By on August 21, 2015

149

It doesn’t take long in any conversation in which I am a participant for some car-related topic to arise. It could be about hobbies, or jobs, or interests — I’m probably going to mention cars in some way, shape, or form if you ask me about any of the above.

Where the conversations go from there, however, can be nearly anywhere, based on the type of guy who’s asking. And I think that’s kind of cool.

Once they find out I’m into cars, men tend to want to know the following four things, and nearly always in this order (or something close to it):

  1. What kind of car do you have?
  2. Have you done any modifications to it?
  3. How fast have you driven it?
  4. Have you ever taken it out on a track?

The reactions that they have to my answers puts them into one of these categories:

The Tinkerer
This guy is normally thrilled to hear “Boss 302” come out of my mouth in response to the first question, only to be followed by swift disappointment when I say “absolutely none” in response to the second. The Tinkerer likes to talk about the custom tune he’s done to his car, or maybe about the special parts he’s had fabricated for it. Very rarely does the Tinkerer have a late-model car; it’s almost always something a little bit older that he’s been working on for quite some time. He’ll rattle off a list of modifications that he’s made, along with how long it took him to do it and how much it cost him.

Older Tinkerers tend to gravitate toward American Muscle, while younger Tinkerers are more likely interested in Boost Buggies. In fact, younger Tinkerers are often more excited to hear “Fiesta ST” than “Boss 302.” I’m guessing that this is due to both the rise of the Fast and Furious culture and the fairly large price delta between your typical muscle/pony car and an early-model Evo. Sometimes The Tinkerer likes to take their creation to the drag strip, but they more often find joy in the garage.

I love Tinkerers because they’re very left-brained as a whole, which means that they love to make a long-term plan and work on it. I’ve met Tinkerers who have been working on a car for three years and have another three to go — and it doesn’t bother them one bit. They’re also not necessarily attached to that car. They’ll happily finish the project, sell it, and start another.

TTAC Example: Murilee Martin, a little bit of Sajeev (and Sanjeev) Mehta

The Stats Guy
This guy tends to be really interested in the first and third questions. Once he finds out what kind of car I’ve got, he’s immediately recalled from his vast reservoir of automotive stats that it runs about a 4-second zero-to-sixty and a mid-twelve quarter. He might ask me what other cars I’ve owned in the past, or what cars I benchmarked my purchases against.

Stats Guy tends to be somewhat agnostic when it comes to brand loyalty. He’s equally comfortable telling me what size engines were available in the 1994 Nissan Sentra as he is telling me how much horsepower rumbles from an ACR Viper.

However, most of what Stats Guy knows can be attributed to a nearly fanatical absorption of buff books and automotive forums. He’s almost certain to have never driven his car on any sort of track, and it’s even possible that he’s never owned one of the cars he’s committed to memory. He’s like the basketball analytics guy who never played the game. I love Stats Guy because it’s all about the numbers for him. He’s the coolest possible kind of savant.

TTAC Example: Tim Cain, a little bit of Alex Dykes

The Relationship Builder
This guy is SUPER EXCITED (!!!) about your car — but only because YOU are. He wants to hear all about the purchase experience. He wants to know why you picked that color. He’s incredibly impressed that you’re brave enough to track it, and wants to know the coolest track you’ve ever driven. He definitely knows somebody else who has the same car that you do, and he would love to connect the two of you.

For the Relationship Builder, it’s all about the personal connection. He’s probably the moderator of his marque forum, and while he might have some technical or historical knowledge of cars, he’s much more interested in the social aspect of cars. He loves everybody else’s car just as much as he loves his, and he’s the first one to post pictures from Cars and Coffee.

Not only does he have a great relationship with YOU, he’s got a great relationship with HIS car. Every scratch in the paint has a story, but it won’t be there long because he’s intimately familiar with how to use a clay bar. He’s not a car flipper, but when the time to say goodbye comes, his Craigslist ad usually says something like, “I hate to do it, but I have to sell my baby.”

I love the Relationship Builder because he’s the guy who’s up early at 7:00 a.m. to set up the autocross course. He’s the one who encourages new people to join the club. He’s a friend to everyone who shares his passion. Cars are his emotional home. He might be a little awkward outside the scene, but he fits right in with his car buddies.

TTAC Example: Chris Tonn, Ronnie Schreiber

The Weekend Warrior
This cat is intense. Whether it’s autocross, drag racing, or wheel-to-wheel racing, this dude takes his helmet-wearing time very, very seriously. He might have a few extra stickers on his car — either autocross contingency stickers or a myriad of track outline stickers from the circuits where he’s piloted his car (guilty) — but his car is almost never what one might consider “clean.” Only question number four really matters to him. Quite often the Weekend Warrior races a car that isn’t necessarily considered to be “cool” by the general public, like a Neon or an old E30.

