By on February 9, 2015

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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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164 Comments on “Sports Cars Aren’t Just For Men With a Midlife Crisis...”


  • avatar
    Don Mynack

    I was going to post a long reply to this but its 82 degrees and not a cloud in the sky today in Houston so fuck this I’m getting in my Infiniti with the sun roof open hit the road bye.

  • avatar
    ellomdian

    The problem is that the overwhelming majority of people who buy expensive cars do so because the car is expensive, not because it has any particular qualities.

    To put it another way, the capacity of the douchenozzle increases proportionally with the amount of money involved.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    So, let me get this straight, guys with expensive sports cars are “compensating for something” and guys with expensive brodozers are “compensating for something”

    I guess that means to be successful enough to have these vehicles you don’t really need to be smart just have a small…

    • 0 avatar
      beastpilot

      You haven’t read Doug enough. The day this man is serious in his final sentence is the day he doesn’t mention his Ferrari, CarMax, or Range Rover in an article.

      • 0 avatar
        tuffjuff

        I don’t get all the hate for DDM. I love this man, SO much. My only complaint would be that he could stand to write/make YouTube videos a bit more.

        It doesn’t hurt to get a differing perspective, and the fact is that not just anybody owns/owned a $70,000+ late model used Ferarri and even fewer would be willing to pump out dozens of articles and videos on the subject.

        • 0 avatar
          InterstateNomad

          I like his humor and his different perspective. Admittedly, it seems out of place in a site full of serious articles with little humor (a few of which are responses to his articles).

      • 0 avatar
        caltemus

        Sarcasm really doesn’t translate well to text

  • avatar
    scott25

    Can’t say I agree with this article too much, since a Kia Soul inspires more emotion in me than any ferrari, and for every person driving a SUPERCAR (which I feel like this article is about, not sports cars) because they are an enthusiast and enjoy driving it, there are three that own it as a status symbol. Agree with the last part about brodozers though. I feel like this article should be on the car and driver website.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    “… we automotive enthusiasts… ”

    All 10 of you?

    I mean, seriously… The first owner of a Corvette is probably some overweight marketer who thinks he’ll be somehow supercharging his love life. After a decade or so, it reaches an enthusiast who wants to drive it for the experience and it’s a stretch to make the upkeep… I think you know the drill.

    But that first owner… that’s why we “automotive civilians” figure “midlife crisis” when we see a sports car. Although, sometimes, if it’s exotic enough and the driver seems youngish, we think “trustafarian” or “drug money.”

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Hey I’m an enthusiast, every time I walk into the garage I yell, “Yippee”

      • 0 avatar
        KixStart

        I’ve owned a couple cars where, on the odd occasion that they started, I yelled “Yippee!” Is that enthusiastic enough?

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          Every time I manage to squeeze into my 1923 tiny garage , I say ” dammit ! the squirrels have gotten in and gain and pi$$ed ! .

          -Nate

          • 0 avatar
            Featherston

            You strike me as someone who knows this Nate, but it’s worth mentioning that garages of that era were small not only because of the footprint of the typical car but because the electric starter had been invented. My parents’ late teens garage was tiny. Conversely, the detached garage of the two-flat in which my grandparents and great-grandparents lived was huge because it predated the electric starter by a couple of years – plenty of room to crank-start the Chalmers on a cold winter’s day. One pleasant outcome was that the garage could easily accommodate a ’59 Cadillac.

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            “the detached garage of the two-flat in which my grandparents and great-grandparents lived was huge because it predated the electric starter by a couple of years – plenty of room to crank-start the Chalmers on a cold winter’s day”

            Maybe it was big because that’s where most people kept their horse and buggy and just used it for cars when they showed-up

        • 0 avatar
          KixStart

          Cars I have found interesting and entertaining to drive:

          Fiat 131 – Handled like a slot car, a wicked short turning radius and quick steering. Surprise oncoming traffic with a tire-screaming U-Turn in their faces. Power? Sure, some, once you get it past 5K RPM. Lesson learned: If you never slow down, you don’t need power for acceleration.

          Prius – Video game on wheels. “Yesss!!! 57.8 on this leg of the trip! A new Personal Best!” What? You think this is lame? You try driving 3000 miles to and from Grandma’s house every year for 20 years without losing your mind!

          Toyota truck from the early 60’s – What’s this? No synchros?

          Chevy K-5 Blazer with an inline 6 missing the 2nd of the 3 gears on mountain roads, up hill – Wind it way-the-hell-up-in-first! Shift! Let it lug down until you find it absolutely necessary to reach for first again. Rinse, repeat…

          Anything with a condition that can be described as “total brake failure.”

          Anything with a motor that’s missing two of the four wheels that are truly necessary to the preservation of life and limb. Like a Honda CB-750. Or a 1960 Schwinn with an AquaBug.

      • 0 avatar
        Menar Fromarz

        As someone who lived and breathed cars from an early age, worked in the industry, built all sorts of show worthy stuff, I’m sorry, I have crossed over to the dark side and now drive a Prius. A nice safe boring appliance. but at least I don’t worry about it at the local douche mart. The dog inside yes, not the car. I do like it, and enjoy being an enthusiast still, but owning one that is really worthy of some form of automotive ooooh.! Aaaahhhh!…? Maybe an old airplane, at least there are no shopping carts in the sky, at least not yet. But I understand the enthusiast sentiment, yes, I can go there…i wonder if there were similar threads of discussion in the horse and buggy days, as in…. was the world filled with mostly a to b folks, and some that just wanted to unhitch old Bessy and just let her run, you know, just cuz?

      • 0 avatar

        When I had my old Corolla, a ’77 with the 1.2 liter engine, which I bought used with 8 yrs and 90k on the clock, and owned for 8, I’d get ready to start it, and I’d say, “this car has pep in its engine!” It always started.

        • 0 avatar
          -Nate

          Yes Featherston ; I do understand very well .

          When I grew up Down East in those wonderful old Victorian houses , many still had a Carriage House they used as a garage .

          Here in the West Coast , Garages were a luxury until after WWII , my little 1923 Bungalow was a slightly up graded home and in a (back then) nice area so it came with a ‘T’ Model garage .

          I’ve never had even a Motocycle in it =8-) .

          There’s lots and lots of 1920’s & 1930’s garages hereabouts that have ” bump outs ” added to the back in the late 1950’s or 1960’s to fit longer cars in .

          One thing many here don’t seem to grasp is : ” Sports Cars ” are _sporting_ (means : fun) to drive , not fast like real race cars .

