By on June 4, 2019

tesla model x, Image: Tesla Motors

The downside of liking something is the fact that other people like it, too. You don’t have to be a friendless, shut-in misanthrope to prefer the company of a select type of person, and quite often too many of that other type of person loiters around the thing you love.

There’s that band you like but would never see live because of the crowd it draws. You know it’ll sour the experience. There’s the team you quietly root for, all the time wishing their fans weren’t such obnoxious jerkoffs.

It’s the same with automotive brands and particular car models — if you’re a car owner (or aspiring owner), your name might be unavoidably connected with a population of owners who give the thing a bad name. 

Obviously, the first brand that comes to mind is Tesla and its vast, cult-like congregation of Elon evangelists. Did you know that other electric vehicles aren’t pure and don’t count as zero-emission vehicles? And that Wired magazine and Teslarati and a host of podcasts said this and that, so it’s gospel? And that circa $45k+ for a car is really, really cheap, so shut up about the unavailable $35k Model 3 already? And it drives itself, you know! Watch me take a nap!

A great many people can enjoy — and indeed desire, or even own — a fast, long-range electric sedan without hopping on the bus to Jonestown.

Ford Mustang owners get a black eye for the poorly-executed antics of a subset of individuals at Cars and Coffee meet-ups across the nation. The country’s curbs have never been in more danger.

Image: Pontiac Firebird Trans Am, by Corey Lewis

Volkswagen’s hatch-loving community, like Honda’s, is rife with guys who take their corporate devotion a little too far. BMW aficionados suffer the presence of that guy on the highway in the 3 Series. Chevy trucks might be your bag, but you’re not enamored with certain owners you’ve seen on local news reports. Putting an old Porsche in your driveway might be high on your to-do list, but you’re not a chronograph-obsessed blogger with very loud political opinions.

Maybe you’ve always hankered for a vintage Trans Am or El Camino, but fear what you’ll find in the regional fan club.

How about it? Are you a people who loves a certain car but gets queasy thinking about the people who share your admiration?

[Images: Tesla, Corey Lewis/TTAC]

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112 Comments on “QOTD: Join the Club?...”


  • avatar
    thelaine

    I love just about every truck that exists, along with most cars. I do not care for stereotypes of drivers. Most people drive the most desirable vehicle they can afford. If I had G Wagon money, I would buy one. Screw the haters. Address your own issues first.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      I don’t care much for image either, but I can say with zero hesitation that the AMG G-wagen I drove was the worst thing I’ve ever driven. Unless you like the idea of a 500-hp four-wheeled bar stool, I’d pass, personally.

  • avatar
    lstanley

    People who own classic BMWs are veeeeeeery different from people who own new BMWs.

    • 0 avatar
      threeer

      I fell for BMW as a child back in the mid 70s (a well-documented story here on TTAC)…owned numerous BMWs into the early 90s: a 1974 BMW 2002 (still to this day my ultimate dream car. Don’t give me a Ferrari or Lambo…give me a properly sorted 2002!), a 1985 318i, a 1993 325is and for a short year (in my garage only), a 1970 2800CS. I loved the drive. I’ve test driven a few newer BMW and they just leave me cold. Not to stereotype, which is kind of the point of this question, but I suspect a large majority of current BMW owners could care three whiffs about driving dynamics and worry only about the symbol on the hood.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      I joined the BMW CCA in the early ’90s. When I attended chapter meetings, I learned that the core group of local chapter members were really just a clique. They were welcoming enough, but their enthusiasm for BMWs had ended when they stopped auto-crossing and racing their 2002s and started their families.

      They drove Explorers and Pathfinders to the meetings. One time we rented a venue for a banquet and the only special interest car there was a Westfield. A multiple-time president of the national organization was in our chapter, for what that is worth. He actually was sales manager of the local BMW-Porsche-Audi dealer and sold my family five cars. If he was driving any of them quickly after inverting one of the first E21s on US soil, he wasn’t letting on. This was all at a time when if you only drove around my hometown, you’d have thought the E36 was fighting it out with the Accord and Jetta for best-selling car. Today you’d think it was between the Outback and Prius. I guess the popularity of new BMWs in the ’90s with the kind of people who lease instead of race turned them all off, or maybe they just grew up. People used to do that.

      • 0 avatar

        I have a coworker who was the head of a BMW owners group back in the 80’s and 90’s. I gather he still keeps one euro car around but now it’s normally an Audi or Volvo wagon. His daily drivers are Accords now. Fans of old BMW do not seem to translate to fans of the current line.