Mechanical ability doesn’t hurt, but it isn’t a must to be a weekend warrior (also guilty), because he might have “a guy.” He’s more interested in tire pressures and shock settings than in anything else. His car has undoubtedly been on a dyno at least once. He knows every nook and cranny of the rulebook, and he knows exactly how far he can bend those rules without breaking them.

I love the Weekend Warrior because he understands the true nature of competition, but note that I don’t include “Track Day Guy” under this category. Weekend Warrior is willing to risk tens of thousands of dollars in equipment — or even his very life — just so he can get a chance to get his hands on a plastic trophy that will mean almost nothing to anybody else in his life. His non-racing friends undoubtedly think that he’s nuts for spending so much time and effort on his hobby, but he simply can’t quit. He’s got the racing flu.

TTAC Example: Jack Baruth, Mental Ward [and you, you idiot -Mark]

There are several more categories that I could talk about (Hellaflush Guy, Exotic Guy, Collector Guy), and some people might even fall into a few different ones, but I think that the important thing to realize here is that all of us are car guys. Too often we tend to think that our personal variety of Car Guy is the best or only type that there is; I know I’ve been guilty of it in the past. Just because we don’t love cars in the same way, that doesn’t mean that we don’t all love cars.

Regardless of the type that you might be, I’ve the maddest of respect for you. Thanks for being part of this great community that we’ve built here together.

Get the latest TTAC e-Newsletter!

91 Comments on “Bark’s Bites: The Different Types of Car Guys...”


  • avatar
    Quentin

    I’m 75% stats guy, 25% relationship builder.

    What I tend to run into in real life matches up with what you’ve listed along with the occasional zealot. Online seems to to favor zealots of some kind or another 3 to 1.

    • 0 avatar
      DearS

      I think everyone is part everything. I am also an analyst and a pragmatic drivers driver.

      I own a used Accord with a 5 speed (started over), I can work on most anything myself, but fix what is most practical, I don’t drive very fast over the speed limit, but I take good pro driving skill very seriously and practice. I know most stats on cars, read up on the the car business, I understand and respect everyone’s tastes (mostly), and want to learn more about everything. I work to see things from another’s point of view. I work to like every car type.

      I like tuning and respect all kinds of tuning but I want a Ferrari Challenge/GT3 RS experience with S-Class Comfort and room for the family and Toyoda reliability and Hyundai price and Mustang tuning options. I tried the E39 but too finicky/time consuming for now. Next car may be a used Lexus, 5-speed if I can find it, 3-series or ATS. or Boxster!

  • avatar
    Land Ark

    I’ve never really known where I fall in this scene. I can find something to like about pretty much any car. I don’t really care about speed or handling as much as how the car “fits.” I don’t know how to explain that so much, but I can love an unloved car if it does what it does the way it’s supposed to.
    But I find that I am way too uncomfortable around other cars guys to engage in a real conversation. I have a show car, but I don’t like walking around the field looking at other people’s cars. Especially if I’m with someone who asks me questions about the car we’re looking at. I don’t want to come across as a know-it-all and I don’t want to be wrong about something.
    So I’m basically a loan wolf or perhaps I’m just socially awkward. Lone wolf is pretty much the polite way of saying socially awkward, isn’t it?

  • avatar

    1.What kind of car do you have?
    2012 300SRT, 2014 Jeep SRT, 2012 Hyundai Azera

    2.Have you done any modifications to it?
    YES, YES, NO

    3.How fast have you driven it?
    155+, 155+, 110

    4.Have you ever taken it out on a track?
    SRT Track Experience, SRT Track Experience, No

    • 0 avatar
      Compaq Deskpro

      1. 2014 Dodge Challenger SXT V6.

      2. No, might look into adding stripes. It’s got more power than I’ll ever need, and the ride is nice and squooshy, so no reason to change any of the hardware.

      3. 85 mph

      4. No

      • 0 avatar
        Selektaa

        1) 2015 GTI

        2) APR cold air intake, P3 boost gauge, Eurodyne stage 1 tune

        3) Bumped into the 125mph limiter, which is surprisingly still in place even after the tune

        4) Not yet, but hoping to do some autocrossing this fall along with some track days at High Plains Raceway

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Due to the nature of my memory – small details about mostly insignificant car stuff few care about – I am fully Stats. Relationship Builder guy sounds like good people.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Due to the nature of my memory – small details about mostly insignificant car stuff few care about – I am fully Stats. Relationship Builder guy sounds like good people.

