Sports Cars Aren't Just For Men With a Midlife Crisis

Doug DeMuro
by Doug DeMuro
sports cars aren t just for men with a midlife crisis

As some of you know, I recently owned a sports car. It was bright red, and flashy, and lots of fun, and it provided many enjoyable days of ownership, such as a) the day I sold it, and b) the day I mailed the title to the new owner.

But there was always one key aspect of sports car ownership that bothered me, and that was: the way that other people reacted to it. Allow me to explain what I mean, using this “compare and contrast” between an automotive enthusiast’s reaction and a normal human’s reaction.

Automotive Enthusiast Reaction: OH MAN! This is so cool! This looks like it’s so much fun! How fast does it go? How much power does it have? WHOA IT HAS A GATED SHIFTER! Oh my God I have to take a picture!!

Normal Human Reaction: You’re compensating for something.

The problem, as I see it, is that car enthusiasts love cars, and they love the experience of cars, and they love to drive cars, and they completely understand why someone might spend a huge portion of their disposable income on a depreciating asset that can be rendered completely useless by a screw the size of a nickel.

Whereas normal people – here I am referring to automotive civilians; the kind of people who see a Kia Soul and say: “That is such a cool car!” – don’t get this. They think that anyone who owns a sports car is trying to show off, or trying to compensate, or – and this I my least favorite assumption – going through a midlife crisis.

“See that guy over there in his Porsche,” say automotive civilians.

“Yeah,” comes the reply. “Such a midlife crisis car,” paying no mind to the fact that maybe – just maybe – the Porsche is being driven by someone who appreciates the quality of the handling, or the precision of the shifter, or the leather of the air vents.

And that’s why I’ve decided to devote today’s column to this crucial topic: most automotive enthusiasts don’t buy sports cars because they’re showy, or they’re flashy, or they’re the best things for a midlife crisis. We buy them because they’re fun.

I think the biggest problem here is that normal people simply don’t understand the pleasure one can get from having a fun car. What I mean by this is: for normal people, “the car” is associated with driving to the pet supply place to pick up dog food that looks like rocks. Normal people hate sitting in traffic, and they hate avoiding collisions, and really they’d rather just sit there, in their homes, and watch TV while simultaneously looking for celebrity news on their phones.

So when normal people see a sports car, what they think is: Here’s someone who bought a cool car just so he could sit in traffic and look cooler than everyone else. They never consider the idea that an automotive enthusiast might seek out enjoyable roads; he or she might drive for recreational purposes; he or she might even appreciate the driving characteristics of the car, rather than the styling. They just think it’s someone else who’s also indifferent about driving, but he or she has a cooler car to do it in.

Unfortunately, this sort of attitude is misguided, and we automotive enthusiasts – here I am referring to the kind of people who get excited when we see a Saab 900 Turbo on its original three-spoke wheels – must change peoples’ minds.

So this is my proposal: the next time you hear someone make a midlife crisis remark, or a “compensating for something” joke, or a “you’re just showing off” assumption, you must take them for a ride in your sports car. And I’m not referring to a quick ride around the block just to show them that it exists, and that it makes noise. You must take them for a spirited, enjoyable ride down the closest excellent roads to demonstrate every single characteristic of the vehicle. And if they’re still not convinced that you purchased your vehicle for pure, driving-focused purposes, then you must insist that they try out a few extra capabilities of your vehicle, namely the seat passenger seat belt latch and the door handle.

Of course, this only applies to sports cars, and not those guys who buy a Super Duty pickup and then decide it isn’t big enough, and it requires a lift kit so large that you could set up a large dental practice underneath the chassis. Those guys are just compensating.

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5 of 164 comments
  • PonchoIndian PonchoIndian on Feb 10, 2015

    My knocking on 70 years old parents drive a Mustang GT convertible and a Regal GS. Are they posers or enthusiasts? Oh yeah, my mother has a very heavy foot, but my dad mostly just enjoys the drive with the top down and the sound of the V8 in the background. He is know to use on-ramps as his personal quarter mile though...

  • Fred Fred on Feb 10, 2015

    My mid life crisis was 1961 Elva Courier. I took some flac, but after about 15 years I sold it for more than I paid for it, so I'm okay with it.

    • See 2 previous
    • Krhodes1 Krhodes1 on Feb 10, 2015

      @PonchoIndian Having owned a couple of older BMWs with mechanical limited slip, not a chance that I would spend the money - and it is a CRAZY amount of money! The e-diff works WAY better for my use case. On a track rat, maybe, but that's not me.

  • Zerofoo "Hyundais just got better and better during the 1990s, though, and memories of those shoddy Excels faded."Never. A friend had an early 90s Hyundai Excel as his college beater. One day he decided that the last tank of gas he bought was worth more than the car. He drove it to empty and then he and his fraternity brothers pushed it into the woods and left it there.
  • Kwik_Shift There are no new Renegades for sale within my geographic circle of up to 85 kms. Looks like the artificial shortage game. They bring one in, 10 buyers line up for it, $10,000 over MSRP. Yeah. Like with a lot of new cars.
  • Ribbedroof In Oklahoma, no less!
  • Ribbedroof Have one in the shop for minor front collision repairs right now,I've seen more of these in the comments than in the 30 years I've been in collision repair.
  • Tassos And all 3 were ordered by Fisker's mother. Seriously, given Fisker's terrible record of Failure in the past, only an utter loser, (for example, VGhost or Art Vandelay?), looking for a BEV terrible enough to be a proper replacement of his 11 mile range Fiat 500E, would order one of these. (apart from Fisker's mother)