        • 0 avatar
          ToddAtlasF1

          “Fans of old BMW do not seem to translate to fans of the current line.”

          It used to be that you bought a West German car if you wanted a simple, honest car that performed well for a long time and had timeless styling. If you wanted a gadget-laden gin palace with planned obsolescence and styling that only looks good during the market period it was offered in, then you bought a Cadillac. Now the German cars are eating Cadillac’s lunch and people who wanted the qualities that BMW and Mercedes-Benz had before reunification are left prioritizing features between various products that are…available.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    Yes, but for the opposite reasons. There are cars I don’t necessarily “love”, but wouldn’t buy because of a perceived image. I know it’s shallow, but I just really wouldn’t rather have a Buick, I’m just not old enough

    • 0 avatar
      rentonben

      I’m younger – I’m ok with my fellow Buick owners being old people who are splurging on their final car. I like being in the company of old vets, old professionals and old grandparents. I hope they don’t mind me.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      I feel that way about the STi, old EVO series as well. I’m roughly in the age bracket that should really like the cars, but too often I’m confronted by their drivers making nuisances of themselves on public roads.

      I had my Focus ST for awhile and it drew the attention of several boy racers, though I was more interested and focused on getting to work.

  • avatar

    Hummer. Honestly most of the people I know who own them are great people but they have an annoying stigma. I think it would be fun to get an H2 and put the overland treatment to it.

    When I regularly drove thru Mass in the early 2000’s I used to have a thing with Black BMW’s every car that cut me off for about a decade in Mass was a 3 or 5 series black BMW.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Kind of related. I’ve said before that I really liked the 2011+ VW Beetle but wasn’t secure enough to shop one.

    Also, Harley-Davidson and Indian riders endure strong negative stereotypes that would be hard to live with even though I like some of their products.

    Agree on Tesla as well. I don’t think it would necessarily keep me from ever owning one in the future but I definitely wouldn’t become part of that current “community”.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      When I had a two wheeled accident the first to stop and offer help was riding an Indian. The guys on Harleys always gave the “2 finger salute” but not the a$$hole bros on Ninjas.

      YMMV.

  • avatar
    Waterview

    I need to add a Porsche 911 to the garage, but am all too familiar with the stereotype that was the basis of the punchline “the prick is on the inside”. After having worked a number of Porsche concours events, there are many of them out there, but I’m determined to not be “that guy”.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      I used to go to track days with PCA members and take my Mom’s Porsche to G&W Motorwerkes for servicing. The enthusiasm of some Porsche owners was still intact as recently as four years ago. There were guys with lots of money who were buying all those off-warranty GT3s and turning them into track day toys and having a ball going as fast as talented guys were in S2000s. I don’t know if that’s still the case now that all the used Porsches are automatic luxury cars.

      Those guys were great, and I’ve always been a fan of laughing with the wise and feeding with the rich, but it is covetous to notice that they’re showing up with a new transporter every time, because they found one with a storage lift, or a better compressor rig, or A/C, or an all in one unit, or articulated, or including all the features of their previous four while not being long enough for them to get a ticket for requiring a license they don’t have. They might sound completely reasonable in their approach to spending money on their GT3, and then they roll out the full race car they bought for another run group.

    • 0 avatar
      Flipper35

      I am a member on a Porsche forum* and I can tell you, there are those guys but most of them are actually really good guys. The type of guys that will buy you dinner when you are traveling to the area and a wealth of knowledge on all subjects.

      (*Pelican)

  • avatar
    TimK

    I knew a corporate recruiter tasked with hiring upper-level sprockets. Part of his routine was going to lunch and asking the prospect to drive in their car if possible. He paid close attention to the vehicle make, the condition of the exterior/interior, and the driving attitude.

    • 0 avatar
      onyxtape

      That reminds of what the HR person here half-jokingly told me one time – at interviews, she would see if the candidate backs in or goes straight in when he arrives in the parking lot. She said that some study said that workers who back in are statistically more likely to be slackers.

  • avatar
    thelaine

    Life is short. Drive what you want.

  • avatar
    nutbags

    I love certain brands of cars (Lotus, TVR, Porsche) but what keeps me from joining is that I don’t own any of them. Right now I am too damn practical as I have two kids in college and can barely handle the bills associated with them. In a few years I plan to begin my search for a classic sports car that I can drive and enjoy. I know I should join a club for the research but the fear of not owning one and owners looking down on me.

