MGB GT, 240Z or a Fairlane with Holman-Moody decals in the windows than some guy driving a Gallardo. Explanation not necessary, right B&B?

      • 0 avatar
        korvetkeith

        I dig interesting cars. But I don’t necascarily want to talk to old weirdos who know what they are. Sometimes it would be nice for a young lady to know that you’ve arrived with out you having so.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I guess I’ll be the old geezer here, but what’s cool to me is not how much horsepower is under the hood, but how the car is trimmed and looks. I’ve never been a hot-rodder, but a cruiser.

    For example, does the car instill pride of ownership? Would owning such a car make you regret you bought it? How do you think you’d feel about the car in a few years?

    I’ve owned several cars that I wish I had back: my 1964 Impala, my 1972 Nova, my 1976 Dart Lite. The ’64 had a 283, 2 bbl powerglide and wasn’t fast, although an SS. The Dart could barely get out of its own way due to the gearing and the Nova was a 250 stick. All of those cars moved me by the way they looked and were designed.

    FWIW, I have never been attracted to power, so I’m not that sort of an enthusiast, but have always taken serious pride in ownership which includes my current ride.

    Hope that doesn’t incur tomatoes being thrown my way! I would love a Corvette, though!

  • avatar
    DearS

    Perhaps the “supercar” is being replaced by the “superdriver”. My Gran Turismo Generation looks more on drivers skills then the cars they drive. I rather have “super” driving skills then a “super” car. I realized no matter what car I drive, I’ll drive it the same, that is pretty poorly relative to what is possible. I don’t think any other generation has ever focused more on skills then mine. This might escape those still caught up in the egoist hype, ie. those whose self-esteem is codependent on getting past the post first rather then how one got there.

  • avatar
    LeeK

    Supercars are like really expensive jewelry — they have no real purpose other than to show off for their owners. They are pretty to look at, but so far out of the reach of 99.9% of the world’s population that they are essentially meaningless. That said, they seem to draw correspondingly excessive amounts of attention (Top Gear, the Car Show, all the buff magazines) because that is what they were designed to do.

  • avatar
    anchke

    I thought that, by definition, any new item bought at great expense with the intent of conspicuously impressing others, particularly when the others are simply strangers and passersby, was by definition the opposite of cool.

    Also, isn’t garish — “Look at me! Look at me! Everybody look at me!” — usually considered the opposite of cool?

    Come to think of it, I don’t think cool — as in conspicuous consumer is cool anymore.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    This isn’t a supercar problem, it’s a douche-baggery problem… and at the risk of stirring the waters, one ethnicity is at the heart of the problem (but not the whole problem)… mine, that is. The reason why rich Chinese buy their kids expensive cars in Vancouver is the same reason why they gravitate to new ostentatious houses and why they purchase clunky Rolexes instead of more understated Pateks.

    For whatever reason, the wealthy Chinese that are attracted to Vancouver have a new money vibe to to them… they’re rich, but they don’t have the calm self assurance of old money. The kids in these cars are not your typical Asian overachievers, when you see them out in the streets, you pretty much get a deadbeat vibe… think Paris Hilton in male automotive terms. And to be really thankful, they are a small minority of Asians in the city. A very very small minority… but you get this feeling that something is not right when you see so many young people driving cars that they obviously could not afford had they done it on their own, and even if they did it on their own, at that age you wonder if drug money is involved.

    The other problem is that a lot of wealthy Chinese treat Vancouver as if its a migratory playground…. they don’t have long term aspirations to settle here, but they will leave here for years enjoying the climate, cheapish real estate (compared to back home) and cheapish cars (compared to back home). So life is good, live your dreams. Put all those things together and you wonder about the psyche of someone who has gotten everything out of life by the age of 25.

    For my part, I think it’s a grossly under-addressed issue in the local Asian community. Everyone knows it, but few are willing to see it as a problem. The rest of the none Asian community are accommodating to the extreme, not wishing to turn it into a racial issue… and it isn’t. It could be any other demographic, but when it’s endemic to a highly visible portion of the population, it’s time to reflect on what the collective values as a whole. Take you right back to that post about Ferrari’s and taxing the rich.

    • 0 avatar
      WaftableTorque

      Being a Chinese-Canadian, you’re not going to get any argument from me.