  • avatar
    Chris Tonn

    Mostly right, Bark..but I’ve never used a clay bar. Just too damned lazy when it comes to detailing.

  • avatar
    Sky_Render

    Relationship Builder Guy here! I honestly don’t understand how you other car guys go through so many cars. I buy one and continually refine it.

    I’m an organizer of an Autocross club, so I do get there at 0700 to help set up the course. And I enjoy the social aspect of autocross and HPDEs as much as (if not more so!) than the actual driving. I’m always doing tech inspections so I can see the myriad cars that show up and talk to the owners about cool mods they’ve done to them. My idea of an awesome day is an early morning drive to a Cars and Coffee event followed by some more driving through the country and a local cruise in at night (as long as said cruise in has more than boring, stuffy ’50s era car owners).

  • avatar
    vtnoah

    Came into this article thinking you were going to rip a few people apart. Came away pleasantly surprised. I definitely fall into the Stats guy profile. The “Coolest” car I’ve ever owned was an SVT Ford Focus. Now I’m happily going to go purchase a Hybrid Ford because it’s the best thing for my family at this point in time. Doesn’t mean I won’t check TTAC, Jalopnik, Autoblog, JackandBark.com, and all the other car sites multiple times a day to read the latest reviews and learn more about the automotive world.

    • 0 avatar

      I’m becoming a kinder, gentler Bark as I enter my late thirties, I guess.

      Yes, you must continue visiting JackandBark.com! AND SO SHOULD EVERYONE ELSE

      • 0 avatar
        bball40dtw

        I like that you often post on the other site about spending time with your kids. I may be a car guy, but I can relate even more to raising children and parenting. So kudos to you sir.

      • 0 avatar

        I think probably a majority mellow as they age (although there are people whose bad qualities become exaggerated). And I think the mellowing typically starts around 50.

        I have bits and pieces of the various categories, but I don’t fit any of them neatly.

        * I have gotten my current car, an ’08 Civic 5speed (bought used), to 95. I pushed my ’93 Saturn 5speed to 105 on several occasions, and sustained a blowout in the right front at that speed. At that speed, nothing happens; the centripetal force keeps the tire from flattening. I coasted down, and it flattened at around 60, I think.

        Got the parental ’65 Peugeot 404 up to 85 after about 5 minutes floored. Got the parental 1970 Valiant to 85 with plenty to spare. I drove my first car, a ’62 Falcon which I got in 1970, across the country twice, going mostly 50, getting up to 55 occasionally (trying to preserve it).

        * I can identify US car built between 1955 and 1965.

        * I tuned my Falcon and adjusted the valves, packed the bearings… I also tuned my ’77 Corolla (which I had ’85-’93). And I once did some work on my ’99 Accord (5sped) once
        https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/adventures-under-the-hood

        * I’ve taken thousands of photos of cars, mostly classics. I produce ’57 Chevy and ’58 Edsel shirts, which I sell on motorlegends.com, where you can also find out about Richard Nixon’s biggest mistake (see CarToons)

        * I’m very opinionated on the subject of automotive aesthetics. We live in a dark age of mostly ugly appliances in my opinion.

        * My Civic is my favorite possession. I’m aware it’s not a Porsche, but I still LOVE driving it. The sound of the engine may not be Mozart, but it IS Salieri to the Boxster’s Mozart. And I like the way it looks from the front (not so much from the back).

        * When I was six I got my mother to calculate the number of days until I could get my license.

        * I’ve never tracked any of my cars, but I have taken two advanced driving courses at Skip Barber
        https://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/david-holzman-goes-to-the-skip-barber-shop/

        * only one of my really close friends has much interest in cars. He has a ’14 or ’15 Accord sedan 5mt (and a kid, and he carts telescopes around a lot). My sister likes to drive and has an FRS 5MT. Another friend used to race at Summit Point. And another friend owns German Performance Service in Brighton, MA and races BMWs.

  • avatar
    Matt Foley

    You forgot about the Compensator.

    Cars mean one thing and one thing only to the Compensator: status. He’s the PCA guy who puts down the 944 guys and says Boxsters are cheap pieces of shit for poor people.

    The Compensator sees no point in cars like the Miata or FR-S/BRZ, or an honest 2WD pickup truck with the small V8.

    The Compensator still refers to V6 Camaros, Mustangs, and Challengers as “girly cars” despite the fact that they all make 300hp and run 14-sec quarters.

    The Compensator has no idea who Ayrton Senna was, and couldn’t care less.

    The Compensator is the reason the Z06 is now available with an automatic.

    The Compensator would put down your Boss 302 by pointing out that the GT500 has 662hp, and is therefore better.

