By on March 31, 2020

“If you’re one of us, you’ll take a bite.”

If that quote soars over your head, I don’t want to know you. The infamous Seinfeld incident in which an eager-to-impress George reveals to his colleagues that he’s not a team player (at the same time sparing himself from becoming violently ill), riffs on the homogeneity of upper office environments. The forced social collectivization of a corporate in-group.

Climb the ladder high enough and you’ll wear the same brands, enjoy the same timepieces, drink the same booze, and golf the same courses. Or so the perhaps dated view of these things goes. Now, what about cars?

A number of months ago an email made the rounds on social media. In this correspondence, an employee of a supposedly successful and image-conscious firm chastised the owner of a circa 2005 Toyota Camry for parking his or her heap desirable and long lasting sedan amid the various premium rides in the company lot. Apparently, the firm wanted to know why the owner had not upgraded yet — after all, their salary allowed it.

The email may or may not have been false; last I recall, people were on the fence as to its authenticity. It doesn’t matter whether or not it was real, it suits our purposes either way.

Have you ever, during your long (or not so long) career arc, found yourself in a position where your employment standing suddenly glowed, but your daily driver’s tarnished lustre didn’t measure up? If so, did that create an image problem for you? What course of action did you take?

[Image: General Motors]

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78 Comments on “QOTD: Are You Part of the Team?...”


  • avatar
    JimC2

    There’s a dichotomy among pilots, who as a group drive a very wide variety of cars- from flashy, expensive rides, to utterly cheap beaters that might not pass a legitimate safety inspection. Sometimes the beater is a part-time “airport car” that spends most of its days in the employee lot; other times the beater is the daily driver. Pilots love talking about their money, their investments, and their expensive toys—and there’s a lot of one-upmanship on those things—but there’s not a lot of judgmental talk about crappy old cars, which I know sounds strange.

    (Surprising to be, the term “airport car” is yet undefined in Urban Dictionary. It’s a pretty well known colloquialism among aviation people.)

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      In my dealings with Army Helicopter Pilots, I found the junior officers to be find of the stuff you’d expect. BMW, Corvette…normal stuff you’d think about.

      The Warrant Officers were wild cards. The Chiefs may drive a new M3, but he/she was just as likely to be in a 77 Nova 4 door with a cloud of smoke following it.

    • 0 avatar
      3SpeedAutomatic

      Considering that most pilots are grounded at the moment via the Corona virus, I’m sure the money bragging has ceased. Many live beyond their means and need to sell the expensive ride and hold on to the “airport car” since the cash spigot is shut. Welcome back to earth

  • avatar
    thegamper

    The wealthiest person I know personally owns a Toyota Sienna and Honda Element (that’s right, circa 2001 or something). These people are filthy rich. They fly by private jet to ski vacations, to their several properties across the country.

    Another extremely successful man I know, I’m sure worth millions, drives a Chrysler 300 with a landau roof. It’s hideous, it’s out of place in the circles he travels, the clubs he belongs to, the neighborhood he lives in.

    So many people don’t realize that a fancy badge doesn’t make you wealthy or successful. All it makes you is a victim of materialism, ego, narcisism, etc. The primary motivator for so many of these purchases is simply so others can see that you paid more. You are paying extra to belong, hoping others will notice and hoping that fat payment will somehow elevate you above the proletariat masses.

    The really successful people don’t give a flock what those people think. They aren’t followers or sheep.

    • 0 avatar
      jack4x

      I know a guy with $20 million or so in ultra rare and antique cars in climate controlled storage behind his house, but parked in front is his daily driven Fiat 500.

      It’s a different mindset.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      My favorite factoid which blew me away, then made total sense when I thought about it was that the #1 vehicle of choice among millionaires is the F-150

    • 0 avatar
      87 Morgan

      A friend of mine is a CEO of a publicly traded company and he drove 2003 Yukon XL with 200k on it when he finally bit the bullet and traded it in to CarMax for a post rental Suburban, this occurred abut 18 months ago. He makes plenty of $$ to afford whatever he wants sans maybe one of those 1M Bugattis; I don’t think he makes that much dough, but you never know I am sure he has plenty saved up.

