There is a stereotype of the typical yuppie in a fancy car. They don’t really even care about cars necessarily. They care about the status a luxury car brings or the style an Audi brings as an accessory. For “car people” the image has the opposite effect. Take a perfectly good car. Maybe even a great car. Run it past a snooty automotive expert like the type who are pompous enough to run their own automotive newsletter and they will refuse to own it. Perhaps even refuse to drive it.
I should get over myself. Really. I have been out on track with the Mustang GT500R countless times. I have compared the size of the brake rotors to my head and wondered how they even fit behind the wheels. I have been to the vehicle inventory search on Ford.com more than I care to admit. I just can’t bring myself to even test drive it.
Even though I didn’t buy my first GM product until the age of 36, I am a Chevy guy. I grew up a Dale Earnhardt fan watching the GM Goodwrench Service livery fly around ovals. There’s also the matter of the Mustang’s reputation for mowing down people in crowds. The fine engineers at Ford SVT have caught my attention on track, in Motor Trend, and on the street. To be a Mustang owner feels like I am backstabbing family. Or should be a hooning street racer that talks like Ken Block. It’s an amazing car. But I hate it.
I guess this isn’t a particularly challenging problem because I can’t really afford either of these Italian stallions. Sure you can pick up a 308 GTSi for around $40,000, but good luck with the maintenance costs. As it turns out, that would be the Ferrari for me. I would drive to Whole Foods with the targa top down in a baseball cap while attempting to look like Tom Selleck in Magnum P.I. I would wax eloquent about how a V8 mounted mid-ship is the ideal layout for all eternity. I would do all these things if I would not then be lumped in with all the Ferrari apparel wearing middle-aged men who show up at Starbucks flaunting their branded gear just so everyone knows they have the ability to waste money.
And while I can respect Ferrari’s rich history of motorsport, I just can’t say the same about Lamborghini. They have never been race focused. All through the 1960s, Ferruccio Lamborghini refused to participate in racing. That still holds somewhat true today as Lamborghini has never fielded a factory-backed Le Mans effort. This makes every Lamborghini the ultimate rice rocket. There’s the recent ability to run Huracán GT3 Evos in IMSA, but the Lamborghini brand is mostly exotic show. I prefer my supercars to be racebred with slightly less flamboyance.
And so we close with what is perhaps the most painful thing for me to admit. The Tesla Model 3 in its current state is a great car. It checks the technology boxes. It has great power. It is amazingly practical and gets great eMPG. But it has a few really negative car person things going for it. First of all, there’s a matter of build quality. Has Tesla done a way better job over time? Certainly. But outside of the fanboy forums you’ll find normal people complaining every which way about the way their Tesla was cheaply put together. Next, there’s the fanboys themselves. The rabid Elon Musk fans do the Tesla brand zero favors. Nor does the CEO himself. And why do they insist on calling it an M3 when there is an actual car that’s called the M3? Finally, it looks like a frog to me. I saw no fewer than 10 Model 3’s parked in neighborhood driveways on my afternoon run. I get how practical it is as a daily and commuter. It looks mostly good, but that greenhouse is just a bit too tall.
You could argue that even a stripped down Tesla Model 3 is too much money. I would agree if you were being practical and would postulate that for 80% of people, the Toyota Corolla is probably the perfect car for them. Its creature comforts have benefited from decades of trickle down effects from the Toyota mothership. It has four doors, reasonable cargo space, and is reliable as all hell. And so we fault it with the main reason any self-respecting car person would hate a car. It has no inkling of a soul. Toyota’s design studios can throw as many aero accoutrements as they want on their economy car, but it just speaks more to how truly boring the Corolla is. I would rather own a Toyota Yaris.
And now that I have lost all of my subscribers: get out and drive, wash your car, and have a great weekend.
daily automotive addiction.