          Thom , don’t make jokes like that when I’m drinking coffee ~ it hurts my nose =8-) .

          FWIW , I used to borrow an old 1951 356 Porsche Continental Coupe and buzz it through the Tehachapi Mountains , it was fun so in due time I bought a 1963 356B Coupe , one owner Ca. car blah blah blah .

          About that same time my Son bought a 1967 5 speed 5 gauge 912 Porsche Coupe , I like it _far_ better than the 356 , I really expected it to be the be – all , end – all VW but it wasn’t , the 912 was .

          Go figure .

          Now that I’m old , I like red cars , Coupes too , I never did when young as I wanted to carry everyone with me .

          I hope I’m not a douchebag but if so , what of it =8-) .

          -Nate

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I agree that most sport car owners fall into the enthusiast camp. For others I think it’s just a status symbol: They make big coin and want to show the world (especially chicks) how much money they can spend on an impractical toy. Like a big house or a Rolex watch, it’s just something rich guys have.

    • 0 avatar
      Kaosaur

      I vehemently disagree.

      I live in a resort/golf town that attracts the mega-rich from all over the US and abroad to live in. Luxury/sports car ownership among folks that live here is in the high double digits (we’re talking damn near 30% or probably more).

      We also have the worst drivers in the US. Statistically verified.

      The metric f-ton of Porsche (and even Miata) owners here are not car enthusiasts at all and drive their car mostly as a status symbol. The most popular Porsche here is the Cayman and with thin-wall Hankook tires.

      Most of the car enthusiasts here are military and it’s a lot more about muscle cars and import tuners. There’s definitely a large handful of Miata owners, classic car guys, and sports car enthusiasts here but we are in the extreme minority lost in a sea of rich boomers who are flaunting their wealth.

      Let’s be honest here. Driving a sports car is inherently wreckless behavior. Driving a sports car is nearly a statement on your opinion of the value of human life! Hell, mine doesn’t even have airbags or ABS. I haven’t been happier (nor more unhappy) driving any other car, but I’m happy enough driving most other modern cars. Happy enough that people are certainly justified in looking at me in my car and feeling nothing but skepticism about my character.

      • 0 avatar
        MBella

        Who buy’s a Miata as a car to show off in? It’s not exactly a mid-life crisis car. I thought two types of people buy Miatas. Enthusiasts and females who think it’s a cute convertible.

        • 0 avatar
          See 7 up

          What if you are a female enthusiast that also happens to think its cute? Should they only buy non-cute cars to prove their enthusiast cred?

          • 0 avatar
            MBella

            I never said the two are mutually exclusive. From some of the ladies on the Miata forum, there is definitely some overlap in the Miata owners Venn Diagram. I was just saying that it’s not exactly a car that works well for showing off at the country club with Porsches or Ferraris.

      • 0 avatar
        Master Baiter

        What’s the point we vehemently disagree on? I can’t find it amongst your ramblings…

        • 0 avatar
          Lie2me

          You think enthusiasts drive sports cars, Kaosaur doesn’t… Then a whole bunch of blah, blah about rich people

          • 0 avatar
            Sixray

            I consider myself an enthusiast and I drive a van. I love sports cars though, I’d love to have one but I don’t have room for any more cars and I already have one huge money sink. (Owning a Vanagon is like owning the Kalakala of cars.)

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        Just curious, how do you know the Porsche drivers are not enthusiasts?
        Caymans are not exactly the most popular, nor the “status symbol” of the Porsche range, not that it matters the model

        Me? I’d probably be called a P-car d-bag by an onlooker. Heck, I don’t even track the one I’m most likely to be seen in and it would be incredible on a track. But I like it (and the other one too)

        • 0 avatar
          SunnyvaleCA

          I think Kaosaur is referring to the Cayenne (Porsche’s most popular light vehicle), not the Cayman (Porsche’s least popular). He also mentions a lot of Miatas, which makes me think the Boxster would easily outnumber the Cayman in that location.

  • avatar

    None of this applies to anyone driving a 15 year-old or newer G-Wagen.

    • 0 avatar
      MBella

      The nice thing about the G-Wagen is that it’s such a terrible vehicle to drive you can take solace in knowing the “douchenozzle” behind the wheel is completely miserable. It’s loud, uncomfortable, handles poorly, has a harsh ride.

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        Have you driven one? A Jeep Wrangler could be called all the same things, but they are also incredibly fun.
        A G-Wagon is ridiculously solid. That in and of itself is kinda cool. As for the other traits, those are subjective, not to mention most people don’t push their cars handling limits so what does it matter if it “handles poorly”

        • 0 avatar
          MBella

          I have had the displeasure of driving more of them then I would have wanted. Even in 63 form they just aren’t good cars to drive on a road. I always want to get out of it as soon as possible. Most would need different wheels & tires to go off-road anyway. I would like to have an opportunity to take one off-road with an ’80s 617 engine and a snorkel. Let’s face it though, 99.9999% of them will never see anything more than a dirt road. To pay way more money than a GL which is way more comfortable, has more features, is quieter, rides better, handles better, has better fuel economy, is faster, has more interior room, etc.. for some more off-road capability that you will never use is definitely less than intelligent. Although I still think a Wrangler is overpriced for the prices they charge for them these days, they don’t have as many compromises against a comparable SUV as a G-Wagen has against something like a GL. There is nothing subjective when comparing the ride quality of the G-Wagen against any highline SUV. If you have any fillings, they will rattled out by the time your first trip is completed. It matters that it handles poorly because the trade-off you are making gives you off-road capability and nothing else. If you buy something like a GL, Lexus LX, etc.. you will give up handling for a better ride. If you buy a sports car, you are giving up comfort for better handling. Both of these are things that can and are used by their drivers. Since the off-road capability of the G-Wagen is useless for statistically all of their buyers, especially with the tires they are fitted with. If you drive a G-Wagen without using it’s off-road capability, the only thing you get out of it is showing up at the country club to show-off that you can spend stupid money on a stupid vehicle.

          • 0 avatar
            See 7 up

            Well I agree that its a poor choice for a road SUV, but the car is kinda awesome. I’ve driven a few and would never buy the AMG version nor any version as long as the 4runner exists. But, its got personality and wheels are changeable.
            But I own a Wrangler, so go figure. I do take it off-road though -and not just gravel roads…

        • 0 avatar

          Cool as the Geländewagen is, I find it to be poorly-suited to the kind of driving you’d expect from a six-figure SUV. I don’t know why you wouldn’t buy a Range Rover instead.