      • 0 avatar

        Back when I used to sell lots of stuff to really rich people, 5-10 year old fullsize SUV’s seemed to be the most common daily driver. lot’s of 10 year old suburbans. It’s really hard to tell by the car. When the casinos first opened in CT I knew a guy who made it rich do to family connections (not only did he get a check as a percentage of profits but he had preferred vendor status to do alot of the landscaping). He drove a Mitsubishi mirage, because he just didn’t care. His wife on the other hand always had a brand new S class.

        That said lots of them also had something like a 911 in the garage at home.

    • 0 avatar
      ToolGuy

      My favorite “image” vehicle:
      https://www.ford-trucks.com/articles/walmart-founders-1979-ford-f-150-is-one-big-slice-of-americana/

      And his office:
      https://www.visitbentonville.com/things-to-do/historic-sites/walmart-museum/

      [Finally saw these in person on my last road trip.]

      • 0 avatar
        Lie2me

        Unfortunately his kids are pampered billionaires and act like it :(

        • 0 avatar
          BrentinWA

          Yes, Alice Walton is an amazingly selfish individual. The audacity of her to not charge admission to a world class museum. That’s just showing off that she can afford to flaunt art in the face of the general populace!

          RE: Crystal Bridges Museum

          • 0 avatar
            Lie2me

            Alice Walton is worth 28 billion dollars and her big contribution to the world is saving a few art pieces for future generations

            What a gal our Alice

  • avatar
    Jon

    Lets see…
    Lifeguard – your car gets you to work? Your hired!
    Infantry Sergeant – you have a car? Congratulations! Your job is now to chauffeur privates around.
    Delivery driver – Here is a 1979 Step Van. Yes it has 600k on it.
    Mechanic – your truck has 220000 miles!? Cool!
    Engineer – No one cares what you drive.
    Looks like my answer is no.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      You’d be surprised at the things Privates do that end up requiring an NCO escort. Trial Defense Services was a frequent destination.

      • 0 avatar
        Jon

        Oh the stories!

        One of my privates was planning a grand night out at the local club. He took a trip to the ATM to withdraw the necessary cash. When the ATM notified him that it was out of cash, he proceeded to pee on the ATM in retaliation. The next morning, staff duty received a call that the presence of this private was immediately required at CID. The ATM was equipped with a camera and had captured his actions. Over the next few weeks, he required frequent trips to several legal offices.

      • 0 avatar
        dont.fit.in.cars

        Truth.

        As a mustang LT OD escorted an AWOL Marine to the brig. 5 minutes into the ride, asked me if he could tell his story, my response….no. He had the discipline and rode quite.

        • 0 avatar
          Jon

          dont.fit,

          I was stationed in Germany for a few years. A friend of mine decided take the train to a nearby city and have a glorious Wednesday night out (because he couldn’t just wait till Friday…). He got in the train around 3am to return but fell asleep. He awoke late next morning to a Czech border crossing guard poking him with the muzzle of his rifle. The guard proceeded to tell my friend in broken english where he was and that he had to get off the train. The company 1SG was not sympathetic to his story, gave him a field grade article 15 and revoked his permission to leave post for 3 months.

          • 0 avatar
            dont.fit.in.cars

            Good one.

            On my first platoon inspection had to gig a private for alcohol in the room. Brought before the platoon I gave him a choice. Either go NJP or pull guard duty four nights in a row, Wednesday through Saturday. He chose guard duty. And informed the platoon said private is not being punished for drinking in the barracks but being dumb for leaving evidence. Also told the platoon next one caught doesn’t get a choice, only NJP.

            Set the tone, never had deal with that infraction again.