    If a stranger tells you how much he paid for his car, but you didn’t ask, you’re talking to a Compensator (unless you’re at a 24 Hours of Lemons or the Grassroots Motorsports $201x Challenge).

    There are many wealthy car guys who are NOT Compensators. You can find lots of non-Compensators at SVRA events.

    Sorry to go on like this, but my father-in-law is a Compensator.

    • 0 avatar
      Matt Foley

      You know what? Please delete my comment (apparently I’m too late to delete it myself). There’s enough negativity in this world without me adding to it.

      Besides, even a Compensator performs a good purpose: he buys interesting new vehicles at overinflated prices, which then end up on the used-car market where the rest of us can afford them.

    • 0 avatar
      qfrog

      Good Good, let the truth flow through you.

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      People who criticise others’ cars are NOT car guys. They are status seekers and cars are just one type of consumer goods that they use to seek status.

      I have nothing against them; they can seek all the status they want if that is what makes them “happy” (Does it, though? Another topic for another day).

      But they are not car enthusiasts.

    • 0 avatar
      CJinSD

      The funny thing about Compensator Guy is he’s at least as likely to brag about having grossly overpaid for his car as he is to brag about the deal he got. And good grief the hate they have for cars that aren’t meant to have automatic transmissions. Compensator Guy is also given to signing leases on a whim only to want out when they figure out they could have compensated much better for not much more. I know two people who are perfectly nice in other ways, but man do I hate talking about cars with them.

    • 0 avatar
      MeJ

      No! Keep this post up. It’s good, not negative. I totally get what you’re saying, and know those types. It’s a good classification.
      The Compensator is an idiot and is actually a non-car guy. Just an insecure jerk who needs to pump his ego up by putting others down.
      Basically a Tool.

  • avatar
    deanst

    Definitely the stats guy – I can tell you all the manual transmission cars currently available, and can spend weeks analyzing consumer report data and even epa mileage info. It ruins my day if I can’t identify a car I see, but get terribly excited at seeing oddballs like a Nissan Figaro (in Toronto) or an oddball right hand drive Japanese market van.

    I’m still researching a right hand drive 80’s debadged Japanese hatchback I saw recently. I’m sure it’s a Mitsubishi based on the interior gauges – I regret not asking the driver when I had the chance!

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I really want to see a Nissan Axxess or a Civic Wagovan 4WD in pristine condition. That would make my day.

      You could have seen:
      Colt hatch
      Cordia
      Mirage hatch
      Possibly a Celeste

      And I’ll show you this fantastic 5-door hatch Galant from the 90’s just for fun, because I love it.
      http://www.markspages.nl/images/galant/3300-duitse-galant-achterzijde-spoiler.jpg

  • avatar
    DearS

    1.) What kind of car do you have? 2003 Accord LX 5-speed, 1999 528i 5-speed (just sold, messed up the head (my fault))

    2.) Have you done any modifications to it? Heady Duty suspension parts and tires, I plan to get tires and components that enhance the “feel” like tires, ball joints etc.

    3.)How fast have you driven it? 95 MPH (Corners only allow so much speed)

    4.)Have you ever taken it out on a track? Nope, I drive it like I’m at a (legal speed limit) track everyday.

    My plan is to become a better driver. Like Jack Baruth said an Accord is a great car to learn to drive fast in. I agree it is also very reliable!

  • avatar
    qfrog

    Tinkering: I fully recognize that what I want in a car isn’t what mfgs can sell profitably to the general population. The best I can ever hope to do is get a good enough starting point so I can start to enjoy the car before I’ve put hundreds of hours into it. Engine or driveline swaps are to me what changing wheels and tires are to most. I’ve knowingly purchased a car without an engine with the expectation of towing it home. Cars are often most interesting to me as the foundation for a project or as donors of pieces for a project.

  • avatar
    Crabspirits

    You forgot The Angry car guy.

    Angry car guy is exactly as his name suggests, angry. It’s a very rare occurrence that Angry visibly enjoys anything car related. Yet, he is always present, just not having that great of a time. It is difficult to fathom what Angries take away from these experiences, whether it be a cruise night or a race. He will voice disdain often for any modification or choice of car not aligning with his own personal preferences. Additionally, Angry is a know-it-all, even in mechanical aspects when he hasn’t turned a wrench in his life. When Angries get older, they sit next to their 69′ Camaros at cruise nights and don’t speak to anybody. Then they pack up and go home. Angry always has the “best” model, be it within a small community for a specific car or in general. Angry hates “clones” to the extent that he may verbally insult the owner or worse. Almost as if something was stolen from them. In fact, the only time Angry may be outgoing to others is when ripping on somebody else’s ride. In a racing setting, nothing short of victory is predicted or acceptable. Angry is never responsible for a loss, he will always blame others. Rarely will an Angry work on his own car. This absolves them of any responsibility.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Angry car guy sounds like he needs to be punched in the dick.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Fortunately there’s usually another Angry Car Guy perfectly ready to deliver said punch.