  • avatar
    David Walton

    Notwithstanding the flimsy arguments regarding enhanced reproductive opportunities and compensation for (perceived) diminutive penile endowment, you should’ve just bought a GT3.

  • avatar
    B Buckner

    The funny thing here is that the editor of this site, Derek, disagrees with your premise and thinks you are shallow and only interested in showing off. Most people here agree with Derek. And this is a site for car enthusiasts.

  • avatar
    Hummer

    I don’t see what’s so exciting about these supercars, if I want something fast I’ll buy a Corvette, just build up the engine and add a supercharger. If I want a luxury car it’s going to be a handmade Rolls, fortunately for my bank account I don’t see the desire to do either.

    If you really felt confident with your purchase you wouldn’t feel the need to explain it to complete strangers that didn’t even ask. Belittling people you don’t know and accusing them of insecurity just projects your own insecurities out to everyone else.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      What if you want fast luxury? Or big, fast luxury?
      There is something exciting about each and every car.

      Your last paragraph is well stated.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      Supercars were a big deal when driving them was difficult. In the old days, the steering was heavy because sticky 12″ front tires are hard to turn. Clutches and transmissions were heavy. Driving in traffic was a workout that few people could endure. But, if the vehicle was at speed, the controls felt perfect and precise.

      The phenomenon isn’t that far in our past, either. Hop in a Porsche 911 (964). You’ll be surprised by the heavy weighting of the controls in a sub-300hp sportscar. You’ll see why most people couldn’t operate a vehicle with 500hp.

      Today, the thrill is gone. Everything is power assist and semi-automatic. The vehicles have electronic driver aids. Supercars are admired for their social capital.

  • avatar
    Halftruth

    I was 30 when I bought a “compensation” vehicle and due to my then young age, I didn’t get the obligatory “you are compensating for something” commentary. I did however, take my very young nephews and their mom to the drag races on street night. They loved it as much as I did (one at a time of course) and still talk about it to this day. Let people talk, it’s usually because they’ve nothing better or more interesting to do. One of the more annoying things in owning that kind of car are the stoplight challenge morons and guys on the highway that want to race.

  • avatar
    richeffect

    I love Sports/Supercar “douchebags”. They take the depreciation hit so I can pick their car up for cheap. We need more of them so I’ll have more choice.

    I know what I must look like to people when I’m driving the car I’ve always wanted, but that’s because they’re just jealous. They’re the douchebags.

    The real douchebags are the guys that don’t know how to drive said car, and crashes it while showing off and possibly hurting someone else in the process.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      So true. That’s the nice about doing track days – at least those “douchebags” are using the car for what is made to do. Thus they aren’t douchebags anymore… they are just regular people with the same passion as me, but can afford a faster/nicer/fancier/cooler/more expensive ride.

      Every since I started tracking my car I just laugh at some of these cars on the street knowing their owners have NO clue how to drive, or what their machine is capable of. I’ve passed both a Maserati and a McLaren on track in my stock ’03 Z because: fast car does not equal fast driver. And as further proof I’ve been passed by countless Miatas and even a Ford Fiesta ST. Its humbling.

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        “I just laugh at some of these cars on the street knowing their owners have NO clue how to drive…”

        Although statistically most likely to be true, how do you in fact know this? They probably think the same of you in your Z right?

        I don’t track one of my Porsches. Does that make it a douche mobile? Heck, I haven’t been on a track in God knows how long. Does that make anything I drive that happens to be sporty douchey, along with me, a poseur? If you aren’t on a track, should you just drive whatever you approve as a non-douche car? How do you know I didn’t make up this last paragraph and only drive on the street to get to/from a track, all the time. I don’t have a job, I just track…
        See where I am going with this?

      • 0 avatar
        beastpilot

        This should be a thread in it’s own. What have you been passed by on a track while driving an X, and vice versa? A subset of real enthusiasts will have a story here.

        Me: Passed by a Focus while driving a M3. I have passed a turbo Miata in a rental 4 cylinder Mustang.

        • 0 avatar
          GiddyHitch

          Passed a Diablo in my M3 and got passed by a girl driving a WRX in the same session. On the Burgerkingring, passed by pretty much everybody.

        • 0 avatar
          duffman13

          Ooh this is a fun one.

          In my RSX: I passed a pair of Astons, and had a fun cat and mouse game with a 350Z at summit Point.

          In my S2000: I’ve passed a C6 Corvette and a 550i at Summit Point Shenandoah. I really didn’t pass anyone at NJMP – I was having an off day. At VIR I was having a fun series with a New Edge Mustang Cobra (definitely not a terminator), and a back and forth with a 135i. I’ve passed my fair share of Evos and STIs as well.

          But at every track day there’s some hot-shoe in an E36 M3 who’s just really good, and there’s some guy in a Miata who defies all expectations. While I rarely get passed by anyone who has the same or less power than me, if someone’s gonna do it it’s one of them.

          My notable exception to things I conceivably might pass: never got anybody in an E46 M3.

  • avatar
    MrIcky

    How about when you’re only making medium bank and you buy yourself an American coupe with a V8 in an obnoxious loud color at age 45? I get accused of having a mid-life crisis all the time. Perhaps, the vision of owning a car that doesn’t suck and the ability to buy said car tends to coincide between age 40 and 50 in many cases.

    My car makes me happy, F’em all.

    • 0 avatar
      golden2husky

      You nailed it. I’m that age, and I went Z51 C7 manual convertible…Mag shox and NPP, too! Why? I have been an enthusiast from the first day I drove by myself. I’m not insecure about my age. I’m well enough off to be planning my retirement by age 57 but I am certainly not rich. I busted butt and my last new car was 20 years ago. (retirement is expensive)

      I love to wind my car out- right place and time of course – feeling the g forces build, the car take a set, NPP wide open with a healthy boot of throttle…you get it or you don’t. And now was the time. Frankly, initially I was less than enthused with all the staring…after years in anonymous cars I was invisible. Got used to it and now I just don’t pay any attention anymore. Yeup, F-em…

    • 0 avatar
      PonchoIndian

      My car makes me happy, F’em all.

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      duffman13

      I hear you. As a car guy, I feel like it’s my duty at some point to own a V8 American sports/muscle car. I honestly never really considered it before, but the new Mustang is so good I think I might look at a used GT in a few years. Same with the corvette, though I might shoot for a C6 6MT Z51 if I can find it; it’s fast enough and the consumables on a Z06 are insane if I wanted to track it.