  • avatar
    jack4x

    Being an engineer, I have the luxury of working among (and being one of the) people for whom words like fashionable, trendy, luxurious, or cool have no meaning.

    • 0 avatar
      Lie2me

      Most of my career was in industrial engineering where the standard 4-door sedan was what everyone drove. Engineers aren’t remotely stylish or trendy, lol :)

    • 0 avatar
      smicallef427

      This is so true… we enjoy discussing how many miles we have accumulated and being able to diagnose and fix our own issues

    • 0 avatar
      dont.fit.in.cars

      My chuckle for the day.

    • 0 avatar
      dont.fit.in.cars

      My chuckle for the day

    • 0 avatar
      SCE to AUX

      +1, engineer here.

      And I’ve never seen Seinfeld, but I’m surrounded by people who quote it all the time. Guess I’m not in *that* club, either.

    • 0 avatar
      EGSE

      As engineers we pride ourselves in squeezing the last bit of goodness out of a ride. I had a Beverly Hills Cop ’72 Chevy Nova that my sister gave me with 170k on the clock. It had slow drips for oil and ATF and after a few weeks the maintenance staff at work said to pick one parking space so they could put down kitty litter. I obliged by nosing it up against one of the concrete light pole mounts. That was because the parking pawl barely engaged and one time it drifted into the company-owned volleyball court.

    • 0 avatar
      FerrariLaFerrariFace

      So very true. Our automotive one-upsmanship tends not to be about what you drive, but the performance of whatever it is. Doesn’t matter what form that performance takes, either. What it can do, what you’ve done to improve it, how long you keep your heap running, or how much economy you can squeeze out of it. In our department, the king for a long time was the guy who converted his old beater diesel VW to run on biofuel. Very impressive.

    • 0 avatar
      Jerome10

      This is funny and true.

      I think engineers also appreciate well-designed, long-lasting products and then seeing how those products hold up.

      So a lot of old Toyotas in the parking lot.

      • 0 avatar
        jack4x

        Our engineering department has everything from Hemi swapped Wranglers to old square body farm trucks, diesel VWs to home built kit car contraptions.

        The one thing you won’t see a single example of is a late model entry level luxury sedan or crossover (one guy keeps alive a 15 year old X5 or the late model qualifier wouldn’t even be needed). This despite the fact that any of the 50 or so in the department would be able to swing the lease payment pretty easily.

        • 0 avatar
          SCE to AUX

          We have a couple BMWs and Model 3s in the parking lot, but I don’t know if they belong to engineers. It’s a big lot.

        • 0 avatar
          eng_alvarado90

          As an engineer I can tell I’ve never had a new car. As long as it meets my criteria for reliable, fun and cheap to run I’m ok. I just make sure to have them clean and maintained. When I got my first JOB I was driving a 10 yr old Saturn Vue with a 5 spd manual. 2 years ago I was actually driving either a cheap Ford Fiesta or an 84 Nissan truck to work.
          Just upgraded to a previous generation Ram last year and I like it but sometimes just feels too nice for my blood.

  • avatar
    Lie2me

    There was a time in my career when having the right car was important, not so much for my coworkers as for the impression made on the clients I was expected to wine and dine. I liked the job and the money was good so I got the required BMW. I liked the car a lot, but was never comfortable with the image

  • avatar
    deanst

    All my colleagues drive fancy German cars, but they talk more about the $1200 headlight repair or the $500 flat tire than any thrill they get from driving them. I’m sticking with my 10 year old minivan.

    • 0 avatar
      thelaine

      +1

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      My wife and I were among the first to discover Hyundai’s were – by then – turning out decent vehicles that were excellent values. We’ve never had any trouble with any of ours. But, early on in our brand purchase history, my brother asked me what my colleagues at work were going to think when they saw me in a Hyundai. The question didn’t even make sense to me. I guess the query revealed more about him than it did my choice in cars. I thought my Genesis Coupe was pretty cool.