      Obviously the Chinese community is more nuanced than Prism CE’s Asian Affluence, Asian Up & Comers, and Grad & Pads psychographics, but these kids stand out because of their visibility, and the fact that they materialistically have the things that most Vancouverites will never achieve.

      The nouveau riche and old money can’t stand each others’ tastes, so I doubt things will change. I admire some tastes from both, but otherwise I think it’s just a jeolousy issue.

  • avatar

    About a decade ago, when BMW and VW were rolling out their versions of Rolls-Royce and Bentley, and Mercedes was getting ready to introduce the Maybach, I asked someone who worked at one of the ultraluxury marques, why all the interest in a market segment that was maybe 3,000 units a year world wide? He told me that the carmakers realized that while the size of the market was small, it was potentially much larger, that there were many millionaires that didn’t buy ultra luxury cars but spent much more than the cost of a high-end car on toys like boats, planes and multiple homes. VW’s investment in Lamborghini also reflected the same mentality. Ferrari, recognizing intrusion on its traditional market, responded.

    Companies like Aston Martin reached sales levels never before seen. Brands that used to be known primarily by enthusiasts have become aspirational.

    Also, kids have been racing with Gallardos and GT-Rs in video games and sims for years. You think if their parents tell them they can buy any car they want, they aren’t going to go for a supercar?

  • avatar
    Dynamic88

    Supercars lost their cool when I started to shave.

  • avatar
    tiredoldmechanic

    This story is a raw nerve for a lot of people here in BC. There have been a number of high profile case where young immigrants in $100,000 plus cars have killed innocent bystanders and basically skated due to our liberal legal system. One or two have been deported after a titanic effort from the victim’s families but generally the perp gets a slap on the wrist.
    If you lived here you’d understand the fuss.

    • 0 avatar

      sounds like some sort of pc thing going on

      • 0 avatar
        tiredoldmechanic

        Don’t get me started. Suffice it to say that BC has a legal system, but lacks a justice system. Especially if the perp is err… “ethnic”.

      • 0 avatar
        mikey

        A few years ago a rich kid here in Ontario, driving a high end Audi killed himself and his buddy. The kids blood alcohol was double the legal limit.

        The rich kids greiving father, put the blame on the minimum wage waitress.

        Maybe the young server should have cut the kid off. Maybe the young girl felt preasured serving booze to high end clients,in the heart of rich folks cottage country,where the cheap places go for $900,000.

        IMHO, While my heart goes out to the father, W.T.F were you thinking giving the kid a car like that?

    • 0 avatar
      stuntmonkey

      Right now it’s a “kid with a hot car problem”, but the way I see it, it’s not really going to be dealt with until the community in question does some serious self reflection. We had a ‘gang problem’, but it took the the South Asian community to serious look at what was happening to certain segments of the youth for the community to truly deal with it… right now it’s just a ‘hot car’ problem until the Chinese community seriously asks itself what we’re thinking of when we let our kids have these cars.

  • avatar
    MrGreenMan

    Let’s recall Countach fever from the 1980s vs. the Top-Gear-salivation machine, the Veyron.

    You have to be the Jalopnik demographic to want a supercar in the era of everyday power:

    1985 Lambo Countach – 455 bhp
    1985 C4 Corvette – 230 bhp
    1985 Buick Grand National – 200 hp
    1985 Mustang GT – 210 hp
    1985 Ford Escort – 68hp in the pedestrian, non-turbo version

    2011-ish Bugatti Veyron – 987 to 1100 bhp
    2012 Chevrolet Corvette – 430 hp to 628 hp
    2012 Dodge Charger R/t – 370 hp
    2012 “Beigemobile” Toyota Camry V6 – 268 hp
    2012 Ford Focus – 160 hp in the pedestrian, non-ST version

    The numbers show real diminishing returns for super cars: The super car still has about 2x what you can get on a Corvette, but the Corvette numbers are more than you could ever use in your average driving, Dodge is serving up dollops of cheap fun, the Camry V6 “Beige Menace” of today eclipses the hottest cars the domestics could serve up in 1985, and “basic transportation” in a Ford Focus has 2.5x more power than the comparable Ford “basic transportation” of 1985.