        • 0 avatar
          sgeffe

          Fight! Fight!

          (Where’s that popcorn and a certain adult beverage containing malted grain products??!! ;-) )

          Bonus points for getting right who gets the public-disturbance citation when the po-po shows up!

          Just as long as there isn’t a drop of biohazard spilt on my Olds (dreamt-of fully-loaded mint ’87 Cutlass V8 Sedan), my lawn chair, or my cooler of said adult beverage!

    • 0 avatar
      Chan

      This is the type that causes the fights at car meets. Perhaps a more accurate term for these guys is “Insecure Douche.” It just takes two of these plus one disagreement to ruin an event.

      There are Insecure/Angry Car Douches with many different types of cars. The German crowd (modding/tracking debates), the Japanese crowd (modding/racing/brand loyalty fights), the American crowd (usually brand loyalty fights) and so on. In the end these guys want to feel special and righteous, and go aggro to reach those ends.

      The more people who own a particular type of car, the more likely an Insecure Douche shows up to the club at some point.

    • 0 avatar

      Alas, there are angry people in every area of life. I suspect there are usually precipitating factors early in life. But some angry people learn either to recognize it when it bubbles up so they don’t throw it at other people, and some learn to channel it productively.

      The angry car guy is just a subset of angry people

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      Through various websites I’ve noticed that most “Angry Car Owners” tend to be Toyonda loyalists, always swift to put down GM at any given chance, always quick to lecture you on the Detroit bail-out, always quick to brag “I got 998k on my Tercel! Try that on a Citation!”.

      This does apply to other car people naturally, even Volvo guys “this old 940 wont crumple like a Honda” “Americans never really got turbo-charging”.

      I think its just weird, I can enjoy my food and films without downplaying other examples, why not cars?

      • 0 avatar
        sgeffe

        The Citation could very well get into multiple six-digit figures with OCD maintenance, since the Iron Duke was a tank, though noisy and slow; however, without somebody watching it closely, you could lose track, since they only had FIVE-digit odos! (If the speedometer cable breaks, all bets are REALLY off! ;-) )

    • 0 avatar
      MeJ

      Angry car guy sounds like he just may be a sociopathic version of the Compensator.

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    Nice, I most definitely fall into Tinkerer category but have some of the categories mentioned. I have a checklist in my head that I daily (hourly if I’m honest) go through as to the next steps. I then rehash the feasibility of said step and ask as many people in my circle what they think, how would they proceed etc.

    For me, gives me something to obsess over that is not my job. I spend plenty of time in that already and need an outlet for my OCD. For others, it is golf.

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      I guess I forgot..

      1. 08′ suburban, 08 wrangler 2 dr 6MT, 07 accord coupe 5 mt, 57 Chevy

      2. No, wheels and tires, cold air intake came with it, too many to list…sheet metal is original L99 escalade drivetrain to be installed this winter haven’t decided on the mods to the drivetrain as of yet.

      3. Triple digits, can’t do triple digits, yes, no

      4 no have thought that once I am done using the accord as a daily would like to put it on a track for the experience.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    Wow I’ve got a little bit of everything except the Weekend Warrior. I don’t race or autocross, I’d rather take a drive and hit some golf balls.

  • avatar
    Sobro

    Am I a car guy? I don’t race. I don’t do engine mods. I don’t know every little stat about popular sports cars. I can’t tell you the difference between an E-30 and an E-36. In fact, I didn’t know WTF those were until I started reading TTAC and that other car blog from the corporation that rhymes with “stalker”.

    I’ve changed clutches. I’ve rebuilt carburetors. I’ve installed brake shoes. Front and rear, I’m that old. I have driven 100 miles per hour in the car that had a one barrel carb and front and rear drum brakes. I’d love to have a Corvette C-3 with a modern motor and removable roof.

    Am I a car guy?

  • avatar
    philadlj

    1. 2009 Honda Civic EX Sedan 5AT ~70Kmi
    2. No (though a reversing A RAV4 knocked her face off once)
    3. 103 mph
    4. No

  • avatar
    dal20402

    I’m totally Stats Guy, but it doesn’t quite capture why I love cars. I love the sheer engineering accomplishment, seamlessly managing dozens of often contradictory goals in a package that can last for 20 years of daily service, that is the modern car. It’s the most highly engineered product in my existence and I think about that just a bit every time I turn the key.