      • 0 avatar
        Nick_515

        Steve, cut your brother a break. All you “independent spirited” B&Bers love to pretend that you essentially operate outside social norms, the incredible mavericks you all are. But social class is real, and it matters, and your opinion won’t change it. You may personally not happen to be in a position that other people’s perception of your class matter too much, but that doesn’t mean it’s not there and it makes no difference and it can be negated by individual choice.

        • 0 avatar
          Jon

          “But social class is real, and it matters”

          It what ways does it matter (to me)?

          • 0 avatar
            Scoutdude

            Well if you are solidly middle class then it may not matter much to you, but being in the poor or dirt poor classes can significantly limit the opportunities available.

          • 0 avatar
            danio3834

            “Well if you are solidly middle class then it may not matter much to you, but being in the poor or dirt poor classes can significantly limit the opportunities available.”

            This. Many will crow how it doesn’t matter to them, then just as many others (or perhaps even the same people) will actively engage in the “what does this person drive” stereotypes.

            Not that they’re wrong, but there is prejudice.

            For example the 300S I have is a windshield decal and chrome rims away from “drug dealer”.

  • avatar
    ajla

    As long as it isn’t dented, dirty, rusty, smoking, or leaking I’m not too worried about it in a professional setting.

  • avatar
    cprescott

    My desire to purchase a car to keep up with the Jones’ ended when I turned 30. I grew up. The only person I need to impress is my bottomline – and since my foolishness ended when I turned 30, I live below my means and drive what I want and it will have a manual transmission and get great gas mileage. And it will fit inside a set $ budget and won’t be considered if it can’t fit in that.

    If I won the lottery, I might make different choices to have classic cars and a garage to house them, but I’m relatively unimpressed with new cars these days.

    • 0 avatar
      Steve Biro

      cprescott… hopefully you’ll still be able to find a vehicle you want with a manual transmission going forward. The pickings are really slim. Which brings me to another point: It seems to me that car brands are less important than ever. At least to me they are. That’s because cars, with rare exceptions, have become so uniformly boring.

      • 0 avatar
        cprescott

        Steve – it was already tough to find something I liked. I ended up buying a 2016 Hyundai Elantra SE with a six speed with only 21k miles on it. It was a fleet car of all things (not a rental) – it continues to look brand new inside and out and feels like it rolled off the showroom floor after I have added almost 14k miles on it. I bought it in January 2019.

        I am not sure if I’ll buy another car – my previous one was a 1997 Ford Escort that I bought new for $10k that lasted me 22 years and almost 180k miles. Unless there is a COMPELLING reason to get rid of the Hyundai, I’ll be nearly 80 if I keep the Hyundai as long as the Escort.

        As for the Hyundai, I am so impressed with it – have averaged 42 mpgs since I’ve owned it – it has all the equipment I want with none of the electronic screen garbage that the new cars have. There is so much room in this car that it feels like I moved into a bigger car from the Escort. I would have bought another Ford if there was one worth buying after the transmission fiasco in the Focus/Fiesta. Right now I am content to be a Hyundai/Kia buyer – they keep improving and actually want to sell cars!

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    This for me was actually a fascinating experience. I worked for 5 years in the sub-prime mortgage industry from 02′-07′ and did pretty well; better than some not as good as others. The ownership habits of the newly minted rich are fascinating. Fortunately for me I have a spouse who is grounded in reality and she would remind me often that whatever is happening is nice (the $$) but will end (she was quite clairvoyant actually). She had met some of the people that I worked with or other industry folks and was not impressed with the brain power so to speak…

    Anyway, among the Land Rovers, Ferraris and whatever some of my industry mates were buying I sought out and purchased my unicorn and I parked it amongst my exotics with pride: 2003 Ram 2500 Cummins 5 sp 4×4 Crew Cab with cloth interior. Best truck I have ever had, to this day I regret trading it.

