How to Understand the Car Enthusiast

When I have a car conversation I think I tend to confuse people.  Everyone talks about supporting everything, but they have expectations and once those expectations aren’t met they turn on those they cheered to support.  For me, I love it all.  Sure, there are cars I wouldn’t own, but it’s not because I don’t like them it’s because they either don’t meet my needs or my garage can only hold so many cars.  I like to focus on the concept of why something was built, where it came from and what it had to offer.  I want to experience them all.

Drive what you’re passionate about.  You’ll spend 37,935 hours of your life, on average, driving.  That’s over 4 years of your life  behind the wheel of a vehicle and some will log even more.  The only thing you’ll do more is eat and sleep and we know how important those things are.  Yet every day someone is saying, “any car will do” or “if the price is right.”

You need to want to drive your car, even if you’re not a car person.  If you dread turning the key you are ruining a certain part of your life, like eating food you don’t like, it has an effect.  Whether the car was free or cost 2 million if it isn’t fun then you’re doing yourself an injustice and it will show.

You have to realize that a car isn’t a car, it’s the extension of the person driving it.  Like a psychological experiment you can read a driver by what they drive.  Is it utility or performance?  It is clean or dirty?  Try it out sometime, even on yourself, it works.  We spend our whole lives trying to understand people from our perspective being told we should live in their shoes, well climb into their car and feel what it’s like to be them for 10 minutes.  Ask them what’s important to them and you’ll know a person by their vehicle, even the stuff they don’t know about themselves.  You’ll be quick to realize a better way to pick your friends and why you do.

For that reason, for me at least, all cars are created equal.  They start of hunks of metal, as an ideology or concept, with a purpose and that purpose will identify with a buyer.  A person that sees that concept and attaches to it and becomes one with that vehicle, truly defining who they are by their mode of transportation.  No other thing on the planet can compare.  This can even help us understand the world and give us hope.  Cheap cars usually fail unless they have character like the VW bug.  Cars of performance and flash like the Lamborghini Countach are exonerated as our desire for the apex of results and we want to live because make stickers that say life is too short to drive boring cars.  Simplified like this, as people, we aren’t as bad as we think.

For this reason when I hear someone say they hate something and want it removed I’m quick to ask where the data is that supports having it made illegal.  We have to understand that driving is a privilege and many an unfair law has been made to regulate it.  If we are to embrace freedom then it is indeed the vehicle that we will first embrace that concept.  I’ll keep this section short because it should go without saying, make good choices to minimize your risk to others.

So the next time you think about going out to a car show, try out something new.  See a new group of people and try to appreciate what they do and see why they do it.  If you leave your mind open you’ll find that we, as car people, aren’t so dissimilar.  We all started as dreamers waiting on a hunk of metal to complete our vision.  We were all considered rabble-rousers or some variation of miscreant as we enjoyed that passion.  We can talk about how bad our lowered car is, but there was a time when our grandfather’s lifted ’57 Chevy was considered gaudy by the world.

If I could ask our community one thing it would be to take off the identity hat for 2 seconds when you’re talking to others.  Don’t try to press your world into theirs.  Don’t try to get people to drive your make, your model, your manufacturer and consider for a second that their car, whether it’s faster or slower, may be something that you would like to drive for a second or two.  If you’re not opened minded about that, trust me, I understand and honestly, it’s your loss.

As for me, I’m going to keep enjoying everything from Yugos to Koenigseggs.  I’ve seen the bar set all time lows and crest to breathless, oxygen deprived, heights.  I’m going to enjoy the people, whether they race, drift, drag or just like to camber it out and drag it on the ground a la those absolutely gorgeous low-riders <insert drool here>… and I hope you do the same.

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