      • 0 avatar
        kvndoom

        Same here. My deal with my lady was not to have a car payment until my student loans are paid off (barring extreme circumstances). Which could be anywhere from 3 to 10 years, depending on how the overtime flows at my new job. (Judging by my co-workers right now, I’m leaning more to the lesser duration)

        I really, REALLY love the looks of this generation Mustang. I would actually pass up an Accord coupe for this one (something you would never have heard me say before). 3 pedals, 8 cylinders, and either blue or white. Yup, sounds about right for me!

      • 0 avatar
        Superdessucke

        I once bought a 1999 Camaro SS, red with T-Tops, for this reason. Took so much s-it for it it wasn’t even funny. My car enthusiast friends were even on me, calling it the Love Machine. I even wasted a grand on a cat back, so it was loud audibly and visually. Sold it in less than a year.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    “you must take them for a ride in your sports car”

    That would be my Kia Sedona, which is quicker and faster than the Leaf or Optima Hybrid.

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      My Sienna will take everything else I own, too!

      The thing is surprisingly sporty when unleaded. It has a stiff stabilizer bar, precise steering, and good tires. I usually get tired of the lateral forces before I hit the handling limit, I’ve surprised a few people at stoplights with it.

      Yes, there are cars that are better at being sports cars than my van. And cars that are better at being school buses or pickup trucks. But the van is competent at pretty much everything, and that makes me enthusiastic about it.

      (I also bought it to compliment a future EV, but I’ve got to pay off the van, and get my wife to finish graduate school, first.)

  • avatar

    The Veyron Super Sport is the fastest, most powerful, street legal production car in the entire world.

    I’d take one of those if I had $2.9 Million to spend on a car. Thing is, I’d never see anything higher than 200 – and I’d spend most of my time driving REALLY SLOWLY through Manhattan – showing it to hot women who have no idea what it is.

    Second choice: Lamborghni Aventador Carbonado edition.

    Third Choice: McLaren F1 LM

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      $2.9 million for 200mph that you can’t use anywhere? You can buy a nice 200+mph airplane for less. Much less. And actually use the 200mph capability.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Agreed!

        I got checked out in a Mooney M20C, and that is MY kind of 200mph ride.

        It was pretty crazy to watch an intersection 5 miles out approach on the GPS in a minute and a half.

        Of course, the real problem is to get the damn thing slowed down when it’s time to land. It’s as slippery as a Schweizer, but it ain’t got no dive brakes. Flaps and wheels, yes, dive brakes — not so much.

        It’s quite a change from “90mph: check, flaps 10 degrees, undercarriage: down and welded” of from the Cessnas and Pipers I bopped around in.

        You guys can keep your Ferraris or whatever at the $50k+ range. You don’t even know what you’re missing.

        • 0 avatar
          beastpilot

          Don’t you find 200 MPH in a Mooney a lot like 75 MPH in a nice sedan? Totally without any real drama? It’s absolutely nothing like 200 MPH in a car (or even 120 MPH in a car)

          To me, unless you pulled 3+G’s on that flight, it’s really just another commute in a way, just with much better scenery.

          • 0 avatar
            Mandalorian

            If I had $2.9M to throw away like that, I’d spend 2.75M on an investment property, $100k on an F250 King Ranch and $50k on hookers.

  • avatar

    No, I don’t want no scrub
    A scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from me
    Hanging out the passenger side
    Of his best friend’s ride
    Trying to holler at me
    I don’t want no scrub
    A scrub is a guy that can’t get no love from me
    Hanging out the passenger side
    Of his best friend’s ride
    Trying to holler at me

    TLC

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    I want a Ferrari Mondial.
    Then I want to build that Mondial, swap the engine so it just destroys everything.
    That would be a car that would piss off everyone, because that’s what it’s all about. It’s not about being accepted. It’s about being a rebel.
    I’M enjoying this fine automobile, while your disgruntled face is being illuminated by the hellfire coming out of my muffler. Then I smile. Then I hope the guy in the box truck that he HAS to drive gets some enjoyment out of it. After all, I’m a rebel for the people.

  • avatar
    Dan

    The automotive advertising machine has spent decades selling desirable as beginning and ending with better racecar. This isn’t hidden in the pages of BMW & Driver where normal people don’t see it. Find a car commercial without sweeping curves and racing engine noises. Find a car outside of the crushing poverty class that isn’t styled fast and angry.

    Thirty years of that has been so successful at it that Toyota is selling their Camcord as a rollercoaster ride while Nissan sells their Camcord as an actual racecar! Family busses like the Explorer come with Sport packages and low profile tires.

    Yet if you go the last mile down the path they laid out for you and buy a car that actually is racecar instead of just advertised as one then you’re a douchebag.

    Once again, weird world.

  • avatar
    APaGttH

    When the last one is through college there will be something small, fast, expensive, and foreign in the driveway.

    It’s a reward – and if you’re going to judge my bloated balding arse over it so be it.

  • avatar
    carguy

    It seems obvious that sports car owners buy it for the fun. But not all fun has to be driving related. Some folks just like the idea of owning one, others like to be seen in them and some even like to drive them. Usually its a mix of all three.

    Let’s face it Doug – you didn’t buy that Ferrari for just for driving. I think you posted more articles, videos and pictures of it than any other car you’ve had. Admit it, you liked the attention and the conversation piece that it was.

    And there is nothing wrong with that. After all, not everyone that wears sneakers is an athlete.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    Almost every commercial sells the public on the belief that for one to be happy they need youth, beauty, health and wealth. Part of that sell job is that if you happen to be deficient in any of those areas you can buy your way there by appearing that you have the “big four”.

    The reason the whole “show-off, midlife crisis, small willy compensation” repertoire exists is partially because it is true in many cases. Advertising feeds that belief.
    Why else does an “average” guy with an “average” paycheque buy something outside of their financial comfort zone?

    BUT

    If one expands the sportscar definition to any non-supercar then the whole argument tends to fall apart.

    I don’t hear people critiquing Miata drivers as compensating for anything.

    Scott25 mentioned Bro-dozers….. why else would a person slaughter a perfectly fine 4×4 by rendering it completely useless for anything other than showing off?

    If the very rich want to spend their money on supercars then that is their choice.

    In my part of the world we have the ultimate equalizer, it’s called winter.

  • avatar

    A lot of women have sporty cars and sports cars. Same mix as men–some buy ’em strictly for fashion; others (my sister and a couple of friends among them) enjoy the drive.

  • avatar

    “you must take them for a ride in your sports car”

    I did and the kids squealed with joy. The older “guy” thought he was going to mess his pants. The gal, she loved it.