    Some would break my chops etc, but I hey in the end when it all came crashing down no one came and repoed by Dodge. I can’t say the same for the Rovers and Porsches in that were in the lot.

    Fast forward a decade or more. I could care less, I drive old stuff 05′ vette and 08′ suburban which the Dodge was traded in on 10 years ago. All are presentable of course, but I would be delighted if I can make to the end of this decade still driving them. Anymore for me it is a source of pride that I can keep my rides looking not only almost brand new but running like new. To be honest low miles though on the two combined, only 190k miles between the two so I have a long way to go mileage wise.

  • avatar
    JMII

    I’ve pretty much owned the opposite of whatever the most popular vehicle was in the office lot. I had an SUV and then a pickup truck when everyone else had a regular sedan or a flashy coupe. Then we the masses pivoted to CUVs, SUVs and full size trucks I got a sports car.

    A car is too expensive to buy as a fashion accessory. I drive what I need or even better what I enjoy. When I reached the point where I could afford a Corvette I bought one. However I still have my 18 year old truck because I need it to tow my boat. Would I like a new truck? Sure, but I’d much rather put that $400-600 monthly payment to knocking down my mortgage. This way in 3 to 5 years I should be able to buy a second (retirement) home. Keeping up with Jones? No… I rather move away from them! Honestly I find most people buy the wrong vehicle so I steer clear of their bad choices.

  • avatar

    Interesting…I always thought Parking Lot Parity was all internal, like the mom who “needs” an Escalade to get the kids to school, because the other moms have nice Volvos or such, and the old minivan doesn’t line up. Likewise, dad “needs” that 330i because Badge, even if his 13 mile commute could be with an old Dodge Neon and he doesn’t drive FOR work but instead he now pays $600 per month, because he is “supposed to”.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    My wife was a flight attendant with Pan Am for years back when flight attendants made good money. She bought one of the first Honda Accords but she saved her old Pontiac Tempest to drive and park at the airport when working. The Tempest was old and literally a rust bucket but it was reliable enough to drive back and forth to the airport. Many of her fellow flight attendants and even pilots had old hoop-ties just to drive to the airport. I had an old S-10 that I drove back and forth to the Park and Ride that I finally gave to my nephew–it is still running strong. Unless you are in sales or public relations where people see your car why does it matter what you drive especially if it spends most of its time in a parking lot where no one can see it. I have more than enough money to buy a nice new vehicle every couple of years but I don’t care to and hardly anyone sees my vehicles. I am less concerned with status and more concerned with reliability.

  • avatar
    Average Ivan

    In the early 1980s, my father was expected to buy American if he was going to move up the corporate ranks. The VW microbus and Mercedes 300 disappeared and a Cadillac Seville (the 8-6-4 engine, of course!) graced our driveway. He did indeed climb that corporate ladder, but at what cost to his automotive soul?

  • avatar
    Car Ramrod

    I worked on a trading floor in the suburbs of NYC out of college in the mid 2000’s. There was a high percentage of employees that were young and starting out. The guys with something to prove leased BMWs and Audis, some of them street parked at their tiny walk-up Manhattan apartments shared with way too many people to save money. Never understood that, as the job didn’t pay all that well relative to the cost of living. I had an Acura, which seemed to fly under the radar

  • avatar
    PeriSoft

    Helpful hint: Status signaling by driving a crapbox to prove to everyone that you don’t care what they think about the car you drive is still just as much status signaling as driving a BMW to prove you can afford it.

    I own my own business so I can drive whatever I can pay for, but I don’t feel the need to drive an ancient sh*tbox just to prove to everyone how virtuous I am. Safety, comfort, quiet, fun-to-drive factor, and a kick-ass sound system are worth a certain amount of money to me, just like other things I buy are worthwhile. Horrors!

    • 0 avatar
      Jon

      While what you say is true, I know a lot of people who drive a “crapbox” and none of them drive it as a status symbol.

