Some men take good care of a car; others treat it like one of the family.
– Evan Esar, “20,000 Quips and Quotes”
Don’t buy an eighty-five thousand dollar car before you buy a house.
– E-40, “Rapper’s Ball”
I’m not much of a car guy. A few weeks ago, after having lunch with some co-workers, I fell asleep in the backseat when their conversation turned to car talk. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate a nice car. I respect the fact that some people love to talk about exhausts, intake and coilovers – that’s just not for me. I drive an older-model Acura Integra GSR. I bought it from a good friend who babied it and sold it to me with the homeboy discount. Prior to that, I was driving a 2001 Dodge Stratus that I purchased from the company (it used to be my company car). I had the Dodge for about 10 years. It was a very good, reliable car. But with close to 200,000 miles on the odometer, I knew I had to eventually make a switch – so I bought the Acura. The running joke in the office is I should “tune” my Acura (like Vin Diesel and Paul Walker in “Fast and the Furious”). I think if I were 18 I would do it. But as a soon-to-be 42-year old man, I think it would look a little ridiculous.
Like I said, some of my co-workers are into cars. People know who is driving what at work. When I pull into our parking garage, I see all kinds of cars – from the high-end to the low-end. From big family vans to sleek sports cars. All of this car talk got me thinking about the different types of car owners:
- The Practical Purchaser wants a reliable car that will get them from point A to point B. They don’t care that their car isn’t cool or a newer model. The car is paid for. Insurance and maintenance is cheap. It’s a decent looking car that gets good gas mileage and the owner doesn’t have to worry about getting dings in a parking lot.
- The I’ve Made it man (or woman) purchased their car as a symbol of achievement. “When I make…” (X amount of dollars) or “When I become…” (X position), “I’m going to buy myself a…” (fill in high-end vehicle here).
- The Sales Representative I kind of get. If you’re a real estate agent or regional sales representative and you’re taxiing clients to lunch and dinner, you probably don’t want to be picking them up in your Samurai Suzuki. I see the need for a nicer car here. But how nice? Does a newer model Toyota Camry or Honda Accord work as well as a Mercedes or Infinity? I would think so. But then again, I’m not a sales guy.
- If I were to “tune” my Acura, I’d be a Throwback Guy. This is the individual that buys a car similar to the ride they had (or always wanted) in high school or college. My first car was my brother’s 1979 Camaro with T-tops. It was an awesome first car and I have a lot of great summer memories. I guess I could go out looking for the same car…or buy a brand new Camaro convertible. The throwback part would be to drop it, put some Enkei rims on it, a Wink mirror and four 12″ Redline woofers with a few Zapco amps. Toss in a 2 Live Crew Greatest Hits CD and poof! It’s 1988 again!
- The Performance Engineer is a true connoisseur of cars. He knows the make, model, and performance capabilities of every new car on the market. He subscribes to Car and Driver or Road and Track (or both). He’s your go-to guy when you’re thinking of buying a new car. Whether or not he can afford the car he wants is a different story. If not careful, he might turn into…
- The Poser. Actually, anyone on this list (except maybe the Practical Purchaser) can fall into this trap. This is the 20-year old who works part-time at Target and buys a Hummer. It’s cool, though, because the sales rep at the dealership drew him the four squares that showed him how he really could afford it. (I know because I’ve been there!) Or the company executive, professional athlete, and anyone else who buys a brand new ride for the “bling” effect but really can’t afford the monthly payments (on top of all of their other expenses). This is instant gratification at its finest.
Another way to solve the traffic problems of this country is to pass a law that only paid-for cars be allowed to use the highways.
– Will Rogers
What kind of car owner are you?