  • avatar
    Pch101

    Twenty years ago, Porsche had declining sales. They sorted out that problem by learning about their customers, and slotted buyers into five psychographic groups (this is a copy and paste that was derived from an article in Fortune):

    -Top Guns (27%): Driven, ambitious types. Power and control matter. They expect to be noticed.

    -Elitists (24%): Old-money blue bloods. A car is just a car, no matter how expensive. It is not an extension of personality.

    -Proud Patrons (23%): Ownership is an end in itself. Their car is a trophy earned for hard work, and who cares if anyone sees them in it?

    -Bon Vivants (17%): Worldly jet setters and thrill seekers. Their car heightens the excitement in their already passionate lives.

    -Fantasists (9%): Walter Mitty types. Their car is an escape. Not only are they uninterested in impressing others with it, they also feel a little guilty about owning one.

    This would suggest that about one-quarter of them were conspicuous consumers showing off, and another one-quarter were in it for some sort of driving thrill.

    You will notice that 1/4 + 1/4 does not equal 1. There are different buyers with different mindsets, and that they aren’t all alike.

    Do enthusiasts buy Porsches? Yes.

    Do show-offs with midlife crises and inadequate junk buy Porsches in order to be noticed? Yes.

    Do people who don’t belong to either category buy Porsches? Yes.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      So, like people buy Porsches?

    • 0 avatar
      danio3834

      It might surprise the generalists in the audience that all car brands do these sorts of studies to varying degrees of depth. They would probably be equally surprised at the customer cross sections of other brands that are so frequently painted with broad strokes. Personally, I love the ones that neatly pin down how much a RWD focused driving experience is worth.

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        I’m just glad to hear about the results. It’s fascinating.

        I know marketers do this sort of thing, but I rarely get to hear anything except super-digested “strategy” pep rallies.

        Thank you, pch101 – this comment made the rest of the article worth my time.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          To be fair, this is old data, and the psychographics have probably shifted since then. Back in 1995, there was still a 944-based car (the 968), the 928 was on its last legs, and the Cayenne and Boxster did not yet exist.

          Still, the takeaway is that customers don’t just fit into one category. Segmenting them into different psychographic groups allows the automaker to craft different messages to sell the same products to different people. So for example, some ads might appeal to pure ego and status, other ads might tout performance, and still others might position the car as a form of escape from the mundane. There isn’t just one kind of buyer.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            This information is used when making product decisions as well as in advertising. By determining what features a given customer deems important in a vehicle and how much they will pay for said features, brands can make a reasonable assumption about whether they can get a return on their investment.

            In the case about RWD driving dynamics, there’s a certain subset of enthusiast buyer who very much does care which wheels drive the car, and often will pay a premium for the feature. So while many of the other buyers may never know or care if a car is RWD or FWD, the more valuable customers have more influence on how the product turns out. Of course, the smaller that sphere of customer gets, the less the influence.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            Pch101 – car companies or any marketing company spend a lot of time studying their audience. Broad generalizations tend to do more harm than good.
            Your point does explain why one vehicle will have many different options or trim classes. You can hit most of those sub-groups rather cheaply.

    • 0 avatar
      GiddyHitch

      My unscientific survey of 911 drivers in my area reveal them to be middle aged men intent on testing their cars’ handling limits in the slow lane going 5 under.

      • 0 avatar
        OneAlpha

        Every Corvette I see is driven by some fat, balding guy at or below the already-underposted speed limit.

        These guys buy a sports car and then drive it like a minivan.

        • 0 avatar
          PonchoIndian

          OneAlpha
          Does that make the a non-enthusiast and a poser?

          God forbid the “fat balding middle aged” enthusiast buys his sports cars (say a Vette) and decides to drive it responsibly on the road because he is mature enough to realize that there are better places to drive it fast and hard while not endangering the public.

          • 0 avatar
            S2k Chris

            Basically, Corvette, M3, 911, etc, buyers can’t win (aside from the fat that they’re driving a Corvette, M3, 911, etc); either they’re idiots flying through traffic, or they’re idiots going too slowly in traffic.

          • 0 avatar
            krhodes1

            “anyone going faster than me is an idiot, anyone going slower than me is an @sshole”

            -George Carlin

            It’s not just sports car drivers. You just notice them more.

  • avatar
    See 7 up

    Who honestly buys a car to “compensate” for anything? It is a weird phrase/thing. Anyone honestly believes some male/female gets up and says “I have a small/dumb/ugly (whatever), I must buy (whatever) to show people its not true”

    I can see people buying cars to show-off or attract someone, but it is no different than any other consumable.

  • avatar
    George B

    Doug, the category “sports car” covers a lot of territory. My general view is people buy the Italian exotics primarily to be seen in a flashy car that looks fast and expensive even when going slow. However, there are also drivers who buy a used sports car as a secondary car to drive on the track. Car for image vs. high performance car for enjoyment.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    They’re generally thought of as mid-life crisis cars because only middle aged people can afford them. A mid-level Corvette is $60k, a 911 is $100k. Hard to afford that with a wife and young kids to support.

  • avatar

    Funny but my Shelby Charger doesn’t engender these types of adverse reactions from anyone.

    I figure when people see it, they rightfully assume I have a huge package.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    “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.”

    It’s mostly pure green jelly. Your average car civilian is capable of appreciating a cool car on it’s merits, but their inferiority complexes cause them to fling those scornful reasonings to make excuses for their own failure to own such cool things. The fact that the average person can’t tell a 15 year old $70k Ferrari from a brand new $250K model lets the owner enjoy a very reasonable cost/jealous rage ratio.

    • 0 avatar
      beastpilot

      What’s the worst car for the reverse? Costs an amazing amount, but no average onlooker has any idea?

      Personally, I’m always amazed when I see a $60K pickup truck.

      • 0 avatar
        danio3834

        Oh yeah, pickups are great for spending more money than it looks like you did. I drove a Ram 2500 Laramie Diesel a while back that had a window sticker of $84K. Not even close the most expensive model either!

        The average person would see the big white blinged out truck and assume it’s somewhat expensive, but not $84K ‘spensive as my limited survey revealed.

        • 0 avatar
          See 7 up

          I was frequently called out by coworkers (and complete strangers) regarding my Boxster S – something about salaries and such.
          I’d find it funny as at least 50% were driving SUV, trucks and cars that were more expensive or within spiting distance of its price, new for new.