      • 0 avatar
        PeriSoft

        Well, obviously most people who drive lousy cars aren’t doing it because they want to (or feel compelled to). But there’s certainly at least as much – maybe more – online bragging about driving beaters as there is about driving stuff that’s nice.

    • 0 avatar
      cprescott

      I think you miss the point. Those of us who have driven older cars do it because we want to, find no need to trade, and have no point to make whatsoever. I don’t need to impress others. I drive what I want and other people can do what they will with it. I’ve never been a member of the in crowd and see no need to join it by what I drive. Your needs are different than mine and good for you. And likely I will be the person who buys your castoffs because then they make good value buys.

  • avatar
    Kendahl

    There’s nothing wrong with buying the car of your dreams as long as you have paid off your debts and accumulated a nest egg for retirement. I had to wait until age 62 for mine.

  • avatar
    EGSE

    Not about the job….Nearly 40 years ago I started attending a semi-rural Southern Baptist church in Appalachia Maryland. Those folks were the irreducible core of conservatism. At the time I rode a seriously modified Honda 900F though I did leave the baffle in the aftermarket header. It was evident that was a completely….ahem, new experience for them and were relieved when I moved on.

  • avatar
    pwrwrench

    Similar to the comment of not seeking car status after a certain age, I followed that. When I changed employment and was working with a much larger group of people, heard a lot of comments about what I drove. I avoided retaliatory remarks when some of the fancy rides got repossessed. When the cost of fuel doubled in a few months about 12 years ago,those that had just traded “up” to large SUVs and 4X4 trucks were quieter.
    As others have said, I wanted to save for retirement rather than spend a lot on a car.
    Also a long time friend worked for airlines most of his career. Driving a beater was considered sensible as the parking lots were often nighttime pick-ur-part locations.
    If you are an airline pilot you have the same concerns of vehicle damage and since your daily ride is a multi-million $ hi-tech flying thing, most ground vehicles seem like a can opener or toaster.

    • 0 avatar
      cprescott

      More applause! Buy what YOU want is always the best – if you can afford it, that makes the decision even better. I know when I bought my last new car, a 1997 Ford Escort, I was a general manager and all of my “equals” had those big things. And just like you said, when gas went through the roof I got over 40 mpgs and my car never cost me more than $25 to travel 500 miles. I am saving to buy a house and then I’ll have a garage and I can buy a toy to put in there.

  • avatar
    detlump

    I guess part of it depends on whether you need to transport clients/customers in your car. If you do that much at all, then having a dangerous or dilapidated vehicle is not a good thing. If you do, you may have to walk a fine line between too fancy or too cheap. Also, it depends where you live. Even now in Michigan or other areas, driving an import brand (no matter where the vehicle was made) can be a no-no for new business or keeping business.

    A family friend who had an electric motor sales and service business (such as for conveyors, etc.) always drove an American car, even though he wanted to try an import. When he sold the company he finally felt comfortable enough to get a German car.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    The one time I climbed the corporate ladder, everyone but the office secretary had company vehicles that we took home as field sales reps. So when we did come into the office for monthly meetings we all showed up in our company vehicles. We could pick the color and that was it, though the manager could pay out of pocket for an upgrade. The one district manager had a Cadillac instead of the Taurus his job classification called for. (This was in the late 80’s)

    Since then being self employed I did and do make couscous decisions about my customer facing vehicles. When I left corporate America and started a mobile auto repair business I did make sure my van was straight and generally well kept. Its not like your customer expects you to show up in a luxury car packed full of tools and parts, but a decrepit old vehicle doesn’t say much about your skills or pride in your work.

    When I got into real estate investing, I’d be sure to take a work truck or old beater when meeting potential tenants, making repairs or bugging them for rent.

    Since I’ve got my RE license I do pick which vehicle I use based on the Client. First time buyers and those that lean to “being green” get the C-Max Energi, while those move up and higher end buyers get the MKZ, while those who might be looking at property, rural locations, or when I’ll have a lot of passengers I dig out the old 7 passenger SUV, that while old is well kept and looks respectable enough when washed up.