  • avatar

    This Ferrari owner defined un-cool for me..http://www.mystarcollectorcar.com/2-features/editorials/1238-i-get-trophy-wives-as-a-concept-but-why-a-trophy-car-in-the-wrong-hands.html

  • avatar
    Dorian666

    I don’t fit this mindset but its getting to the point where a designer watches are replaced by your cell phone time indicator and the supercar is replaced by fastest and most convenient method of transportation you can hire. Times are changing…

  • avatar
    thebanana

    These kids would be in real trouble if their parents, currently living in Hong Kong, actually gave a s*&t about what they were up to.

  • avatar
    Beerboy12

    You know, there will always super car makers so long as people have money to burn and they will always buy their offspring a “nice” cars. Most of us know you can have more fun in a Mini or Renault Clio sport. So, jealousy makes you nasty right ;-)

  • avatar
    tparkit

    China’s economic prosperity is built on institutionalized theft, commercial piracy, fraud, corruption, and unrepayable debt. The money you see flooding into Vancouver and Toronto is flight capital, rushing abroad in case the people who stole it need to run for their lives – either because the nation begins to disintegrate, or they themselves become scapegoats when their personal roof falls in.

    Exhibit A is China’s real estate machine, which makes up an enormous portion of the domestic economy — by some estimates, more than 60% of GDP. The buccaneers who run the municipalities stole land from farmers and other ordinary people, then turned it over to developers in return for backsheesh paid in borrowed money. The interlinked perpetrators of this vast exercise in social brutality – builders, financial middlemen, party members, government officials, and other transaction skimmers – are now moving the proceeds abroad as fast as they can because the jig will be up soon and they know it. Only so many empty cities, unused highways, and other worthless infrastructure can be leveraged and built. When the music stops, the grifters and their spawn will be in Vancouver, San Fran, New York City, and Malibu.

    Those are the kids in the cars. That’s their heritage, and why they act the way they do. Let’s not confuse them with young Asians excelling in music, sciences, and other challenging pursuits through talent and a lifetime of hard work, pushed by parents who understand what it takes to succeed in competitive world. The brats in the Lamborghinis are cut from different cloth.

  • avatar
    BTEFan

    This did hit a raw nerve here in Vancouver and puts into question the ‘cultural mosaic’ that is the Vancouver. The influx of new money keeps our real estate prices high in a depressed market, but has made Vancouver unaffordable to buy in and a shortage of rental spaces to live because homes are bought and left empty as ‘escape pods’ in case Peoples’ Republic of China swings to the extreme left. There is a lot of resentment towards the ‘New Money’.

    But, back to cars.

    This is not an uncommon sight in Vancouver – the N on the back of the Aston Martin or Lamborghini and the scary modifications that have been done to them. It gives us a good laugh, but it begs the question – what does one have to look forward to if you have an Aston Martin at the age of 20? You really can’t go much higher up the ladder. Maybe they will hit their hippie stage and get an old RHD Mitsubishi Delica Van to rebel against their offshore parents….

  • avatar
    Toy Maker

    Maybe they should make it illegal for Novice drivers to drive cars with over 200hp.

  • avatar
    JJ

    The cars are still cool. Some people who can now afford them might not be, but that doesn’t change the cars themselves one bit if you’d ask me. If some people think it does, I’d say those people worry too much about their image and are very likely to be the douchebags themselves.

    If my parents would have been able and willing to buy me a Ferrari I wouldn’t say no to it…I doubt anyone on here would…and if that’s the case then don’t judge, not even when they’re speeding a bit on the freeway cause again, every carguy would.

    Start the bitching when they actually kill someone through reckless driving…I subscribe to that, but not because someone young has a sweet car he or she didn’t necessarily work for. You’re seeing green and need to lay off the h8terade. And again, I’m not one of these rich kids, but this debate is kind of like all those people complaining about (bank) managers getting high bonusses that wouldn’t think twice before accepting those same bonusses when they’d be offered to themselves. I can’t stand te hypocrisy.

    • 0 avatar
      potatobreath

      I don’t mind that they have fancy cars. However, they were going fast enough on busy public roads to draw in complaints to the police.