          Now I do recognize the “luxury” of spending said amount on a “useless” sports car instead of something like a loaded minivan, but it met all my wife and I’s needs at the time so its not really that different.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            People are envious creatures. They could be jealous of the fact that you have the *privilege* (there’s that word again) to drive a sports car every day while they’re stuck with something mundane. The cost or “uselessness” being just a scapegoat.

        • 0 avatar
          Lou_BC

          @danio3834 – I read somewhere that what you mentioned was part of the marketing appeal of high end pickup trim levels. There are those that buy them for that reason. You can go out and drop 90K on a truck but you don’t look much different than the guy with a 30k fleet queen.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            You’re absolutely right. Many a contractor has found out the hard way how some customers react when they show up to a job site in a Maserati. The same people won’t bat an eye at a pickup that cost just as much.

      • 0 avatar
        duffman13

        Or my personal favorite, a Singer 911, which I’ll buy if I ever hit the lottery. It looks like a 25 year old 911, albeit perfect. but it costs $300k. You still get a status symbol, but you’re definitely overpaying if that’s all you want out of it.

        If you want an objectively perfect 911 on the other hand, there really is no alternative.

    • 0 avatar
      Dan

      I don’t think there’s much jealousy to it. Maybe among supercars. But you see much of the same stereotyping on perfectly attainable cars. $400 a month of BMW has announced you to the world as a prick for decades. Audis and G35s do it too. The pricks who drive them have called it simple jealousy, also for decades.

      That’s not driving something that lesser mortals can’t, because nearly all of them can. It’s the ultimate driver asshattery in traffic, parking in two spaces, having kittens over door dings, bragging up their car within 90 seconds while running game at the bar, etc.

      It’s not the racecar, a Mustang doesn’t get you dirty looks.

      It’s not the money, a Suburban doesn’t either.

      It’s the decorum of some of their drivers.

  • avatar
    karlbonde

    Help me out here, please.

    Why was Doug rejected/prevented from writing here a year or two ago, and what specifically has changed? Jack Baruth seemed to hint that he did not like Doug’s stretching the truth, or something similar to that.

    What has changed? For what it is worth, I’m a huge fan of Doug.

  • avatar
    sportyaccordy

    This is another reason why sports cars are in decline and being replaced by performance cars. A WRX offers 90% of the driving thrills of a legit sports car with none of the stigma or headaches. Aside from for the super rich they don’t make sense anymore.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      What are the headaches associated with a modern sports car (sans practicality, or lack thereof)?
      AFWIW, there is a stigma associated with WRX’s.

    • 0 avatar
      superchan7

      True, but having things like 4 doors and 5 seating positions adds some weight that even the most clever engineering cannot deny.

      For those who can only have one car, the compromises of today’s performance sedans are few.

      But for those who must have the ultimate driver’s experience, a lighter car with fewer seats always delivers more satisfaction on the mountain roads. Even one with less power (see MX-5).

      • 0 avatar
        See 7 up

        I view the MX-5 as probably the ultimate “sports car”, especially if one can’t get a lot of track days in.
        I know for a fact that on the road, driven a sane speeds, it is way more fun and sporty than my Boxster. We cross shopped the two to the amazement of both salesmen, but the boxster won due to its highway performance and trunk room.

        I’d say if there is anything that makes someone a d-bag, its not acknowledging how awesome an MX-5 is, unless you live in a place without curves. Todays sports sedans are pretty amazing. The only thing lacking for me is the lack of a wagon option (I tend to view sedans as ugly and a waste of space)

  • avatar
    superchan7

    I currently have a car related to that one. It’s also red.

    I’m at the bottom of the age range for ownership, so I don’t exactly fit the mid-life stereotype. +1 douche point

    I don’t ever plan to track it, because it’s too old and rare to replace if damaged. +1 douche point

    I love driving mountain roads, but with a baby in the household I can’t do that very often. +0 douche points, +1 enthusiast point

    I love sharing the sights and sounds of the car with others on the road–kids always stare and smile, and I indulge them with a good gear or two when the light turns green. I am, however, wary of being recognised by someone I know. +0 douche points

    When I’m not driving it, I like to just sit and admire the timeless Pininfarina lines. +1 douche point

    I also reflect on the history of the brand, the story behind its logo and crest, the struggles the company faced in the late 80s with the transition away from its late founder, and how a bunch of amazing racing technology made it into my road car. +1 enthusiast point

    I’ve used it as a date car (yes, with my wife), but in reality it is a very poor tool for that. Consolation prize depends on what the date is wearing. I generally feel the most vanity and douchiness when parking on a downtown street in the evening. +5 douche points

    Even with 8.5 douche points and only 2 enthusiast point, I still call myself an enthusiast first……and poser second.

    But screw that. I don’t care to indulge other people’s concerns on my dream car. It is a money pit, but unlike De Muro, I will not be happy on the day that I let it go to a new home.

  • avatar
    gsp

    i am just as happy driving or cleaning my 2013 porsche panamara gts as i am driving or cleaning 2007 honda odyssey. my wife has a german SUV. we are made fun of by various different people regardless of what we drive. can’t win.

  • avatar
    Quentin

    My little FR-S isn’t an exotic or flashy car by any means, but it does stand out among the SUVs and trucks that are super popular where I live. I generally feel self conscious when getting out of the car, especially when I’m getting my 2 year old daughter out, too. There seems to be a stigma that you can’t possibly be a responsible parent/person if you don’t haul the family around in a van/truck/SUV. We have a CUV, but when it is just my daughter and me, we take the FR-S.

    I’ll downshift when just going down the road to get the revs up and she’ll sit back there making VROOM VROOM sounds. I suppose that is somewhat irresponsible. haha

    • 0 avatar
      superchan7

      I have a “Baby On Board” sign on my, uh, horse. As soon as my baby outgrows his rear-facing seat he will start to ride in it.

      I can’t wait to get questioned on that.

      • 0 avatar
        Quentin

        I haven’t put a BoB sign on my FR-S yet. The FR-S was a no-go until she was front facing and we breached into full fledged toddler heaven/hell this past summer, so I was able to justify my fun car at that point.

        You’ll get two responses. Some people will think it is awesome that you are sharing your enthusiasm with your child. You’ll just get nasty looks from others. I imagine you are used to the latter response having a horse, though. :)

  • avatar
    05lgt

    If there’s a little grease and grime worked into your callouses any car seems less douchey and more loved hobby. Taking people with no safety gear for extreme thrill rides on a favorite road is the summit of Mt. Douche. What could be more fizzy fizzy douche than killing a friend or aquaintence in an effort to explain why you did something? If you love it, love it. Don’t explain it. If you have to explain it, you’re in it for the image.