    • 0 avatar
      cprescott

      I am not sure where the impression on this thread came from that an older car had to be a beater. When I buy a car, I keep it immaculate. I don’t buy dented or beater cars. And my 22 year old Ford looked in very good condition inside and out and drove well and was reliable – until the last two months when it started to make me nervous driving it with a leaking brake system, a reverse light that didn’t turn off, and the thought of more OEM repairs that it would need for state inspection.

      If I was carrying customers, I’d have a 1980’s Lincoln (owned one) or a Cadillac that was in pristine condition. I am frugal, but not stupid.

      • 0 avatar
        eng_alvarado90

        Totally agreed. I’ve never owned a new car (the newest had been 3 yrs old at the moment of purchase), but all cars I’ve had have been well maintained and looked great all the way until being sold.
        As personal experience I’ve met colleagues as well as “wealthy” and people with “good taste” who could care less about washing and cleaning their filthy piece of luxury car.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    While I certainly have my own set of standards about what I like to drive, I have never had employment where my choice of vehicle had any impact on my overall success or career trajectory.

    –Methinks it likely that very, very few jobs have such silly unwritten rules, but aspirational employees tell themselves such lies to rationalize their 3 Series leases. –Junior realtors come to mind.

  • avatar
    Arthur Dailey

    Back in the day when I made enough money to have these type of choices, my partners all drove German vehicles, that they leased and changed regularly. M series, one of the first TT’s in Canada, etc.

    I drove a Caravan or Montana. And also had a minivan at home for my wife.

    And most often when taking clients out, we used my minivan.

    There was a time when a fully equipped Grand Caravan, was one of the most expensive passenger vehicles sold by Chrysler dealers. Driving one was not considered to be stigmatizing but rather a logical decision for those with multiple kids.

  • avatar
    geozinger

    When I was younger I would do my best to fit in. But my addiction to muscle and pony cars probably hurt my chances at certain things. Kind of like my total disinterest in playing golf. You definitely miss a lot of stuff if you don’t play the games…

    These days I’m happy to drive my old Pontiac and Oldsmobile. In fact, I wish the rust monster would stay away from my cars, as I really don’t like a lot of the stuff on the new ones. I’m quite comfortable with the cars we have and they function just fine. I keep the cars presentable and I’m rarely in a situation where I “need” to show off to someone else.

    I’ve paid plenty for cars over the years and it’s time for someone else to carry the automotive industry.

    • 0 avatar
      tankinbeans

      While I’ve never had an addiction to certain types of cars, I’ve certainly had an ongoing affinity for new cars. I had this vain notion that it somehow mattered. There have been plenty of opportunities lost along the way as I’ve had a car payment steadily for 12 years. Currently, I’m working on paying down my current ride. However, I have a medium term goal in mind (about 5 years) where, providing my financial situation remains relatively stable, I’ll have my credit cards paid off, my car paid off and I’ll have a chance to look seriously at a house. I’m fortunate that I’m only 32 in a few months and made my boneheaded moves earlyish. The lesson was/is a tough one, but I think I’ve learned it.

  • avatar
    Johnster

    I used to work at an office where certain people (who didn’t make very much money) and who drove hoopties were required to park in the lot BEHIND the building because of how their cars might impact the image of the business. It didn’t tend to be about the car’s age, but how it looked. Management seemed to be overly concerned about cars having wheels or wheel covers that matched, they didn’t like cars with dents or dimples in the bumpers and they absolutely hated cars where the exterior body parts (like fenders and doors) didn’t match color-wise. The snobs.