    I love Relationship Builders. I have to confess that I often don’t quite get Tinkerers, but I’m really happy they enjoy the hobby so much and get such pleasure out of their creations. I really don’t know many Weekend Warriors except through reading on the intarwubs.

    Oh, and… 1) Lexus LS 460 and Subaru Forester XT.
    2) No mods to either (although I’ve lightly modified other cars)
    3) 95, 105 (fastest ever: ~140 in my previous G8)
    4) Nope, never. Would be very curious to hear either Baruth’s reaction to a hot lap in the LS, though…

  • avatar
    NoGoYo

    I WANT to be the Tinkerer, but I don’t have any money!

    But to answer those questions…

    1. 1995 Ford Thunderbird LX V8
    2. It had mods when I bought it, but I haven’t added any
    3. 95 mph
    4. Nope

  • avatar
    nels0300

    Definitely a stats guy, but don’t fit 100% into that category.

    I couldn’t care less about cars that are unattainable and don’t even read about them in the car mags.

    I’ll know the 0-60 of a Focus ST, an Accord Sport with a manual transmission, or a new WRX but not a Bugatti. Exotics are not interesting to me at all.

    Although I’ve never raced at a track, I should have because I’ve stupidly street raced when younger.

  • avatar
    HiFlite999

    All of the above, depending on my time-of-life. As an early teen, definitely a stats guy: What else could I afford? Then, a tinkerer, starting with a 1959 Mercedes 180a with a seized engine, bought for $65. Then a track warrior, road-racing 2-stroke Yamahas. Now, at age 62, I’ve started to enjoy mixing and mingling with fellow gearheads. Each stage never fades completely and varies over the seasons too. Winters, modding in my heated garage sure beats dealing with snow.

    I suppose a certain key to all this is an intense appreciation of machines as art. With the good machines, the more one knows about them, the more art-full they become.

  • avatar
    Alfisti

    I just like cars, nfi why, i just do. Fast cars, slow cars, italians, americans … keeps me out of trouble.

  • avatar
    Chan

    Bark M: Is “Bark” your nickname, or just a pseudonym for TTAC consumption? I only learned your real name recently from a photo in another article.

    Back to topic: Nailed the general categories of self-professed “car guys.”

    Before I could afford cars, I used to be a stats and facts guy.

    Now that I can actually afford them, I’m mostly a variation of the Relationship Builder type. I have my tastes but enjoy learning about other people’s cars and car adventures as much as I enjoy telling about mine. The social aspect is my home in the car world, rather than the track or the garage. Not so much a track/AutoX/modding guy, but I am typically an event picture-taker and picture-poster.

    I love telling people that I modded my car, because the original parts break early. Durability first……performance is only a side benefit of my aftermarket parts!

    So, Mr Baruth, do you have any maintenance stories to share on the Boss 302? ;)

  • avatar
    LUNDQIK

    Great article Bark!

    Now somebody needs to make some sort of quiz game so I can post to Facebook: “I’m 85% Tinkerer, 15% Relationship Builder. Which CarGuy are you?!”

    Pretty spot on, though I would argue Tinkerers most certainly do have an emotional attachment to their cars. My idea of a “good night” is 4 fingers of scotch, a wrench, and something to work on in the garage.

  • avatar
    dragoniv

    1. 2009 Pontiac G8 GT / 2004 Chevy Venture LT
    2. Tranny cooler, mufflers replaced with axlebacks / removed resonator, let the cat heat shield fall off
    3. 110 (accidentally) / 101 (on purpose, took a few weeks)
    4. nope / are you kidding?

    50% tinkerer / 50% stats / -100% relationship builder

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      101 in a Chevy Venture? Would not have guessed it was possible.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        That Warner Brothers DVD player added 10-15 HP, IIRC.

        I might attempt 101 in a luxury Silhouette, but not in a Venture! No way.

        • 0 avatar
          dragoniv

          In all fairness, it was downhill on ice. May or may not have been Pike’s Peak.

          • 0 avatar
            dragoniv

            In the interest of science, I decided to see if my memory was to be trusted regarding the Venture’s top speed. Keep in mind the 101 was probably 5-6 years ago, so I half expected not to make it into triple digits this time around.

            I made 105, non-believers. I probably could have gone up another one or two but I ran out of NYS Thruway.

  • avatar
    Noble713

    90% Tinkerer, 10% Stats Guy

    I tinker with cars, computers, smartphones, firearms, etc. all with the same mentality: how can I optimize or otherwise squeeze some additional marginal performance out of this hardware?

    Oddly enough, the car I reminisce the most about is the one I probably modded the least: my Evo X MR.