  • avatar
    RangerM

    I can agree that the future IS with the electric car, simply because it’s far quicker, safer, and cheaper to distribute the energy across wires than it is to deliver it in limited quantities by ship/truck.

    But, that doesn’t mean I think that future exists (today) with a Tesla or any other electric car.

    And insulting me as a luddite or (warming) climate denialist is more likely to have the opposite than the desired effect.

  • avatar
    2drsedanman

    I have a pretty thick skin when it comes to this sort of thing as I currently own vehicles associated with sterotypes: Sienna-soccer mom, Avalon-old person’s car, Miata-hairdressers car. Honestly, I never really gave a sh!t what other people thought when I buy them. The right job requires the right tool. I would still like to have a Dodge Challenger, although the long term reliability/upkeep worries me more than any perceived impression it may represent.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      I had a Buick Regal, I think it was a 1996. My friends made fun of it as an “old-man’s” car. F that. It was a freakin hoot. I LOVED thrashing the crap out of it. What an awesome engine! The interior was garbage, but at 165k it still ran exactly like it had when it was brand new. Then my niece totaled it. So it goes…

      “Opinions and judgments” are frequently just projection or expressions of ignorance and prejudice.

    • 0 avatar

      Actually official hairdressers car is Mercedes CLK not Miata.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Besides the quality issues, company instability, cost, and that center display, the Tesla social baggage is one of the reasons I passed on the Model 3 and got a Hyundai Ioniq EV instead. I remain a Tesla fan, but not a fanboy; they have a lot of problems, and Mr Musk is the first.

    In general, my fondness for EVs and denial of AGW puts me at odds with both conservatives and liberals.

    Another brand I have a weakness for is Fiat, and the Italian brands in general. Buying one would put me in the “are you stupid?” category. They are dirt cheap used, and I still might do it someday.

    • 0 avatar
      MRF 95 T-Bird

      I’m with you on the Italian marques. Was ok with them but never gave them much thought now they peak my interest.
      Same with Porsche. I thought of them as high performance Beetles now I see why they have a cache and following.
      Like other things automotive tastes get refined with age.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      “In general, my fondness for EVs and denial of AGW puts me at odds with both conservatives and liberals.”

      Unfortunately, we can’t even drive something anymore without some stupid faux-ideological judgment from someone. Of course, if you’re driving a Leaf festooned with “Love Mother Gaia” stickers or a bro-dozer with a giant Trump face on the back window, then you’re wearing your political heart on your sleeve, but otherwise, there’s really no way of gleaning someone’s politics from a car, and I think we’d be better off not trying.

      Plenty of Republicans drive Teslas because they like the way they drive, and plenty of Democrats drive trucks because they like driving trucks.

      Unfortunately, too many people have given up on taking other people at face value.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Let’s be honest, there’s probably a fair number of Prius owners with concealed carry permits. (And that’s fine.) Just as there are likely people buying that big fancy pickup to haul organic mulch for the local co-op.

        • 0 avatar
          FreedMike

          Why wouldn’t a gun owner want a car that gets good mileage, if that’s what he or she’s after?

          I have to laugh whenever I hear the “Tesla owners are tree hugger types” nonsense. Many are, but I live in an affluent part of Denver where about 70% of the registered voters are Republicans who conservative with a capital “c”, and Teslas are thick on the ground down here. Either every other liberal in this county has a Tesla, or there are plenty of right-wing folks who like a high-tech car that accelerates like it’s just been shot off an aircraft carrier. Well, who DOESN’T like that?

          They’re entitled, you know?

          This stereotyping nonsense has gone too far. People seem to have given up thinking for themselves, unfortunately.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          Scene from the film “The Next Three Days”, in a discussion among detectives:

          Q: “What kind of killer drives a Prius?”

          A: “The environmentally conscientious kind.”

          • 0 avatar
            Luke42

            Q: “What kind of killer drives a Prius?”

            A: https://youtu.be/R8mjIcTqLTk

            (Weeds reference)

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          “Let’s be honest, there’s probably a fair number of Prius owners with concealed carry permits.”

          My brother is one.

    • 0 avatar
      HotPotato

      JOIN US. Buy a used Fiat. What do you have to lose? They’re cheap as chips and honestly can’t lose any more value at this point.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      The Stelvio drives the least suv’ish. It’s still an SUV, but definitely drove more like an underpowered SQ5, which is a compliment.

  • avatar
    DenverMike

    My fullsize pickup specializes in “hauling air” every chance it gets, cruising the malls, and generally looking like it’s never been off road or in 4Low, but knowing exactly *who* the haters are, reaffirms I made the right choice!