    • 0 avatar
      Rican5.0

      Can’t stand the hypocrisy? Then, just for the sake of argument, you would have absolutely no problem when one of these, beautiful and deserving individuals ran over your kid, your wife, your mom? Right, I mean you are up for taking one of those bank bonuses too, right?

      • 0 avatar
        JJ

        First of all:

        “Start the bitching when they actually kill someone through reckless driving”

        Second, these kids did an alledged 200km/h on the freeway (according to eye witnesses without laser guns who just saw a dirty dozen of high-end cars going sort of fast). For all we know they could have been doing much less than that. They did not crash into anyone else nor did they speed through a village center, however reading some of these comments you’d think they did. They were speeding on the freeway like anyone else has done at some point, only difference is they were driving some sweet cars.

        And as far as those bonuses go: you study hard for years, you work hard for years, you have a little luck some things go your way and at some point you find yourself being offered a nice amount of money for your efforts. Few people would say no thanks, but unfortunately a lot of them play pretend and kid themselves into thinking they would, knowing that most likely and much to their chagrin they’ll never be in that position.

  • avatar
    Madroc

    MrGreenMan is on to something. In the mid-80s, a skilled driver with no regard for traffic laws could probably go faster on public roads in a “supercar” than he could in the day’s best mere-mortal performance cars. Today that’s less likely to be the case. If you can go just as fast in an M3, Corvette or 911 and get a nationwide dealer/parts network for a fraction of the price, anything else is bling.

    Which goes to the second issue. “Supercars” are pure bling now. Hence the mandatory automatic, 400-lb. retractable hardtops, etc.

    • 0 avatar
      JJ

      A supercar has always been about more than just the speed. It’s also the way it sounds and looks, the technology, the way it sounds, the seating position, the noise and also the way it sounds.

      I have to say I’m a little disappointed…I thought the US (and to a much lesser extent Canada) was a place where (showing) a bit of wealth was congratulated instead of frowned upon like we socialist Europeans are known to do…But seeing as though the majority of these comments is so supercar/bling averse I wonder what happened all of a sudden.

      What’s the point of being a wealthy car guy if you’re NOT going to spend any of it on cars for yourself and your family.

      • 0 avatar
        mazder3

        I hope I don’t open a Pandora’s box here but many of us are supercar adverse because we’ve taken pay cuts and job losses and these gdmfsobs are out buying cars that are worth more than our rapidly depreciating houses.

        I’m glad they’re spending their money, though. It keeps the economy going a bit. I’ve met a supercar owner who actually donated lots of time and money to the area so not all supercar owners are Summer’s Eve representatives.

      • 0 avatar
        Rican5.0

        First, people are more likely to congratulate your wealth when you EARNED it, you know by actually working for it. Second, having mommy and daddy spring for that new Lambo doesn’t make 16-year-old Junior a “car-guy” by any means. Third, who the hell likes “bling” what, are we in the NBA? Are we rappers? jeeeeeez

  • avatar
    V572625694

    Wow: a ticket for “driving without due consideration for others”. Canuckistanis really are nicer than Americans.

  • avatar
    probert

    I think there are a couple of problems with supercars, apart from the class issues. Although back in the day when Cary Grant and Grace Kelly were the symbols of class – and perhaps there was a bit of nobless oblige – a lot more could be forgiven.

    Where was I:

    The performance is not much better than more affordable alternatives. And, apart from lambo (not the new one as we’re back to the “add more vents to the countach ” school of thought), they haven’t the beauty or originality of design (read Gumpert) to distinguish themselves from each other or some lesser brethren.)

    There’s the sense that you can by parts – and with some skill – assemble a really fast car . I think this true. Also in an age when you could probably get a honda fit to 60mph in under 6 seconds with simple mods – the concept of 3.5 seconds just doesn’t seem worth the extra $250,000. It might be – I’ll never know.

    Also – James Dean wasn’t a douche and whoever said that should feel bad about themselves.

  • avatar
    CJinSD

    ‘Supercars’ stopped being cool the day automatic transmissions eclipsed manuals in exotic cars sales. Now you can’t even get a Ferrari with a manual transmission. Dual clutch gearboxes are to driving what touching yourself while looking at a woman is to sex.

