QOTD: Worried About Expressing Yourself?

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
qotd worried about expressing yourself

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]

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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....

  • Arthur Dailey Ford was on a roll with these large cars. The 'aircraft' inspired instrument 'pod' for the driver rather than the 'flat' instrument panel. Note that this vehicle does not have the clock. The hands and numbers are missing. Having the radio controls on the left side of the driver could however be infuriating. Although I admire pop-up/hideaway headlights, Ford's vacuum powered system was indeed an issue. If I left my '78 T-Bird parked for more than about 12 hours, there was a good chance that when I returned the headlight covers had retracted. The first few times this happened it gave me a 'start' as I feared that I may have left the lights on and drained the battery.
  • Jeff S Still a nice car and I remember these very well especially in this shade of green. The headlights were vacuum controlled. I always liked the 67 thru 72 LTDs after that I found them bloated. Had a friend in college with a 2 door 71 LTD which I drove a couple of times it was a nice car.
  • John H Last week after 83 days, dealership said mine needs new engine now. They found metal in oil. Potential 8 to 9 month wait.
  • Dukeisduke An aunt and uncle of mine traded their '70 T-Bird (Beakbird) for a brand-new dark metallic green '75 LTD two-door, fully loaded. My uncle hated seat belts, so the first time I saw the car (it was so new that the '75 models had just landed at the dealerships) he proudly showed me how he'd pulled the front seat belts all the way out of their retractors, and cut the webbing with a razor blade(!).Just a year later, they traded it in for a new '76 Cadillac Coupe de Ville (they had owned a couple of Imperials in the '60s), and I imagine the Cadillac dealer took a chunk out to the trade-in, to get the front seat belts replaced.
  • CaddyDaddy Lease fodder that in 6 years will be on the 3rd owner in a poverty bound aspirational individual's backyard in a sub par neighborhood sinking into the dirt. The lending bank will not even want to repossess and take possession of this boat anchor of a toxic waste dump. This proves that EVs are not even close to being ready for prime time (let's not even talk about electrical infrastructure). EVs only exist in wildly expensive virtue signaling status-mobiles. FAIL! I know this is a Hybrid, but it's a Merc., so it will quickly die after the warranty. Show me a practical EV for the masses and I'll listen. At this time, Hybrids are about the way to go for most needing basic transportation.