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      My pickup has been set up for the mountains and hunting. It has a winch and slightly larger tires for increased ground clearance. Otherwise, it is stock. It has many scratches and some big dents. I love my truck because it was cheap to buy and it is tough and reliable when you really need it to be.

      Truck and driver(s) get much hate in my college town, where “co-exist” and similar tolerance-related bumper stickers are ubiquitous. I think it is pretty funny. People are dicks. Ignore them. They don’t know you. The problem lies within them.

      • 0 avatar
        DenverMike

        They don’t bother me, they make me laugh! From the guy that passed me shaking his head in a little German roadster (hey, I was trying to get out of the fast lane, going around a mobile-home transport that was using a lane and a half, but you came out of nowhere, fast, dodging traffic), to the sideways glances from BMW drivers, I love it, all of it.

      • 0 avatar
        EGSE

        I’ve noticed that cars with a “co-exist” sticker have many more similar stickers. Always. Acts of kindness and beauty shouldn’t be random or senseless but if you explain that to them they don’t want to co-exist with you. So I just walk away…..

      • 0 avatar
        FormerFF

        I dislike those pickups that are jacked way up to where the front bumper it higher than the trunk of the average sedan. It’s unsafe. Drivers who do that should be required to add something to get the impact down to standard bumper height.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          “I dislike those pickups that are jacked way up to where the front bumper it higher than the trunk of the average sedan.”

          The bumper height mismatch was what totaled my Prius. The pickup driver was checking his phone, and his moment of inattention allowed his bumper hit my Prius at the taillight level.

          His truck did a ton of unnecessary damage that would have easily been prevented by bumpers at standardized heights.

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Isnt it hilarious that the people who preach tolerance are the least tolerant of those who make different choices than they do?

        Why cant your Prius and my (hypothetical) F-250 “coexist”? Oh, because you accept everyone, they just have to be exactly like you for that to occur.

        • 0 avatar
          HotPotato

          By lifting my truck way beyond legal bumper height, I’ve seriously increased the lethality of my vehicle to others. So I’ve also increased my responsibility to be a courteous, cautious driver. If I don’t, then I’m a colossal dick, and you have every right to judge me for that.

          That’s what Former FF’s comment is about. Don’t be dense.

          (FWIW:: the truck in question is my buddy’s, but the explanation is his. verbatim, when I complimented him on being such a thoughtful and defensive driver.)

        • 0 avatar
          jkross22

          “Isnt it hilarious that the people who preach tolerance are the least tolerant of those who make different choices than they do?”

          I’d buy this bumper sticker. And I hate bumper stickers.

        • 0 avatar
          Luke42

          “Isnt it hilarious that the people who preach tolerance are the least tolerant of those who make different choices than they do?”

          I live in a college town full of the coexist bumper stickers.

          That’s not really what’s happening, and you know it.

          The truth of the matter is that, when you move to a multicultural community, it’s a bit of a culture shock for *everyone*. That includes people who really want to be there (like me), and for the people who multiculturalism is supposed to benefit (often immigrants).

          The difference is that when someone decides to move to the other side of the world, they’re prepared for a culture shock. They’re usually curious people who are actively seeking our new experiences. They want to explore strange new worlds, seek out new life and new civilizations, and boldly go where no one from their home town has gone before.

          The people LEAST prepared for this culture shock are rural Americans who are traveling a few miles from home. They’re still in their home country, and often their home county, and they just aren’t expecting to learn this new global culture that we’ve worked out. And, so, they blunder and cause offence in ways that they never saw coming (because they’re in a foreign culture and don’t know it) — and then they whine about “political correctness” or “intolerance” when someone points out their blunder.

          I’ve been living in college towns my entire adult life. Over the last 20 years. I’ve either made or whitnesed every one of the social f*ckups that the simple manners advice that all y’all derisively refer to as “political correctness” is trying to prevent. It’s pretty easy to find your manners and not make social blunders in an this culture, but you look like a d*mb*ass if you don’t even try to be polite.

          The “coexist” bumper sticker kids are just proud have adapted to this global culture. And, yes, this culture does tolerate and embrace rural Americans who are willing to mind their manners just a little. Of course, if you’re intent on flipping us the bird for some reason, the favor will be returned — likely with a full bibliography and a rather condescending glossary.