  • avatar
    healthy skeptic

    All the above points raised against supercars are valid…but I think there will always be a 14-year-old boy lurking somewhere within me who lusts for them, right or wrong. I admit I occasionally watch supercar porn such as Top Gear.

    Funny thing is, even if I could afford one, I doubt I’d buy it. For one thing, I know I don’t have the driving skills to take full advantage of the car, and if I did have those skills and did it on public roads, I should be arrested. That leaves the track, which means I’d have to be getting into amateur track driving as a serious hobby, which means a fair commitment.

    The other problem, of course, is the constant d-bag judgements I’d be enduring from everyone. I don’t do this to supercar owners myself, but when even a fair chunk of TTAC readers seem to be reflexively viewing supercar owners as d-bags, I have to think “Damn.”

  • avatar
    kbmyers

    I don’t have any sympathy for these dumb kids or what they did, but was anyone else troubled by the line in the first article:

    “and police are looking at permanently seizing the vehicles.”

    I understand the police and the public are upset that the largest fine they can impose is $196 per driver, but does that give them the right to confiscate $2M worth of private property? Huh?

    • 0 avatar
      Sinistermisterman

      It’s part of BC’s ‘Civil Forfeiture Act’:
      http://www.bclaws.ca/EPLibraries/bclaws_new/document/ID/freeside/00_05029_01
      The idea being that if it can be proved that the vehicle was bought from the proceeds of criminal activity (ie drug dealing) the the Province can seize it. Here’s an example where it was used to seize a Ferrari:
      http://www.ctvbc.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20101123/bc_forfeit_cars_101123/20101123?hub=BritishColumbiaHome

      • 0 avatar
        Les

        Blargh! I hate Civil Forfiture, it’s a brazen power-grab too easily abused.

        In the US at least it can be. In the US (might be different in Canada) if you’re suspected of having come into certain property as a result of illicit activity, particularly drug-dealing, the government can seize that property. You don’t even need a conviction, just the suspicion and it’s gone. Everything from cars to houses to the contents of bank accounts can be seized and even if you’re not convicted of any crime then the onus is on you to take the government to court and prove your case that the assets were seized improperly.. so much for ‘innocent until proven guilty’.

  • avatar
    Monty

    I dunno, I don’t get the hate. All I know is that when I see a “supercar” driving about (saw an old Testarossa today, as a matter of fact, while we were out on a big bike adventure), I want one, and the first thought that goes through my head, after I swoon a littel at the exhaust note, is that I’m happy to see somebody enjoying the fruits of their, or their parents, labour.

    Why do some of you immediately call them d-bags? Do you personally know the driver of the car? Why the stereotyping drivers of certain vehicles? Not everybody driving a Prius is a sanctimonious lefty, and not every guy driving a giant truck is “compensating”.

    Also, when I was 16 years old, and had I had an Aston Martin or Ferrari or Lamborghini to drive, I know exactly what I would have been doing – testing the limits of the Darwin theory myself. I did in almost every other car I owned until I had a kid to worry about.

    I’m jealous that I wasn’t able to rev it up with those kids. That’s the honest truth. I wish I could’ve ran a Lambo up and down a stretch of closed road.

    • 0 avatar
      StevenJJ

      This reads like the best post on this topic but then I have been drinking.

      I would buy a Spyker and then try to take up smoking so I could drive it while smoking a cigar.

    • 0 avatar

      You are right. Too many old people here, without a memory, without money, but full of bad feelings.
      But don’t worry. Sooner or later they will grow a halo. That will teach them.

    • 0 avatar
      Sinistermisterman

      If you lived in Vancouver and had to avoid these retards driving their bling-mobiles on a daily basis – then you might understand. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve driven all around the world and seen plenty of decent drivers in supercars and I don’t have a problem with them. What I do have a problem with are the majority of Vancouver D-bag supercar drivers who routinely speed along urban roads, outside schools – cut people up, and act like d*cks.

  • avatar
    stuntmonkey

    Somebody who goes chasing after his buddy’s Gallardo in his own Gallardo in city traffic at twice the legal speed limit is a douche bag. From the listing of cars in the article’s link, I’m fairly sure I’ve seen a number of the nabbed cars around town… asshattery seem on a daily basis as one who walks and drives the streets of this town. That doesn’t count the street racing that goes on at night either.