    • 0 avatar
      superchan7

      There are places and methods to enjoy most sports cars without disregarding human life. Never take your car to its limits (as those limits tend to be hard and unpredictable), and never be a hazard to cars that may or may not be visible around you.

      This may not be possible in, say, a Bugatti Veyron or LaFerrari, but an M3 or Cayman can definitely be enjoyed well within their limits.

      • 0 avatar
        beastpilot

        Maybe with 4 spare tires on them a M3 or Cayman can be brought anywhere near the limit on the street, but with any reasonable rubber on them, they can take basically any corner at 2X the speed limit, and have zero safety margin on any normally designed road at those speeds.

        Or are you saying that an M3 is still fun at 45 MPH on a 45 MPH road? ‘Cause I get real sleepy in most performance cars if you are anywhere near the limit. To me it’s the great unfortunate thing about performance cars today. Their limits are so far above average cars (and people) that they can hardly stretch their legs anywhere.

        You can buy a 200 MPH car for $30K today, which is kind of insane.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          This is one reason I love my Triumph Spitfire so much. You can have soooo much fun in it without breaking the speed limit.

          • 0 avatar
            beastpilot

            That’s exactly what my dad said about his Sunbeam Tiger. Every corner was fun and required skill.

            Why did we invent radial tires again?

        • 0 avatar
          superchan7

          I don’t know what grinds your gears; I’m not the thrill-seeker or lap time type. I prefer to enjoy all of the little sensory details of an experience.

          A buttery-smooth Honda shifter or a well-oiled gated shifter. The musical symphony of a flat-crank V8 running up to redline on an open mountain road or even a highway entrance. The same for the raw, mechanical sound of a flat-6 with a short exhaust. The lightning-fast response of the throttle. A bang-on rev matched downshift. The cracks and pops of an exhaust on overrun. The impatient gurgling idle of a highly tuned engine. Even the satisfying “click” of an old-school door latch when I’m not driving, and the timeless style of our dream cars.

          I can’t argue that staying under the posted speed limits at all times is fun, but I don’t have to be on the limit of traction……or be a danger to the public……to have a great time.

  • avatar
    energetik9

    Maybe, I’m one of those guys I don’t know. Five months ago, I made the decision to buy a driver oriented car. Something purely centered around my driving experience. I ended up buying a CPO 997.2 911 Carrera 4S. I’ve never tracked it, but I have tracked other cars. I just love driving. I love the feel of the car, the power delivery, the steering feeling, the tone of the exhaust, the way I can push it through a corner and it does everything I ask. I have never owned such an all around amazing car (to me). I told a co-worker when I was shopping that I was looking at a used Porsche and the first thing she said was that Porsche drivers are a-holes. How funny that I’ve heard that about BMW drivers, Audi Drivers, etc, etc. Truth is, I don’t care. I rarely tell people I drive a Porsche and I don’t flash my keychain. The thing is, I live in the north Chicago suburbs. Even if I wanted to, there is no one to “flash” my car or badge too. Every day I’m surrounded by Bentley’s, G-class, Ferrari, Rolls, Aston, and of course boat loads of Porsche Panameras and SUVs. I just bought it because I have the means and I wanted a car for me. I drive it because I love it.

    • 0 avatar
      superchan7

      I’ve moved to a different car, but the mechanical delight of Porsche’s flat-6 sound is unmatched.

      I had a Cayman with an exhaust mod (basically cut open to act like a Porsche Sport Exhaust in open mode all the time…you may have heard of these). I still miss that car sometimes, slight lack of HP and all.

      The 911 sounds even more mechanical, I think due to the shortened exhaust on the rear-mounted engine making it sound even throatier than the Boxster/Cayman.

    • 0 avatar
      See 7 up

      I’d love a base 911. Not an S or anything. Just a base 911, manual with sport seats. Thats it.
      According to many, I’m a badge whore and the ultimate d-bag. But I love base model cars (mainly due to understated wheel/tires) and I love 911’s (have an old carrera 3.2)
      But we wanted a convertible, and I can’t agree with a 911 vert, so Boxster S it was – i know “base model love” but its got the regular 18″ wheels. The new targa could be appealing. I’d love to see a 911 targa GTS. Basically keep it as is, but bring back the lightweight, manual targa top. Not that I can afford a new 911 as its 2x my BS cost.

    • 0 avatar
      05lgt

      Sounds like you love it. No need to explain that.

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    “…and it requires a lift kit so large that you could set up a large dental practice underneath the chassis.”

    I logged in for the first time in more than five years to register my appreciation for this sentence.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I never understood/stand the vitriol surrounding what one chooses to drive, save a camcord, I tend to feel bad for those folks. I will need a car soon for a pending job change and have been thinking about a used rental rocket Camry with a vanity license plate ‘IGAVEUP’.

  • avatar
    bludragon

    Here’s the thing, the fact that you want to take people out for a drive to show them what your car can do makes you a show off, and isn’t that what you are trying to convince them you are not?

    Also, taking someone who has no interest in cars for a joyride is quite unlikely to change their mind, whilst unnecessarily endagering them, others, yourself and your car.

    Here’s what I do:

    Anyone who wants to go for a ride gets a ride. The true enthusiasts, who can be trusted and are not reckless, get to drive.

    Giving a ride to someone not interested in cars? Then they get the smoothest, most comfortable ride possible given the machinery.

    Someone makes a derogatory comment about a vehicles owner, well then carefully correct them if needed, or agree if it is obvious they are correct.

    In summary, if you bought the car primarily for your own enjoyment, then it really does not matter what other people think. I will admit though, I would likely become fairly self conscious if I owned a ferarri. I generally like to enjoy myself without attracting undue attention.

  • avatar
    Car-los

    I think in the majority of the cases people who thinks that the person who buys an exotic car is showing off or compensating are actually right.

    A lot of the second hand cars for sale have very low millage which surely indicates those cars weren’t driven much, add to that the low demand for sport cars with manual transmission. Why do you think the new sport cars with manual transmission are now almost not existent?

    Now, if you put those to points mentioned above, low mileage and automatic transmissions in sport cars, what in my opinion you get is that the majority of people who buy (new) sport cars are buying them for all sort of reasons except the driving experience. Whatever these reasons might be.

    So, naturally, when a good and decent car enthusiast buys a sport car he or she are automatically labeled as show offs. Which brings us to the point that this column tries to make.