          So that’s what’s really happening here. I’ve spent about 20 years of my life in rural America, and 20 years in globalized college-towns — and I’m very glad to be on the college town side. Rural America doesn’t just have a place (culturally speaking) for nerds like me.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            “That’s not really what’s happening, and you know it.”

            Pro tip: When someone puts forth a false argument interspersed with little comments that are supposed to plant the seed that you know their lies are true, they are engaging in neuro-linguistic programming. Never trust a neuro-linguistic programmer. People who tell the truth never rely on brainwashing.

  • avatar
    JimZ

    I used to be all over diesel pickups. Owned a few myself. now they’ve been taken over by low-IQ inbreds named Cody who lift them up 24 inches, put enormous tires on them, adorn them with Punisher, InfoWars, and Confederate flag decals, and go around blasting soot into people’s faces.

    • 0 avatar
      EGSE

      You forgot Tap Out and pi$$ing Calvin.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      Where does their money come from? These things are expensive new, they’re expensive used, they cost far more to maintain than anything that doesn’t come on R-compound tires, and they drink expensive fuel. The ‘legitimate’ business men I know who buy new diesel pickups can afford them because of IRS section 179 depreciation deductions and their mysterious resale value. How does every guy with a flat-hat roll one that’s been modified to have less utility than an Impala?

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        Yeah! God knows those ignorant people certainly have no life skills or anything, you can tell that by what they drive. It’s not like they work hard and spend their money on what they want.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        I only know one guy with a truck like that and he uses it to move…plants…at his…farm. Ahem.

    • 0 avatar
      The_Guru

      You forgot the led light bars mounted somewhere in front wherein they light said bars using them on the streets rather than for their stated use. Is not cool, its dangerous as all hell.

  • avatar
    Master Baiter

    I’m somewhat interested in the Tesla Model Y, but I certainly don’t want to be confused with someone who’s trying to “save the planet.”

    • 0 avatar
      Luke42

      “I’m somewhat interested in the Tesla Model Y, but I certainly don’t want to be confused with someone who’s trying to ‘save the planet.\'”

      All you have to do is put a Trump 2020 sticker on it, and everyone will assume you share President Trump’s politics and character…

      Nobody would ever mistake you for an environmentalist, though, that’s for sure!

      • 0 avatar
        Luke42

        Alternatively, you could just drive your Model Y like an aggressive jack*ss.

        That will also dissuade any pretense of environmental responsibility.

        Many Prius drivers have successfully used this technique to avoid being thought of as environmentally responsible!

        For every problem, there is a solution!

  • avatar
    Raevoxx

    I can only really speak from the point of view of a one-time local car club member, but multi-make internet forum lurker and participant.

    Hyundai is improving, but their fans aren’t. Though I’m only dealing with a subset of people on internet forums, and not in-person. I’m old enough now to just ignore the trolls and sort through the chaff, but when you’re talking about an economy car… even with the nearly-$9K markup between base and fully loaded, of a vehicle that is NOT the least expensive model in the lineup, and with 84 month loans being “a thing”… you still have a group of people who bought the same model vehicle coming from vastly, uhm, different backgrounds and temperaments.

    I guess it’s tough being a modest person buying a car you like, that also happens to be well within your means, as I don’t feel the NEED to have a $60k car. So, you know, you get lumped into the “rabble”.

    So far as in-person fan clubs are concerned, I was part of a W-Body Grand Prix club back in Michigan, years ago. It was the first and last owners’ club I’d ever associate with. Very mixed bag, and I generally enjoyed the company of the people except for the fact that I didn’t really click with anyone. Chatted about cars, but otherwise, just kind of sat in silence since I had nothing in common with any of these people. Not from lack of trying. Then add to the fact that some of them were openly homophobic when they found out about me, and ended in me leaving the club soon after I had car trouble during a club drive and literally NO ONE offered to help me. Some even said “wow, tough break dude” then turned around and walked away.

    Through my experiences, I’d say if I ever joined another automotive-focused club, it would either be something mixed brand SPORT-focused (AutoX club, Rally club, etc) or would just be brand-specific club. Broader spectrum of cars and individuals. Keeps things more interesting and varied.

    • 0 avatar
      JimZ

      I’ve run into a surprising number of people online who are *really* into Kia for some reason. and no, it’s not because of the Stinger, they’ve been that way for a while.

      • 0 avatar
        ToddAtlasF1

        That reason is because H-K understands viral marketing. Did you ever look into how much a TV spot costs? Why not just flood the places people go for information when they’re ready to buy with full-time shills?