    My stats knowledge is largely restricted to Japanese 90’s icons, modern supercars, and particularly popular engines.

    • 0 avatar
      scrubnick

      Wow, this is totally me. I tend to focus more on performance/dollar though. Surely we can do this cheaper (better)!

      And to answer:
      1) 97 Honda Prelude
      2) Yes, but nothing you’d see. Arias pistons, Eagle rods, Crower valvetrain, everything ceramic coated inside, balanced internals, Portflow head, big fat sway bar. Stock wheels, exhaust and intake.
      3) 135. The 405 is empty at 2am.
      4) I drive it to the radio controlled car track, does that count?

  • avatar

    At one time or another, I probably fit three of the four categories. I do like people and the stories that connect them, but I’ve also worked on and modified cars and I’m certainly a font of arcane and trivial historical details. I love telling and hearing background stories of cars.

    I’ll never likely track a car that I own,though. I get motion sickness from the g forces. At one of the press events for the Detroit Grand Prix I got a ride with Cadillac factory team racer Johnny O’Connell for a hot lap of the Belle Isle course in an ATS-V and it’s a good thing we only took one lap. Another lap would probably have caused a vasovagal response (aka neurocardiogenic syncope).

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      Same here, a little bit of all of the above.

      FYI – the motion sickness thing is just from being a passenger, if you were driving it would likely not occur.

      For the record:

      1) ’03 Nissan 350Z Touring.
      2) Complete audio system overhaul and Akebono big brake kit plus ’08 wheels, other wise stock.
      3) Shade over 100 mph.
      4) 8 track days = 200 laps so far.

  • avatar
    bball40dtw

    1. 2013 Ford C-Max/2010 Lincoln MkT 3.5TT
    2. Do winter tires and steelies/smaller rims count? It seems many Cheerios have been added aftermarket
    3. 85-90? maybe/100ish
    4. Hahahaha/Hahahaha

  • avatar

    Everyone is cool except Hellaflush Guy. Hellaflush Guy can eat a bag of dicks.

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    Cars currently owned – ’16 M235i (picked up today in Munich!), ’11 328i wagon, ’01 Range Rover HSE, ’74 Triumph Spitfire. How fast – 125mph, 130mph, 85mph, 100mph. Definitely a stats guy, but have driven and owned a wide swath of cars. Definitely a tinkerer – I own TWO British vehicles, how could I not be? Not really a weekend warrior, though I do autocross, just not THAT serious or good at it, just do it for fun and camaraderie ( I never get there early though). Plan to track the 2fer occasionally (ordered sans sunroof for helmet clearance). So definitely a relationship guy too, many of my best friends were met through car clubs over the past 20 years, particularly the Saab, Volvo and BMW clubs.

    • 0 avatar
      fvfvsix

      Hope you enjoyed your trip to Die Welt. I was there in June. Now, I totally want to buy a new BMW just to drive it down that ramp and onto the street. Are you taking the M235i for a road trip while in Europe, or will you just be dropping off and flying back immediately? I gotta say I’m envious, as I enjoy spending time in Germany with the car guys (and gals) I’ve had the pleasure of becoming good friends with over there.

      ..and I’m guessing that’s the “relationship guy” in me coming out, although I’m definitely equal parts tinkerer and stats guy.

      • 0 avatar
        krhodes1

        Big road trip – dropping the car off in Paris in 3.5 weeks by way of Stuttgart, Salzburg, Budapest, Modena, Rome, Genoa, and Mulhouse. Lots of car museums for me, lots of historic sites for my Mom, who came with me. Meeting up with and visiting various friends along the way. Today we met up with a friend from The Netherlands in Stuttgart and visited the MB and Porsche Museums.

        Pic of us at the delivery: https://flic.kr/p/xF39sC

        And for Sajeev – this time the elves got the “i” in the badge on right-side-up!

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Mostly tinkerer, a little bit of a relationship guy as I try to keep in touch with people that buy my cars.

    I don’t do much actual tuning, my idea of tinkering is cleaning and fixing everything, making my cars feel new, maybe making minor upgrades like better seats. I want my old beaters to feel comforting on long trips, rush hour traffic, etc.

  • avatar
    Lou_BC

    All depends on the time of life and what I was into. I used to be into dirt bikes and was one of the guys who ran local MX and cross-country races. That would fit the social aspect. I always wrenched on my own bikes so that would qualify me as a bit of a tinkerer even though I wasn’t a heavy modifier. I never really was much into memorizing stats but I did know which bikes tested better and under what kind of riders.

    When it comes to cars it was more of a case of helping buddies with their projects. The same could be said for trucks.

