QOTD: Worried About Expressing Yourself?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

Last week’s Tesla Cybertruck introduction is still dominating discourse, and in classic Tesla fashion, it’s doing so in a truly annoying way. Following a sketchy tug-of-war with a downslope-pointed, rear-drive F-150 intended to show the cockroach-shaped Cybertruck’s brawn, Ford has demanded a do-over on a (literal) level playing field.

Again, it’s annoying.

While “polarized” doesn’t begin to describe the reaction to Cybertruck, one comment about the retro-futuristic EV caught my eye. It was a reason why someone might not consider the vehicle, and it has nothing to do with power, price, or build quality.

The auto writer in question, despite loving the avant-garde wedge design, voiced concerns on social media about the vehicle being potentially unsafe for pedestrians (valid), too large (also valid, but perhaps less so in this segment), and “maybe deeply anti-social.”

That last criticism took me aback. Anti-social? Is this something people think about when spending tens of thousands of dollars on a vehicle for themselves — that the vehicle might make unpleasant waves in society?

Scrolling through the dictionary, one discovers that anti-social means “contrary to the laws and customs of society” and/or “antagonistic to sociable instincts or practices.”

Can we no longer go our own way? Must we now worry about offending the sensibilities of a bunch of randos we’ve never met? Listen, while Tesla still needs to answer a long list of unanswered questions before I’d give Cybertruck a go, its overall appearance, like that of any vehicle, needs to appeal to just one person: myself.

I can see how some vehicles could be anti-social in a way — take Hummer’s road-hogging H1 and even H2. Lambos strike me as both impractical and visually unappealing, and have since the 1980s. To numerous environmentalists, every full-size pickup that drives by is the equivalent of a black-coated man walking up to them on the street and making a throat-cutting motion with his right hand. The threats never cease!

The great thing about having access to a broad range of consumer goods from across the globe is that we can pick and choose what suits us, what stimulates that special feeling, what makes us — the individual us — feel good.

A buddy of mine drives a Scion xB and an Isuzu VehiCROSS because he likes oddball cars. His desire to be offbeat comes with a side effect of being noticed, and that’s alright with him. Where would we be as a society if we couldn’t express ourselves through the vehicles we buy?

Visually jarring? Bring it on.

What’s your take on this, B&B? When thinking of purchasing a vehicle, have you ever taken into consideration society’s reaction to your potential purchase? Did it matter one iota?

[Image: Tesla]

Steph Willems
Steph Willems

More by Steph Willems

Join the conversation
3 of 132 comments
  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Nov 27, 2019

    The car mag writer Brett Berk sums this up very well. "All Cars are Drag". I had this experience over and over when I was with the classic car club of manhattan. Drive my 08 beater truck to the club. Pick up Aston Martin/911 GT3/Nissan GT-R. Now, I'm the same moron who drove there in my dented truck, but the attitude of other drivers changed quite a bit. Many of the cars had loud exhausts, to the point I used Bose Airplane headphones for the GT4....a loud car attracts attention, and gives you a 15 mph perceived speed increase on local roads...everyone thinks you are doing 45 plus, even if the speedo is just below 30. My current car is a four door sedan, in a duller color, with no badges. I have learned over time that the best way to go is stealth-Q ship. I have a switchable exhaust, which we call "doochebag mode"...I only turn it on when passing the WRX with fart cans, but otherwise leave it in quiet. I would have a flashy car for fun, but it would be a second car, and I'd know I was being showy between the endless boring grey/gray/white/gray minivans.... All Cars Are Drag.

  • Speedlaw Speedlaw on Nov 27, 2019

    You have to be ready for the tail gaters, the wanna race guys, and especially the passive aggressive who will block you, when you drive a bright orange Porsche GT....it is actually the other drivers who either act out or lose their minds with envy/annoyance/jealousy that pose a greater hazard....

  • Kosmo Love it. Can I get one with something other than Subaru's flat four?
  • M B When the NorthStar happened, it was a part of GM's "rebuilding" of the Cadillac brand. Money to finance it was shuffled from Oldsmobile, which resulted in Olds having to only facelift its products, which BEGAN its slide down the mountain. Olds stagnated in product and appearances.First time I looked at the GM Parts illustration of a NorthStar V-8, I was impressed AND immediately saw the many things that were expensive, costly to produce, and could have been done less expensively. I saw it as an expensive disaster getting ready to happen. Way too much over-kill for the typical Cadillac owner of the time.Even so, there were a few areas where cost-cutting seemed to exist. The production gasket/seal between the main bearing plate and the block was not substantial enough to prevent seeps. At the time, about $1500.00 to fix.In many ways, the NS engine was designed to make far more power than it did. I ran across an article on a man who was building kits to put the NS in Chevy S-10 pickups. With his home-built 4bbl intake and a 600cfm Holley 4bbl, suddenly . . . 400 horsepower resulted. Seems the low hood line resulted in manifolding compromises which decreased the production power levels.GM was seeking to out-do its foreign competitors with the NS design and execution. In many ways they did, just that FEW people noticed.
  • Redapple2 Do Hybrids and be done with it.
  • Redapple2 Panamera = road porn.
  • Akear What an absurd strategy. They are basically giving up after all these years. When a company drinks the EV hemlock failure is just around the corner.