      • 0 avatar
        Raevoxx

        I don’t necessarily think that it’s really all that surprising. Can be as simple as familiarity. They didn’t have problems, they are following, and enjoying, the design direction and language, so why not buy another one and putter around with others in the same mindset?

        Though really a lot of HK products now are almost like legos, similar to how a lot of Japanese cars were at one point in time. Parts sharing and the mix and match of engines and such in various Hondas, list goes on. In the more distant past, when they used different makes’ engines, you could do the same thing.

      • 0 avatar
        SCE to AUX

        I like both Kia and Hyundai, having owned/bought 6 of them. They happen to suit my lifestyle, are cheap to maintain, reliable, and generally good-looking.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I am forced to agree. Owning an older Taurus automatically lumps me in with two groups: those who bought the car because it was all they could afford, or those who got it as a hand-me-down. I chose the car because I like it.

      I did run into (online) a guy in Canada who also bought his 1993 Taurus because he liked the car, not because he couldn’t afford a newer car. He and I regularly text each other, giving each other updates and sharing knowledge (I have vastly more knowledge than he does, having owned several, but it does work both ways at times).

      He recently decided he wanted to stop driving the car in the winter, and repair any rust damage it already has, so he bought a 2005 Escape AWD, the same week I bought my Honda Element (also a 2005 AWD). Kinda funny how that happened.

      Speaking of Hondas, I do like a great many of their cars, but I am NOT into the “tuner” life. No fart cans, not gonna be “slammed”, no giant wings or gaudy body kits. Everyone always assumes you’re going in that direction when you talk about buying an Accord coupe or something.

      I’ve also been somewhat of an outcast on online car groups because of my sexuality. Stereotypes suck. I probably do more work to my own vehicles that most of the other guys on there, yet I must be some frilly little girl who cant check her air pressure without help. *eyeroll*

      So, I’ve pretty much stopped trying to be part of groups that either I dont like or that dont like me. TTAC is about the only online car community I am regularly a part of. I’d say we are a pretty diverse bunch, and most here are tolerant of those who are different (either with their car choices or their personal lives).

      • 0 avatar
        JohnTaurus

        I wrote that last line in the last paragraph before I read all the comments about inbred rednecks driving trucks they shouldn’t be able to afford because it doesnt fit with the commenter’s judgement of them. Oh well. Theyll be some of you I’ll miss.

  • avatar
    EGSE

    Got a personal lesson of how shallow the image thing is when I took another engineer to lunch in my anti-hero Plymouth Horizon. On the way back we stopped at a multi-brand dealer that had a few exotics. This was in an area with a lot of affluent folks and those just getting by. We pulled into a parking spot, evidently *too* close to a Lamborghini they parked by the door. The Varangian Guard stormed out to ring the car so we couldn’t smear boogers all over it (we never made a move towards it….we wanted to go to the showroom). We left feeling their contempt.

    About two weeks later I drove up again, same Heathen behind the wheel except the wheel was in my 308 Ferrari. Same Guard welcomed me in like my name was Buffett. One fetched a free ice cream cone. Another dangled the keys to a Lotus asking if I wanted to drive it. I declined and went back to work with a changed attitude. I didn’t tell them my booger-smearing buddy owned an airplane.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      lol growing up my Dad’s best friend was a used car salesman for a Buick, Pontiac, Chevy dealer. He’d always get a laugh out of when a GM Employee (there was a GM Foundry about 15 miles away) would show up dressed like they “didn’t have a pot to pi$$ in” (as he liked to say) thinking they would somehow get a better deal.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “except the wheel was in my 308 Ferrari.”

      You buried the lede.

      • 0 avatar

        I always loved that rich guy playing it low brow. Was a pretty common thing here in New England in the day a bit rarer now. I knew several guys in the 90’s that ran large companies and drove S class or LS to work but had a stripped regular cab pickup for the weekend around town.
        Marinas on the CT shore were great. Guy would pull into the Marina in a clapped out Saab or Volvo then walk the dock to his half million dollar boat (Swan Baltic etc).
        Once had a guy drive in to a marine supply place I worked for driving a escort with half the body rusted away, he bought 20k worth of stuff fo his Little harbor sailboat.

  • avatar
    Fred

    I’ve been to every type of car show out there and have always found the people friendly. Just keep the conversation about cars and everything will be fine.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Other than the guys who wanted to gripe that the engine dress up kit on my Ford 289 was intended for a 302 (apparently by the shape of the valve covers.)

      Other than that I’ve always had a good time as spectator or participant.