    And here I put my own question humbly.

    Who gives a sh.t what people think about what you do and why you do it?

    I certainly don’t.

    In fact I think that to write an article on a publication that targets car enthusiast on what non car enthusiast think of car enthusiast is a bloody waste of time.

    But then again, who gives a sh.t on what I think?

    I hope you don’t!!!!

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      Which begs the question, what are we enthusiasts supposed to drive as our second hand sports car?

      I am in the camp that wholeheartedly believes said vehicle should have three pedals, yet so few are now either offered or opted for. I can’t bring myself to pay the kind of dollars required to gain access to most sports car ownership, so used is where it will be. I not so secretly covet a C7 or a coyote 5.0. I understand they are two different class of automobile, I have two young gearheads at home that I need to consider so I am thinking the 5.0.

      • 0 avatar
        Car-los

        I think that the car-enthusiast has a very wide range of choice, certainly much wider that for the car-show-off buyers since the car doesn’t have to be the latest thing in the market.

        Just choose a car, from any year or brand, that best expresses your driving style and taste and that it has been properly and timely serviced, a bonus if it’s low mileage. And if you are patient and constantly on the look you’ll find something that you like at a the price you are looking for.

        Good luck in your hunt 87 Morgan!

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    Doug, you came to the wrong place for this column.

    Many many people on here aren’t auto enthusiasts, they are appliance enthusiasts, and enthusiasts of hearing themselves (reading themselves?) talk. Enthusiasts of judging people by their purchase, and telling them how stupid they are for buying such and such. They are enthusiasts of trying to sound all knowing and all important. There are actually very few real car enthusiasts on here.

    Now I just need my bowl of popcorn to review the posts above mine.

  • avatar
    ccd1

    Having traded in a grey Mazda6 for a cherry apple red Audi TT RS, I can identify with the article. The car gets noticed, but not in a bad way. Most people just pause to stare at it. Other times, people strike up conversations about the car. Friends tend to think I’ve earned the right to have a sports car (and want a ride).

    Maybe if I drove something more expensive or exotic, the haters would come out. But my TT has generated love from the moment I got it. My best guess is that the reaction is because the car is relatively rare and not one of the “usual suspects.” It’s the kind of car that only an enthusiast would own because you would have to be an enthusiast to know about it. And it is not crazy money so people do not put you in the rich asshole category.

    Only my wife levels the midlife crisis comment against the car, but I think even she secretly appreciates the car. We are spending a weekend with one of her friends and we are taking the TT because her friend wants to drive it. I never thought a TT would get the attention and respect this car commands.

  • avatar
    OneAlpha

    Ever since I first heard this “compensating for something” business, I’ve been wondering what the lady car enthusiasts were supposed to be compensating for.

    Small breasts, perhaps?

    I guess those women who like fast cars, and there are a few out there, are trying to make up for the fact that nature gave them a sportrack, huh?

    See how silly the “compensating for something” argument sounds?

    • 0 avatar
      S2k Chris

      I have noticed that with the tight seats in my sports car, it’s easy to sit wrong and squish “the boys” leading me to believe it would be easier to drive the car if my package was much smaller. I’m only Irish big, but still.

  • avatar
    S2k Chris

    I’m pretty sure the only things people think when they see me in my sports car is “my, what an enormous man in a very small car” or “Why is that car making so much engine noise yet not going particularly fast” or “seriously, is that a bear behind the wheel?”

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      @S2k Chris

      You should see 330lbs (I’m shrinking at last) of me in my Spitfire… Which makes an S2000 seem like a limo by comparison. Though when you take out all that unnecessary “safety” and “comfort” garbage, there is a surprising amount of room left in a tiny car.

      The seatbelts in my car are purely to make the coroner’s job easier, by keeping the major body parts closer to the scene of the accident.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Hey, Doug, why the cheap shot at the Soul? Just last week I had a 911 owner in mine, and got all kinds of unsolicited (and positive, thank you very much) comments about its performance. Same thing from a 5 series owner the previous month. Wanna go for a ride?

  • avatar
    duffman13

    I’m all the way at the bottom here, but who cares.

    On compensating: I’ve recently taken up power lifting, mainly because I like picking up heavy things and seeing how heavy I can make those things. As a result, my physique is changing for the better and I’m spending a good amount of time in the weight room. However, plenty of people look at anybody trying to improve themselves and think “they must be compensating for something.” No, I just find lifting fun and being in good shape makes me feel better all around.

    Moving to cars, I’m the same way. I’ve been driving sports/sporty cars for years because they’re fun, and have a penchant for back-roads and track days. Going fast is fun to me, so I buy cars that do it well. At some Point I’m sure I’ll own an “overcompensation mid-life crisis vehicle” like a Corvette or 911 because of their capability.

    Now to a certain extent, a good number of people who attempt to maintain an excellent physical appearance or drive a sports car are doing it for vanity purposes. That doesn’t mean we all are. Nor does it mean that an individual doing that is overcompensating either.

    At the end of the day, it comes from other people’s insecurity. To some people if you’re in noticeably better physical shape than them, or driving a flashier, more expensive car than them, they can’t handle the fact that they perceive you to be “better” than them in some intangible metric, whether it be looks, success, etc. So they feel the need to tear them down. He’s overcompensating, he’s got a small package, he’s got not a real man so he needs that to attract women. What it really comes down to is that they hate us cause they ain’t us.

    Nope, I just like being fit and driving a fast car. It makes me feel good.

    • 0 avatar
      superchan7

      Over the past few years, I’ve done enough driving here in the San Francisco area to conclude that the douches are actually surprisingly few, and it’s mostly a stigma for the self-conscious and the jealous. Both types belong to the “ignore” group if you want to get on with your life.

      Driving a flashy car in city centres with heavy pedestrian traffic, you are more likely to encounter negative comments from passers-by. But out in the South Bay suburbs I receive nothing but positive reactions to my sports cars.

  • avatar
    PonchoIndian

    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…

  • avatar
    Fred

    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.

    • 0 avatar
      krhodes1

      My quarter-life crisis was a ’74 Spitfire, and I still have it, 19 years later. Worth more than I have in it too, great little car.

      I suppose my midlife crisis is the BMW M235i I have on order. No idea what the heck I will DO with 320hp, but I will probably find something. My Dinan dealer buddy is trying to talk me into more hp, but I probably won’t.

      • 0 avatar
        PonchoIndian

        Kr

        Can’t wait to hear about your M235. I’m curious to hear if you think it needs the expensive optional mechanical LSD.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          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.

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