    • 0 avatar
      cprescott

      Understandable concerns. I am frugal, but I will not drive a car with dents or cosmetic issues. I tend to be very much into preventive maintenance and I do like my things clean and proper. My vehicle might have age on it, but it is in better condition than some people who have only a few years on theirs (I say that like I still had my 22 year old car). Now I marvel at how my black 2016 Elantra has a showroom shine that has turned heads. I take car of my stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      cprescott

      Understandable concerns. I am frugal, but I will not drive a car with dents or cosmetic issues. I tend to be very much into preventive maintenance and I do like my things clean and proper. My vehicle might have age on it, but it is in better condition than some people who have only a few years on theirs (I say that like I still had my 22 year old car). Now I marvel at how my black 2016 Elantra has a showroom shine that has turned heads. I take car of my stuff.

  • avatar
    danio3834

    The owner of a company my wife used to work for used to comment to her about the tank grey ’92 Corolla I gave her to drive in the early days of our marriage. It was an ugly little car, but I got it for nothing and fixed it for cheap.

    The owner of this business hated this car parked in front so badly, he offered to sell her a company truck for a good deal (basically wholesale auction price). God damn was he mad when I sold it for a profit. Good, f*ck that guy.

  • avatar
    -Nate

    I’m part of the team that’s interested in what others do but not overly influenced by them .

    -Nate

  • avatar
    MoparRocker74

    I drive what *I* think is cool. For me, it’s never been about impressing the masses, although I’ve always been a car guy. So ruffling the feathers of the corporate suck-ups who are quick to jump on that eco-conscious bandwagon is something that causes no loss of sleep on my end. At the end of the day, you have to be true to yourself. Personally, Id be more confident driving a weathered but reliable and sorted out Duster, Dodge truck or Jeep CJ than some luxury branded sedan or suv. That’s fine for someone else but I ld feel like a phony and a sell out since it’s just not ‘me’ and I ld get no joy from driving it. Hell…I once owned a PT Cruiser GT with the HO turbo and 5spd stick. Hardly ANYONE thinks PT cruisers are cool. Didn’t care then, still dont. After a few mods, that car was an absolute rocket. Even hater gave it respect since I had it tastefully customized with a handling suspension, blacked out everything and an uncorked exhaust. “I hate these cars, but yours is actually kinda sick.” Got that sentiment a LOT more than Id have ever imagined. But ultimately it was a satisfying car to own and drive, being a manual/turbo. I always liked the looks of them if the color/personalization was right. Hell yeah I would own another.

  • avatar
    ttacgreg

    So from personal experience, an ’87 Mercury Sable, a 1990 Mitsubishi Eclipse, a 2000 Corolla all had controls with tactile features that made them easily controllable without looking at them after one became familiar with them, and were reasonably operable with gloves on.
    Featureless flat touch screens, (and I will add the control panel made of buttons that are non distinct tiles on my 2016 Prius for that matter) absolutely demand looking at them to operate them.
    Another example, the behind the steering wheel cruise control lever that was on my paren’ts Camry, my Corolla, and my current Prius is perfect. It is big, easy to grip, and the functions are distinct and use directional gestures, they become almost unconscious after a time. In contrast, the tightly spaced little ring and center button the right steering wheel spoke on my 2020 RAV4 cruise control all require the same input: a button press. It is extremely easy to hit the wrong button and foul up the operating mode of the cruise control. After 7000miles with it, I give up ever being instinctively fluent with it. It can be done by feel, but it still demands mental distraction to feel around to ascertain which button to press.
    I remember one of the things that the original Taurus and Sable were praised for was that their controls were tactile, and they could be identified by touch rather than sight.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    I have driven older vehicles and I have kept them up both mechanically and in appearance. An old vehicle does not have to be a hoopty. I gave my nephew a 99 S-10 that I had for over 20 years that looked and ran like new. Never was repainted and the interior was in excellent condition. Most people could not believe that my S-10 was 20 years old and that was true of all the vehicles I have ever owned. I never had anyone complain about the looks or shape that my vehicles are in and if I did I wouldn’t care. I take pride in taking care of what I own and expect things to last. There is no embarrassment in driving an old vehicle that is well maintained.

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