      • 0 avatar
        Fred

        They keep telling me my Elan shouldn’t have those chrome trim rings or that I have the wrong shifter ball. “Yea I know, but I like it” usually put an end to that conversation.

        • 0 avatar
          JohnTaurus

          My best friend debadged his Ford Five Hundred and plasti-dipped the wheels black. I hate that look. But, it’s his choice and I dont judge him for it. Just like it would be my choice to buy a Honda Civic coupe with a stick and leave it perfectly stock, except for maybe some OEM alloys off a later model Honda.

  • avatar
    JMII

    I own a Corvette but am not some old retired guy. I am middle aged but have always owned some kind of sports car. The C7 is just the latest. While stereotypes exist there are always a few that break the mold. For example people completely freak out when the wife takes the C7 for a spin… especially since its a manual transmission car.

    I’m not a fan of being lumped into some group but knew buying a ‘Vette would immediately put that “old guy” / “mid-life crisis” label on me. I don’t really care, I enjoy driving the car daily and rushing it around the track. In talking with various ‘Vette owners you find they run the full gamut from young professionals, to track rats, to guys who never drive them in the rain. So I just gravity to the sub-set that is more like me.

    A few that know me have mentioned I am OCD about keeping the ‘Vette clean which puts me firmly in the typical ‘Vette owners club, but I always corrected them: I have this problem with ALL my vehicles. Heck I even wax my ’02 Dodge Dakota!

    Now if you really want to start an argument with ‘Vette owners ask them if they prefer black or chrome wheels. LOL. I went with neither and run a set in graphite grey.

    • 0 avatar
      SilverCoupe

      When I got married, part of the negotiation was that I could buy any car that I wanted, as that was my thing. She agreed to any car except for a Corvette, due to her image of Corvette drivers. Now all of us car guys know that current Corvettes are excellent cars, but I decided that this was a deal I could live with. Heck, I’m allowed to get an R8 if I so choose!

      My wife does say that guys notice her a lot more when she drives my A5 than when she drives her Mini. (both cars are manuals, but it’s not like the casual viewer would know that.)

  • avatar
    EGSE

    The second-gear synchro in my Civic quit and third was close behind. It was the F&F backward baseball cap crowd that steered me to a trans lube that raised it from the dead. Those fart-can fanbois saved me a pile of cash and I’m grateful.

    • 0 avatar
      ToddAtlasF1

      I bought a new Civic Si sedan back in 2007. It was one of the first ones, so I was approached by various F&F types early on. The best was a cute girl with a car that had started like mine, but that in less than three months had been transformed by street racing modifications. She read me her car’s laundry-list of bona fides and then asked me what modification I’d made to my car. At the time, I may have changed the oil and added some windshield washer fluid from when it was new. She lost her enthusiasm for talking to me and that was that.

      Twelve year later I’ve also changed the tires. The one exception of some BG SyncroShift II in the transmission. I put it in there to make 2nd gear easier to engage in the cold, but it transformed my car. I always thought the noise on the highway was from light weight sound insulation. It turns out that the transmission was a major source of noise. The car is quiet now in addition to shifting well. I’ve had the new fluid in for two years, and it is still great. I wish I’d put it in when the car was new. Most of the time I’ve had the car I had company cars as well, so it’s only averaged 5,000 miles a year, but it is still nice having the car so quiet on the highway. What transmission fluid do you use?

      • 0 avatar
        EGSE

        Red Line MTL 75W80. Fifteen bucks per quart, car takes two quarts.

        The stuff is like magic. At ~90k second gear got a bit rough and at 95k it wouldn’t engage AT ALL. The first day after changing it started to get better and now ~18k later second gear might be slightly notchy one shift in a month. Overall at 113k it shifts better than new. And it’s quieter too.

        It’s a grocery-getter ’07 Civic LX with the R18 engine.

      • 0 avatar
        HotPotato

        Dude, SyncroShift is magic! I’ve staved off VW trans rebuilds for 2-3 years with that stuff. MAGIC.

  • avatar
    readallover

    I find that the number of people who criticize pickups is only exceeded by the number of people who ask to borrow one of them `for a day or two`. Most annoying are thepeople who belong to both groups.

  • avatar
    retrocrank

    Whoa whoa whoa here—- this in NOT a message of inclusiveness and diversity. Mullet-wearing gun owning IC enthusiasts need to learn to respect and value other cultures as their own. The world has no room for no place for those with preferences and consequent discrimination.

    PS my 911 and Fiat 500 happily share a garage.