  • avatar
    Les

    I’ve seen a lot of complaints and criticisms about super high-performance cars along the lines of, “Oh, you’d have to take-up amateur track-racing to get the most out of it, and you’d be better-off with a proper race-car besides. You’d never get more than 10% of it’s potential out if you just used it for a daily drive.”

    ….

    …and?

    Has the Hipster Menace truly expanded so far as to infect Car Enthusiasts?

  • avatar

    I was a good boy this year, and got to flog a Nissan GT-R, an M3, and a CTS-V. I came away with “these are bail money cars”, in that I can’t drive them without doubling average traffic speeds, so need $1,000 in the console at all times to get out of Jail. (Pissed off cops are not optional and at no extra cost)

    They were fun, but at least here in the US, mostly pointless. OK, I loved loved loved the forced induction v8 in the CTS, and the chassis was far better than any GM product, ever, but you can’t drive any of them.

    The other issue is class resentment. I can report first hand hearing on a scanner a few times “we have a group of sportscars speeding and pulling in and out of traffic at milepost xx”. That guy in the crappy last gen Caviler you just sucked the headlights out of ?? he or she has a cell phone and has just called in 911. He/she was not impressed with the upper Lake Woebegone M3 club going from track to lunch spot.

    Back in the 80′s, car and driver pointed out you can drive as fast as you want, provided you do it in a four door plain sedan.

    Nothing will make supercars uncool-they are a bright shiny object, of lust and desire. They are maybe .000001% of all cars.

  • avatar
    slance66

    Supercars aren’t uncool. They are just increasingly irrelevant. More ordinary cars are truly fast given the horsepower wars of the last 10 years. Even V6 Camrys and Accords have decent straight line acceleration.

    The Ferrari 458 Italia is gorgeous and fast. But there isn’t anywhere that you can drive it any faster than a BMW 335i or a Mustang GT. Let alone an M3, S4, CTS-V etc. The new Boss 302 Mustang sells for $40k. MT had it at 4.0 to 60, 12.3 through the quarter, and it posted lap times similar to an Audi R8.

    So a $40k Mustang is much faster than a 1991 Testarossa. It’s pretty close to the times of a 2006 Lamborghini Mucielago. And it has a back seat. And won’t bottom out on every speed bump.

  • avatar
    spinjack

    Many commenters have touched on it, but nobody has come right out and addressed the real reason supercars have lost cache. Driver skill.

    The supercars of the 70′s and 80′s required a high level of driver skill to drive fast. Put one of those hoon’s in a 1989 911 Turbo and they would be dead inside a week. The Countach, 328, Testarossa, 911, etc. all needed a driver that knew how to handle a car. You have to have some chops to drive them fast. Modern supercars have so many driver’s aids that any idiot can get in one and safely drive it to 8/10ths (or even 9/10ths). The 360 with autoshifting tranny and DSC can lap most tracks as insane speeds with a driver that has little to no skill or experience.

    Supercars no longer require money AND skill. Now they only require money.

    • 0 avatar
      thesal

      +1 on that. The skills are no longer needed to pilot the once fast and fearsome machines.

      Supercars used to be dragons. Make a mistake and loose your left arm. That made their drivers look like knights in shining armor.

      Now, supercars are unicorns. Fast, rare but harmless. And most of the drivers look like Sailor Moon.

  • avatar
    Boxerman

    Putting aside the class warfare issues.
    How many kids in the 50′s were street racing their parents cars.
    If James Dean or Steve Mqueen were doing on the road now what they were doing then they would be in jail. In Fact if the Kids of the 50′s were on the road now, just for driving offences they would be in jail, not to mention sexism, drinkin etc.

    We live in different times, and so do the supercars. If you look at the tuner crowd you see the true enthusiast youth alive, kids love cars love to drive them. Most supercars I see are owned by rich poseurs(just like harleys, which also suck at performance). How many red tan ferraris do we need, and when are they ever being driven propery. Reminds me of the turbo porche I saw this weekend the slowest car on the road.