  • avatar

    Nice write up. I’ve never thought about it like this before, but I guess I am a relationship builder. I love cars, but I also use them as a means for talking to others. I want to know the story and tell my own. I think that’s why I would rather see something “interesting” than something new, expensive or fast.

    Also, it never really dawned on me that other people might not want to talk about their cars because they are into a different aspect of the hobby. I just figured those people were douchebags.

  • avatar
    sgeffe

    1. 2013 Accord Touring.

    2. Bone stock.

    3. 120. (Had an actual free stretch, no cops visible for a suitable length, and the hod-rod J35 rarin’ to go, so I thought I’d try it one morning on the way to work. Didn’t beat on the car — just a brisk acceleration from 70mph — once I got around the pack three lanes deep doing the underposted numbers!)

    4. Would like to see what she could do on a strip; would also do a few hot laps of TRC/Honda test track in Marysville. (Jack, any connections?) A buck-twenty might be a stretch for an extended time, but one-oh-five on the Autobahn all day could be done with proper tire checks and inflation. (Although the Adaptive portion of the cruise control, like the ENTIRE cruise control on some cars, is maxed-out at 90mph; at that speed, in true Honda fashion, the car feels as if it’s loafing.)

  • avatar
    jdogma

    Nice article, but I’ve been left out. I am the pusher, the cooker or whatever you call the guy that makes the drug. I conceive the package,design the frame and suspension, hire a designer type to keep me from making it ugly, – and make them for the addicted to buy. Latest is the Carma Wolf.

  • avatar
    Ian Anderson

    1. 1992 Dodge Dakota/1999 Dodge Dakota (both 2WD 3.9V6 with an AX15 five speed and 3.21 rear gears)

    2. Working on restoring and V8 swap/Stock save for heavier duty tires (daily driver/work truck)

    3. 110MPH/~85MPH

    4. Not yet, need to go to Atco or Englishtown for a baseline 1/4 mile with the V6/Not yet, I need to throw my set of Dakota R/T wheels and tires on and take it autocrossing.

    I’ll call myself a tinkerer.

  • avatar
    Frylock350

    1. 14 Silverado CCSB 4×4
    2. Mods? No. Accessories? Yes
    3. 90ish passing on 2-lane backroads
    4. lolwut? If I ever own something trackable, I’ll do it.

    I’m not sure what to call myself. I’m not a car guy in the same sense that most of the B&B is. I’m more of a “country song” car guy. That is to say I like cruising down a backroad in a truck, taking in the scenery as opposed to trying to take every turn at speed. A Jeep Wrangler seems more fun to me than a GTI.

    I despise FWD, love the soundtrack of a V8 engine, and pine for BOF RWD station wagons. I can also identify any RWD General Motors product made from the 60s through early 90s. I dream of owning a 1966-68 Impala one day.

  • avatar
    mor2bz

    Mr. Bark, with your new Fords, my wife reminds me that you have forgotten several types. One is the Motoring Miser. She is able to recognize the type because she is married to one.
    MM buys or inherits the most modest barebones stripper easy-to-work -on Japanese shitbox/beater/banger he (almost always a he, let’s be honest)
    can get his grubby mitts on. He has never had more than liability insurance. The bicycle is always aired up and at ready. A few dents and bruises are of no consequences, as are not small oil leaks, peeling hoods, or a noisy strut mount (“thank’s not dangerous!”). All oil changes are done at home producing stains on the driveway and garage floor. Although no mechanic, MM would not dream of hiring some ripoff artist to rotate the tires, change shocks, or replace a few odd belts, starters, alternators,or plugs. Driving seventy miles to buy a new but made in 2005 snow tire to mismatch the snow tire on the other side used all year round is as nothing. The gas mileage is checked with each fillup, even though the number never gets any higher that the last time it was checked. MM is not ashamed of his car, no, he is quite proud.
    The car is kept reasonably clean on the inside. MM is a contented man, more than most.

Read all comments

Back to TopLeave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Recent Comments

  • EBFlex: Scotty I get it. But that’s a very specific case. Plus a gas powered generator is a much better option...
  • el scotto: Flexy, on a farm almost nothing breaks in close vicinity to a wired power outlet. F-150’s, which you...
  • el scotto: @deanst Sir, we also sent oil back to our polite neighbors to the north.
  • el scotto: @DenverMike Sir, perhaps GM or Ford might -gasp- give away a few fleet vehicles. Have companies run them...
  • el scotto: Yes, we were the world’s largest oil producing country in 2020. That’s a fact. However Russia...

New Car Research

Get a Free Dealer Quote

Who We Are

  • Adam Tonge
  • Bozi Tatarevic
  • Corey Lewis
  • Mark Baruth
  • Ronnie Schreiber