  • avatar
    pb35

    I’ve never cared what anyone thought about what I drove. I’ve had IROCs, Fox body GTs, Escorts, beaters etc etc. I purchased my current CTS-V because I’m the guy that wants to beat Europeans at their own game and use American ingenuity to do it. I’m aware of what the rest of the world is doing and interested in it; but just redneck enough to want to kick their asses and wave the flag in their faces.

    And the gentleman with the Model 3 with the K3EP UP plate that feels the need to whiz by me every day in stop and go traffic? Go on ahead sir, I’ll see you out on the highway.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      And the gentleman with the Model 3 with the K3EP UP plate…

      I can’t find them anymore but I remember when car mags had an add in the back for a front plate that said “KEEP RIGHT” but the image was reversed so it would be readable in a rear view mirror.

      Not that many of them look but I’d love that plate for those people who lollygag in the passing lane.

    • 0 avatar
      FreedMike

      A Model 3 would definitely be a formidable stop-and-go traffic warrior.

  • avatar
    PandaBear

    Mid to late 90s Mustang, love the look, hate the reputation of all show no go.
    BMW 3 and below, hate the drivers, will never own one.
    Tesla, the cool aid sells strong, despite the tech and the cool.
    Domestic truck, it may blend in everywhere else but not in my neck of wood, people may think you’re a Trump supporter and blame you for everything. I’d stick with my wagon and hatchback for my need, or a Tacoma if I really need a bed.

    Prius used to be in that category but now its everyday people’s car, so it’s ok to own now.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      You’re really THAT concerned what fools think? If it’s enough to keep you from owning what you like, who the bigger fool? But are you kidding? That era Mustangs were the fastest things out there. Sure a handful of cars could beat them, but they had a weak street-presence, and or had by old fogeys.

      And that’s if you left them with the stock gear ratios, which I don’t know anyone that did. Today they’re still a lot of fun (maybe MORE fun), with collectors only now realizing their potential, so don’t wait too long.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      Wow.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Stereotypes are stupid. Drive what you want, and f**k the haters.

  • avatar
    SoCalMikester

    I ride a Yamaha TMax 500 and a Yamaha Zuma 125. Both are scooters and have a demographic of older white guys. I wasnt one back in 1987 but Im slowly becoming one. Kinda sucks.

  • avatar
    HotPotato

    Drive the car. If you like the car, get the car. Done.

    I used to have prejudices against drivers of BMW 3-series, Toyota Priuses, and Dodge Challengers. Then I got the opportunity to take each of them on a long road trip. Now I 100% get why people who have them love them.

    If you drive an entry luxury sedan and find you like it, there’s nothing weird about wanting the best one and getting a BMW 3 series. If you drive a zippy commuter and find you like it, there’s nothing weird about wanting the best one and getting a Mazda 3. If you drive an electric car and find you like it, there’s nothing weird about wanting the best one and getting a Tesla Model 3.

    There are VW guys who think Mazda guys are idiots, BMW guys who think Audi guys are idiots, and so on, just like there are Tesla guys who think soemthing-else guys are idiots. Who the hell cares. I find in any given owners forum, one-quarter are d-bags and the other three-quarters are great people who tell the d-bags where to put it.

  • avatar
    dividebytube

    I’m a (V6) Mustang driver. The car comes with a lot of “baggage” – other drivers assume the worst out of you, even in the lower-powered version (and those 2.73 highway gears – yawn!). But – like my BMW of yore – I learned to live with it. Mostly drive nice ‘n’ easy unless I have some space to myself. Don’t get involved with light to light racing (heck – a 2.0T Accord would probably embarrass me!) but just enjoy shifting and hearing the crackle of the exhaust.

    I went out of my way to be polite to other drivers when I had a 2004 BMW 325i. Not too much trouble from other cars when I drove it; but I did feel self-conscious.

    Worst car for attention was my departed ’86 Monte Carlo SS. Long tube headers on a 355 (Vortec heads / ZZ4 roller cam) made it sound mighty powerful. Add in the body length orange stripes and every kid in a Honda with a wing wanted a go at it. It had a definite redneck vibe but I still have a soft spot for the g-body.

  • avatar
    PartsUnknown

    I drive a Volvo SUV. My town is awash in high-dollar SUVs. The few brave souls who don’t crave nose-bleed ground clearance drive one of the E-class/5-series/A6 triumvirate. Me? I secretly covet a Charger R/T Scat Pack. And I shall have one when the Volvo is put out to pasture, disapproving glares from my neighbors be damned.

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