    So these kids were using the cars a little. 200kms is not actualy that fast for these cars. The wrecked carmy being driven in the rain by a boob with bald tires going 40 is probably more danegerous. Yes if these kids were weaving through traffic in a congested area it is really dangerous. The thing sounds to me like kids showing off a bit, jealous other drivers alleging speed, and perhaps prior history with a rich kid in a fancy car hurting someone. Sounds like Cali in the 50′s

    Now to reality of our times. A cool supercar is a porche GT3 because you can drive it on the track. The fact is pedestrians these days, bycicalists etc assume everyone is going slow and safe, there is a lot more traffic, and even on the open highway when there is no traffic you will get stopped for revenue purposes. In fact you are most likely to get stopped when there is no traffic.

    There was a time when the roads were open and kids grew up DRIVING or were culled. This skill set cannot be developed in the developed world on the road anymore, not a judgement just a fact. In countries where it can the death rate is real high, although not from speeding an a good car.

    The future we can see in England, lots of track days easily acessible. There are a few off the shelf cars that can handle this,
    a GT3, A lotus and the V8 ferraris, plus the GTR. From what I have seen the rest wilt at the track. Although BMW’s are relatively easily modified,(suspension, Brakes) to handle the track well.

    The other so called supercars are bling, or art or the art of the dramatic entrance. They sell in numbers now because they require no comittment beyond a normal car except for cubic$$$. They start the AC works they go 5 k between sevice etc. They are still fun and fun to own.

    I rember being 20 and my parents freind the one with money, letting me have a go in his testarossa. I thought he was a poseur because he bought the car because it could take his golf clubs, but he also gave me the keys for a few hours, and I drove the shit out of it. I did with it what he was afraid to, with carrear and all and wished he could, at least that is what he said years later,.

    So now 25 years later I have my own $$ my own ferrai, not red, I hardly use it because realisticaly it is not usable as designed to be used. I dont really use my M3 because it feels so nice between 85 and 120 that on the open road all that happens is youre flirting with legal disater. So I drive my equinox, because it is an effort to go 80 and at least stimulating, and use my elise on the track, where it fun to smoke poseurs who cant drive in very powerful cars.

    Yeah maybe one day I will take the ferrari on a car rally in texas and use it for 5 days. Wife insists I sell it, but that would be giving up to the world of mandated mediocraty, Nancy Pelosi Ralf Nader and all the nannies in general. And I got a Harley because like the equinox, it feels fast or is a challenge even going relatively slowly.

    The supercar is not dead, it has evolved to live, in traffic, which makes it acessable to everybody, which in some ways is an automotive crime, but the volume pays for the development and meeting legislation for those few who can and do use them properly.

    And new fuel econmy legislation will make all cars lighter and therfore better.

    We live now in an automotive paradise in terms of product, it has never been so good, and opportunities for use never for so limited. Yes supercars are socialy uncool, even amongst enthusiasts, not because of some rich punk kids, but because of fat ahole who drive them 65 mph to country clubs and concors, or because of stockbroker aholes who have no clue about anything who buy them because they are expensive.

    Yet we also have Mclaren, Lotus, and despite the best efforts of the cliental, the ferrari 458 and some 911′s which no matter what are cool and driveable in anger, if only on the track. Oh yes and the GTR it is also cool. When we stop stretching the envelope as a species we stop evolving.

    If supercars were uncool because of rich kids then so should evos and wrx’s be, yeah i know they are cop bait and kids cars(aka uncool), but while they have an image problem they are still really good and therfore cool cars.

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    Three things will never go out of style, being young, rich and beautiful. All of these kids have at least two going for them, therefore they are cool no matter how much some people might hate it.

  • avatar
    korvetkeith

    Also, I know for a fact that some parents buy fancy cars for their kids specifically because it pisses off the sort of people that they don’t like.

  • avatar
    blowfish

    Also, I know for a fact that some parents buy fancy cars for their kids specifically because it pisses off the sort of people that they don’t like.”

    God forbid if u go as far as upsetting the good Lord though.
    the good Lord may take away your kids permanently!
    Many parents wished they had never given a car to their kids either.

    Now the BC Govt may want to commandeer 5 or 6 cars, atleast one for our deposed Premier aka Uncle Gordy so he can get away real quick.
    Should he had a faster car he might not have been caught DUI in Pineapple country 7-8 yrs ago.

  • avatar
    eldard

    Amerikan parents should give more convertible Miatas and SLKs to their teens. :)


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